Criminal Minds 317: In Heat

People are dancing with abandon! This can only be Miami, if my years of watching CSI Miami are any indication. Will the BSU team run into Horatio and the gang? They are on the same network, after all. Somehow I’m guessing no.

A woman in a blue dress propositions a man in a black shirt – seems like sexiness is about to occur – or more likely, murder! Speaking of sexiness, Xander has snuck into Garcia’s apartment to prepare a romantic dinner. How sweet of that guy. He’d better not turn out to be a serial killer.

Now, back to the Miami sexiness, where the man and woman are making out on a boat in the harbour – turns out they’re not the killer or the victim – they just discover a corpse!

The team goes over the case – three victims in two months (bet that’s going to speed up, huh?), all men who’ve been strangled to death, then left in barely-concealed areas. The key element of the crime so far – no crushed necks, no wire marks, which means that a chokehold was used to murder them. So right away, although no one says it, they know the killer must have military or police training.

Yes, he could be a judo guy or an ultimate fighter, but seriously, what are the odds of that?

Hopefully we’ll find out after the opening credits.

The team arrives in Miami and meet their local contact – and who else should be there, but Junior, the New Orleans cop we met last year in the terrible Jill the Ripper episode! It seems that he’s there to identify the corpse. Also JJ is way too quick to say that they only know each other ‘professionally’, which I guess means they’ve been secretly dating for a year. Not sure why it’s a secret, but I’m sure they’ll explain.

Junior explains that the latest victim had travelled to Miami for a regatta, and that he was supposed to be getting married in a few months! Hey, just like Jill the Ripper’s victim that one time! Oh, and they let us know about the secret relationship right away, with Junior asking about JJ needing to keep their private lives private. He doesn’t take it fantastically.

Joe and Emily go through the one corpse’s clothes – it seems that he hadn’t gone to Miami for business at all – he was cheating on his wife! They know this because he left his wedding ring at his hotel room the night he was murdered. Does this mean Junior’s friend wasn’t really in town for a regatta, either?

Going through the cop’s room they discover that he most likely left the hotel room on his own, since his car isn’t in the lot. Garcia uses GPS to find it, then use the car’s GPS to figure out where he’d been! In a shocking twist, there’s no regatta that week in town, and the last place he took the car… was a gay bar!

Which means the cop was a secret gay, along with all the other victims who had wives! We then cut to the killer, who’s a gay guy pretending to be the people he kills! We see him coming on to a hick from Texas – luckily for us, he doesn’t attempt to do a cheesy Louisiana accent while preparing to kill the guy.

Now it’s time for the profile, where the team realizes that the killer is likely picking up men in a gay bars or popular public gathering places! You know, I was just saying last season that it’s weird how they’d never had a gay murderer on the show, despite the fact that gay serial killers make up a decent percentage of the actual murderers out there. One out of sixty isn’t bad, I guess!

Now it’s time for more relationship drama between JJ and Junior, with him trying to get a straight answer about her hiding her private life from her colleagues. It seems she’d rather break up with him than admit that they’re dating! Which is just crazily harsh. He even halfway offers to move to Quantico, which she finds somehow puzzling. I mean, it’s not like they don’t have crime and cops in Quantico, I’m sure he can get a job there. She’s shocked that he’d want to give up his ‘career’ in New Orleans, but again I’m going to have to ask why – do you suspect he has some fondness for working in the most institutionally corrupt city in America?

Oh, and in a cutaway, the killer murders the Texan. Do you think he’ll start doing a terrible accent now? God, I hope not. Yeah, just a scene later, he starts pretending to be Texan. Oy.,

Based on her problems with Junior, JJ comes up with a theory of the crime – maybe the killer envies the gay guys’ freedom and openness, and that’s why he’s killing them!

It seems there was a witness the previous night – and he’s got an important clue: The killer identified himself as a cop, which finally lets the team in on the fact that he’s pretending to be his victims! They rush to the latest victim’s hotel room, assuming that the killer heads there after killing people. Which is a pretty good guess – they immediately track down the Texan’s car.

Hopefully they can find it quickly – because the killer immediately grabs a hitchhiking German tourist. Why? Because every killer is a spree killer!

The team decides to check on the earlier victims, the ones whose bodies they haven’t found – assuming that the killer’s last double murder had to do with being identified… so possibly one of the first victims knew him personally! Okay, now they’re just cribbing from Silence of the Lambs.

The first victim’s dad doesn’t seem bothered by his disappeared son. The guy was gay, so he obviously doesn’t care, what with him being a good Christian and all. It turns out the the dad was a prison guard, which means he knows how to subdue people! Okay, so the first missing guy is the killer, and his homophobic dad is the one who made the killer hate himself!

Isn’t it nice when there’s a clean, simple motivation for serial killers with an easy explanation for how it happened?

They find the Texan’s car abandoned, with the German guy dead in the front seat! So, is this whole ‘two murders and then the third is rescued’ thing going to become a pattern?

Assuming that the killer’s craziness will force him to behave exactly like his victims, they figure he’ll have hitch-hiked to the next area, and stayed in a youth hostel, just like his last victim. They confront the killer in the hostel, where he proves to have an even worse German accent than he did Louisianan. Derek and the local cop manage to talk the killer into dropping his gun, which seems like a weird priority – I’ve never understood why the characters are so bound and determined to see the state governments spend millions of dollars locking these killers up for a decade and then punishing them capitally.


Oh, except for another JJ/Junior scene, where she finally grows a spine and decides to admit that she’s dating him. The gist of her motivation is that she’s afraid of commitment. Yawn.

1 - Was profiling in any way helpful in solving the crime?

Minorly – understanding that the father’s hatred of gays would turn his gay son into a gay-murdering madman was fairly useful in talking him down, although it’s not actually how they found and stopped the killer.

2 - Could the crime have been solved just as easily using conventional police methods given the known facts of the case?

They did. A witness let them know that the killer was pretending to be his victims, so they just followed the trail of corpses right to their unsub. Which basically anyone could have done.

So, on a scale of 1 (Dirty Harry) to 10 (Tony Hill), How Useful Was Profiling in Solving the Crime?

2/10 – Not a great showing for psychology this week, although I’ll score them a little for discovering the killer’s name through profiling, even if it didn’t help them catch him.


Xander and Garcia managed to hang out in her office for a whole scene without giving us a single glimpse of the map. Come on, guys! Help me out a little, would you? Anyhow, here’s the map from last time-

Now we’ll tack Miami on there-

And we’ve successfully updated. That wasn’t so hard now, was it?


Anonymous said...

reid notably scratches his face in this episode (itching and scratching is a short-term sympton of heroin withdrawal.) sure hope reid hasn't had a relapse!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading these in order, but I'm wondering if maybe you didn't write them in order? The "2 murders and a rescue" pattern is already quite old by this point... :D