Suspect Behavior 109: Smother

It's a sunny day as the episode begins, all the better to contrast the darkness of the tragedies that are sure to befall this woman and her young child:

A man creeps up behind her - but it turns out it was just a cashier, returning the credit card she left at the counter! Less nice is the guy (or gal) who pulls up next to her in a minivan and drops a pacifier out the door. When the woman goes to return it, she's punched in the face and dragged into the van! Dear lord, how unexpect- Yeah, I'm too tired to be sarcastic right now. Sucks for her baby, though, who was left in the unlocked car.

Back at the office, which I can't help but remind you, is in a FUNCTIONING GYM for absolutely no reason-

Mick is on the phone with someone, which Janeane gives him a hard time about. You know, hostile work environment and everything. The team gets a rundown of the case - all three abducted women were out with their children! And all three happened within nine days! Every killer being a spree killer, and all.

The cops need the team's help in figuring out where the women are. Forest's idea? Check in the woods closest to all three crime scenes! Seriously? They needed help with that?

Two of the bodies do turned up, dressed and posed as if they were sleeping! Ironically peaceful, considering that the women were brutally stabbed to death. A revelation that leads to Janeane winning the Prentiss Award of the night!

Really? You don't think he brutally stabbed them to death, then bathed them, dressed them in clean clothes, and did their makeup while crouched in a grassy field? Insight! Forest jumps to the conclusion that the killer wanted the bodies to be found - with them serving as a means of apology! Which is a great idea, except for the fact that he didn't leave a note with the cops or anything. Shouldn't they keep the discovery of the corpses under wraps, just in case he (she?) wants to visit with the corpses or add a new one to the pile?

Hey, speaking of future corpses, the latest victim is tied up in a room somewhere! Will the team get to her in time? Let's find out together, after the opening credits!

The team watches the security tape of the abduction, but doesn't see anything useful. Nor do they find it suspicious that the victim voluntarily climbed inside the evil van before getting punched in the face. They talk about a lure being used, but that must have been one hell of a lure. Sims and Mick go to talk to the latest victim's husband, but we don't get anything out of it but the standard depressing look at sad people suffering. So thanks for that, Suspect Behavior.

There is one important point, however - it seems the team is just now figuring out that the baby lure was in effect, because the woman's baby doesn't use a pacifier. Although simply watching the tape could have given them that one. The woman picks something up off the ground then leans into the van to return it - they know the item was a pacifier, what else could it be for?

Forest and Janeane swing by the morgue, where the Coroner proves to be Greg's old buddy from the San Francisco US Attorney's office!

Wow, I guess after Greg got him fired from his job after that fake Waco fiasco, he had to move to New Hampshire and fall back on his medical degree, huh?

Now that they know the baby ruse was being used, the team figures they're looking for a recent mother! So Garcia looks over the medical records of crazy ladies who recently lost babies, hoping to find a link to their killer! No mention is made of whether they're also cross-referencing them against grey minivans, as they ought to be.

We do discover that they've gone ahead and spoiled the dump site by having the Chief of Police announce the discovery of the bodies. This is incredibly stupid, as mentioned above, but I'm not as angry as I could be because I just recognized the actor playing the Chief-

It's Joel Polis, Gary from Cheers, and more importantly Fuchs from The Thing!

A fortyish woman sees the news and freaks out a little, running into the back room to check on the woman she stabbed to death earlier! That's right, the victim is dead. The only question is whether she counts as our first victim, or if the two bodies are those, and the next lady is going to get rescued.

Weirdly the team seems to be operating under the theory that the killer has a living baby, which goes against their normal way of working. After all, shouldn't they be looking for a 'stressor' that drove their 'unsub' to start killing? And wouldn't the death of her own child both work as an appropriately awful mental experience and give her a motive if she felt responsible for the death? And then she'd murder other mothers to protect their children because she's externalizing her own guilt? Doesn't all this sound like you people, show? Maybe this is all wrong, but it's the kind of thing they should be saying!

There's another fakeout scare, as someone sneaks up on a recent mother walking her baby, but it turns out to just be a cop, warning her about the serial killer! Oh, and her dog found the latest body.

Great work ruining the dump site instead of monitoring it, team.

Forest points out that it seems like it would have been difficult for a woman to move the body, suggesting that the killer might be working with a partner! Since the women are being brutally murdered, and then carefully dressed up, maybe a couple is doing it? Except there's one problem with this logic - all of your theories of motive and MO involve a woman killer - but the person doing the cleaning up and dumping would have to be the strong one, and men tend not to be able to launder blood out of clothing and do makeup. And this is setting aside the fact that we, the audience, have already seen the woman doing the dressing up, and she doesn't look physically strong enough to move the bodies.

They develop some new profiles, in which the 'cleaner' is an older woman (this profile is based on nothing), and that the killer is a 'piquerist', who stabs for sexual gratification - that second profile is based on more concrete evidence, the massive overstabbing standing in for a lack of rape. Since that kind of crime is generally done by teenagers, they suddenly realize they're looking for a mother/son team! He kills, she cleans up! Although that still doesn't answer the “How did she move the body” question.

We then get to a scene of the mother talking to the son - she doesn't want him to go on killing, but he doesn't care!

The team gives the cops a profile, and while they're speechifying, the killer is off looking for another victim, while flashing back to a lifetime of being molested by his evil mother? Oh, so he was killing the women, in part, to protect the children from them. Weird that I got that part right, but nothing else.

Seeing a woman loading her baby into a car, he rushes over and abducts her!

Meanwhile Forest is talking to a single social worker about who the killer might be. When he hears about the breast stabbing, the guy remembers a seven-year-old who was still being breast fed. Creepy! He can't remember the name, but when the rest of the team shows up with a sexual assault claim, the name sparks some familiarity in him! Now they know who the killer is! Although you'd think that the sexual assault would have been enough of a clue without talking to the social worker who, by completely random chance, just happens to be the guy who handled the killer's case a decade earlier.

Oh, speaking of the sexual assault, the surviving victim discusses the fact that she was viciously bitten around the breasts! Creepy, to be sure, but not really useful, since they already know the killer's name and address.

Meanwhile, the newest victim is tied up in the killer's house, and the mother wants to keep the woman's baby, who was brought to the house along with the victim! The team rushes in, catches the killer and saves the injured mother, but where's the baby?! Forest interrogates the killer, but he doesn't have any assistance to offer. So Forest just guilts him about not having the guts to just kill his mother instead of all those other women. Because that's a useful way to spend your time.

He finally offers a clue, however, saying that sometimes the mother said that she'd wished she could just leave him and go back to her old life. This gives Forest the idea to check out her previous addresses!

Wait, what? You're looking for a woman who's on the lam and you needed a psychological insight to clue you in to the fact that you should check out previous residences? Where did you go to police school? Half-wit.

Garcia figures out where she lived before having her son, and they set up a roadblock on the highway leading in that direction. Seeing that she's about to be stopped the mother tries to make a run for it, but is quickly stopped by the team. Forest goes to talk to her, and I notice that he has a ridiculous chain hanging from his belt-

What's going on there, Forest? And as someone who chases people as part of his job, should you really be wearing loose pieces of chain?

Anyhoo, Forest tries to talk her out of the car rather than just letting someone shoot her in the head. It doesn't work, but at least she's distracted long enough to let Sims steal the baby from the back seat.


Oh, except for the team going to a vigil being held outside the hospital for some reason.

Was it a vigil in hopes that the baby was found alive? Because you'd think someone could have told them the baby was rescued like three hours earlier and they didn't have to stick around.

Mick also gets a character moment, talking to the dad with the dead wife. It seems that he can relate because lost his parents when he was young, and had to look after his little sister for quite some time. Which, I guess, is why he joined the army? So he could go off for three years into war zones, risking his life and possibly leaving his sister with no one in the world that she could count on?

Again, half-wit.

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

The note that it's generally teenagers who are into sexual stabbing was a good one, and it led them to the sex offender they were looking for, so that's something.

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

The victims were extensively stabbed around the breasts. The previous year a sex offender had viciously assaulted a woman's breasts while raping her. A simple search of related M.O.s (which I thought they were supposed to do in every case) should have made the connection.

Also, they could have kept the dump site quiet and just watched it. Had they done that, the fourth woman never would have been abducted, let alone stabbed. Just saying.

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

2/10 - You'd think I'd grade this thing a little higher, what with profiling actually coming into play, but there's one problem with the episode's logic. The team surmised that they had to be dealing with two separate people (one killing, one cleaning) rather than an MPD case because it was unbelievable that a woman could have carried the bodies of her victims from the roads to the fairly remote dump sites.

Except, at the end of the episode, we're left with no reason to suspect that the younger, stronger son helped with the corpse disposal at all - so how did the mother move the bodies?

God, this is a bad show.

Would this episode have played out any differently had the regular team been running things, or was there some advantage to having a rogue Red Cell that operates 'outside the bureaucracy'?

I'm thinking of dropping this category, what with the fact that in nine weeks there has never been a single example of the team operating any differently than the normal Criminal Minds team, other than having a preposterously impractical office.

You know, given the disturbing and controversial subject matter this week, I feel like the wacky pun title wasn't the best idea. But at least we were left with a heartwarming message: If someone is molesting you, murder them. It may suck for you right now, but in the long run, the world will be grateful.

No comments: