Criminal Minds 712: Unknown Subject

In Texas a woman returns home and shuts off her security system. So she cares about her safety - thought not enough to have a large dog and one of those guns that telescopes out from under your sleeve, Red Heat-style. This being Criminal Minds, those are oversights she's going to be paying for in the near future.

After she's put down her belongings and downed a glass of wine, the woman notices her vision begin to blur - she's been drugged! As maybe the smartest person to ever appear on this show, she takes immediate action: fill a glass with salt water and swallow it all, immediately inducing vomiting! It was a clever play, but apparently the drug had already taken effect, and the woman is helpless to do anything but lie on the floor and scream while a masked figure-

Enters the house, cranks some tunes, and then looms over her menacingly.

I've got to say, though - that can't be a very good security system if having a glass door shattered didn't set it off. What would be the point of even having one if someone can just put a brick through your door and steal all of your possessions? Who knows, maybe the killer is some kind of expert in disarming the things? I'm just confused about why, if he already defeated the alarm system to poison the wine, he then went back outside. Odd duck, this one.

Over in Virginia, Emily is visiting her therapist. It seems she's been having nightmares and chewing her nails since she got back on the job, and they've been working together to sort out her problems. The  therapist feels some of the residual stress might come from the fact that Emily never mourned the life she lost by faking her death. Which is a possibility, but why is she only mentioning it now, during Emily's last session? What have they been talking about for the past six months?

Garcia lays out the case - a serial rapist (not killer - yet) in Houston that they consulted on six months ago has upped his game, and they're needed on the ground to work the case. So remember, everyone, the BSU's 'profiles' don't help you catch anyone, they're only helpful actually in-town, talking to suspects.

How has the threat increased? The rapist - who scars women by binding their wrists with piano wire while keeping them so drugged they don't remember him or their attack - has begun attacking his early victims a second time! Oh, so that's how she knew to induce vomiting. It doesn't explain the lack of a large dog or wrist-gun, though. Pretty sure the Texas authorities would be cool with a rape victim having a concealed weapon. The compromised security system goes unmentioned, which is odd, since that seems like a good lead.

Before leaving on the jet, Greg wants a private word with Emily. It seems that she's been lying to her therapist, and being overly solicitous with her teammates, so Greg is worried that she's trying too hard to reintegrate herself into her teammates' lives. Greg doesn't thing it's a problem, so long as she's willing to come to him when she actually starts having greater mental difficulties.

Greg and Joe meet with the Houston police, and discover that the drugs weren't in the wine - there was no trace of it in the vomit left on the floor! This means that he somehow got the drugs into the cigarette she smoked right before her vision fuzzed out? Is that how he's drugging all of them? I suppose all the victims being smokers is common enough that it wouldn't have seemed like a worthwhile commonality, but now that they're searching for alternate ways that people can be drugged, let's hope they think outside the box - to who has access to your cigarettes!

Wow, that happened right away - interviewing all the re-raped women, Emily and JJ notice that they're all smokers! Yay!

Reid and Derek have already taken the revelation on board, and interview the latest victim's husband about her smoking. They then offer the Prentiss Award-Winning line of the night, when talking about how frighteningly plausible this episode's premise is.

You expect us to believe that it would be easier to get ahold of a woman's purse, sneak her cigarettes out, then sneak an exact replica of those cigarettes - only drugged - back in without her noticing - than drugging a drink? How could you possibly know when and where she was going to light up? Just one of your potential victims smoking a cigarette in a crowd of coworkers/friends/human strangers and your entire game would be up.

Derek notices that the entertainment system is still on, and asks if it was like that when the husband got home. It was! The recent playing history has been deleted, but Garcia is able to recover the song in question. Which raises an interesting point. This guy doesn't leave any evidence of his presence, stealing drugged cigarettes from purses and the like, but he left the entertainment system on? Don't tell me it was an oversight - he specifically took the time to stand at the console deleting his song and the playlist history - how does that process not end with him flipping off the screen? Unless, like the Riddler, he's leaving them clues!

Okay, Derek, either you're being sarcastic, or are an idiot. Neither one is appropriate in this situation. you've just discovered that the wife hates the song because she subconsciously associates it with her attack - why are you acting like it's a mystery?

We then cut to that night, where a clearly traumatized waitress freaks out when she hears her rapist playing the her rapesong on the piano.

Okay, I can't say for sure that Dutch from The Shield is the rapist, but the villain binds women with piano wire, is called 'The Pianoman' by the press, and this guy is introduced playing a piano to taunt one of the victims. It would be weird if he wasn't the killer. The waitress then leaves to have an emotional breakdown in the back room.

Over at the police station Emily has gotten some of the victims back in to discuss songs that trigger painful memories. At least I think they've had to call the victims back in - otherwise these scenes are being played broadly out of chronological order. Speaking of, the rapist generally has women back in twelve hours, and it's pushing on twenty-four. No one seems especially concerned about this.

The first victim's body turns up in the next scene - garotted with piano wire! Meanwhile Dutch is on the prowl for his next victim, the hysterical waitress in question. She stumbles out of her work, extremely tipsy, and he follows her to her car. As if things weren't going far enough his way, she then asks him for a cigarette! Yeah, this isn't going to end well.

For HIM! Twist! The waitress figured out that Dutch was her rapist based on his open taunting of her, and once he's close enough to hand over a cigarette, she uses a stun-gun on him to knock him out!

Over at the morgue Reid and Greg find a clue - the victim managed to bite her attacker, leaving her with a piece of non-latex disposable glove in her throat. But the only reason to wear more expensive non-latex gloves is because of an allergy! Another way to narrow down the suspect list!

So, as for Dutch, he's been left in a cluttered house, sitting at a piano, held in place by piano wire. It seems the waitress has a crueler fate in mind for him than arrest/simple execution. The waitress shows up and taunts Dutch with memories of her attack, and he plays dumb, Death and the Maiden style. But can he survive her tortures? More importantly, who cares if he does? Although it would be nice had she confirmed that the cigarette he was offering her has contained drugs, just to be sure. Although if he isn't the killer, that would be an incredible contrivance - a man coming into her bar, playing the rapesong, following her to her car, and then having a cigarette to offer. So it's understandable that she's convinced by the circumstantial evidence.

But it seems he may not be the killer at all, since Garcia has found a link with the glove! Yeah, I thought it was going be the latex allergy that was important, but apparently the team thought the glove meant that a surgeon was doing the killing! Based on the fact that it was thicker than an examination glove. That's one hell of an assumption to jump to, since anyone can get access to all varieties of surgical gloves, but it ended up bearing fruit, since Garcia managed to find an orderly who works at all three of the hospitals that the women were taken to after their attacks - hold on... if he's an orderly at the hospitals they went to AFTER they were attacked, how could he have targeted them? Did he dump them in places to ensure that they'd be taken to a hospital where he worked? That doesn't make any kind of sense.

Oh, and he also accessed their medical insurance information months after they were in the hospital so that he could track them down for the subsequent attacks.

How did they miss this earlier? Isn't doing a thorough check into what people have in common a key element in every other serial case? More importantly, since you've known that these women were being stalked for (at least) a full 48 hours now, why wasn't checking into who was accessing all their private information job one?

One of the victims then drops by the office to ask if she's in danger, what with another victim being killed. Obviously she is, and securing everyone else really should be their top priority. She lets them know that the cigarette trick didn't fully work, and she was mostly conscious for her attack, which involved no music, but instead some talking, and smashing her head into the floor of his truck. At the same time Derek, Joe, and JJ arrest the orderly and find his van - complete with a box full of gloves like those used by the killer.

Okay, this episode is really getting confusing. After a scene of Dutch claiming that the song he played in the bar wasn't 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'', but a different, similar-sounding song. I willing to be convinced by him on this one, since I didn't recognize the song in the bar. Nevertheless, the waitress shoots Dutch in the hand, then bandages up the wound. Which leads to this happening:

So I guess he is the rapist after all! Because no one would say that unless they were actually the rapist, or trying to get the waitress to execute them immediately rather than putting them through more torture. A few moments later he'll explain that he simply meant that she wanted him to be the rapist, so she mixed him up, like she did with the songs. That's not what he said, though, and that can't be what he meant.

Over in an interrogation room the orderly is waiting for his interview to start. Emily comes to talk to him about the case, and he asks where his lawyer is. She says he's on his way, then tricks him into a conversation. Here's the thing, though, he already asked for his lawyer and refused to speak. How is any of the rest of this conversation going to be admissible - even if she did trick him into talking?

Emily tries to flirt the guy into chatting more about the case, and he repeats something that the van/beating victim heard him say - she claims that she can identify his voice, and that it's definitely him! Greg announces that even though they've got the guy they should stick around to help lock up the evidence. Job one - find out why those songs are important to him. Job two - get all the victims in to see if they can identify their rapist!

Couple of things that don't seem to interest the team - why this random orderly would be so obsessed with music and piano wire when he had no evidence of any inclination of that in his house. The fact that the woman who positively identified him specifically said that there was absolutely no music involved in her attack. Odd.

Back at the torture mansion the waitress gets a phone call telling her that the rapist has been caught! Uh-oh. Now she's starting to doubt herself! Did she get it all wrong? Dutch suggests not entirely - after seeing news on the television about the arrest, Dutch laughs evilly and announces that he had met the waitress before - just not how she remembers it!

Reid figures this out while going through the orderly's musical tastes - he claims that it's an established fact that people generate their musical tastes around 14, and since all the songs the rapist loves are from the early 80s, the orderly is too young to be the villain!

Now it's time for Dutch to make a villain speech! He claims that he picked the waitress up at a bar where she was tramping about in the years after her assault, but she was so drunk she didn't remember him! It's a nice speech, and she seems convinced, but you can't explain away how sinister you were in that scene above, guy.

The team has gathered at home base to parse out the details of this baffling case. They know orderly raped that one woman - she was able to identify him, after all. But all the other victims were definitely attacked by Dutch - including the woman at the beginning, since a copycat couldn't have known about the music. The coroner offers further evidence - the glove had no acid on it, so it was likely placed in her mouth post-mortem. She didn't bite the victim at all! This leads them to a bizarre conclusion: the orderly is a copycat, re-raping all the victims, and now that Dutch has found out about it, he murdered one of the victims and framed the orderly in an incredibly oblique way, using evidence so minor and hard-to-connect that it would be basically impossible to link the orderly to it.

Emily and Greg go to talk to the orderly and his lawyer, offering to not charge him with that pesky murder so long as he directs them to the real rapist. The orderly explains that he never met Dutch, he just found out about the M.O. by reading the medical charts. Which, in case you don't remember, didn't contain any information about them being drugged with tainted cigarettes. That was information that the team figured out because they had a corpse whose throat hadn't had time to recover from the inflammation - that's why Dutch keeps them so long, remember - so all evidence will disappear. Then he offers some useful information: he'd picked out which two he was going after next, the dead woman and then the waitress - Dutch got to the dead woman first, so now he must be after the waitress! Wait, how does Dutch know his plans? You know what? I'm sure this will all be explained.

More mind games with Dutch as he asks to be set free while chewing his way out of his restraints. They have a brief struggle, then Dutch runs off into the house. Luckily Garcia has figured out what's going on by checking the CCTV from the waitress' restaurant. Apparently the CC doesn't stand for 'Closed Circuit' after all. How have I been getting that wrong all these years? They see the waitress and Dutch leaving together, and talk some nonsense about body language and facial expressions before finally getting to the point - Dutch is missing, they can't reach waitress on the phone.

So the team rushes to the house just in time to rescue Dutch from waitress, which they do by explaining that his fingerprints didn't match the ones left on her glasses, and that she'd be shooting the wrong man if she pulled the trigger! Naturally this is a lie, and the second they get her to put the gun down Dutch is arrested for a huge number of rapes as well as that one murder. So they lied to her why - to keep her from striking a blow for rape victims everywhere?

Great priorities, team.

Waitress actually questions Emily on her terrible decision making. She tells the waitress that if she had allowed the woman to kill Dutch, then the it would have been off to jail with her! I would ask why that's necessarily the case. The only witnesses were cops and FBI agents, and they historically have no trouble covering up when someone shoots a suspect in questionable circumstances - and in a case where the guy actually was guilty, what's the downside in doing so?

More to the point, isn't she probably fine with the idea of going to jail? After all, she'd planned for quite some time to kill that guy if she got the chance. Jail always had to be a possibility.

This conversation. leads to the waitress realizing that Emily is also a 'victim' (Prentiss has a terrible poker face), and asking what happened to her guy. He's dead, of course, and the waitress suggests - quite rightly - that Emily has no standing to complain, since her villain is dead.


Except for a last beat with Greg and Emily, in which Emily asks for counseling help.

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

Nope. Nor did the plot make a lick of sense. The only borderline thing was the observation that musical tastes become solidified around age 14, but that didn't really contribute to the capture in any meaningful way.

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

If the team hadn't been involved the waitress would have shot Dutch. They get some time off, a rapist/murderer is dead. Win/win.

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

1/10 - Had she shot him they would have gotten a zero, but they technically made it to the house on time. So I'll give them that one.

Here are some things left unexplained at the end of the episode!

- If that alarm system hadn't been deactivated, why didn't it attract cops when Dutch shattered the door? He faffed around with the stereo, tormented a woman, then dragged her out to his car. That had to be at least the ten minutes it would take for cops to arrive.
- Dutch's plan was seriously to kidnap that woman from her work and murder her? When the cops looked at all the security cameras and saw him chatting and leaving with the dead woman - making him the last person to see her alive - did Dutch not think they'd drop by to check him out?
- How did the orderly know about the cigarettes when none of the doctors/victims/police did?
- How did Dutch find out who the copycat rapist was with enough evidence that he was able to effectively frame the guy for murder?
- Most vitally, how could Dutch possibly have known who the copycat's next targets were? Gosh, no part of this episode made sense.
- Even Dutch's motivation for the murder/frame job didn't track. So he somehow became aware that one of his previous victims had been attacked - a number of others had also been re-raped, but there was no way for Dutch to know about it until it was reported in the press - and his immediate first step is to kill one of his victims and blame it on the copycat rapist? That's a terrible plan! Setting aside the fact that Dutch has no way of finding out who the copycat rapist is, even if he managed it, what does sending the cops after him accomplish? They'll just have a guy in custody who can tell them that he's not the killer, and who may very well have some proof of who the killer actually is. After all, Dutch has no idea how much physical evidence the cops have, nor does he have a clue what the orderly's schedule is. The guy could have an alibi for the murder, and five minutes of research might clear him of the original rapes. Where would Dutch be then? This is some of the most ill-conceived detailed planning I've ever encountered.


Charlotte said...

Breaking the glass door didn't set off the alarm because she shut the alarm off when she came in. If she had left it activated then her moving around the house would have set it off. I can only assume she would then reactivate it once she was going to bed.

Anonymous said...

You're a douchebag. Your writing sucks. You act so very smart, but you're not fooling anyone, boy. It's funny, actually. To see you critique. I've read a bunch -- enough, in fact, to ascertain that you're a fraud. Your writing annoys me, as it does every time. Although I do reach to your synopses of these episodes, I do wish there was another soul out there to do it for you.

You act like you know it all, which you do not.
You write like you knew what was coming, AFTER THE EPISODE!
It's a joke, really, how you compliment yourself in your own writing.
Don't be ashamed to leave this post on your wall for all to see. I'm sure most will agree. Of course, should you remove it -- I'll just repost the same exact message on all your posts, for all to see.

Message: Get over yourself. Your writing isn't that good. If it hurts, good. Consider this criticism.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the above. Dbag 100.0%

Kill yourself!

Anonymous said...

Please. For the love of god. Proofread your writing! If you choose to WRITE SO MUCH about a simple hour-long TV SHOW episode, please (literally begging) use correct spelling/ grammar/ syntax. You take the time to "critique" these episodes (obviously each and every one), so please don't write like an imbecile and embarrass yourself with your own words!

If anyone reads this, please know that the author writes similarly in all his reviews of this show. He thinks he will/ can figure out everything. Lies. Sorry, but I highly doubt that WHILE YOU'RE WRITING YOUR SYNOPSIS, YOU ARE ABLE TO GUESS EVERY TURN OF EVENT THAT HAPPENS BEFORE IT HAPPENS.

It's ok to be wrong, you poor soul. Don't beat yourself up over it.

And, I surely hope you don't delete this post. It will be posted on ALL of your posts, should you try to hide your fraudulence. Write true, you poor soul. Don't fake it anymore.

Anonymous said...

I like the episodes better that are so over-the-top that there is no question that they are in some alternate universe where things don't have to make sense. This went near that, but it could have been improved if the waitress had been allowed to kill the rapist/murderer.

It would have been nice if they had established some relationship between the two rapists to explain how they knew about each other. I kept thinking they were going to turn out to be brothers or uncle and nephew.

They really should have someone to work specifically with the press. I can understand why Cook wanted to be a profiler since she was let go because her role on the show was determined to be unessential, and they wanted to hire someone they could pay less. However, the arrest shouldn't have been publicized so quickly especially when their evidence was so flimsy.

Anonymous said...

Six years late to the party, but based on your previous articles about Criminal Minds, I was surprised that you focused on why the shattering of the glass didn't set off they alarm, rather than why a victim of a previous assault had a full glass door to begin with. She was paranoid enough to show other methods of self preservation, which suggests she worries about home invasion, but has a breakable (see-through) entryway. Improbable.

Anonymous said...

As much as I dislike this episode I did like the little easter egg the writers put in by calling the character Regina Lambert, a nod to the movie Charade!

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ

Anonymous said...

I was confused about who the Criminal Minds character Greg is. (Aaron Hotchner) It took me a minute to realize that the author is identifying Thomas Gibson according to his role on Dharma and Greg.