Criminal Minds 1008: The Boys of Sudworth Place

We open on a trial, which might be a first for the show! Wait, did the Eric Roberts episode of Suspect Behaviour start with a trial? Hmm... something to check. A DA is giving his closing summation in the trial of a young gang member - you can tell he's scum because he has a barbed wire tattoo on his neck.

The defense attorney then pops up to give the most bizarre closing argument I've maybe ever seen. He admits that his client his guilty, then tells a story about his sad, abusive childhood, and implies that the gang was the only place he could find any kind of acceptance. He begs them to only give the kid community service and probation.

It's a nice idea, but why is he arguing this to the jury? They're not in charge of sentencing in any way, shape, or form. If he wasn't going to put on a defense, why have a trial at all? DAs are famously willing to deal with you so long as you plead guilty - that's why 95% of everyone does. And if you force them to go to trial, they'll recommend a harsher sentence due to being pissed about you wasting their time.

Shouldn't this scene be the guy arguing to the judge or DA for leniency in sentencing? The only possible reason to say this stuff to a jury is to attempt to make them feel so bad for your client that they'll find him not guilty. It's called jury nullification, and defense attorneys are specifically not supposed to argue it.

So, let's see how this goes - does the defense attorney get him off, leading to a series of murders? That seems like a weirdly reactionary turn for even this show to take, so probably not.

Oh, and because the show is getting everything about trials wrong, the judge then sends the jury away without giving them instructions of any kind.

Nope, there's something very different going on! That night, the defense attorney is buying some flowers at a store, and he comes out to see his car being smashed up by a goon with a bat. He does the smart thing, calling the cops, then immediately does the dumb thing, and chases the goon into an alley when he runs away. Seriously, why would you do that? What's the plan, exactly? Chase a guy through shadowy streets, updating the cops as you go, but making it far more likely that the guy with the bat will beat you to death? Is this guy an idiot?

He doesn't get immediately beaten to death, though - a second goon puts a bag over his head and clubs him into submission.

Then it's over to the team, where we get some much-needed exposition! The victim was currently a defense attorney, but had previously been a DA, and he'd put a huge number of high-profile mobsters and other criminals in jail! Wait, if he knew that he's the kind of person who might be the target of a violent mobster at any given moment, that makes it even less likely that he'd chase a guy into an alley. Come on, show.

Also, when Love enters the office, she's late because she had stuff to do - one part I understand, her adopted daughter Maggie needed to be dropped at a friend's, but she also says that 'Chris' had a double shift, and I have no idea who that is. I really should have paid more attention in the first episode when they were introducing her character, but my only takeaway was 'gosh, I hope her teenaged daughter isn't the target of that snuff ring'.

Anyhoo, the lawyer wakes in a garbage pit. The two young goons who abducted him announce that he can't leave (or possibly be killed) until he's confessed to his crimes. He claims to not know what they're talking about, but I guess we'll see!

On the plane, they go over the lawyer's life - he was a super-successful DA, and now he's a super-successful defense attorney, who's gotten 94% of his clients off! Greg wants to focus on the other 6%, but all I'm thinking about is how they're going to factor his latest case in. Does it count as a loss, since he was telling people to find his client guilty, or as a win if the judge happens to go easy on the guy, the way the lawyer wants?

Maybe that's how he keeps his stellar average - he's constantly telling juries to find his clients guilty, and then calling it a win when they do?

Something that might come up a little later - the guy and his wife move every couple of years. Is it to stay ahead of people who don't like him, or is there a more sinister reason? Hopefully they'll ask the wife right away and clear it up.

The wife turns out to be pregnant, so the kindly JJ goes to talk to her. She confirms that being a DA made the lawyer paranoid, and not until he started defending people that he was comfortable enough to settle down and buy a house. Also, she explains that the flowers were the way he celebrated when winning a case! So yeah, I guess he has a pretty broad definition of 'winning', since his summation was 'find him guilty!'

We find the defense attorney???? in the garbage pit, asking for an explanation - he assumes that he's there because of something he did as a DA. His captors won't clue him in, and demand that he take off his clothes while they film it. One of the guys pulls a gun to encourage him to comply, while the guy filming it doesn't seem super-down with the tormenting.

Joe and Love head out to the abduction site, where they're impressed by the amount of planning that went into the crime. Apparently the guys managed to avoid the security cameras! I'm wondering how much planning could have gone into this - was this corner store where the lawyer always stopped for flowers? Was it not just a crime of opportunity, in the sense that they were following him and pounced at an opportune moment?

They also think that the damage done to the car was 'overkill', but I don't know, it honestly doesn't look like the thing was hit more than ten times to me:

I mean, three broken windows, some dented side panels - it's not like this is a Father Ted/Street Fighter situation, right?

Things get super-iffy right from the start in the next scene, as Derek opens up by asking a guy who the lawyer has worked for his 'Company'. I can't believe that I have to be the one to tell you this, Derek, but a 'lawyer company' is called a 'law firm'. As an employee of the Justice Department, I feel like this is something you should already know.

They find out something interesting, though - despite his claims, and the wife's beliefs, the husband hasn't actually been working overtime! He's had nothing but simple cases that were easily handled for months!

Was he cheating on his wife? Does he keep kidnapped ladies in torture dungeons, and that's why they had to move constantly? Derek calls up Garcia and has her check out his personal life - was he having an affair?

The theory has already made it back to base, where the lead detective on the case tells Greg that if the kidnapper is a jealous partner of the woman that the lawyer is having an affair with, then he's probably well-known for jealous rages, and he'll check their roster of domestic disputes! Good luck, pal - Boston is a city of millions of people, do you have any idea how long that list is going to be?

Garcia phones in with some information - the lawyer has been paying rent on an apartment downtown! Is it the home of a kept woman? They should go and check! Derek and Love do just that, overreacting more than a little to the situation:

Yeah, you don't have the slightest reason to assume that this apartment has anything to do with the kidnapping, this is an absurd escalation of force. Also, did you get the wife's permission to search this place, or did a judge get you a warrant based on the zero evidence you have connecting it to the kidnapping?

They bust into the place, and are confused by the pinball machines and sporty decorations, terming the place a 'man cave', which is a term I hate, because we already had the word 'den', idiots. It seems more like a teenage boy lives there, though, what with the mini basketball hoop on the bedroom door and the football posters on the wall. There's sports stuff everywhere, really. Is this lawyer molesting teenaged boys, and this is his crime lair, or is something else going on? Something else is probably not going on.

I mean, it would certainly go a long way to explain why these kidnappers are so set on sexually humiliating the guy.

Speaking of, the kidnappers tell the lawyer that they're making him suffer the way 'Matt' did, then toss down a picture to jog his memory - it's a picture of four much younger kids, so I guessed wrong about the age. I was thinking teenaged because anyone younger is too short to play pinball machines without a stool, and none were in evidence.

The kidnappers discuss what to do if the lawyer won't talk. The delay, which is partially on them, since they're not actually asking him any questions. Or maybe that's happening off camera, and we're being kept in the dark so it can be a surprise later. They consider calling in reinforcements to beat him up if he continues keeping quiet. Maybe all of the kids he's molested are teaming up, Avengers-style?

That's probably too glib. Sleepers-style? Is that a reference anyone remembers?

Love and Derek wonder why the guy is cheating on his wife - what kind of a scumbag do you have to be, right? Then Love finds the polaroids (that all child molesters keep) and announces that they have to deliver the profile. Except no, you don't. I don't know why you think telling a room full of cops that the lawyer is a child molester is a priority. It's just going to want to make them drag their feet and stop working on the case. If you want to find the guy alive, just start talking to the sex crimes and child exploitation squad, and try to figure out who the guy's victims were. Doing a mass profile won't help anything.

Unless you don't want the guy found, in which case, profile away!

Hey, did these two victims know about the molestation apartment? If they did, it seems like leading the cops to that is a way better plan than this whole kidnapping. A whole lot less can go wrong if you're just busting open a door and calling the cops to announce that you were planning to rob a place, but then found out it was full of child porn.

I'm sure that wanting to do the violence is a big part of their plan, though. And who could blame them, what with all the molestation.

JJ goes to chat with the wife. She drops the 'child molester' bomb, and the wife doesn't take it well. Then we get the profile scene, where there are some tasteless flashbacks to molestation, and an intercut scene of the two kidnappers grabbing a third buddy! I guess the fourth kid, Matt, killed himself or something, and that's why they now want revenge?

Greg points out that 'understanding the trigger' of the escalation to kidnapping will be key to getting the lawyer back alive. Although I'm not sure how. Figuring out why they're doing it now might help them discover who the culprits are - like one of the lawyer's victims just killed himself, and he's got three known friends from when they were troubled as youths. I get that it's a good way of finding the 'bad' guys, but I don't see how it's going to make the difference between life and death. Unless there's a scene where the violent one is going to shoot the guy, and then Greg is all like 'is this what Matt would want?' and it convinces him to lower the gun. By why would he think that's going to happen?

Other than the fact that, you know, it happens literally all the time on this show.

The kidnappers have dragged victim 3 to check out the lawyer. He doesn't look psyched about it.

While the team looks at files on the table, Joe notices how distracted Derek is, and asks if he's okay. Derek claims that he is, but obviously this case is troublingly similar to the time that he murdered the guy who molested him and got away with it. Is Derek finally going to come to terms with his vigilantism, and express sympathy for these kidnappers, maybe even helping them get away with the crime, or do the writers of the show not remember the time that happened?

JJ enters and says that the wife wants a divorce, but has no useful information to offer. Then Derek says something so stupid that I can't believe it:

Um... what are you basing that on, Derek? Remember how you were molested for years by your football coach? Remember how they compared this to Jerry Sandusky earlier in the episode? In both your case, and the real-life case, they used their position to molest the at-risk kids they came in contact with through their jobs. Why would this guy be different, and how can you be so sure that he is? More importantly, Sandusky didn't molest his players because they were adults, moron, and he was a paedophile.

Time for some conflict in the dungeon! The new arrival wants no part of the kidnapping, and the lawyer claims to have changed, and says he just wants to go home. They don't counter with info about the apartment, so I guess they haven't been surveilling him at all. The aggressive announces that he's going to kill the lawyer no matter what happens, which leads to a fist fight with the new guy, and one of them falls into the trash pit!

It's so dimly-lit that I had to rewind and slow down the video to figure out who took the fall. It's the aggressive guy. I think the gun was still upstairs, though.

Things get super-dumb back at base, when Garcia finds out that the lawyer was a key funder and volunteer at a shelter for troubled boys! How did you not already know that? He donates both money and time to them, and we see a bunch of news stories about his involvement. Did Garcia not even bother to Google this guy?

Also, how is it more subtle to molest the kids from the halfway house you help run as opposed to those who you encounter in the criminal justice system? You're tied into both pretty closely and publicly. And this victim source kind of removes the motivation for the guy to move all the time - the supposition was that he was preying on neighbourhood kids like a vampire, and had to move all the time to keep from being noticed. But if he's finding kids at the halfway house, what does it matter where he lives?

Get this - Matt did, in fact, kill himself. It happened a couple of days ago, and the funeral was the same day as the kidnapping. So yeah, they just got unbelievably lucky.

Now that the aggressive kid has died from his fall, the lawyer asks if they can just end things before they get worse for everyone. The formerly-hesitant guy isn't hearing it, though - announcing that if the lawyer doesn't confess, he'll burn the place down with the lawyer still in it. He leaves the gun and camera with the new guy, then heads out to get some gasoline. I hope that the lawyer doesn't get himself killed by trying to talk the new guy down. Although I also kind of hope that will happen, because really, who cares if this guy gets shot?

Garcia checks out the social media posts of the people who were at the shelter at the same time as Matt, and comes up with our characters! They want to go check in with the new guy, assuming he's not involved since he didn't post about wanting to get back at the abuser the way the other two did.

Meanwhile, new guy is trying to get a confession out of lawyer! Will it go better for him?

As predicted, lawyer tries to re-seduce new guy, hoping to talk his way out of the pit. New guy starts to freak out, as you do. He uses a combination of lawyering and molester manipulation to make it seem like the most reasonable thing is to let him out!

Over at new guy's hotel room, Greg and Joe kick down the door while looking for him. Again, where are these warrants coming from? You're here because you don't think he's involved, remember? And if the hotel owners have agreed to let you look at the room because you bullied them into it, why aren't you using a key?

They find no one in the apartment, but Joe sees something disconcerting on a wall, and he suggests Greg should have a look at it. We don't get to see what it is, but I've got to assume that he's probably had his own fantasies about killing the lawyer, and the lawyer may be in for a nasty surprise in the next scene.

Nope, it's us who're in for the nasty surprise - new guy is molesting kids as well! And the lawyer knew that, which is why he thought he could team up with new guy and make his getaway! But will his plan work?

No! Either because he wanted to keep his secret or because he's so disgusted with what the lawyer turned him into, new guy shoots the villain dead - just as hesitant guy returns! They decide to just burn the place and forget about the ordeal.

Over at the police station, Derek points out that it's rare for the victims of child molesters to become molesters themselves. Which is true, but it's also true that essentially every single child molester was molested themselves. So this twist isn't that much of a surprise.

Garcia solves the case, as always, when she discovers that aggressive guy was working for a construction company that owns a run-down wreck of a building that they're presumably planning to develop. And it's right in the middle of the comfort zone!

Um... what? Why would that matter? The 'comfort zone' concept is based on how far the killer would need to stray from their home before they'll feel anonymous when they seek out and kill a victim. It's a concept that is only useful when dealing with criminals who attack targets of opportunity. When a criminal is targeting a specific person, the 'comfort zone' is completely irrelevant. Also, they're in the building not because it's a safe distance from where they live, but because it's a good place to hold someone that you'd planning to torture for information.

How does the show manage to screw up even the most basic profiling concepts?

The killers set the fire and flee, just in time to get caught by the FBI! The hesitant guy aims his gun at them, because I guess he's an idiot? Not that it's unbelievable that he would do this - after all, plenty of people seem to think that just because they didn't want things to go horribly wrong, they shouldn't have to face the consequences of their actions.

Derek gives the speech about how he was molested, and now they can get a confession together. Which they'll need, since the new guy immediately claims that hesitant guy killed everyone. Which is kind of a hard sell, since he's literally covered in blood. Since they already know he's a child molester, they're not interested in hearing what he has to say.

Derek then says 'I promised you a confession, not one you wanted to hear'. Which is kind of super-dumb, since they didn't actually get a confession from the murderer.


On the plane home, Derek and Love talk about his history of molestation. Then she gets on the phone with her adoptive daughter, who's studying with a friend! They get a message from a hot (in his 20s) guy on their computer. Which is hugely inappropriate, but not unbelievable. Although the teens seem to think he's a senior through the dialogue, which makes me wonder if they're idiots or the production people screwed up. The picture they use is of a 20-something who literally has the number 24 as part of his screen name. No one would believe he's a high school student.

I'm guessing that this supposed hot guy who wants to chat is actually part of the broker's operation, trolling for potential victims for his murder ring?

Did I call him 'the broker' back in the first episode of the season? Let me check...

Seems I went with 'Matchmaker' because of his crazy feat of matching up a serial killer who wanted to cut off limbs with a guy who wanted to buy severed limbs. So I'll keep using that from now on. This seems like a good time to check back in with him - I wasn't expecting it for another episode or two!

We get a look at the creep that the daughter and her friend are chatting with, but there's no clear indication of whether he's part of the Matchmaker's network or just the kind of random perv that Love chased in her old day job.

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

Nope. Not at all. They didn't really solve the case, though, so how could it have been?

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

Again, they didn't solve anything, and I think pretty much any police department is capable of searching a guy's financial records to find his molestation dungeon and the facility he used to nab victims. After that everything just fell together pretty easily.

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

0/10 - They got to the crime scene after everyone was dead, and only managed to arrest a child molester who they'll probably have to let go, since that was definitely an illegal search of his residence.

I cannot stress how lucky these guys got - the day of the funeral they were able to find the lawyer and catch him alone? That's unfathomably lucky.

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