24.12.19

Criminal Minds 1221: Green Light

The episode opens in Emily's office, where she and Joe discuss the preposterousness of the situation - could a case from that far in their past really be relevant again? They decide to track down the woman from witness protections, and also see if they can locate Jane's normal nurse, who's been disposed of.

That's the whole pre-credits sequence.

Hey, I'd forgotten that the hitman's daughter (or HD from now on) is actually Joe Mantegna's real-life daughter! No wonder they were able to get her back so easily!

JJ and Steven search Reid's apartment, and find no sign of Jane or either of the nurses! At Quantico, we're told that HD somehow managed to get Jane in and out of the prison without being caught on any cameras but one! Did she use a secret tunnel? If they'd been smuggled in through a tunnel, I feel like Jane would have mentioned that. If they used any of the normal entrances, there would be ample camera footage of the car they drove up in, or at least which direction they drove from. Instead, we're asked to believe that they just somehow appeared inside the prison?

Start investigating the prison right now, people - someone is on the take, either smuggling people in or strategically turning off video cameras. Whatever they're doing, it will be traceable, and that will be a lead.

In prison, Harold's guy drops by to chat with Reid. Apparently he was one of the few survivors of Reid's mass-poisoning, but there are no hard feelings! Until another guy comes up to tell him that according to Harold, there should definitely be hard feelings, and warns the guy that Reid is an FBI agent.

At the office, they're finding no help in their search for HD, and Emily arrives to announce that she just now heard about the mass poisoning! She immediately assumes that Reid was responsible, and now he's going to be killed! I won't explain why she thinks that, because it's too stupid.

Eric checks out the nurse's car, which the DC metro police has found! There's nothing inside, but there are plenty of security cameras in the area! Also, it was parked near a high school, and the team assumes this was a taunt aimed at them, since that justifiable homicide happened inside a high school!

Then Garcia gets a juicy lead - HD had rented an apartment in Reid's building! Hey, isn't it weird that another brown-haired woman is stalking Reid? At least this time he doesn't have a girlfriend for the woman to murder!

Steven and JJ check out the apartment - the nurse's body has been left lying in the middle of the floor! The table is covered with photos of Joe and Reid! Could Joe be the next target? Also, they're really calling back to the stalker stuff hard, aren't they?

Joe and Emily debate whether they should tell Reid that he's right about Jane's abduction. They worry that him wanting to help will drive him to madness! Well, right now he's being driven to madness because he thinks he's the only one who knows what the truth is and everyone else is treating him like he's crazy. I feel like 'impotent rage' is the lesser of two evils.

I'm a little confused about Scratch's plan here - he's successfully framed Reid for murder, and the guy will be going to jail for life. Doesn't all of this murdering nurses and kidnapping Reid's mother only serve to make it look more like Reid has been framed, and increases the chances of the plan falling apart?

Eric and Emil meet with a guy from witness protection, who lets them know that HD stopped being in witness protection five years ago, and that they'll be able to briefly meet with Hitman in the hopes of getting a lead from him. Useful!

Emily goes to see Reid to tell him that he was right about HD. Furthermore, she's using the exact same gun that her father used back in Boston to murder people! How did she get that? Do the police not have it? Did they let him keep his murder weapon when he went into witness protection? That can't be right...

Maybe they meant the same model of gun - but if that's the case, they shouldn't have Emily say 'the exact weapon', which creates confusing implications.

So... does Reid have any idea what they could do about his missing mother? He doesn't!

Emily goes to see the warden to demand protective custody for Reid, but the warden explains that higher-ups want him to stay in general population so that he can be murdered in jail! But why? Isn't it time for Reid to just attack someone and get sent to solitary? He'll be safer there.

Garcia tracks down ballistics records from across the country - apparently yes, HD somehow had the actual gun hitman used to murder people in Boston, and she's been killing people all along the border for five years, as some kind of cartel hitwoman!

How was she not caught years ago, then? The first time they ran the ballistics on one of these murders it would have come back as the gun a famous hitman used in Boston. This should have been solved years ago.

Eric and Steven goes to talk to hitman, who confirms that HD called him, and asked where to find the Scratch drugs in Mexico! They basically promise to bring her in alive, but I don't know if they'll be able to pull that off.

Only now, literal months into Reid's confinement, has the team decided to finally look into why Reid hasn't been placed in protective custody. Could Scratch have friends in the correctional system? He'd have to, given that prison break he was involved in. Oh, that's something that only just now occurs to them as well - apparently in the past year, zero man-hours have been put into figuring out exactly how the worse prison break in US history happened.

Then, in prison, Reid picks a fight with Harold so that he can stab himself and say Harold did it! Finally he winds up in solitary! You could have done this months ago, Reid.

At the office, the team tries to figure out how Scratch and HD hooked up. Their theory? He got a list of everyone Reid has ever met, and then when, by complete coincidence, he discovered that one of them had become a cartel murderer, he thought she could be a useful asset! No word on how he discovered she'd become a cartel murderer.

Now their plan is to put together a concrete case that Reid is being framed, so that they can bring it to a judge and... do something? It's not clear what the judge can do - they can't dismiss the charges. Maybe get Reid out on bond, since he's being targeted for murder in prison? This can't be about protective custody, after all, since he's already in solitary.

Although the team might not know that - it would be funny if they went through all of this to get an injunction to put him in solitary, only to find out he's already there!

Garcia then tells Emily about Reid stabbing himself - although it's not clear how she knows about that. Like, she hasn't spoken to him, right? So shouldn't she think that Harold stabbed him, because that's what Reid said happened, and that's what everyone believes happened?

Also, she wants to quit if Reid winds up dying! Lady, you should have quit years ago. Now you're in it for life.

The team goes to work looking for proof of HD's involvement. They find her crossing the border near a factory that makes the drugs Scratch uses! That's great and all, but if you don't actually catch her, none of this is going to be compelling to a judge - even if her fingerprints are on the knife (which I don't know why they would be - why wouldn't she wear gloves when going to kill someone?) the prosecutor can just say the two of them were in it together.

Without a confession from HD, the team has nothing - only by catching her can they hope to save the day. So why isn't that their only priority?

In prison, Reid gets an envelope in his cell - it's a threat from Harold!

More details about the case! HD killed a real-estate agent with no obvious connection to the cartels right before framing Reid. Also, she stole his truck! Why would she have done any of that, and how can it help? They still haven't gotten her fingerprints from the Marshal's service, either - which is kind of strange, given that Luke is ready to blackmail people to get information from them.

Emily goes to the judge and hands over their total lack of evidence. The prosecutor is understandably unimpressed. Emily predicts that HD's fingerprints will eventually come in and match those from the crime scene, but that doesn't actually prove that she was the real killer, just that she was there. Emily maintains that the case is proven because it's the same MO, but that's not true. HD shoots people in the head with a pistol. Scrach gets other people to stab themselves or others via drugs. Neither of their MOs are accurately represented in this case.

Unless they have some concrete information linking Scratch and HD, there's no reason to give this theory serious consideration. As far as we can tell, they have none.

In prison, Richard takes Reid out of solitary, but instead of bringing him to be murdered, he takes him to a cell where his cuffs are removed - he's being sprung on bail!

Also, Eric tells Harold that he's being transferred to the prison where the Russian mobsters are being held, so that they they can murder him! He's not fond of the way that Harold set Reid up to get murdered. Why did Harold do that again?

We see a phone call between the Judge and Emily that suggests that Reid was sprung based on the evidence that HD was in the room with him. Is he out on bail, or are charges being dropped? I'm not clear on what's happening here - because, spoiler alert, her being in the motel room in no way exonerates Reid. Between Reid and Scratch, Reid is the only one with a concrete, provable link to HD - so why would her having been in the room with him somehow clear him of the crime?

Okay, things then get nuts, as the team announces that they suddenly know that Scratch has been running drugs for the cartels, and that HD is operating out of a specific house! How did they get any of that information? Even if Harold is working for the cartels, as Eric suggested, why would he have any of that information? I can believe that they sent him instructions to screw with Reid, because their interactions never made much sense, but why would they have told him about Scratch or the exact whereabouts of HD's safehouse? Even if Eric scared Harold into talking, there's no way he should have any of this information!

While they prep the raid, Emily tells Reid that he can't come, because he hasn't been officially reinstated yet! Um... so, yeah, I guess all of the charges have been dropped, somehow? How is the show so bad at understanding anything about criminal justice? Again, I'll accept that the judge could change a ruling to get Reid out on bail, given that he's about to be murdered inside, and there's some doubt about the evidence - but he has not been exonerated in any way, shape or form. Yet the show's going to act like he was.

Weird.

At his apartment, Reid discovers that Jane's scrapbook has been messed with! Someone wrote XX-XY on the back of a tightrope picture. Reid assumes this means that Jane is with Scratch! Weird thing for them to have done days ago, when, as far as they knew, Reid was going to be dying in prison in a little while.

The team raids the house, and we get our biggest twist yet! Inside are two random people who've been forced to give the FBI a message! Absolutely none of this was Mr. Scratch! Yup, it was all Aubrey Plaza's plan to get back at Reid by framing him for a crime and kidnapping his mother! Yeah, she took the father stuff pretty badly, it seems.

We get a recap of Aubrey's case, and then Reid and JJ goes to visit her in prison! I guess the season ender is going to be another conversation between the two of them for the whole hour!

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

No crimes were solved this week.

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

Ditto.

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

N/A - You know, it's weird how much less sense this makes if Scratch wasn't involved. His famously great hacking skills made it slightly possible he could have figured out everything about HD and Reid's mother. How did Aubrey manage any of this?

I'm not surprised to see her back, she definitely made for a fun episode - but they're going to have a lot of explaining to do.

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