Criminal Minds 1318: The Dance of Love

A guy brings flowers to a woman's home. He's disappointed when he sees sheets and pillow laid out on the couch. I guess this is a husband trying to apologize for something? Then he notices smoke coming from the stove in the kitchen, but instead of turning off the oven, he opens it up and pulls the burned item out with his bare hands, which will only serve to spread more smoke everywhere. Maybe it's just a bad reflex?

Then, in the dining room, he finds Muriel, laid out on the floor, dead, with a rose clutched in her teeth!

Hey, remember how Joe has a daughter, and an ex-wife he was dating again? Yeah, the show doesn't! He appears in Emily's office and asks to take a few days off so that he can romance this third ex-wife, the blackjack dealer from Vegas! Seriously, Joe, you're the worst.

We get a rundown on the case - Muriel was the second victim of the 'stab in the back, rose in the mouth' killer! It's not a great name. Also, the thing that was burning in the oven was a carton of cigarettes. Weird. The team concludes that the victims probably knew their killer, since neither house was broken into! Emily announces that they have to leave immediately, since two bodies have been dropped in two nights, so the spree is already on!

Then we check in on the killer, who makes a rum and coke and pours it onto a woman's face, before dropping a rose on her!

On the plan, we get some details about the victims - one was young, rich, and a drunk, and the other was a middle-aged married teacher! But both had relationship problems, and the rose is generally a love thing, so maybe that's the key linking them?

Then it's over to Joe, who's meeting Crystal (that's the dealer's name) in a park in DC! We learn that her daughter is getting married, and the show mentions that he and Hayden have broken up. What the hell happened there, show? Her last appearance was the two of them admitting to their daughter that they were dating. Did the actor get a job?

Joe gets invited to the wedding, and he invites Crystal and her daughter Portia to visit the FBI! Damn, she's got a daughter... that lady better not get attacked by a serial killer like his real daughter did.

At the office, Matt observes that the tango can involve a rose clutched between the teeth. Reid corrects him, pointing out that the authentic tango doesn't involve flowers, that's just something from a movie. Of course, that's completely irrelevant, since it doesn't matter what Argentinians do, unless your subject is Argentinian. The rose/tango association is hard-wired into the cultural subconscious, in the same way that rabbits eating carrots is. Neither are accurate, but most people think they are, and people's beliefs are what's important here.

Emily comes in and announces that they've found the third victim! Matt gets his first 'what about the cooling off period' of the show, suggesting that he doesn't know that all serial killers are spree killers in this world.

The ME mentions Derek when they go to see her, so I guess she's been on the show before? We also learn that the victims had extra, strange signature elements to their murders beyond the rose. The first victim had a necklace pulled tight around her neck after death, and the second had her face shoved into the oven while the cigarettes were burning!

Reid and JJ go to the newest crime scene, where it seems like the bonus signature piece was the drink, since the killer brought the alcohol with him. The woman was a church-going nurse with no relationships that anyone knows about, which breaks that apparent link. Just how religious was she? Check out her bookshelf:
Yup, that's a copy of Nikolae: Rise of the Antichrist, of the Left Behind books! So a little on the crazy side, religiously-speaking. She also had a ton of romance novels, so maybe this was related to a suitor of some kind, after all?

Joe takes the ladies to meet Garcia, and then bonds with his future ex-stepson-in-law over shooting guns! Then when Garcia arrives and everyone's laughing, the guy immediately gets cruel and possessive! So, I guess he's just the worst, right? Joe notices, while everyone else pretends not to. He's instantly troubled - but will he have Garcia run a background check on the guy?

Back at the police station, we learn that the killer brought the necklace to the first crime scene - so each additional element is something the the killer is fetishizing along with the crime. Hopefully they'll find a link before too many more people die!

I'm kidding, of course, this is Criminal Minds - the next scene is a woman being drowned with a rose in her mouth.

Ready for things to get ridiculous? Aisha figures out the killer's theme when she sees three coins in the fountain at the newest victim's home. All of the deaths are themed around famous, old-timey songs! Three coins in the fountain, rum and coca-cola, smoke gets in your eyes, dime store necklace. And all of the women were into old-timey music as well. That's the connection they've been looking for!

The team gives out the profile, but of course the cops knowing what the audience already does won't help anything, but it's interesting that they make one of their classic 'based on nothing' age guesses, specifically that the killer is in his 40s or 50s. This can't be based on the music, because it's from the 30s-50s, 15-35 years before the killer was born, , and the victims have ranged from 20s-40s. No, as usual, they want the team to guess right about something, so they just assign them a guess they couldn't possibly have come up with on their own.

As predicted, Joe has Garcia do a background check on the creepy, abusive fiancee! Not only the joke thing, but he got furious when, down at the gun range, a woman was a better shot than he was! The guy is a ticking time bomb, is Joe's point.

Reid, JJ, and Emily talk through what the women have in common. One was an insomniac, one was a night person, and another worked nights! Could they all have met him out late somewhere? They keep talking about this like it was obviously a courtship and the women invited the man they had romantic feelings towards into their homes - but victim #2 was killed while her husband was out for just a couple of minutes, and she was expecting him home. Why would she let a guy inside the house in that circumstance?

That night, we see Jason Gedrick (of Iron Eagle fame!) arguing with his girlfriend as they walk down the street! As he's breaking up with his phone rings, and she assumes that it's his wife calling! But is it really his next victim? Or is she?!

Matt, Aisha, and Reid try to figure out how all of these women could have this music in common, and they come to the conclusion that it can't be just purchasing music, since you don't do that at night. Could they all be listening to it? Could the killer be a DJ who plays classic songs for lonely ladies?

Of course he can! We see Jason arrive at the radio station and start his shift - his wife is waiting for him there! She talks about their plan to renew their vows - could this be the stressor that led him to start killing? It would be weird if it was!

We find out that the killer's show is an all-night classic music revue - damn, then he must be cutting it close with all of those murders!

At the police station, they lament that there's no radio station that just plays classic jazz and big band music. That doesn't really matter, though, since you only care about late-night programming. They also mention that Garcia is going to check to see if the dead woman all called the same numbers on their phone. Shouldn't that have been the first thing they did?

They don't come up with any leads that way - it's weird that they haven't considered just going to the victims' computers and radios. If they were big fans of a station, it would be referenced in their social media, as well as bookmarked on their computers, or the radios would be set to the correct spot on the dial. Eric points out that it's weird that the guy is killing 1-2 women a day when he's obviously spent months setting them up for the crime. Could he have some deadline creeping up on him that necessitates him getting rid of these women now?

That would be a bad sign for the girlfriend he just broke up with!

At dinner, Joe gets a call from Garcia - the creep is a con man who gets engaged to rich ladies, beats them up, then takes payoffs from their rich families to go away! What a loathsome individual! What is Joe going to do about it?

Let's check in with the killer! His girlfriend calls in, threatening to tell his wife about the affair if he doesn't play 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend'. Jason tells the engineer to play random music for the next hour while he heads off and kills her! He doesn't say that last part, obvs.

More news about the killer's MO - he uses roses that he grew himself! Also, the nurse called his call-in show from the houses that she worked at overnight, so now they've got a solid connection to Jason!

They talk to the producer, who tells them about the requests for all of the themed murder songs, and then lets them know that Jason just left to see his girlfriend. They rush over there, but then it's time for a twist! Jason is the one who's been murdered, I guess by his jealous wife? Or maybe the girlfriend, who's gone missing? Either one would make sense, what with the vow renewal coming up. The wife is more likely, since the girlfriend probably wouldn't have posed Jason so grotesquely in her own home.

Joe confronts Portia with the news about the creep, and she storms off, upset! For some reason Crystal and Joe don't more gravely warn her about the situation. I'd be seriously worried that she'll run off to confront the fiancee about all of this dirt, and isn't it incredibly dangerous to accuse a violent conman of cheating you? Wasn't that what drove Victor Webster to kill people like 9 seasons ago?

Oh, and they discover that the wife is, in fact, the killer. She has a rose garden, and was annoyed about a diamond necklace being given to the girlfriend! Now the team just has to track her down! They talk about how Jason was only cheating on his wife with one person, and the wife is just a psycho who attacked people who sent Jason fan mail! Except, you know, that flies completely in the face of all of the crime scenes. How did a stranger get into all of these people's homes with no trouble at all? Did she say that she works on the show and was there in response to their fan mail? Isn't that an incredibly strange thing to have happen? Like, if Jason Gedrick shows up at their door, I'd believe they were so surprised that they might open it – but some random woman? That's a stretch.

The team rushes to where the couple's wedding vow renewal was supposed to take place, and try to stop her from killing herself! They manage to do it!


The creep goes to visit Joe at his house, saying that he's still going to marry Portia. Joe nearly breaks his wrist, and then says that if he tries to go through with the marriage, he'll have the creep killed. Later Crystal drops by to talk about the situation, and finds Joe playing solitaire. She comments about how you can do that on a phone, and he says her prefers the feel of cards. Except we know that Joe prefers to unwind with video games. Weird that the show seems to have forgotten that.

Crystal talks around asking if Joe ruined the wedding, and Joe doesn't confirm or deny the situation. I guess they're getting back together?

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

Nope! They found a thing that all of the victims had in common, then matched his wife to the roses!

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

Yes, and much faster than the team did!

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

1/10 - It's weird that the episode's need to have a twist completely invalidates the entire premise of the mystery. If Jason had been sleeping with the victims, then there would be a reason for them to keep that on the down-low and never write about him on social media or anything like that. It would also have explained how he got into their houses to kill them.

But they were just fans. Fans of an internet DJ.

That means that they'd have talked about him online, to their friends, there would be records of them calling in requests, and his radio station would have been bookmarked on all of their computers. And the killer would have no non-violent way to get into their houses. Once you had two victims - three at the absolute most - the connection would have been impossible to miss. Then they'd have talked to Jason, found out he had an alibi, and immediately arrested his wife.

The show needed a twist, though, so everyone's behaviour needed to make no sense in order for it to be possible. Terrible work this week, show.

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