Criminal Minds 1404: Innocence

After a prologue about Garcia's fractured emotional state, we head into the woods at night! A crying, blindfolded woman is being dragged around by a man in a hoodie! She's tied to a tree and then murdered!

The attack is match-cut to Penelope dropping a mug as Emily enters the room! She almost breaks into tears, because she's going through some PTSD over her kidnapping and her fractured relationship with her family, but Emily doesn't notice how screwed up she is, and I guess Eric didn't tell her about the snuff film situation, so Garcia is left to cry over spilled coffee while Emily briefs the team!

A woman has been bludgeoned to death in Florida after a killer dragged her from her phone in the middle of the night. They've cleared the husband because he was out of town, and Garcia didn't see any evidence in his banking or e-mail history of him hiring a murderer!

Before we get back to the killer, we see Emily grab Garcia's mug out of the trash bin, so she can fix it and bring it back later! Is the mug a metaphor for Penelope's relationship with her family, which she thinks can't be fixed, but Emily will remind her that you just have to keep working at things if you want them to get better? Probably!

Then we finally check in on the killer, who hangs a man's nightshirt from a tree and then shoots it with a shotgun! I feel like that isn't as menacing as the shows thinks it was.

On the plane we get some serious victim-blaming! Like, some of the worst the show has ever featured! After Garcia runs down the woman's bio - she was a former paralegal who turned full-time caregiver and homeschooler to her kids after moving to Florida four months ago. Aisha's response to this wins her a special award for most horrendous thing said by a psychopath on the show - I can't believe it's one of the team who won the award!

That's right - she was obviously into something shady that caused her to get tied to a tree and have her head smashed in. Weird that last week, when two men were cut into pieces and mailed to people, no one said 'they must have been into something shady or they wouldn't have been cut to pieces and mailed to people'. What is wrong with you, Aisha?

Still, they're going with the theory, so Emily and Joe have stayed in Quantico so they can check on the family's previous lives in Virginia!

JJ and Eric go to the crime scene, where the woman is still tied to the tree! Seriously? It's been like 12 hours in the Florida humidity, that's a weird choice. The ME points them to a cairn that's been built next to the tree. It seems to have been freshly constructed, so the team thinks that they'll be able to get some DNA off of it!

Matt goes to talk to the widower. He was called by his daughter in the middle of the night - when he was informed about the wife going missing, he rushed home! Something happened earlier in the day - the guy tried to call home, and his wife didn't answer - which never happens! The interview breaks up when the victim's sister shows up to help out with the family. Matt notices that the teenaged son is withdrawn and not crying - could he be the killer?

Aisha and Reid get some interesting information from the local pastor. The wife stopped coming to services and doing homeschooling bible stuff a month ago. Weird that the husband didn't mention that - he obviously knows, because apparently he's been taking the kids to church every Sunday! The pastor thinks that the victim was killed because she left the flock and no longer had God's protection. Aisha finds this a weird thing to say, even though literally five minutes ago she said that the victim probably did something to cause her own death, which is the exact same sentiment approached from a different angle.

Joe and Emily interview the victim's old boss. Apparently they were super close because she helped him come to terms with the fact that he's secretly gay, and struggling with coming out to his wife and family. He says that the victim also has a terrible secret, because she was sad all the time and wouldn't talk about it!

Back at the police station, we learn that the night shirt that had holes blown in it was actually the victim's. Obviously the killer still had some anger to deal with even after she was dead! Emily calls with news about the victim's depression, and suggests that she might have been having an affair with someone from church, since that's the only place she was able to meet people in town!

Aisha calls up Garcia to ask for background on the creepy church pastor, and Garcia has some news - the guy preached old testament jive about old testament punishments, and what's supposed to happen to cheating wives? That's right - stoned to death! Could the teenaged son have decided his mother deserved that kind of punishment for cheating on his father?

Well, whoever the killer is, they're super-slight, as we see them making another cairn and murdering the aunt! Wait, how did anyone manage that? Wasn't the aunt staying with the family that night?

Eric and JJ are back at the crime scene, and they lament that they didn't get a chance to interview the sister before she was murdered. Why is that, actually? Matt was at the house when she arrived, couldn't he have taken her aside for a chat? They also seem to think the widower is the killer, even though he had an airtight alibi for the first murder. The son on the other hand, may not have even been in the house when the daughter called the cops! She said that she couldn't wake the brother up, but was that because he was sleeping, or because he was out committing murder?

Just think, if the son is the killer, then Matt's failure to interview him the moment he got suspicious may have led to the aunt's death!

Hilariously, JJ thinks that the widower might be guilty because he wanted to end the aunt's suspicions he was involved in the first murder. But he had an alibi for that one, and couldn't have an alibi for this one. It's a terrible line of reasoning. Then Matt shows up with some news - the aunt was at the church twice the previous day. Once with the widower to talk about funeral arrangements, a second time on her own!

Wait, she had time to go to the church twice, but not talk to the police? How?

Reid and Aisha think that the pastor may have been the killer, because he was probably having an affair with the victim, since he's the only man she knew in Florida, and they think the aunt confronted him with that information, and he killed her for it! He denies the affair badly, and the murder accusation a little more strongly. He doesn't have an alibi for either crime, that we know of! Also, why would she have confronted a possible murderer about the affair that he may have murdered over?

It's weird, this is the second time that the episode has mentioned the pastor's sermon on adultery, and in neither scene did they mention that the punishment was stoning. Which is pretty centrals to the case, wouldn't you say?

At the police station, the team points out that both men had reason to kill the wife, and the lament that there's just not enough evidence to pin it on either one of them. Matt wishes they could find a way to tip it towards one person or another, but he can't think of anything!

Here's something that might tip it towards the pastor - the widower could not have possibly committed the first murder, since you have surveillance cameras of him four hours away at the time when the murder was committed. Doesn't get much better than that, as evidence goes. More importantly, why is Matt continuing to sit on the fact that he found the son's total lack of affect super-creepy?

At Quantico, Emily finds hospital records suggesting that the kids were being abused. Could the father be a violent monster? They go to talk to Garcia, hoping she can disprove his alibi somehow! And she can, because the video footage is actually from an hour earlier than she thought it was, so he could have just made it to the house to commit the murder on time!

In the police station, the widower demands that he be allowed to call his brother so that family can be with the kids, and Matt agrees to the terms! Then the pastor shows up, looking to talk to Reid and Aisha. He confesses that he came on to the victim, but she rejected him. Still no news on why she thought she was a worthless person, though!

Eric and Matt confront the widower with the abuse accusations, and he denies them, claiming it was an accident! Then they talk about her supposed affair with the pastor, hoping to get him angry enough to confess! Finally the husband realizes that his son is the killer, so he offers to confess if they'll end the investigation. I get that he wants to be noble, but he's got a daughter as well, and doesn't the idea of leaving her alone in a house with a multiple-murderer who's abused her in the past seem like something a father would never do?

Reid then wins himself a Prentiss Award for this line:

You have to figure it out? He's got a brother and he's got a son. The daughter is too tiny to have committed the murders. You have two suspects. Go get them. This isn't complicated, Reid.

Emily goes to check on Garcia, finally noticing that she's PTSDing hard - so they start talking about how she betrayed her brother by helping get their parents' killer out of jail. No, Penelope, you betrayed him by not telling him that you felt guilty about your parents' death for twenty years, and then ambushing him with it at the parole hearing. That's what you did wrong.

Emily tries to comfort her. No one suggests therapy, because no one on this show ever does.

The widower has confessed, but they don't believe it. And the DNA came back from the rocks, and it doesn't match him! That's weird - if it was the brother or son, then it would match a little, so now I'm confused. Wait, is the son not his biological son, and that's the adultery that the son was punishing the mother for? That would certainly explain why there wasn't even a partial DNA match.

Once again, instead of Matt bringing up his bad feeling about the son, they focus on how weird it was that they were home-schooling their kids in Florida. At first they thought it was to avoid signs of abuse being noticed, but now that they don't think the father is an abuser, they decide to check out the old school.

Joe and Emily go and talk to the principal, and find out that the son had terrible behavioural problems, and often attacked other students? Normally this is where I'd point out that this should have come up int Garcia's background check, but she's sucking at her job this week, so I'll let it slide. Then again, if she didn't suck at her job, the aunt would still be alive, so...

Garcia gets a DNA hit on the killer. The son sent in his DNA for a family tree project so that he could figure out who his distant relatives are, and then discovered that his father wasn't his father! So he also sent in the sister's DNA as well, and found out that she was only his half-sister. The team assumes that this means that he's going to try to kill his sister next, but instead of calling the local cops or the uncle who's already over there, they decide to make the drive themselves!

At the house, the brother tries to kill his sister, and when a child protective services woman intervenes the son shoots her with the shotgun that's in his bedroom! Wait, did they not search the house? We were specifically told that they searched the house.

Fun fact, if they'd have called the house to warn the child protective services woman, she wouldn't be dead right now! You people all suck at your job.

Anyhoo, the team rushes to the house, chases the kid into the woods, and find him pointing the gun at his sister. He doesn't have his finger on the trigger, though, so there's literally no reason for them not to shoot him where he stands. JJ lies and says that his father always knew the truth and loves him anyways, and then while he's distracted Eric tackles the kid to the ground!


Wow... so, two people died and a little girl was traumatized because Matt doesn't bother to tell people things! Classy.

Back in Quantico, Garcia's brother shows up to forgive her, but first, Emily gives Garcia the glued-together mug, and talks about what an appropriate metaphor it is for the situation. Wow, this show is just thuddingly obvious, isn't it?

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

Nope. Not in the least.

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

Maybe expedite that DNA test on the rocks, and find out that it's the mother's son who killed her?

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

1/10 - Hey, if you were never going to make a big deal of Matt being creeped out by the son, why did you do the shot of that happening?

Seriously, the team did a terrible job this week, and two people got killed because of it. How did they not find the shotgun? Where did the son get a shotgun? Why wasn't there a police guard at the house? I know they thought that the killer was the father or the pastor, but it could have been a crazy person, and two people had already been murdered next to that house on the past two nights. Doesn't that warrant police protection? Shouldn't there have been cops there the first night as well?

Hell, why were they even still in that house at all?

This was such a garbage episode.

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