31.12.19

Criminal Minds 1406: Luke

Looks like they're doing more with Eric, since the episode opens with a flashback to his injured friend and him dating that woman! Yup - the first scene has both those characters (as well as the dog) over at Eric's apartment! His injured friend is even walking again! They chat about their lives! The friend encourages Eric to set he and Garcia up! He's able to dodge all inquiries when a call about a case comes in!

At the office, it turns out Garcia actively wants to be set up with the friend, and Eric isn't doing it for some reason! Weird choice, Eric.

We get the details of the case - the killer has shot three middle-aged men in the back of the head with the same pistol. And he seems to be moving south in a straight line towards their neck of the woods. Could it be an assassin? Are they witnesses in some kind of a crime? Or does the connection exist only in their heads?

Hey, you know what no one says in this scene? "If there wasn't something shady in their past, they wouldn't have ended up with a bullet in the head." Weird that it's only female victims that Aisha is into blaming, huh?

Then we get a scene of the next killing - only this time it's a much younger guy, and he has bleach poured into his mouth while tied to a chair! That's a twist!

JJ and Matt go to the newest crime scene, and discover that the man was shot inside of a panic room. This puzzles them, because why would a middle-class accountant have a panic room with a huge safe in it? Is he involved in crime, and that's why he's been targeted? They also note that the crime scene was carefully cleaned up, which suggests a professional killing. Weirdly, they point this out based on looking at how neat the crime scene was, rather than mentioning the overwhelming stench of bleach that must be in the air. We saw the guy dumping it liberally, and this is a barely-ventilated panic room. I'm shocked that they can go inside without their eyes watering.

At the morgue, Eric and Emily talk to the ME about the victim's wounds. He was shot in the head twice, and marks on his wrists suggest he was bound to the chair first - Eric can't understand why the killer would tie a man up before shooting him. Maybe he wanted information, and he interrogated the guy before killing him? Tying up victims is maybe the least-surprising thing I've seen a killer do on this show.

Then Eric hears about the bleach, and immediately recognizes the MO! It's weird that we didn't hear about the bleach from the other crime scenes. Is Garcia bad at her job full-time now?

Eric goes back to base and announces that this is the signature of a Mexican hitman, one that he'd tried to arrest some years ago! Which means it's time for a flashback! Is this the mission where his buddy's legs got screwed up? It would be weird if it wasn't, but who knows?

Then this episode establishes that it's basically Narcos, but for the weak-minded. Eric and buddy are partnered up with a Mexican police officer when they spot the hitman. The officer thinks they should just shoot the guy, because he's a mass murderer, but Eric wants to arrest him, because it's important to get justice, even in lawless places. That poor, naive man.

Anyhoo, they get ambushed, but they have sniper cover, so it works out for them, and Eric is able to arrest the hitman! Then, when discussing the mission with team, Eric wins himself a Prentiss Award.

Um... Silva's point was that the system was corrupt, and the guy wouldn't pay for his crimes, so it was better to just kill him now. Then, after being arrested for 4 dozen murders, he was able to escape just three years later and kill a bunch more people. Of the two of which, which one is more wrong?

Eric thinks that the hitman is after his old cartel, because the tip that got him arrested came from inside it! Which suggests some kind of intra-cartel squabbling. I can't wait to find out more!

Then, a mechanic working in a garage is attacked by someone, but we don't see who, so they could be completely wrong about the killer!

Eric's buddy Paul says that while the first three victims aren't familiar to him, the new guy was known to be someone who helped smuggle drugs from the American side of the border! The two of them call the Mexican officer from earlier to see if he has any information, and he does! The hitman they thought they were looking for is, dead - murdered in Mexico over a week ago, using the same MO as the new victims!

Eric then calls DRGF, but does not warn her that there's a guy killing people connected to a case he worked five years ago, and maybe she should keep her head down. No, instead they just talk about an ugly tapestry Garcia got them.

Then they hear about the new murder, and it's off to the crime scene! It seems that the new victim was also a drug smuggler, but this time there's a clue! The two men got into a fight, and some of the killer's chewing tobacco wound up on the wall! Eric immediately recognizes that as the signature of the special forces sniper he worked with in Mexico, who agreed with the Officer that cartel hitmen should just be gunned down! Weird that he didn't wash that tobaccoo away with the bleach he brought with him, huh?

It seems that the hitman murdered the sniper's family, and so now the sniper is murdering anyone involved in the cartel. Which is, you know, fair. You'd have to be a monster to question him for that. Or even to try and stop him, really.

But try they must, because, again, they're weak hypocrites. When they're murdering people to avenge loved ones, it's justice, when a sniper does it, he's a monster who needs to be stopped. The DEA comes across with some more names of possible targets in the DC area, because they're assuming he'll stay local, even though it's only by moving quickly out of the area that he's been safe in each previous situation.

Eric then gets a call from the officer, but discovers that it's the Sniper, who cloned that guy's phone! And he's already at Paul's house! He announces that because his family was killed due to his involvement in the hitman's arrest, he's going to kill everyone involved in the hitman's arrest.

Yes, I know, his motivation makes zero sense. That said, he makes a strong point that if Eric had let him shoot the hitman five years ago, his family would still be alive. So Eric's the real villain here. He rushes home to check on DRGF, because he assumes that she was the target. Weird, because I assumed that Paul was the target. Huh. Then again, I shouldn't have thought that, because it feels like Paul and DRGF both should have been in protective custody until all of this was over.

Eric gets to Paul's house way too late, and is then grabbed by the police responding to the shots fired call. Rough Day for Eric. Rougher for Paul, though.

Emily takes Eric aside and tells him that he can't keep working the case, because he's a possible target! They're putting a protective detail on Eric's house, rather than just taking DRGF into custody, which seems strange, but then Eric talks his way out of getting a protective detail by saying that he has to go and talk to all of Paul's friends!

Wait, could he not do that with FBI agents waiting outside the door? It seems like he might just be lying so that he can keep working the case.

In the next scene, Emily announces the sniper will be extra careful because he knows everyone will be looking for a man who killed a Federal Agent. Wait, Paul was a fed? Oh, she means retired fed. Gotcha.

Then it's over to Eric's apartment, where he announces that he's sending her to stay with friends in the middle of nowhere, so that the sniper can't find her. We don't actually know that the sniper knows she exists, but this is still probably a good move. He says he's going to try and take the sniper down, and then he's out of there!

Emily figures that Eric is off on his own, trying to kill the sniper, so he has Garcia track Eric's secret phones that no one knows about. How's she supposed to do that, Emily? He'd have paid cash for them and would have no clear connection to the numbers. No, she's operating under the impression that he'd use phones from when he was undercover, that the FBI knows about!

Is he an idiot, though?

Luke heads to the storage unit that he and Paul shared, where they kept their automatic weapons and stolen drug money! Oh, and it turns out the forger that Paul used to make their fake passports was referred to him by the sniper, so that's where Eric's headed next! Although, really, if I was the sniper, I'd have gotten all of my business in DC out of the way before I started killing people there, but hey, this isn't a show about people who make smart decisions.

At Quantico, Reid, JJ, and Joe discuss all of the ways the sniper could be getting out of the country. Will he be on a plane? A bus? A boat? For some reason they're 100% sure he isn't just driving a car. I have no idea why, though, since he seems to be moving around the states quickly enough.

Eric beats up the forger, demanding to know where the sniper went! The forger tells him, even though I have no idea why he would have that information. You go to forgers for new passports because you're trying to escape from something. Why would you tell him where you were going?

Down at the Baltimore docks, which are literally acres of containers arranged in a mazelike fashion, Eric manages to stumble into the Sniper by complete chance! He tackles the sniper, but before he can shoot him, the team shows up to stop him! Emily puts him on restricted duty for disobeying orders - although no one mentions that they had already failed to find the sniper at the docks, and he would have gotten away if Eric hadn't gone after him.

Also, it's kind of rich that she's mad at Eric for almost killing a guy. As if she doesn't remember the time she tried to kill Ian Doyle and his entire crew. Seriously, isn't this entire episode a remake of the Ian Doyle storyline? The only difference is that Ian's son was actually still alive.

THE END

Back at his apartment, DRGF threatens to leave him! So he tells a story about being in war with Paul, and loving him like a brother! She accepts his weeping, and takes him back!


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

Nope. There's no way to sugarcoat it, Eric knew who the killer was.

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

Honestly? Probably not. The guy was good at his job, and Eric found him because he had inside information the police wouldn't have had.

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

1/10 - I cannot stress enough how frustrated I am by Eric's refusal to accept responsibility for the events of this episode. And I'm especially mad about the murder of Paul - the writers have the sniper nonsensically go after Paul because they want to make him seem like a bad guy - when there's no reason to think that the sniper would blame anyone for his family's death but the cartel.

Also, the team really screwed up by not putting everyone in protective custody immediately. The moment they realized that the killer had a close connection to Eric and Paul, why wasn't everyone called in and put under guard?

And I have zero idea why the sniper continued using the hitman's MO. I get why he used it to kill the hitman, but beyond that, why would you? Fundamentally, his behaviour makes no sense - after the hitman is dead, the sniper would be mad at one of two people or groups: A) The cartel, under whose protection the hitman plied his trade, B) Eric, who made the stupid decision that got his family killed. The idea that he would go after people tangentially involved with the faction within the cartel that sold the hitman out is just nonsense.

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