Criminal Minds: Season 1, Episode 14

Riding the Lightning (25 Jan. 2006)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 871 users  
Reviews: 12 user

The team of investigators interview husband and wife serial killers with their execution date set for two days time.



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Title: Riding the Lightning (25 Jan 2006)

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Episode credited cast:
Warden Charles Diehl
Sam Shapiro
Deb Mason
Frank Sheffield
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cher Calvin ...
Lara Sedgwick
Ren Casey ...


The team investigates the Dawes couple on death row in Florida State Penitentiary for thirteen (or more) murders on young blonde girls in 1985. A dozen girl's bodies were found buried under the sexual psychopath Jacob's garage after the police got an anonymous call. Sarah Jean Dawes (née Mason) 'the Ice Queen' only confessed killing her own two-year old son Riley, Jacob would have ordered her to kill him because he slowed down their flight. Sarah's mother Deb Mason claims she was a normal shy girl util she met Jacob, her late father was a strict soldier but hit his wife. Gideon concludes from a letter to her mother and an interview that Sarah Jean is physically innocent. She just blames herself for failing to stop Jacob and tipped the police herself. Jacob, who clearly craves notoriety, refuses to tell Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner or Jennifer "JJ" Jareau if there are more bodies. When told that Sarah got a stay of execution, Jacob spontaneously offers the location of their son's burial ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

25 January 2006 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jacob has a tattoo on his right arm - a heart with Sarah Jean's name. Beneath it are the words: "Til Death Do Us Part." See more »


In the second scene, we see the crew traveling by car to Starke, FL. At the bottom of the screen we see the word "Florida" but there are mountains outside of the vehicle window. See more »


Sarah Jean Dawes: It isn't just my life you have in your hands; it's Riley's life, too. You have the chance to save my son's life.
Jason Gideon: I choose to save yours, too.
Sarah Jean Dawes: My life ended the day I met Jacob.
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best episodes of television I've ever seen.
1 June 2011 | by (Boston) – See all my reviews

The reviewers who criticize this episode for plot holes must not have been watching the rest of the season. The show requires a suspension of disbelief, as do most law enforcement shows based on the unique talents of a special group of individuals (Bones, Lie to Me, etc. etc.).

But this was one of the best written episodes of television I've seen. The acting was flawless. The writing was beautiful. The emotional power of the episode was stunning. It pulled at every heart string and had me crying out loud by the end. Of the episodes I've seen so far, definitely the best Criminal Minds case so far.

And the ethical implications... so beautiful... so tragic...

19 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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