Criminal Minds: Season 2, Episode 19

Ashes and Dust (21 Mar. 2007)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 884 users  
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The team tries to identify a serial arsonist who has escalated to murder.



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Title: Ashes and Dust (21 Mar 2007)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Evan Abby
Lt. Ricardo Vega
Vincent Stiles
Charlotte Cutler
Paul Cutler
Dennis Cutler
Det. Leah Castro (as Mercedes Colón)
Tom Dunleivy


An arsonist has been at work in San Francisco, setting so far two house fires in three weeks. The two sets of residents - both families - all perished, except for one person. Unlike the work of most serial arsonists, these fires were meant to kill their inhabitants. Before she dies, the sole survivor of the those two initial fires tells Hotch and Prentiss of irregularities from that evening before and during the fire: that someone had turned off the water, that the smoke alarms did not work during the fire, that someone had locked the front door in such a way that they could not escape, and that she noticed a fireman inside the house just before she passed out. That fireman they know to be the unsub. Beyond general characteristics, Garcia finds one connection between the two families: the father figures both worked for different companies accused of LUST (leaking underground storage tanks) by an environmental activist/eco-terrorist (depending on one's viewpoint) group called the Earth... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

21 March 2007 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Earth Defense Front (EDF) in this episode has a similar name to the real-life group Earth Liberation Front (ELF). The ELF are radical environmentalists who have been involved in arson and other property damage. The FBI considers them to be "eco-terrorists." See more »


The ID for a suspect shows the residence city to be "Freemont" while there is a so named city in the SF Bay Area, it is spelled "Fremont" See more »


Aaron 'Hotch' Hotchner: The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul. - John Calvin
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Written by Enya
Performed by Enya
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User Reviews

Music in opening scenes
8 July 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The music in the opening scenes of Ashes and Dust is Boadicea by Enya. Considering the history of Boadicea, especially the fact that she burned 3 Roman cities in Britain to the ground, it is quite an apt selection for this episode.

The episode is quite disturbing. Arsonists are not usually shown so up close and personal with their victims. The haunting music being played while the killer calmly watches his victims burn is chilling.

I found the episode interesting but the opening scenes were far more dramatic than the rest of the programme.

I think the editor was actually cutting to pictures of the 'happy' family rather than the books on the bookcase, showing the contrast between what had been and what was now. Perhaps I'm wrong but I didn't see it as an homage to "Fahrenheit 451".

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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