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 890 users  
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The team tries to identify a serial arsonist who has escalated to murder.



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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 »


No federal agent wears their weapon exposed in public, unless they're on the HRT or SWAT team. The weapons are kept covered at all times in public. See more »


Aaron 'Hotch' Hotchner: Has she said anything about the fires?
Doctor: I'm giving her as much painkiller as I can. She asked about her husband and son. She passed out again before I had to answer.
Emily Prentiss: So she doesn't know.
Doctor: [shakes her head no] Whatever you tell her, she won't live long enough to know different. I'll be right back.
[doctor exits]
Emily Prentiss: Did she just tell us to lie to a material witness?
Aaron 'Hotch' Hotchner: No. She told us that we could.
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Written by Enya
Performed by Enya
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User Reviews

Boadicea. For the intro alone, you should probably watch it.
21 April 2011 | by (Berlin) – See all my reviews

When you type the name of this episode into google, it immediately presents you the option to search for the music in it. The first scene is nauseatingly beautiful - artistically speaking - and very scary. The way the family tries to get away from the flames and is cut off repeatedly is hauntingly well done.

My favorite Criminal Minds intro.

This has been the most disturbing Criminal Minds episode I have seen yet. Sure, there were other unsubs committing crimes beyond any imagination on this show, however, thanks to the depiction of the crimes, empathising is very easy here as you see both the view of the victims AND the killer very thoroughly.

One of my favorite episodes up to date, it has heart, horror without being disgusting and haunting shots and music.

I think the ending is overly melodramatic. I would have been satisfied with an "usual" solution to the case, which lead to me giving "only" 9/10.

Favorite quote of the episode: "Brace yourselves. I'm gonna teach you the meaning of LUST."


4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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