"Criminal Minds" Ashes and Dust (TV Episode 2007) - Plot Summary Poster

(TV Series)



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  • 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 Defense Front (EDF). The head of the EDF is a man by the name of Evan Abby, a disillusioned former environmental consultant whose disillusionment led to the break-up of his own family. After their initial meeting with him, Hotch and Gideon don't think he's the arsonist murderer but that he knows more than he is letting on and acts like he is guilty of something. When they learn what Abby is hiding, the BAU feel they need to trust him in helping them find the unsub, who they're certain attended a recent EDF meeting at Abby's house. This case ends up being especially difficult for Hotch for personal reasons.

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



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