Criminal Minds: Season 3, Episode 13

Limelight (23 Jan. 2008)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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The auction of the contents of a self-storage facility in Philadelphia reveal a possible serial killer in the making.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jill Morris
Kat Townsley
Shawn Overholt
Mary Elizabeth Barrett ...
Medical Examiner


When the contents of a self-storage facility is sold, the new owners find a number of pictures, drawings and notes that suggest that there's a possible sadistic serial killer in the making in town. The case is complicated by a local FBI agent who sees the incident as an opportunity to become famous... Written by J. Rieper

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

23 January 2008 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


When the murderer picks up his victim and puts her in the back of his van, the body is obviously a mannequin, not a human being. See more »


David Rossi: [opening quote, voiceover] "I know indeed what evil I intend to do. But stronger than all my afterthoughts is my fury. Fury that brings upon mortals the greatest evils." - Euripides.
See more »


Sweet Beliefs
Performed by Cyann & Ben
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User Reviews

A local FBI agent messes up the BAU investigation
15 April 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Jill Morris, a local ambitious FBI agent in Philadelphia--with an eye for media publicity--seeks out the BAU team's help to reveal an unsub's identity based on the contents of an abandoned and now rediscovered storage unit which contained his fantasy on female bondage and possibly murder. His ideas were scribbled out on mounds of paper. She persuades the BAU to allow agents Rossi and Spenser to visit her city and look at the paper evidence but Rossi remains unconvinced that the anonymous unsub will act out on his own ideas--until she pulls out a pair of women's nail clippings and hair. What Jill Morris doesn't say, however, is that they are her own hair and nail clippings.

So, Jill lured the entire FBI BAU team to Philadelphia on false pretenses. Rossi finally figures out her scheme--after the team has identified several of the unsub's victims who were electrocuted to death--and warns her to stop her behaviour although he sympathises with her situation in capturing the unsub. When his BAU colleagues finally realizes what she has done, Rossi says to them: "she (Jill) can be saved. She was who I was 20 years ago chasing the killers but now everyone remembers the killers and no one knows the victims." He clearly empathises with Jill's goals here even if not with her methods towards capturing the unsub. But Jill also ticks off Hotch for having a separate non-BAU press conference where she discusses their progress in catching the unsub...which shows her love for the 'limelight' of publicity. Hotch quickly criticises her for putting her face into the investigation. This act turns out to be be one of supreme folly as the unsub deliberately targets her as his final victim by kidnapping a female Philadelphia Chronicle reporter and contact of Jill--Kat--and forcing Kat to set up a meeting (via a cell phone call) containing supposedly new information with Jill. Lured unsuspecting into the meeting--and without notifying anyone in advance of her rendezvous (a second major mistake by this high risk taking FBI officer)--Jill is knocked unconscious on the head by the unsub who drives them both (ie. Kat & Jill) off in his van to his home. The unsub proceeds to strap the female reporter and Jill into his electrocution device. He electrocutes the reporter first and proceeds to caress Jill before the BAU team frantically breaks down the door to his home, arrests him and rescues her. But a major shortcoming occurs: there is no time in the show for us to see how Penelope identifies the house of the unsub; all we know is that he is an electrician who had a troubled family upbringing. Instead, what one sees is Penelope triangulating her search grid for the homes of middle-aged electricians in a Philly neighbourhood...and then then scene cuts directly to the BAU team and the FBI task force breaks into the unsub's home.

Rossi plays a major role in this episode into its conclusion. He confronts a mostly uninjured Jill at the hospital bed when she avoids asking any questions about the fate of Kat Townsley, the Philadelphia chronicle reporter who the unsub electrocuted shortly before the BAU team stormed the house. Jill replies to him: "I know you think I'm in the first stages of denial" to which Rossi plainly says "she didn't make it." Jill merely stops a second and sighs before going on her merry way and leaves the hospital as if nothing happened. Kat was just a contact to her, I suppose. At the hospital exit, a police officer calls out to her to come into a police escort van but Jill sees a crowd of reporters waiting for her at the other side and still can't resist the "limelight." So, she walks towards them. The reporters rush towards her asking their questions about her encounter with the unsub and Rossi, who watches Jill's behaviour, slowly walks past her and gives her a cold hard stare. If looks could kill, this would be it! Rossi realizes that the battle to save Jill is lost: she cares more ambition and the spotlight of a case then its safe and successful conclusion--the very things that got Jill captured by the unsub in the first place. Her risk taking has reached intolerable levels. Rossi ends the episode by quoting a short piece of prose below by Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942), the author of Anne of Green Gables: "For we pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won."

PS: A minor detail one learns from this episode is why the BAU team calls their suspects "unsubs rather than criminals." When Jill privately remarks to JJ that she should soon give this killer an exotic sounding name like the BTK killer, JJ objects and says the BAU team always calls their suspects 'unsubs' (ie. "unknown subjects") in order to demythologise them.

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