An unusually high suicide rate in Pittsburgh appears to be the work of an Angel of Death.


(as Felix Alcala)


(created by),

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Laurie Ann Morris
Pam Baleman
Peter Redding
Jonathan Morris
Curtis Fackler
Beth Smoler


In Pittsburgh, there's a sudden suicide spike, with all of the victims being family members of or related to the victims of a recent fire. Soon the team discovers that their deaths were all arranged to look like suicide by an UnSub who believes he is killing them as an act of mercy. Written by J. Rieper

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Release Date:

9 April 2008 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


They discuss how the unsub used succinylcholine to paralyze his victims before making it look like they killed themselves. This would be accurate, but it shows scenes where the unsub is talking to the people while paralyzed. Succinylcholine paralyzes ALL skeletal muscles, including the diaphragm that controls breathing. In other words, people who are paralyzed by it can't voluntarily breath. They would have suffocated within minutes of being injected. See more »


When the team raids the suspects place you'll find that you catch a glimpse of the recording crew's camera in the initial shot of the frame. See more »


Aaron Hotchner: I need a favor.
David Rossi: Of course.
Aaron Hotchner: I need some personal time, no more than a day.
David Rossi: Take all the time you need.
Aaron Hotchner: [about his divorce from Haley] I need to talk to Jack. I've lost her, but I'm not gonna lose him. I need to try to... tell him what's going on. I don't know how much he's going to understand, but...
David Rossi: All he needs to understand is that you love him.
See more »


Criminal Minds (TV Show Intro / Main Song Theme)
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User Reviews

Angel of death or angel of mercy?
16 February 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Season 3 had its bumpy moments, especially starting in difficult circumstances with the abrupt departure of both Gideon and actor Mandy Patinkin, but much of it was a very solid season and did surprisingly well with its difficult circumstances (even if not perfect).

Even its weakest episode, "Identity", was still decent if slightly bland and forgettable, and lesser Season 3 episodes like "3rd Life", "Limelight", "About Face", "Scared to Death" and "Birthright" were not bad at all. It was however great (some more than that) episodes such as "Elephant's Memory", "Tabula Rasa", "Lucky", "Lo-Fi", "Seven Seconds", "Penelope", "Children of the Dark" and "True Night" that helped it make it a solid season.

"A Higher Power" is towards the weaker end of the season, due to other episodes having more tension, creepier cases, more interesting unsubs and more emotional intensity, but still has many great merits. Considering the great build up of its great concept, couldn't help feeling let down by the unsub being revealed much too soon (which did diminish the suspense levels a little). And that the unsub was a competent but unremarkable one lacking in creepiness or much to make him unforgettably interesting (played just as much by Scott Michael Campbell). Pacing occasionally could have tightened up.

However, visually the production values are without complaint. It's very well shot and lit and is overall stylish, gritty, classy and atmospheric. The music is moody in the haunting and melancholic sense and fits well, without either enhancing or distracting from it. The direction keeps the momentum going but lets the case breathe, and all of the pacing is spot-on.

The script is thought-provoking, well-balanced and solid on the whole, if occasionally pedestrian and predictable. The story does well with its great concept, the tension and suspense could have been more consistent and with a few more twists (what there were especially with the notes were pretty ingenious) and a later unsub revelation, but it it's hardly devoid of either of those things and is entertaining and affectingly sad. The ending is the most emotional and tautly suspenseful "A Higher Power" got for me, some were underwhelmed by it but to me it was one of the more satisfying scenes.

Loved the team character moments and interaction as usual. Reid is on fire, Garcia is a ray of sunshine, mellow and witty, Rossi is settling in nicely and one does feel sorry for Hotch. The acting is solid as to be expected.

In conclusion, good if lacking a few ingredients to make it special. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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