Criminal Minds: Season 3, Episode 20

Lo-Fi (21 May 2008)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 893 users  
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People who apparently have nothing in common are being shot randomly in New York City and the team must determine whether it is the work of a single shooter or a team.

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Title: Lo-Fi (21 May 2008)

Lo-Fi (21 May 2008) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Lisa Bartleby (as Moe Daniels)
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Cop #2
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Man
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Shelly
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Storyline

People who seemingly have nothing in common are shot at random. The BAU is dispatched to New York, where they have to determine if the shootings of victims at point blank range are the work of a single killer or a team of killers. The BAU discovers is deadlier to them than they anticipated. Written by Anonymous

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21 May 2008 (USA)  »

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Goofs

When Morgan is talking to Prentiss after the NYPD Detective was shot; his earwig transmitter changes positions several times. See more »

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Kate Joyner: No self-respecting cop wants to have his arse kicked by some broad with a posh British accent.
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Awesome finale to a spectacularly mediocre season
28 August 2009 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

OK, as a whole, season 3 has truly been spectacularly mediocre: including this episode, the average of my votes is exactly 5.55, or, to put it in other words, a mere 0.05 points above the average of all possible votes, 1 to 10. Halfway through the season, I was losing all hope on this series, but then Episode 3.12, 3rd Life, actually delivered. Sadly, subsequent episodes did not come even close. Until this one.

The opening: A suspicious-looking man in the New York subway, turns out to be a brilliant red herring when he gets shot execution style, to the back of the neck, so unexpectedly, that the viewer would have to be a psychic to see it coming. Now *that* is how you surprise the audience. An an icing of the cake, the executioner's identity is completely unclear, thanks to the hood he has and by the fact that he walks away hands in his (or could it be a her?) pockets.

Now, second surprise: Hotch gets a call for help from New York, from an FBI agent, who is of half American, half British descent, and, turns out to be almost identical in looks to Haley, the wife who left Hotch. Hotch knows the FBI woman, Kate, from a time before Haley. Was Haley just a substitute for Kate to Hotch? Hmm... It also turns out that FBI is considering to replace Kate with Morgan (although Morgan does not know it yet), something which immediately starts to create tension between the men, as Hotch starts to support Kate's decisions against Morgan's protests.

Third surprise: The second killing (actually sixth in a linked series) is an even bigger WTF moment than the opening one, because it takes place above ground, on a busy street, in daylight. And the killer gets away. However, (s)he leaves a message. Turns out that the kills were not made by the same person. And now "they" know that FBI is hunting them. Hotch reveals Kate's situation to Morgan.

Forth surprise: The seventh killing happens while Garcia and her NYPD counterpart are helplessly watching it on the monitor. Turns out that had Hotch listened to Morgan's protests, the killing might have been prevented. A heated argument breaks out and Morgan is ordered to go let out some steam. As a wise mentor, Rossi goes to him and they discuss FBI's plans for Kate and Morgan. Morgan doesn't really want her job.

Fifth surprise: An eighth killing takes place, but this time Prentiss and a NYPD detective are close enough to chase the man. However, the African American man stops when he could escape and shoots the detective. Prentiss wounds him mortally.

Sixth surprise: The group responsible for the murders have hacked into NY's surveillance system, one camera per murder site, and have been one step ahead of the authorities all the time. And they only used the eighth killer to coldly just measure the response time of the authorities. Suddenly everything starts to point towards terrorism... And right now, they are watching the whole unit (minus Garcia) at the scene where the eighth killer stopped, purposefully in view of a surveillance camera. WTF is going on?

Throughout the episode, tension is constantly rising, with maybe only a couple slight breathing moments (JJ's relationship, Prentiss profiling the detective). Tension is something almost all episodes this season have criminally lacked (pun intentional), let alone an increasing tension. Most of the tension comes from the simple fact that the unit is masterfully played with by their supposed prey. As the final minutes tick agonizingly slowly away, a sense of terrifying dread is skillfully built up, leading to the extremely effective, if hardly original cliffhanger ending. Whew!

Now as magnificent as this episode was, tense as hell and characterization-wise, it left me with another kind of sense of dread: What if they drop the ball in the fourth-season opener as spectacularly as they did in the second-season opener after the magnificent "The Fisher King: Part 1"?


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