Criminal Minds: Season 4, Episode 21

A Shade of Gray (22 Apr. 2009)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 554 users  
Reviews: 4 user

An AMBER alert is activated for a young boy in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and the BAU suspect it to be the work of a pedophile who has abducted and killed two other boys.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Capt. Lancaster
Dan Murphy
Hugh Rollins
Sarah Murphy
Mr. Seager


Kyle Murphy is third in the string of boys abducted from their homes in Camden County, the first two ultimately found dead in the woods. For Captain Bill Lancaster, the chief police investigator working on the string of abductions, Kyle's disappearance adds poignancy to the case as he is friends with the Murphys, Kyle who called him "Uncle". As the FBI begin to investigate, they notice that there are slight differences between Kyle's abduction and the other two. When the FBI finds the person who they believe is the unsub, they are still uncertain if he had anything to do with Kyle's disappearance. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis






Release Date:

22 April 2009 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Garcia is sent a list of names to research as potential suspects, one of the names on the list is "Nate Phlox" - a reference to John Billingsley's character of Dr. Phlox on Star Trek: Star Trek: Enterprise (2001). See more »


When Danny asks if he can watch cartoons, Prentiss turns the TV on. The sound that is heard is that of a cathode ray tube television (a relay clicking and a transformer, namely), even though the TV on the wall appears to be a flat panel TV. Even if it is a CRT, the picture should not be visible as quickly as it is when the camera cuts to the screen (when it is first turned on, pictures on a CRT display will take at least fifteen seconds to appear). See more »


Emily Prentiss: Danny told me what he did to Kyle. Do you know what he did?
Dan Murphy: Yes, we know.
Emily Prentiss: Everything he did? Danny stuffed... plane parts down Kyle's throat.
Dan Murphy: What?
Capt. Lancaster: Oh, God.
Dan Murphy: He wouldn't do that.
Emily Prentiss: You told Danny to watch his temper. What else did you worry about? Danny said you had a puppy, but he died. Your son is ill, and he needs help. The truth is, the only thing Danny isn't capable of is remorse. He feels nothing. The son you were trying to protect... is a sociopath.
See more »

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User Reviews

7 December 2010 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

Despite being a memorable, shocking episode, this still falls short of greatness. Why? The core plot, from beginning to end, has been done on TV at least twice. If you've seen any of the earlier variations of this plot, you can predict from halfway onwards how it will all unfold. Even if you haven't seen the story before, but watch a lot of criminal procedural dramas, you probably will be able to guess just by keeping an eye on the running time that there must be some plot developments coming to fill up the running time. Sure, it has its own identity, but the basic twists remain the same. And if it's been done before, the only way to avoid coming off as a rip-off is to improve on the original(s). Unfortunately, this is not an improvement. It's a good 7/10 version, but offers nothing new to the basic formula.

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