A man is threatening to kill a doctor's son and is killing a man a day until he is successful. Meanwhile, Hotch's absence is noticed by Prentiss.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Barton
Patrick Meyers
Detective Walker
Dr. Zwerling


The BAU, working on less than four hours sleep after finishing the case of the abducted homeless people taken across to Canada, are called into their next case. A trauma surgeon by the name of Dr. Barton received a note from someone signing it "LC." stating that his fifteen year old son Jeffrey will be killed. If LC. is not allowed to carry out this mission, he will instead kill one other person every day until Jeffrey is dead. Two surrogates for Jeffrey, both Hispanic men, are already dead. Dr. Barton has no idea who LC. is or why he or his son would be targeted. Rossi, J.J. and Morgan keep watch over Jeffrey, who sneaked out of the house to go to school, while Reid and Prentiss go over Dr. Barton's medical files with him. Prentiss, figuring they need an extra pair of eyes to go over the several hundred files, decides to try and find Hotch, who has not been answering his cell phone. Arriving at Hotch's apartment, Prentiss finds that he is not there, but that there are signs of foul ... Written by Huggo

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TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 September 2009 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Because Matthew Gray Gubler busted his knee to smithereens while partying with his (500) Days of Summer (2009) co-stars, poor Dr. Spencer Reid had to get shot in the leg in this season opener. See more »


During the flashback of the stand-off between Hotch and The Reaper in Hotchner's apartment, the gun held by The Reaper is different from the gun he was holding in the same scene during the previous season finale. See more »


Penelope Garcia: [to Reid on the phone] Okay, do you want biological information or full medical charts?
Dr. Spencer Reid: Can you *get* the full medical charts?
Penelope Garcia: You know for a smart boy you still ask a lot of *dumb* questions.
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User Reviews

To Live Is to Die
20 July 2011 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

This is a pleasant surprise. In the past, this series has had a couple of *brilliant* season finales, namely #1.22, "The Fisher King: Part 1", and #3.20, "Lo-Fi", to which the following seasons' openers (#2.1 and #4.1) have failed to live up to. Add to this the fact that season 4 finale, "To Hell... and Back" ended in a situation similar to "The Fisher King: Part 1", with Hotch being shot instead of Elle, meaning it was only natural to despair when Hotch was found alive after encountering The Reaper just as Elle was found alive after encountering The Fisher King.

But. What first seemed like the series giving us *another* serial killer who apparently can't kill someone at point-blank range with a gun soon becomes a clever trick. Were the writers *pretending* to fail as they did with "The Fisher King: Part 2", only to be able to pull the rug from under the viewers' feet when The Reaper's diabolical intentions are finally revealed? If so, bravo!

Also, with The Reaper, Criminal Minds seems to finally have found its own Jack of All Trades (The Profiler). What The Reaper does to Hotch, forcing his family to be placed into protective custody so that Hotch cannot stay in contact with them, causing him to live in constant suffering makes The Reaper one of the most sadistic criminal masterminds ever. And he has a cool name too!

Yet, there is more. With the Reaper - Hotch situation developed into a state where The Reaper is (for now) *constantly* in the picture, without actually being present, the whole series finally embraces a fulfilling continual narrative its been so decisively trying to avoid for four years in favor of new-viewer-friendly stand-alone episodes. Yes, Criminal Minds is still not The Wire, but hey, *nothing* is The Wire. And if one wants a non-HBO example for fairness's sake (The Wire not having the network-enforced limitations that Criminal Minds does), we can say that Criminal Minds is still not Babylon 5, Fringe or Lost. Yes, they are not in the Crime Procedural genre that has been overflowing since CSI made it so popular, but all three had a grand plan from the beginning, even if B5 and Lost did not manage to realize it as originally intended. Bottom line: Criminal Minds just *evolved*. In this sense, it feels like Supernatural - a show that after a few (three to be exact) flawed seasons found redemption and became must-see-TV (for seasons 4 and 5 at least).

One almost forgets that The Reaper is not the Unsub of the Week. The actual main plot is clever, gripping stuff too, even though after a wonderful twist the climax is a bit of a disappointment. However, overall, this is still great, 8/10, stuff and proves that after four seasons of wildly variating episode quality, Criminal Minds is *not* yet out of the game.

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