An unusual personal obsession is at the center of a BAU abduction case. Meanwhile, Hotch struggles with his return to work.


(as Anna J. Foerster)


(created by), | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Arthur Malcolm
Samantha Malcolm
Bethany Wallace
Detective Marty Cotrone
Linda Jackson
Shop Manager
Karl Wallace


In Atlantic City, New Jersey, two women have thus far been identified as having died at the hands of the same killer. Both victims were drug-induced paralyzed and still conscious during their two-month abduction, but otherwise well taken care of. Both were also petite but physically fit, and in life were fashion conscious, although the clothes in which they were found did not match what they would have worn in real life, these new clothes which were more doll-like. And both dead bodies were found in a place that represents a fun childhood, one on a playground swing, another on an amusement park carousel. Because the two women have no other similar characteristics beyond their small stature, the BAU believe the unsub to be a woman who is "collecting" the victims as surrogates for a doll collection that the unsub has lost. When the BAU learn more about the doll line that the unsub is mimicking and after one of the pieces of clothing is analyzed, they stumble across a lead to the unsub ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

13 January 2010 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Uncanny Valley is an idea created by Japanese robotics researcher Dr Masahiro Mori in 1970. Dr Mori made a graph showing, vertically, how well people accepted certain images and horizontally, how human the images were. He found that people reacted well to other people (who both looked and acted human) and also accepted images that acted human but didn't look at all human (like talking animals in cartoons). However, many people were repulsed by images that looked almost human (like zombies or talking skeletons). The chart looked like a pair of hills (high acceptance) with a valley in between (revulsion), which Dr Mori called the Uncanny Valley. The word "uncanny" had previously been used in a similar way by Ernst Jentsch and Sigmund Freud. It has been suggested that this response may be due to evolutionary pressure to maintain distance from people who are diseased or injured in order to avoid danger. See more »


The New Jersey license plates on the cars are shown to have a bright yellow stripe of about 2 inches across the top with the remainder of the plate being white. In actuality, New Jersey plates have a more beige-yellow tint at the top which fades very gradually toward the whiter bottom, so that there is no noticeable line differentiating the colors. See more »


Bethany Wallace: [to other dolls] We're leaving.
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References Star Trek (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

This episode was indeed uncanny, but in an inane cartoony way.
12 November 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The title of this 12th episode in the fifth season is used in reference to the phenomenon whereby a man-made object bears a near-identical resemblance to a human being, that it can arouses a sense of unease or revulsion in the person viewing it. The "valley" part, refers to the large dip in comfort levels. You see, a lot of these worrisome attitude, in the fields of robotics and 3D computer animations. Nonetheless, in this episode directed by Anna Foerster, much of the story takes place, with the unknown subject's unhealthy obsession of turning, beautiful women into living dolls & the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, being called to Atlantic City to try to solve it. Without spoiling the episode, too much, I have to say, 'Uncanny Valley" is a bit silly with its doll-collector concept. It's even funnier, that everybody, is so unaware that they're obviously dealing with somebody who has a thing for dolls. I really don't get the idiotic. Actually, I'm not sure why the FBI was needed on this one at all. Honestly, this case, could been solved just as easily using conventional police methods, if the local police put their brains, together. Anyways, it finally takes up nineteen minutes in, before a profile can be make, although it's kind of nonsensical, with its 1950's style of generalizing from the BAU. It was a bit over-stereotypical and outdated. After all, there are a lot of men who collect dolls and could be in the fashion & health care industry, these days. I guess, in their minds, men don't generally don't play with dolls, and if the victims aren't molested in any way. It must mean that the unknown subject or unsub is a woman, not a man. I found this type of thinking to be, a bit obsoleted. After all, the records, show that majority of kidnapping crimes, is committed by men rather than women. So, I don't get, how they first idea is that, of a woman. I get that, they wanted to do, something different, but the outrageous idea that women don't molest people is wrong. Women molest victims, too! I guess, they never heard of Melissa Huckaby, a real-life female kidnapper known for her crimes of molesting female children with muscle relaxants. However, since this episode was written by straight men like Jeff Davis, it was pretty predictable, who the unknown subject was, even before the first act. I also didn't like how the evidences was presented. The science in this show failed miserably, yet again with the idea of that a muscle relaxant can numb your own body, but your eyes. In truth, it would really be hard to keep a patient alive with the muscle relaxant, they use here, because the patient's diaphragm would be paralyzed too. Without, the use of an intubated respiratory ventilator, the patient's lung would collapse, turning the person's skin yellow, and then black, before dying out. It's not a good way to preserve people. I find this whole storyline to be just utterly fantastical and ludicrous. Don't get me wrong, it was very entertaining. I like the 1990 Misery style of suspense here, but it's far from being creepy like some of the other episodes. I get a lot more fright, looking at Little Miss No Name, than the living dolls, here. Still the make-up work is some of the best, I saw, yet from this series. One of the highlights of the episode was the battle of wits, between Dr. Arthur Malcolm (Jonathan Frakes) & Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). While, the scene wasn't really needed, it was very evenly match. It's too bad, that Jonathan Frakes's role in this episode was short. I thought, his guest star role needed a few more scenes. The only thing, I didn't like, about this scene, was how Spencer Reid can get so much, out of Dr. Malcolm, by just making a lucky guess, at looking at his book shelf. It was a bit, too unrealistic. Yet on Criminal Minds, things like these, always recurred. I'm deeply surprised, how its loyal fan-base, hasn't yet, got tired of its recycle formula of the FBI solving the crime, while the local police force looks like morons. I guess, people like the team of characters, way too much, with their funny witting bantering and on-screen chemistry to the point, that they're willing to overlook the poorly scripted concept of a killer turning living people into dolls. I have to somewhat, agree with that. While, this episode can be, said to be Spencer Reid's episode, since he did, the majority of the work. Seeing characters like Aaron Hotcher (Thomas Gibson) back as the leader was great to watch. Overall: I thought it was a solid episode, with a few misses. I loved the whole off-the-wall idea of it, but the execution of it, wasn't well-delivered. It's one of the episodes, you can rewatch, in the background, without being too disturb, by its context. A chaser drink of an episode.

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