The BAU follows the mental decline of a con artist whose schemes have become so complicated that he begins to eliminate the people involved in them.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Agent Russell Goldman
Brooke Sanchez
Lorraine Horton
JD Hodges
John Idakitis ...
Frank McKelson
Dina McKelson


Agent Russell Goldman with the FBI's White Collar Division in San Diego brings a case to the BAU. A con man who he has been following for five years is suspected to have killed Carla Marshall in Miami, Florida. Carla had been in contact with Goldman about the con man, hence the supposed connection to him as her murderer. If the con man is indeed the unsub, Carla is the first known person he would have killed of those involved in his cons. His past cons generally involved using his charm and good looks to gain the trust of women. As the BAU review Goldman's files on the unsub, they find a change in his general lifestyle pattern from his early cons to the most recent. In reviewing the victim's background as well as the unsub's home life, the BAU believe they have a way to track him down. They have to work fast as they also believe that his mental state is devolving where he is becoming increasingly violent and murderous the closer anyone gets to discovering his fraudulent behavior, and ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

3 February 2010 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


William Hodges, played by Victor Webster, gave the name of Hunter as one of his aliases. Webster played Hunter Clarrington in the show Harper's Island. See more »


At the end the EMT is placing gauze on Bills wound but the gauze already has blood on it. See more »


David Rossi: Con men usually don't murder, but when they do, it's to conceal their crimes.
Derek Morgan: Con man's a nice name for these guys. They profile as psychopaths.
See more »


References White Collar (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Tangled web
25 July 2015 | by See all my reviews

It's been said that a superhero movie is only as good as its villain and, excepting rare cases, the same could be said for an episode of Criminal Minds. I don't want to oversimplify, of course.

"Parasite" is a reasonably entertaining episode that never quite manages to rise above formula. The problem, as alluded to in the first paragraph, is that the unsub is really only passable at best. In this episode the BAU are after a con man who has recently taken to murdering his marks. Using charisma and sexual appeal, he dupes women (some lonely, some married) into investing in fake companies maintained under a multitude of aliases. To complicate matters, he's got a wife and son, and the pressures of maintaining a stable upper class existence for them exacerbates the strain of preserving his multiple identities. Cracks begin to appear in the careful facades and soon the matchstick man finds himself on a downward spiral of self-destruction.

There is something satisfying, I suppose, in watching the unsub unravel as the walls of his high-stakes profession close in around him. There is a darkly humorous (very darkly humorous) moment in which the unsub, trying to play the role of wholesome father, has to interrupt a heart-to-heart with his son to stealthily bludgeon an incapacitated "loose end" coming to in the trunk of his car. It's blood-soaked Leave It To Beaver, Americana and the nuclear family turned grotesquely on their collective head, and if the whole episode had embraced this unconventional satirical tone it would have been one to remember.

But unfortunately, as much as I enjoy the compulsive structure of Criminal Minds that keeps you shotgunning episodes several hours past your bedtime, it's never a show I would accuse of having much in the way of a distinctive personality, except perhaps for the odd Gubler-direccted episode. At the climax the writers attempt a hard bank into "sympathy for the unsub" territory, which is ill-advised given that he's entirely responsible for his own predicament. It comes out of nowhere and falls rather flat.

On a side note, there's more chemistry than usual betwixt the BAU and local law enforcement--specifically, Prentiss forms a relationship that almost hints at deeper feelings with Agent Russell Goldman, who's been following con man William Hodges for years. Typically the cop-of-the-week only really functions as a black hole for exposition, but in this instance Prentiss teases him about her team's access to a private jet and points out his nervous habits on the ride to apprehend Hodges. It almost makes me wonder if a Will-J.J. relationship was being planned; otherwise the sprinkling of character traits on an incidental character in rather out-of-sync with the show. At any rate, nothing ever comes of it.

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