Criminal Minds: Season 5, Episode 16

Mosley Lane (3 Mar. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
8.9
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The BAU profiles a child abductor who may have been keeping children for more than eight years.

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Title: Mosley Lane (03 Mar 2010)

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Roger Roycewood
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Sarah Hillridge
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Charlie Hillridge
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Aimee Lynch
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Barbara Lynch
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Mrs. Shepherd
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The BAU profiles a child abductor who may have been keeping children for more than eight years. Written by CBS Publicity

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3 March 2010 (USA)  »

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The initial scenes are at a winter festival in Virginia, but all the trees still had foliage. See more »

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Jennifer 'JJ' Jareau: [voiceover] Emily Dickinson wrote, Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.
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One of the best Criminal Minds episodes ever made.
2 April 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Mosley Lane actually aired on March 3, 2010 but I missed its first viewing and only saw it in early 2011 in a Criminal Minds (CM) rerun during season 6 of this series. After I saw this episode, I was stunned by the fact that this was Matthew Gubler's first outing as director of a CM episode. This episode was free flowing but exciting with an excellent pace. It was excellent and both emotionally powerful and gut wrenching at the same time. Such was the power of its script.

Basically, Sara Hillridge approaches the BAU to see JJ to find out any news about the kidnapping of her son Charlie 8 years ago. Sara still believes that Charlie is alive. JJ, however, knows all about the statistical odds that a child would be killed by an abductor within a 24 hour time period and isn't especially thrilled by Sara's visits whenever a child is kidnapped. Meanwhile the parents of a recently kidnappped girl are desperate to have their daughter recovered safely. Hence, the producer's line where JJ reads Nietzche's seemingly painfully accurate words near the start of this episode: "Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man." Sara has heard news about the recent kidnapping of the young girl--Aimee-at a fair and tells JJ that her young son was kidnapped in precisely the same way that this new child was kidnapped (with a female unsub calling out for a child which distracts the attention of the mother thereby allowing the child to be kidnapped). The BAU team quickly realizes that this cannot be a random coincidence but rather the signature of a group of abductors--one to distract the mother and cause her to to loosen her hold on her child and the other to grab the child in an open public theme park, mall or public space. JJ arranges to have Sara remain at the BAU team's workplace for her input while the team starts to build a detailed profile of the unsubs who eventually turn out to be Roger and Anita who have been carrying out their crimes unmolested for at least 8 years and who have murdered 8 children along the way.

The ending was both joyful for three parents--including Charlie's mother, Sara, and father--and tragic for another set of parents who discover that their son was murdered the day before by Roger and Anita. Its a mix of emotions: joy and grief all at the same time. Sara's quiet approach to the BAU team and her question to them after Charlie was found--was genuine and heartfelt. It was a question which we all wanted to ask the team. How could they perform their dark and difficult jobs and yet live their lives knowing what they knew? Prentice's reply is a classic: "because of days like this" where other parents are crying in joy with their lost (and now found) children. JJ's quotation of Emily Dickinson's beautiful poem on hope was a wonderful way to close out this episode. What can I say: the script was above average and Gubler made an excellent directorial debut in Criminal Minds. The only thing lacking is that no clear reason was given for why Roger and Anita were kidnapping the children but since they owned a secluded boarding home, one can guess that they wanted some children under their control with new names and identities. I personally rate Mosley Lane as one of Criminal Minds top 10 episodes. It helped that JJ was still a regular in this season 5 episode when it was produced as she was forced to leave the CM series early in its 6th season sadly...though she made one effective comeback in 'Lauren'--another episode that Gubler also coincidentally directed. In a sense, this series was closely tied to JJ since she knew Sara, supported Sara's theory about the unique kidnapping methods of the unsubs over the initial skepticism of her BAU colleagues and found the secret basement compartment at the house on 2150 Mosley Lane where the children were hidden.


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