The BAU team heads to Texas to track a serial killer targeting illegal immigrants attempting to make safe passage into the U.S..



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Ruiz (as Marlene Forté)
Deputy Gentry
Joseph Raymond Lucero ...
Jose (as Joey Lvnproof Ray)
Deputy Gannon
Marion (as Elena Campbell-Martínez)
Kristen Alaniz ...


In the Mexican border town of Terlingua, Texas, three decapitated heads are found outside the sheriff's office. One of those heads was a recent death, while the other two were killed some time ago, although the decapitations themselves conducted recently. The BAU's initial thoughts are that it has to do with the border drug trade, or that because the more decomposed heads displayed now, the drug trade issue is a red herring for illegal immigration from Mexico. Indeed the three deaths are of John or Jane Doe's, fueling the BAU's speculation that they are illegal immigrants from Mexico. Believing the murders drug related, the deputy sheriffs in Terlingua arrest Omar Morales, head of one of the local drug cartels. Recently arrived Sheriff Ruiz on the other hand is certain Morales is not guilty of these murders, and that the deaths have to do with her knowledge of known illegal immigrants missing, the heads a sign for her to stop what has only been her limited investigation thus far. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis






Release Date:

14 April 2010 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Mention is made of tunnels running under the border. There is no border fence in the Terlingua area (nearest would in El Paso) and tunneling under the Rio Grande is impractical and unnecessary. See more »


Emily Prentiss: [voiceover] A lion's work hours are only when he's hungry. Once he's satisfied, the predator and prey live peacefully together. -Chuck Jones.
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Mi Mujer
Performed by: Latin Soul Syndicate
Played when deputy Boyd and deputy Gentry pick up Omar at the junkyard
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User Reviews

Above-average episode with some great moments
10 July 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Not one of the best 'Criminal Minds' episodes, but "Rite of Passage" does have enough that makes one love the best of Season 5 and the whole show even in general so much.

There are a few things that let it down, which makes "Rite of Passage" fall short of full potential. This is all personal opinion of course, but to me the unsub (a decent enough unsub but there have been far more interesting ones before and since) was revealed too early and it is far too obvious almost straight away.

Mike Doyle is also a little bland and somewhat too nice as Boyd, the role was in need of more intensity, sinister edge and charisma but despite the character's repulsive actions Doyle just lacked at times those things, though they do come through more later on. And there is not enough profiling, and when there is any it underwhelms compared to a lot of previous episodes.

However, there is nothing to complain about with the high quality production values, with great use of locale, or the efficient and suspenseful direction and the haunting music. The script has a lot of ingredients that makes 'Criminal Minds' so great in the first place with a nice balance of the then-new and the old. Love the light-hearted humour which is a refreshing change from the very emotional and intense George Foyet story arc, the close knit relationship within the team, Hotch's genuine empathy for the sheriff. Also loved what was done with Garcia, and Prentiss' fluency in languages angle is done far more subtly than with Elle in "Machismo" and actually serves a point.

Storytelling is engrossing, despite lacking profiling and a slightly disappointing unsub. There is enough tension and suspense which come off very believably, with pretty shocking murders (though they're more described than seen, couldn't have come up with a more horrendous way for the sheriff to die), high-voltage chases and a scintillating climax. The characters carry the story very well, and the acting is solid from the BAU, the locals and the sheriff, only Doyle this reviewer had reservations with.

In summary, above-average episode with some great things. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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Who should they get for unsubs/victims? kzaatar
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