Criminal Minds: Season 5, Episode 20

...A Thousand Words (5 May 2010)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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The BAU team must profile a serial killer covered in tattoos who commits suicide, but leaves clues to the whereabouts of his last victim.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Det. John Barton
Rebecca Daniels
Juliet Monroe
Robert Matthew Burke
Jf Pryor ...
Trooper Pasternak
Trooper Creighton


The BAU team must profile a serial killer covered in tattoos who commits suicide, but leaves clues to the whereabouts of his last victim. Written by CBS Publicity

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

5 May 2010 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The victim of this episode was played by Holland Roden, who later appeared in Teen Wolf, another show created by Jeff Davis. See more »


The officers responding to the initial call are called Florida State Police. There is no such organization. Florida has a highway patrol, not a state police. The cars, uniforms, and badges shown are not consistent with those of the FHP. Also, the Leon County dispatch center does not dispatch the FHP- they have their own dispatch center. See more »


Emily Prentiss: So, are you?
Dr. Spencer Reid: Am I drawing to a flush or am I smart?
Emily Prentiss: Either.
Dr. Spencer Reid: Well, I'm, you know, provably a genius, but actually, I was drawing to a full house. Eights over sixes.
Emily Prentiss: I always forget you're from Vegas.
Dr. Spencer Reid: Yep.
Emily Prentiss: I'm sorry, not so fast. I too have a boat. Jacks over threes.
Dr. Spencer Reid: Wait, you drew three cards to a full house? That's, like 100-to-one against.
Emily Prentiss: 97-to-one. Looks like you're out.
See more »


References The Illustrated Man (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

18 September 2011 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

A very good episode, this one. The opening scene is reminiscent of the discovery of the Sloth sinner in Se7en, different enough that it doesn't feel like a rip-off. Actually, it's pretty clever – in Se7en, the police *thought* they were entering the killer's apartment, but here they actually *are*. Only to find him dead. And his latest victim quite likely still alive, but missing. Also both in here and in Se7en, the killer turns himself in.

The episode takes place in Florida. Heat = tight shirts for Morgan, Prentiss and JJ. What a nice coincidence! For some reason, Rossi and Hotch remain fully suited while Reid doesn't wear a jacket. Could the episode be more obviously gratuitous? Not that I'm complaining – Criminal Minds has always lacked sex appeal, whereas most other crime procedural shows have plenty. Prentiss' red shirt is used in other episodes as well, the reason of which is pretty much a no-brainer.

The script is pretty innovative, giving us something new in the show's 110th (by IMDb's count) episode, not a variation of any of the past episodes. Even the BAU members are baffled by the killer's suicide. Dean Norris (of Breaking Bad fame) does great job as the Police of the Week, making his detective stand out from the crowd he belongs in. Of course there have been others as well, but they aren't a different matter. Compare him to the tattoo artist who is ripped straight out of cliché stock. Dude.

Because of the novel idea here, it's very hard to say how it will end. In this case, the series' overall unevenness works in this episode's favour – this *could* be the brilliant episode that is long overdue. There hasn't been a 9/10 since Roadkill, and that was episode #88 (or #4.23, if you will)! While the plot takes a creepy surprise twist before the final act and the ending certainly offers food for thought, it doesn't negate the middle of the episode, where the plot drags because of too much talk, not enough tension. So, as a whole, this is "just" very good, a seven, as it happens, just not a Se7en.

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