Criminal Minds: Season 5, Episode 20

...A Thousand Words (5 May 2010)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
7.7
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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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Title: ...A Thousand Words (05 May 2010)

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

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5 May 2010 (USA)  »

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Goofs

At the beginning of the show, the call comes in to the Leon County dispatch center in Tallahassee. The call is from Crawfordville, which is in Wakulla County. See more »

Quotes

Derek Morgan: Hey, Reid.
Dr. Spencer Reid: What's up?
Derek Morgan: Our man here was a prolific journaler.
Emily Prentiss: With teeny, tiny handwriting.
Dr. Spencer Reid: He probably had counseling at some point, where journaling was part of his therapy.
Emily Prentiss: That's what we were thinking.
Dr. Spencer Reid: [not quite sure what's coming] And...?
Derek Morgan: And, well, you know the two of us...
[indicating himself and Prentiss]
Derek Morgan: ...it would take us, like, three days to read all of this stuff.
[...]
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Connections

References The Illustrated Man (1969) See more »

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Born
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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