The BAU are called to Louisiana to get information from an autistic boy who has witnessed his parents' abduction. Meanwhile, Prentiss calls in two old colleagues to track down Ian Doyle.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Thomas
Alison Sparks
Lizzie Sparks
Miss Rogers
Sammy Sparks


The BAU travel to Lafayette Parish, Louisiana to work on the case of Sammy Sparks, a ten year old autistic boy who is seen splattered with blood. His parents, Alison and Charlie Sparks, are missing. At the Sparks home, the BAU find evidence that Charlie was shot and has a serious wound. The Sparks recently were issued a large loan to be able to keep their music store, their long time family business, open. As Lafayette Parish is in an area hit hard by the oil spill, anyone who gets a loan is considered to have won the lottery. The BAU therefore believe the Sparks were targeted for the money, and that the unsub knew the family and knew that Sammy would not be able to identify him. They try to decipher Sammy's drawings and his music and piece it to the strict routine by which all the Sparks lived to find the unsub. Meanwhile, two of Prentiss' Interpol colleagues, Tsia Mosely and Clyde Easter, try to track Ian Doyle's movements, while Prentiss considers asking her BAU colleagues for help... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

23 February 2011 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


This episode marks the first time a non-cast member says the bookend quote, in this case being said by criminal Ian Doyle. See more »


When referring to Sammy's parents, while discussing possible ransom demand, Rossi calls them Stanley's parents. See more »


Emily Prentiss: [Replying to Doyle's veiled threats against her colleagues] Come near my team and I will end you.
See more »


References Charlie's Angels (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

Despite Seaver and a couple of other things, "Coda" is still one of Season 6's better episodes
27 September 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Season 6 generally has been one of 'Criminal Minds' weakest seasons. It started off promisingly with "The Longest Night", which really gave the creeps (including Tim Curry's scariest performance since 'IT') as well as the feels and was an improvement over the previous season's finale.

After that, the season became very hit and miss, "Coda" and "Hanley Waters" (from memory) being good episodes while "The Thirteenth Step", one of the first notable examples of a 'Criminal Minds' episode that didn't feel like 'Criminal Minds' (instead feeling like a story derivative of 'Bonnie and Clyde', but nowhere near close to being as good, or something), was one of the show's worst episodes along with the worst of Seasons 9 and 11.

"Coda" is not exactly a brilliant episode and could have been done better, but for Season 6 it was a good one. Its biggest drawback is Seaver, never have been a fan of her and consider her one of the worst leading female characters on 'Criminal Minds' but she is particularly intolerable in "Coda". That she has a bland personality, doesn't fit at all within the team and that she is too much of an inexperienced rookie are general problems with Seaver, but she is also face-palm dumb here, especially saying whether Sammy is the unknown suspect which is the one scenario virtually impossible, and even worse is her completely uncalled-for rudeness towards Reid on the plane. Rachel Nichols' acting does absolutely nothing to make me like her better.

Also was not a fan of Garcia, a shame because in the earlier seasons she was a very likable character and a ray of sunshine bringing beautifully timed humour and levity to often dark cases. Here though her banter is cringe-worthy and her remarks regarding the victims when the BAU take on the case veer on the too flippant. Apart from a few touching scenes, Hotch once again is practically invisible, almost like the producers and writers were growing bored of Hotch and would have jumped at the chance of writing him out if the characters wasn't so popular with fans. The side plot with Prentiss and Interpol served very little point and comes over as an uncomfortable fit.

What makes "Coda" work however is the chemistry between Sammy and Reid. Their scene when communicating through playing music on the piano is one of 'Criminal Minds' most genuinely poignant moments, and it even outshines JJ's hostage negotiation on the radio in "The Longest Night" in this regard as the most moving individual scene of Season 6. The chemistry itself is touching, and Rossi is also very empathetic. All the acting is good apart from Nichols (which was not helped by bad character writing), Joe Mantegna and especially Matthew Gray Gubler being brilliant while Skyler Brigmann as Sammy gives one of the show's best child performances along with Jake Cherry in "The Big Wheel".

The case itself is good, there are more tension-and-suspense-filled episodes but the climax and the latter scenes between the unsub and the mother are still tense enough, while the mystery and emotional impact elements are beautifully done and the profiling is interesting. The unsub is more interesting on re-watch, found him unmemorable on first viewing but on re-watch he is the sort of character where you hate what he's done but you also sort of understand his point of view. Really enjoy the team dynamic still, and Rossi and Reid in particular have some lovely moments.

Production values are high in quality, and the music, especially that gorgeous song/piece played on the piano in the aforementioned scene between Sammy and Reid, is some of the best-used and most atmospheric music scores of any Season 6 episode. With the exceptions of Seaver and Garcia, the writing is tight and thought-provoking.

In conclusion, one of Season 6's better episodes apart from especially Seaver being so intolerable here. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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