Ten years ago, Hotch and Rossi, as part of the BAU at the time, worked on a mass murder case in Boise, Idaho, where bright and well liked but narcissistic North Valley High School student ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Bob Adams
Martha Slade
Jerry Holtz
Lewis Ramsey
Tiffany Gleason
Ms. McKee
Brandon Slade


Ten years ago, Hotch and Rossi, as part of the BAU at the time, worked on a mass murder case in Boise, Idaho, where bright and well liked but narcissistic North Valley High School student Randy Slade killed thirteen of his classmates in a lunch hour shooting and cell phone detonated bombing in the school's cafeteria. He himself was also killed. As several of the survivors return to Boise to commemorate the ten year anniversary of the massacre, a copycat killer seems to be on the loose. The local authorities and media believe that Randy's then seven year old brother, sweet but impressionable Brandon Slade, now a student at North Valley himself, may be involved, which Hotch and Rossi, based on what they knew of Brandon ten years ago, don't believe. What the BAU glean early in this updated investigation is that Randy did have a hit list of people he wanted to kill, and that the latest victims are on that hit list. The list itself is comprised of popular students and students on the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

12 October 2011 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


It was said that Randy Slade shot 3 students and killed 10 more with the bomb, totaling 13 victims, but in Emily's interview with Jerry Holtz in the cafeteria, his flashback showed Randy shoot 4 students, and he said the bomb then killed 10 more, which would have brought the total to 14 victims. See more »


[last lines]
Jack Hotchner: Why are we doing this?
Aaron Hotchner: We haven't talked to Mom in a while, so I thought it would be a good idea if we did it again.
Jack Hotchner: But I don't want to make you sad.
Aaron Hotchner: Buddy, you're not making me sad. It makes me happy, because it reminds me what a great job Mom did with you. So maybe if we got in the habit of doing this again, you know, Mom could help us.
Jack Hotchner: Like with what?
Aaron Hotchner: You know, if you have a bad day. Ms. McKee said Paul's been mean to you.
Jack Hotchner: He hasn't been mean to me.
Aaron Hotchner: No? Okay. Mom, look out for ...
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References Heathers (1988) See more »


They Move on Tracks of Never-Ending Light
Written by Christopher Royal King, Jeremy Adam Galindo, Raymond Joseph Brown, and Andrew Thomas Miller
Performed by This Will Destroy You
Courtesy of Magic Bullet Records
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User Reviews

Not that special plot-wise but the little character moments make it worth watching
6 July 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

'Criminal Minds' is not a show where all the seasons and episode are consistent, but there are enough great episodes and episodes to make it one of my favourites and compulsive viewing when it's on.

"Painless" is not one of the best of the show, an episode that is decent but not great, but there is still enough to make it worth watching.

The story in "Painless" is not one of 'Criminal Minds' most involving or absorbing, in fact one of the show's most formulaic and standard, some of the twists are tired, and shootings are a little melodramatic and lacking in suspense and with the exception of the unsub (which despite his awful actions one sort of relates to) the supporting characters are not very well established which makes it harder to sympathise with their situation.

However, the script is sometimes light-hearted and gritty and it is reasonably tight, though more in the leads rather than the supporting roles. What makes "Painless" watchable enough are the little character moments. The relationship between Jack and Hotch is incredibly touching and the scene between Reid and JJ has a sweet element to it. The highlight however of those character moments, and of the entire episode, is Morgan and Reid's prank war, Reid's reaction to Morgan's prank and Reid's hilarious retaliation makes for a contender for the funniest scene in the whole show.

Acting from the leads is very good, especially from Matthew Gray Gubler, the episode is stylishly and atmospherically made and solidly directed and the music fits well and never distracts if not quite enhancing.

In summary, decent but not great. The story could have been much better executed, but it is worth watching for the character moments and the prank war alone. 6.5/10 Bethany Cox

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