Criminal Minds (2005– )
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The Bittersweet Science 

The BAU team investigates a string of brutal bludgeonings in Philadelphia and is led to the city's boxing scene in search of the killer. Also, Hotch makes a connection with an attractive runner as they both train for a triathlon.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Cole
Ryan Hall
Dr. Raj Surna
Dr. Joanne Carlton (as Jill Alexander)
Lou Manzoni


The BAU is called to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where two men are violently bludgeoned to death within minutes of each other one evening near a hospital. The way the dead bodies are positioned shows that the unsub is remorseful about his act. They know that the unsub needs to be a physically strong man to be able to exact such killings on other physically strong men. Subsequent victims are found to be beaten solely by the unsub's hands, and that the unsub is no longer showing that remorse, which to the team indicates that he will probably strike again for his new pleasure of blood lust. The nature of the beatings also shows someone who is knowledgeable about fighting, such as a boxer. Hence the team digs into the world of the Philadelphia boxing scene trying to find some connection to the location of the dead body sites near the hospital. Meanwhile, Hotch contemplates going on his first date since Haley's death. Written by Huggo

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TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 December 2011 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Toward the timeline of the show: at one point, Reid mentions that Hotch has been widowed for 2 years, 19 days. See more »


When Jimmy is in the locker room before his big fight, he's wearing a grey sweatshirt and the hood is up, covering his head. He walks to the sink and leans forward, face down (the hood should stay on). Tony walks in, and when Jimmy turns to look at him, the hood is all the way off his head, even though he's still leaning over the sink. The camera cuts to Tony and then back to Jimmy again, and the hood is back on, all without Jimmy touching it. See more »


[first lines]
Tony Cole: [picks a phone up] What time is it?
Jimmy Hall: Late. Something happened. Not good, Tony.
Tony Cole: What? What's going on, Jimmy?
Jimmy Hall: After the fight, Ryan was bad.
Tony Cole: Ryan? What about Ryan?
Jimmy Hall: He felt sick, Tony. So I took him to the hospital, you know? People, they started screaming at me. They started yelling at me, Tony.
Tony Cole: About Ryan? Are they doing tests?
Jimmy Hall: Yeah, I think so. But see, when I went outside, the screaming, it didn't stop.
Tony Cole: Who was screaming?
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References Rocky Balboa (2006) See more »


Theme from Criminal Minds
Composed by Marc Fantini and Steffan Fantini
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User Reviews

Bittersweet indeed
20 February 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Season 7 of 'Criminal Minds' is very much a mixed bag, like most of the show from Season 6 onward (Seasons 6 and 9 being the most wildly variable seasons and the most underwhelming being Season 11).

There are great Season 7 episodes like "True Genius", "The Foundation", "Dorado Falls", "The Company" and "Self Fulfilling Prophecy", some good ones and a few in between mediocre and decent. Then there are lacking episodes like "I Love You Tommy Brown" and "There's No Place Like Home", and to a lesser extent "Closing Time". "The Bittersweet Science" is neither one of Season 7's best or worst, and is neither awful or great. Instead it's an above average episode where the team interaction delights and the case is lacking a little.

Visually, the production values are without complaint. It's very well shot and lit and is overall stylish, gritty, classy and atmospheric. The music is moody in the haunting and melancholic sense and fits well, without either enhancing or distracting from it. The direction keeps the momentum going but lets the case breathe, there are some humorous and thought-provoking moments and some horrifying ones.

Really loved the bond between the team and there are some delightful moments of character and interaction. It was lovely to see Hotch happy, while Rossi is both sassy and adorable and Reid and Garcia bring some welcome humour, with Reid's bicycle comment and his spouting of facts and statistics (only he can know how much time exactly has gone since the death of Haley) and Garcia making fun of the final 'Rocky' film and the stuff on the plane.

The acting is very good from all the regulars (Thomas Gibson being marvellous, with great charm and sensitivity, really selling it in his chemistry with Hatosy), with not a weak link. Shawn Hatosy is gut-wrenching and Charles S. Dutton is fantastic particularly in his last scenes.

However, there isn't enough profiling or case solving, with too much conclusion jumping and banter. The case has its moments, like in the powerful climactic parts and one does feel sorry for the unsub, but the suspense is diluted by too much unsub revealed too early and occasional extraneous moments like the eye-bleeding vision.

While the team interaction delights, there could have been more of Reid and Prentiss is practically background. The case is decent though with not enough spark.

On the whole, above average episode without being great while being a long way from awful. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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