The BAU is called to Houston, Texas when a past masked serial rapist coined the Piano Man - so named because of the piano wire he used to bind his victims - starts to re-offend, with his ... See full summary »

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Diana Mitchell
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Herman Scobie
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Dr. William Shaw
John Knox ...
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Storyline

The BAU is called to Houston, Texas when a past masked serial rapist coined the Piano Man - so named because of the piano wire he used to bind his victims - starts to re-offend, with his targets being his past victims. His crimes have since evolved where one of the victims, Vanessa Campbell, is abducted from her home - something the unsub had never done before - which they believe is meant to show his victims that they are safe nowhere from his clutches. He used drugs mimicking a date rape drug to knock the victims unconscious before committing his rapes. With news of the new offenses hitting the media, many of the Piano Man's past victims resurface, telling that they were indeed victimized recently by him again. Most of the women tell similar stories of the second rape - being hyper-vigilant about never leaving their drinking glass unattended, and now having a 1980's pop piano ballad being a trigger to horrific memories of that rape - while one, Diana Mitchell, tells a completely ... Written by Huggo

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TV-14 | See all certifications »
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25 January 2012 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Four characters (Herman Scobie, Hamilton Bartholemew, Peter Joshua, and Regina Lampert) share the same names as characters in the 1963 movie Charade (1963), which starred Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of this episode (7.12), when getting information on the identity of the "piano man", Agent Hotchner refers to Penelope Garcia by her actress' first name "Kirsten". See more »

Quotes

Aaron Hotchner: [quotes the evaluation report] Patient shows no hesitation tackling difficult goals as part of reintegrating into her life. She has reached out to her mother.
Emily Prentiss: I'm going to.
Aaron Hotchner: And has started a romantic relationship with a man named Sergio. Now, I don't care if you lie to your therapist. All I care about is how your behavior affects your job.
Emily Prentiss: I don't think it has.
Aaron Hotchner: You've been over-compensating.
Emily Prentiss: How have I...
Aaron Hotchner: You rushed to repair your relationship with Morgan. You've become an emotional sounding ...
[...]
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Connections

References Charade (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Making Love Out of Nothing at All
Written by Jim Steinman
Performed by Air Supply
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Perhaps the most unique episode of Season 7
31 October 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Season 7 of 'Criminal Minds' has been a mixed bag. There are outstanding episodes like "Foundation", which is one of the best late season episodes, with the creepy "Proof" and "Heathridge Manor" also having many great merits.

On the other hand, there are a few clunkers in the season, such as "I Love You Tommy Brown" and "There's No Place Like Home". "Unknown Subject" is not quite outstanding but it's a long way from being one of the clunkers. For 'Criminal Minds', "Unknown Subject" is a pretty unique episode, with the viewer not knowing the identity of the villain and also the victim until late into the episode and the victim taking revenge on the villain, which is a neat change and am struggling to think of an episode before that does this. No other episode has included the importance of piano ballads either.

'Criminal Minds' has made many attempts at trying something different, and effectiveness has varied wildly. "Unknown Subject" is one of the more successful attempts, executing an already intriguing story with many twists and turns and with a great atmosphere, along with doing things rarely done before and doing them neatly. Especially when compared to "There's No Place Like Home" from the same season, which also tried a change of pace but the results just came off strange and ridiculous.

Not everything works. The biggest and only real disappointment is that there isn't enough of the team dynamic or the little character moments within the team that are such a large part of the show's appeal, and characters feel underused or side-lined like Rossi (barely remember his contribution to the episode), Morgan and Reid. Generally Season 7 did rush Prentiss' returning to work, the team's initial reactions and how she's dealt with it, but "Unknown Subject" provided closure in a way and satisfyingly and it's actually made clear in the writing and Paget Brewster's acting that she was and is haunted by the trauma. Loved the scene between her and Hotch, but was a little turned off by her at times uncharacteristic lack of professionalism (such as disclosing very personal details with the rape victim).

However, the episode looks great, and the music especially the melancholic use of the piano is hauntingly atmospheric. The script is tight and thought-provoking with some intriguing profiling, and the story is intriguingly told, with neat twists and turns and good suspense and emotional impact. The acting is very good, with Paget Brewster particularly noteworthy of the lead performances while Dina Meyer gives one of the season's finest supporting turns as a character that despite her vengeful side is very easy to sympathise with and we understand her actions, especially with a villain as repellent as the one here.

All in all, maybe not the best episode of Season 7 but the most different episode of the season ("Heathridge Manor" is also unique in its creepiness, but "Unknown Subject" had more of what had not been done before on the show) and an example of different being done well. For me, it's one of the season's better-faring episodes though with some reservations. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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