Criminal Minds (2005– )
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A Thin Line 

The BAU team investigates a series of brutal home invasions and murders in California's Inland Empire that appear to be gang-related, but their investigation may uncover a more sinister motivation.


(as Michael Watkins)


(created by), | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Trevor Mills
Bianca Taylor ...
Sophia Underwood
Hilary Ross
Floyd Foster Jr. ...
Trisha Lewis
Matt Lewis
Mackenzie Lewis


The BAU is called to San Bernardino, California where two home invasions have occurred within four days of each other, the two taking place within one block of each other. In both cases, the homes belonged to Caucasian families, in both cases the father had a gun and weapons training, and in both cases all family members were killed, all by gunshot. At each scene was also one deceased member from among the intruders, both black males. While one of those black deceased was known to be involved in gang activity, the other was seemingly a hard working model citizen, who was working two jobs to put himself through school. As well, both deceased black males had massive doses of oxycodone in their system. These murders are being used as political fodder within the current San Bernardino mayoral race, with Caucasian candidate Clark Preston using inflammatory wording to describe the ensuing race wars from these home invasions between the whites and "the browns". The BAU have to figure out if ... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

22 February 2012 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Intramuscular injection of oxycodone would take at least 30 minutes to 1 hour to reach maximum concentration in the blood. The dose required to stab the Hispanic victim, Pedro Mendez, would have to theoretically be such a large dose (assuming someone properly extracted the maximum amount of drug from the type of high dose Oxycontin available at the time, perhaps 2-3 80mg tablets) to cause immediate unconsciousness in the victim that said victim would likely be dead from overdose in an opioid naive person. This part of the plot is scientifically improbable. See more »


[last lines]
Derek Morgan: How you doing?
Emily Prentiss: I'm all right.
Derek Morgan: Emily, I'm so sorry.
Emily Prentiss: "Out there in the field, 'sorry' doesn't bring people back."
Emily Prentiss: Come on, I'm messing with you. It's nothing, really.
Emily Prentiss: I'm okay. This isn't your fault.
Derek Morgan: Actually, it is.
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Criminal Minds Theme
Composed by Mark Mancina
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User Reviews

The terrors of manipulation
26 March 2017 | by See all my reviews

When on form, and even better at its best, 'Criminal Minds' is one of my most watched and most re-watched shows and is a personal favourite. It is nowhere near as good now, but there are still good to great episodes made every now and then when the show doesn't forget what it's about, but Seasons 1-5 was its prime period.

"A Thin Line" is not Season 7 at its best, nor at its worst. Instead it is a comfortable middling episode, with enough intriguing moments that makes up for a heavy-handedness. As far as Season 7 goes, "A Thin Line" is much better than "Closing Time", "Divining Rod" (and especially), "I Love You Tommy Brown" and "There's No Place Like Home", but at the same time is not among the best episodes of the season like "True Genius", "The Foundation", "Dorado Falls", "The Company" and "Self Fulfilling Prophecy".

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. Some of the script is thought-provoking, tautly written and tightly structured.

The storytelling here does have its intrigue, the case is a shocking one and quite suspenseful with nothing being what it seems. The team interaction is great and they work well as a team, with Prentiss and Morgan having some lovely moments like Prentiss calling Morgan out regarding the trainee and some of their dialogue at the end was heartfelt. The character of bigoted jackass Clark Preston is juicy and easily hateable, with enough oily menace by Paul Johansson to stop him from being too much of a cartoon despite the lack of subtlety. The unsub is one whose actions one cannot possibly condone, but one feels awful for him too especially once it's revealed why.

Cannot fault the acting as usual, whether it's lead or supporting everybody does a great job here.

However, "A Thin Line" was also rather heavy-handed in places, there were a few forced moments like elements of the unsub's backstory and Prentiss joking about her ordeal (just didn't seem right that someone would be like that with something so serious), a general lack of subtlety with Preston's writing and parts where it's glaring in sacrifice of plausibility.

Was mixed regarding Morgan. One is with him every step of the way in his disdain for Preston and one admires his restraint in a situation where many people in his shoes would have had their buttons properly pushed. However, he came over as an unprofessional jerk with the trainees with his tough love attitude being far too over-the-top, when one compares that with other episodes where he features heavily it is a real turn off.

Even though most of the story and writing are intriguing and thought-provoking, it does try too hard on top of the heavy-handedness to make one digest too many stereotypes (which is almost kitchen-sink-like) in a short space of time and it occasionally gets convoluted as a result of cramming in too many explanations again in a short space of time.

Overall, an above average episode but not a great one. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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