The team tracks an escaped inmate who sews his victims mouths shut.

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US Marshal John Tilghman
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John Myers
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Kevin Jenson
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Dr. Janine Ainsworth
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Danny Tucker
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Laura Tucker
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Mitch Gregory
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Storyline

The vacancy on the team due to Prentiss' departure is filled by agent and university linguistics professor Alex Blake, whose arrival affects Garcia and Strauss the most but for different reasons. The first case with this entire new team takes them to Abilene, Texas where Don Dell, a life sentence prisoner, escaped when, during his transfer to a hospital, an accident occurred. The driver and EMT died in the accident, and Don killed the guard, in the process sewing his mouth shut, which is a signature of a past killer never caught coined the Silencer. The last of the Silencer's three murders, all of middle aged brunette working class women and all which were committed in the middle of the night, occurred in 2004, when Don was incarcerated. During his entire incarceration, he never spoke a word. The team is pretty sure he is the Silencer and not a copycat. They have to figure out why silence is a key to his life, and decipher the cryptic messages he is leaving behind in the hopes of ... Written by Huggo

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TV-14 | See all certifications »
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26 September 2012 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First episode to feature Jeanne Tripplehorn as Alex Blake. See more »

Goofs

The team deduces that the Cochlear implant that John Meyers received as a child is like having the volume turned up to 11 all the time. Even though it was an experimental device at the time, it is still electronic and requires a battery. The battery would have died decades ago. See more »

Quotes

Jennifer Jareau: So how does eight years locked up change someone?
David Rossi: It takes away their voice.
Jennifer Jareau: Doesn't take away their rage, it only makes it worse.
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Connections

References This Is Spinal Tap (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not bad, but for a season opener it was disappointing
2 August 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

'Criminal Minds' at its best was and still is one of my favourites. "The Silencer" is nowhere near one of the best episodes, but there has been far worse (especially from the misfires from Season 11), and this is including from Season 8.

"The Silencer's" biggest issue is the character of Alex Blake. Admittedly she is one of the better Prentiss replacements (at least she's not as dull or out of place as Callaghan or Lewis) and the chemistry between her and Reid is enjoyable as is her tension with Strauss (who is as cold and uninteresting as ever). However she generally doesn't fit with the rest of the team, her personality at this point of her two season stint is not easy to be engaged in and she just seems disconnected with everything around her. Jeanne Tripplehorn does her best with what she has, which is not much.

What's more, that there is too much prominence on her hurts the episode, especially when it means that there is not enough of some of the BAU. For example Garcia is still a ray of sunshine when she appears but she is underused, but worse Rossi who is practically invisible. The case itself also evoked a mixed reaction. There are some tense and suspenseful moments, with a very well staged crash and escape scene that saw everybody doing wonders with a small space, but the unsub's story does feel second fiddle to the introduction of Blake which makes for some draggy stretches and parts that could have been explored a touch more. It is a shame because it is a pretty good and atmospheric case that should have been better balanced out and the unsub is both creepy and one that one feels sorry for.

Production values however are very high, with the usual atmospheric stylishness and audaciousness, while the music is haunting and melancholic. The dialogue is thought-provoking and mostly tight, with a nice dynamic between the BAU team, while the direction is as solid as ever and there are some great moments with the story that one wishes that that quality was contained consistently, as well as some terrific use of profiling and procedural aspects (always a huge part of the appeal of 'Criminal Minds'). There is some very effective fore-shadowing of the season's on-going story arc towards the end, which makes one sad that such potential fizzled out so badly at the end of the season.

Acting is very good from all the regular cast members, and the unsub is chillingly and poignantly played.

In summary, a somewhat disappointing season opener but not a bad episode. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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