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



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
US Marshal John Tilghman
John Myers
Kevin Jenson
Dr. Janine Ainsworth
Danny Tucker
Laura Tucker
Mitch Gregory


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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Release Date:

26 September 2012 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


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


Blake says that the fact that the unsub knows IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) is "proof" that he can hear. The word "proof" is too strong an assertion, and a scholar with as many academic credentials as Blake has would not use it in this fashion. Knowledge of IPA only proves knowledge of IPA (although it is a strong indicator of knowledge of speech sounds) - "proof" that an individual can hear in the absence of any behavioral indicators usually has to be done with some sort of neurological other audiological testing that is not dependent on behavioral measures. See more »


Erin Strauss: Agent Blake. I owe you an explanation. I know that you may not believe this, but the part of my job that I dislike the most is politics. When you were blamed for arresting the wrong suspect in the Marathox case, I didn't stand up for you. I let you take the fall.
Alex Blake: No, no. You cut my rope. It was the highest-profile case we'd seen that year. All eyes were on me. It took a decade to recover.
Erin Strauss: But I can assure you that your reputation in the bureau remained intact.
Alex Blake: It sounds like you've convinced ...
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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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