Criminal Minds (2005– )
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A boy named Angel is found wandering in the desert, and when another boy turns up missing, the BAU searches for the kidnapper.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Nelson
Emma Nelson
Richard Henderson


A Latino boy, somewhere in his early to mid teens, is found wandering in the middle of the desert outside of Crawford, Arizona. He had obviously escaped from some sort of extended captivity, as he has ankle chain scars, is extremely emaciated from lack of nourishment, light and mobility, and he has cuts on the bottom of his feet from running through the nearby cactus field. Getting any information from him or examining him proves to be difficult as he has an extreme case of conditioned emotional response, which is resulting in him hiding in the dark, not speaking and not wanting any human contact. An emotional Morgan uses information from his own troubled background to try and get through to the boy. There is some sense of urgency to the case as Billy Henderson, an overly cautious boy from a stable family, has just gone missing from his home in nearby Flagstaff and is presumed the unsub's latest victim. Meanwhile, the emaciated boy's story played on the local news brings up a thirty ... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

4 April 2012 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


There is no Crawford, Arizona, but Flagstaff is a real city in northern Arizona. See more »


Emily Prentiss: [voiceover] Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin -Barbara Kingsolver
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Written by Matt Drenik
Performed by Matt Drenik (as Battleme)
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User Reviews

This was a late season 'Criminal Minds' episode?
31 October 2016 | by See all my reviews

This was a (very pleasant) shock and remarkable. While there are some great episodes from the latter seasons, the show did become particularly hit and miss from Season 6 onwards and too many of the episodes (especially the worst of Seasons 9 and 11) seemed to forget what made 'Criminal Minds' so great in the first place.

"Foundation" didn't feel like a (relatively) late 'Criminal Minds' episode, and is up there with the best of them. It actually feels more like an episode from Season 2-5, which is a huge compliment. The case itself is refreshingly complex for a late episode, without being too convoluted or certainly not falling into the trap of being incoherent with enough explanation given to everything, which was remarkable for so much packed in.

Not only is there great tension and suspense, but the storytelling is both disturbing and emotionally devastating, which is helped by that the subject matter is equally horrifying. Also found the true identity of the unsub a complete shock, didn't see it coming in a million years, definitely has to be up there with the show's most shockingly unexpected reveals. Profiling is plenty and it's intelligently done and serves a point.

Love the team dynamic between the team and how well the personalities are fleshed out. Morgan's chemistry with Angel and his empathy for the situation is particularly well done, without it becoming too personal. Prentiss' rapport with the daughter was touching and sympathetic. The conversation between Reid and Hotch is great. Garcia is much closer to the mature and ray of sunshine character of the earlier seasons (bringing welcome humour to a dark case expertly interwoven) instead of the annoying caricatures of too many episodes of the latter seasons. And the ending with the team is how to do team bonding correctly.

Production values as always are very high, and the music is haunting and melancholic. The script is intelligent and thought-provoking. The acting is very good from all the leads (though would have liked to have seen more Reid, though at least he's present) while Jonathan Castellanos gives one of the show's best child performances as Angel, up there with the child performances in "The Big Wheel" and "Coda".

Overall, so good that it is hard to fathom that it is a latter season episode. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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