The team pursues a surgeon performing needless amputations.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Nelson
Linda Nelson
Tony Anders
Carl Timmons
Doug Smith
Ben Hughes
Donna Sullivan
Detective Gonzalez


The team is called to work on a case on the Mexico border, where two otherwise previously healthy men were found with their right leg amputated. One man did not survive the "operation" while the second, college student Tony Anders, only remembers bits and pieces in what he previously thought was a nightmare. The nature of both amputations show the team that the unsub has some knowledge of anatomy, but it is unclear if the unsub is/was a medical doctor. But when a third victim stumbles into a hospital, the team has a slightly clearer picture of the unsub's motives: he is trying to do live leg transplants, which is medically impossible, leading the team to believe the unsub has a God complex. They have to figure out how he is choosing his victims, and the reason he is trying to perfect this operation before they can find him himself. A secret relationship of Reid's provides a little assistance on the case, at the risk of the team discovering this relationship Reid wants kept secret and ... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

24 October 2012 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


This episode marks the first appearance of both Ray Wise and Matthew Gray Gubler. The two later appeared together in Suburban Gothic (2014). See more »


Bobby says when Maeve made the reservation at the restaurant he showed up too. Only Maeve didn't make the reservation, Reid did. See more »


Dr. Spencer Reid: This unsub stitched the skin flap so tightly over Tony's stump that it didn't allow for proper blood flow and lead to gangrene. He's not a surgeon!
Derek Morgan: Then, what is he?
Dr. Spencer Reid: A butcher!
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User Reviews

Very good and often great
6 August 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Not only does this reviewer think that "God Complex" is one of the better episodes from Season 8, but that it is the best Season 8 episode up to that point of the season. Much improved over one of the show's weakest episodes "Through the Looking Glass".

Sure it isn't quite flawless, with the second half not being as good as the first. It is still tense and suspenseful, but is also a little rushed and not quite as developed or fully explained as it could have been, with the unsub's motivation not quite making sense. Other than that "God Complex" is very good and often great.

Reid's subplot does take up a good deal of the episode, and maybe there is a touch too much of it, but it doesn't feel too drawn out and it actually serves a point to the story because it helps solve the case and why the crimes are happening. It also saw some great development on Reid. The mystery woman, later revealed in the season as Maeve, hasn't always been the most interesting of characters, but she isn't a problem here and neither is Beth Riesgraf's performance.

Also like Blake much more than her previous few episodes. Previously, she came over as a cold and disconnected character who didn't gel with the team, if not as badly as Kate and Tara (Blake at least had moments where one warms to her, the other two never got going). In "God Complex" she has a fair few shining moments, especially her chemistry with Reid which sees her calling him out and then respecting his wishes. She also shines in her interaction with the inmate with a brilliant final remark.

"God Complex" is a very well made episode, made with class, atmosphere and style, while the music is haunting and melancholic. As with when 'Criminal Minds' was good or at its best, the writing is intelligent, taut and thought-provoking and the story is mostly very tense and suspenseful with an opening scene that was like a shocking horror film. The characters are good, with a great dynamic within the team and the unsub is one of the stronger and more memorable ones of the season.

The acting is very good, with Matthew Gray Gubler standing out especially of the regulars, natural as he is the character that is the main focal point of the team. Ray Wise is simply awesome here, love the love he had for his wife (who is very movingly and charmingly played) and even better is the spine-chilling creepiness.

On the whole, very good episode and often great. The best episode of the season up to that point, and one of the better ones of the season as well. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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