When an Oregon woman is found dead in an abandoned asylum, the BAU realizes that the victim is part of a series of gothic, ritualistic murders and the suspect might be a Satanist.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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James Heathridge
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Lara Heathridge
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Detective Gassner
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Catherine Heathridge
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Dr. Bonds
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Louis Sills
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Sarah Gammon
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Alice Pritchard

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Storyline

Seventeen days after she goes missing, thirty-eight year old Emma Baker, a Medford, Oregon math teacher, is found dead two hundred miles away in Salem in St. Baldwin's Psychiatric Hospital, an abandoned institution where the criminally insane were housed. She was bound to a hospital bed, dressed in Renaissance type clothing, and her face was powdered white. The autopsy reveals that she died of nicotine poisoning, the substance which was absorbed through her skin from her dress being soaked in a nicotine-based liquid. The autopsy also shows that her legs were submerged in water for a long period of time prior to death. At the site, Emily finds a list of women's names, including "Emma", next to what numbers which Reid determines have some Satanic connection. When a second victim is discovered - one of the names on the list - the body site leads the team to believing there is a connection between the Renaissance costuming and a nearby theater company performing Shakespeare. They have to ... Written by Huggo

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4 April 2012 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The house used for Heathridge Manor is a location Matthew Gray Gubler previously scouted for Criminal Minds: Mosley Lane (2010), the first episode he directed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Catherine Heathridge: [reads a book to James] And so, the white knight opened the door and saw more gold and jewels than he could ever imagine. The wizard said, 'Give me the princess and you shall have all the riches in the world.' The white knight gazed upon the wizard and saw it was the Devil, who had already banished the villagers' wives. I said, 'Give me the princess.' 'Never,' he cried, and slayed the Devil with his spear.
[looks at the people coming in]
Catherine Heathridge: Look after your sister.
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Soundtracks

"Smoke Gets In Your Eyes:
Composed by Otto A. Harbach and Jerome Kern
Performed by The Platters
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User Reviews

 
'Criminal Minds' ups the creepiness to the maximum
30 October 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Matthew Gray Gubler has always been one of my favourite 'Criminal Minds' directors. His episodes are some of the most visually atmospheric and stunning in 'Criminal Minds' history and at least three of them are among the creepiest in the show too.

"Heathridge Manor" is one of his better episodes in general, and one of the better, most atmospheric and most memorable episodes of the seventh season. It is not as good as the eerie and also poignant "Mosley Lane", one of the top 5 best episodes of Season 5, and especially the terrifying "Mr Scratch", for me the best episode of Season 10 and one of the show's best in recent years.

It is not perfect. The incestuous overtones do give off an uncomfortably weird vibe and felt very misplaced against the rest of the episode's content, unnecessary and like it didn't belong. Do realise that it was to add to already the unsub's already unsettling character, but he was that much already without it.

Also felt that there could have been more profiling. There was some and it was interesting, but not enough so the team didn't feel as utilised as they ought to have been. Plus they were reasonably clueless here in not realising the quite obvious connection to solve the case until quite far in and having the profile so far off with some jumping to conclusions accurately (as seen later) but without base. It felt somewhat too convenient for it to be solved by Reid, and even he could have solved it much better than he did.

Gubler however does an exceptional job directing, not just visually but also with the atmosphere and the quality of the storytelling. "Heathridge Manor" is one of the best-looking 'Criminal Minds' episodes to me, not just the splendidly Gothic and audacious production design but also the unsettlingly dark use of lighting and colours and clever and eye-catching photography. "Heathridge Manor" is also one of Gubler's creepier episodes, the creepiness, spookiness and eerie factors are upped up so much to the maximum that nightmares are guaranteed, the psychotic mother Catherine and her equally deranged son James only accentuating. Actually felt rather sorry for Lara.

Use of music is very effective, it is very haunting and grandiose but it doesn't feel too intrusive or melodramatic. The script is suspenseful and thought-provoking, with wonderfully twisted storybook-like dialogue between Catherine and James and Garcia bringing some welcome (and expertly interwoven) light-hearted levity to the episode, the highlight being "and it's not just a bunch of nerds in costumes eating turkey legs, you guys". The storytelling is not flawless, definitely could have done without the incestuous overtones and the team have solved cases far better than how they did here, but much of it is impeccable, especially with how much atmosphere is created and executed so effectively, of Season 7 "Heathridge Manor" is the most frightening and most suspenseful (which it also excels brilliantly at) by far.

Too much of the unsubs has also been a complaint in criticising this episode, but if the unsubs are interesting, the atmosphere is well done and the story always intriguing to an episode that's more, and deliberately so, a how-and-why-dunnit rather than a whodunit it doesn't seem a problem. Much of Season 11 failed in this regard because too many of the episodes failed to achieve those three things. "Heathridge Manor" more than succeeds at them, so the too much unsub flaw, while it easily could have been, wasn't an issue. Love the team dynamic still, and the chemistry between the Heathridge family is unnervingly twisted.

Acting is also very good as usual, Gubler also shines in his acting as Reid (not a surprise as he and the character have always been high-points of the show), Robert Englund is also great value and all three of the Heathridges are very well played especially Juliet Landau, terrifyingly psychotic as Catherine. Kyle Gallner is also sinister and Madeleine Martin plays a tormented character intensely but also movingly.

In conclusion, creepiness upped to the maximum, another winner from Gubler and despite a few faults it is one of Season 7's better episodes and one of the show's creepiest. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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