As a favor owed, Rossi presents a lecture to a university undergraduate class, the lecture at which the entire team participates to support their respected colleague. Their presentation, ... See full summary »


(as Felix Alcala)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Grace Powell
Cyndi Martino ...
David Zimmerman
Kai Paynter ...
Bianca (as Kagiso Alicia Paynter)


As a favor owed, Rossi presents a lecture to a university undergraduate class, the lecture at which the entire team participates to support their respected colleague. Their presentation, which provides the basics of profiling, uses one of their cases as its centerpiece. The case, which so far spans twenty years since 1992, is of perhaps the most prolific serial killer they have ever tracked, he who killed up and down the west coast of the United States. The presentation makes the team not only reminisce about the case itself, but how the current team members first met each other and worked on this case. Through the process of preparing for, delivering and following-up on the lecture, Rossi is a little preoccupied on this specific day - his birthday - for the annual ritual he needs to attend to in relation to the case itself. Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

9 May 2012 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


When Rossi receives the call from the prison the woman on the other end of the call "from the prison" was actually Paget Brewster. You can tell if you listen a couple of times See more »


In the flashback to the 1997, the news reporters refer to the unsub as 'Womb Raider', a play on words of the movie 'Tomb Raider'. While the first 'Tomb Raider' film was not released until 2001, the first 'Tomb Raider' video game was released in 1996. See more »


[first lines]
Aaron Hotchner: Morning.
David Rossi: Oh, hey. Morning.
Aaron Hotchner: Everyone's gathered. We're all ready if you are.
David Rossi: Yeah, let's do it.
Aaron Hotchner: You need that?
David Rossi: Listen, Aaron. Thanks for letting me set this up, but the whole team really didn't need to be here. I'm the one that owed the favor.
Aaron Hotchner: Everyone insisted. How you doing?
David Rossi: Sorry, what?
Aaron Hotchner: You okay?
See more »


Referenced in Criminal Minds: Pariahville (2015) See more »


Theme from Criminal Minds
Composed by Marc Fantini and Steffan Fantini
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User Reviews

A unique 'Criminal Minds' episode and in a great way
2 April 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When on form, and even better at its best, 'Criminal Minds' is one of my most watched and most re-watched shows and is a personal favourite. It is nowhere near as good now, but there are still good to great episodes made every now and then when the show doesn't forget what it's about, but Seasons 1-5 was its prime period.

"Profiling 101" is one of the best episodes of Season 7 (a very hit and miss season, with some good episodes, plenty of in between ones and a few lacking ones), along with the likes of True Genius", "The Foundation" and "Dorado Falls". Not only is it the most unique episode of Season 7, with a beautiful concept, some of the richest profiling of a season prone to be lacking in it (or at least not to classic 'Criminal Minds' standards) and some terrific character development and interaction, but it was also one of the most unique episodes of the show in a good while.

My only complaints really are a slight lack of suspense and Rossi's frightful wig in the mortuary scene (not trying to be shallow but that was not a good look for him and was actually more frightening than a number of post-Season 6 unsubs). Garcia not knowing it was Rossi's birthday was also a bit odd, considering her role in the team. Otherwise, "Profiling 101" is a great episode, memorable for its uniqueness, how closely it recreated the essence of classic 'Criminal Minds' that is sadly lacking in too many Season 6 onwards episodes and the brilliant execution of that uniqueness.

Visually, the production values are without complaint. It's very well shot and lit and is overall stylish, gritty, classy and atmospheric. The music is moody in the haunting and melancholic sense and fits well, without either enhancing or distracting from it. The direction keeps the momentum going but lets the case breathe. The script throughout is thought-provoking, tightly structured and well-balanced, with a healthy balance of funny moments, touching moments, thoughtful moments and creepy moments.

Loved everything to do with the undergraduate criminology class, scenes that provoked thought and were incredibly entertaining, like the playful interaction between Rossi and the outspoken pupil. Likewise with how well integrated the whole team were, their roles in the profiling and the class were fresh and so much fun, like Reid and Garcia's response to the genius comment. The profiling was cohesive and the closest Season 7 came to evoking the classic profiling of 'Criminal Minds' in its prime, the reasoning and explanations were fascinating, and the flashbacks were beautifully staged, stylishly shot and added a lot rather than come over as gimmicky, interesting to see Hotch's younger self.

The case is a great one, often very disturbing (the unsub's "happy birthday" sends chills down the spine,) and also very poignant, advantaged by one of the season's creepiest and most interesting unsubs, whose twisted mind games and taunting with Rossi is an episode highlight. The episode is Rossi-centric, and sees some of the richest and most subtle character development he has ever been given (big praise for one of the show's best characters) beautifully done.

Acting is very good, Joe Mantegna's acting here in particular is a pure masterclass in complex subtlety. Matthew Gray Gubler does wonders with material that he can easily sink his teeth into and Adam Nelson is chilling as Yates.

Overall, unique episode and a great one. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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