The team searches for a missing school bus filled with students in Washington, DC.



(created by), (as Kimberly Ann Harrison) | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Moore
Josh Moore
Addyson Jones
Detective Wiliam Richards (as Reggie Hayes)
Sean Parker
Wendy Campbell


In the Washington DC area, a school bus transporting twenty-four high school students home after school is commandeered. The GPS on the bus is disabled, meaning that the bus disappears without a trace along with all its passengers, which not only includes the students, but also the driver, Roy Webster, and the bus monitor, Carol Roberts. Cell phone calls to the students are unanswered. The bus and the cell phones are eventually found, but the twenty-six are nowhere to be found. Initially the BAU believes the abduction has something to do with a previous altercation between Webster and the students, which resulted in the need for the bus monitor. However as the BAU gathers evidence on the case, Rossi notices that much of that evidence is remarkably similar to a video game called Gods of Combat, pointing to the suspicion that the unsubs are extreme gamers who are turning their love of the game into reality. So the team delves into the psyche of gamers and the codes by which they live in... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

21 November 2012 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


This episode features Devon Werkheiser, the star of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. The episode before this one, The Fallen, featured Meshach Taylor, whom was featured as a cast member of Ned's Declassified. See more »


3 people died- Trent, the one brother, and the pawn, but we only see the coroners bring the bodies of Trent and the brother out, and only these 2 are mentioned to be dead. See more »


David Rossi: Abducting a bus, a form of transportation, gas masks, shock collars. Dividing people into teams. This sounds a lot like, "Gods of Combat." This is a video game.
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User Reviews

Loved the BAU interaction, really disliked the case
27 November 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The premise for "The Wheels on the Bus" seemed intriguing and had the makings of a good episode if executed well. Unfortunately, it wasn't executed well and the episode ended up being one of the worst episodes of Season 8 along with "Magnificent Light" (the weakest), "Through the Looking Glass" and "The Replicator".

As always the production values are excellent, gritty, classy and stylish with an effective sense of claustrophobia and dread. The music conveys the right amount of moody atmosphere. The acting from the leads is very good, especially Joe Mantegna who bags all the best lines.

"The Wheels on the Bus" works best in the scenes with the BAU, and there are some lovely moments with them that one wishes there was more. The only let-downs being the underuse of Reid and the rather cold personality of Blake. Nicholas Brendan however makes a welcome return, and his chemistry with Garcia brings some heart though occasionally feeling forced and unnecessary. Also loved the exchange when it is realised that the unsubs are replicating a video game (though it did happen out of the blue and was for a while just a theory with no tangible proof) and the very sweet conversation between Rossi and Garcia about Scotch.

On the other hand, the case didn't do much for me. It could have been really creepy and suspenseful, but ended up being rather goofy and illogical with some of the actions of the hostages often being called into question even for the concept. This was not helped by the stupid decision-making and indifferent attitudes of some of the hostages, only from a couple was there a sense of terror and desperation for survival, or the rather half-hearted game set-up. Didn't find the unsubs particularly interesting or menacing and equally didn't buy their reason for the crimes (going against proved evidence), in fact they were pretty hammy with some cringe-worthy dialogue and the acting from both was nothing to write home about.

Storytelling is a bit slow and the transitions from the scenes with the team to the scenes with the unsubs very disjointed. Too much of the script, apart from some nice moments, is too much of a second draft, while there is too much unsub-and-scenes-with-victims heavy (another major problem with why the story didn't work) and with not enough of the BAU and the profiling, some of the case being solved through conclusion jumping.

All in all, nice BAU interaction but the case didn't do anything for me. 4/10 Bethany Cox

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