Criminal Minds (2005– )
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Unfinished Business 

"Unfinished Business" is an episode of Criminal Minds starring Mandy Patinkin, Thomas Gibson, and Lola Glaudini. When a serial killer reappears, the team works with a retired BAU agent who just published a book about the perpetrator.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Jason Gideon
... Aaron Hotchner
... Elle Greenaway
... Derek Morgan
... Dr. Spencer Reid
... Jennifer Jareau
... Penelope Garcia
... Max Ryan
... Walter Kern
... Det. Santangelo
... Scott Harbin
Jeanie Hackett ... Anne Kern
... Sylvia Gooden
... Male Reporter
... SWAT Leader (as Robert Manning Jr.)


Retired BAU profiler Max Ryan is on a book tour, his book on the Keystone Killer, an unsolved case on which he worked twenty years earlier. The Keystone Killer murdered seven women in Philadelphia over a two year period, he communicating with the media through clues to murder details hidden in word search puzzles. Eighteen years ago, the murders just stopped. Ryan believes the Keystone Killer is still loose and perhaps active. Ryan currently lives in Philadelphia, he who is still working on the case unofficially. While on a tour stop in Washington, D.C., one at which Gideon attends, the Keystone Killer is also there, he who leaves a message for Ryan including two drivers licenses, one of his last known victim, and the other of another woman named Carla Bromwell, who had since been found dead. Bromwell's death is atypical to the other seven in many ways, the BAU thinking that the Keystone Killer may be devolving as a killer. Ryan inserts himself into the case. The BAU welcome his ... Written by Huggo

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TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 March 2006 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Loosely based on both Dennis Rader, the B.T.K. serial killer from Wichita; and the Zodiac killer, who sent letters to a news station telling them about his latest crimes. See more »


In the opening scene (after the credits), Elle's hair is in bangs. In the scene where they discuss the killer using zip ties instead of ropes her bangs have suddenly grown in. See more »


Dr. Spencer Reid: Accidents? In America someone is involved in a car accident once every 10 seconds!
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I Don't Wanna Know
written by Sheryl Crow & Jeff Trott
performed by Sheryl Crow
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User Reviews

Even with a rather familiar idea, "Unfinished Business" is still an extremely good episode
15 October 2016 | by See all my reviews

While there are better episodes in Season 1, such as "The Fox", "Plain Sight", "Compulsion", "Charm and Harm" and "Riding the Lightning" (in a season where the only less than mediocre episode was "Machismo"), "Unfinished Business" is nonetheless an extremely good episode.

"Unfinished Business" very easily could not have been as good as it was. The basic idea of a serial killer resurfacing again after a long period of time is very familiar territory, meaning that the episode faced the danger of being tired, routine and predictable. While the idea has been done better elsewhere, it is done surprisingly well here (as does most of the 'Criminal Minds' episodes, yes this is not the only episode in the show with this concept, exploring this concept, especially Season 4's "Omnivore").

However, "Unfinished Business", while not doing much new, has enough twists and turns to stop it from predictable and has enough tension and suspense to keep it from being tired, especially in a quite hair-raising climax. The interplay between the team and the welcome supporting addition of Max Ryan also helps keeping things fresh, and the identity of the unsub is one of Season 1's most unforeseen or shocking, reminding that seemingly normal people are not what they seen which is what makes the unsub particularly chilling here.

My only problem here actually is Elle. Never have been her biggest fan (and that's putting it mildly), and while seeing her more developed than usual was appreciated she is still annoying (especially with her getting cranky over trivial things and being reminded too many times of it throughout the episode) and played with not much personality. The rest of the team are very interesting, with nobody dominating too much or feeling too much in the background, so the interaction and dynamic does feel more balanced.

Production values as ever are very high in quality, while the music is haunting without being melodramatic, the direction is solid and the script-writing tight and thought-provoking. The acting is very good, lead and supporting.

All in all, extremely good episode that does a surprisingly great job making such a familiar idea feel much less stale than it had potential to be. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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