Criminal Minds (2005– )
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What Fresh Hell? 

The team must determine whether an abducted girl is the pawn in a bitter divorce, or something more sinister has happened.



(created by), (as Judith McCreary) | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Elle Greenaway
Donald Curtis
Martin Jones
Katie Cecil ...
Billie Copeland


The team hears that eleven year-old Billie Copeland is abducted from the playground where her mother coached. This occurred sometime after a man was seen around with a leash, asking for help to search for his dog Candy. First the teams suspects her only six months divorced, father William, who turns up nearly 24 hours later with his cell phone turned off. He was discretely in oncology, for terminal lymph cancer, and single-handedly attacks a local Internet-filed sex offender, but that man never attacked children. A girls body is dragged from the river, but this is an unrelated event. Then a neighbor reports Donald Curtis, same age, car, even a recently deceased Labrador named Candy and extensive porn, but no trace of Billie. Written by KGF Vissers

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TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 January 2006 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


At the end of this episode the camera pans over the photos of Gideon's "survivors" (the people he helped rescue) and the second to last photo is of Josh Patel, the drunk passenger aboard the train that was hijacked in Criminal Minds: Derailed (2005) See more »


When Garcia walks into her office she takes with her a bouquet of flowers and places them on a table to the right of her desk and sits down to use the computer. After using the computer she then walks to the back of her office picks up the same bouquet of flowers from a table and then again places them on the table to the right of her desk. See more »


Penelope Garcia: Penelope Gracia's house of "How May I Save Your Ass Today?"
Derek Morgan: You can give me sex offenders registry for Wilmington, Delaware
Penelope Garcia: Ah, that's always a fun group!
See more »


When the Music's Not Forgotten
Written by Steven Collins
Performed by Dead Man
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User Reviews

Had the danger of being routine and bland, ended up being one of the season's better episodes
18 September 2016 | by See all my reviews

Not one of the best of the entire show, and just falls short of being outstanding. However, out of the episodes between "The Fox" and "Riding the Lightning" where the quality slumped and some cases became bland, dull and routine, "What Fresh Hell" is the best one.

It isn't perfect by all means, although 'Criminal Minds' generally is a personal favourite there are not many episodes admittedly that are virtually flawless. Gideon's manner of getting into the house at the end has been criticised by fans, and personally do have to agree that it was rather over-the-top for him. Also Elle's lack of personality is continuing to annoy me, and Lola Glaudini plays her too much of a cold fish devoid of much emotion.

What to me though was good about "What Fresh Hell" was how it took a basic and very done-to-death plot (by crime-mystery standards), and made an episode out of it that was edge-of-your-seat, intense and moving, allowing one to really feel several emotions about the situation, which is every parent's worst nightmare, while watching. Some of the episodes in the first season, especially in the slump between "The Fox" and "Riding the Lightning" (for example "The Popular Kids" should have been a much more interesting case than it actually was), suffered from pacing issues and twists and unsub identities that can be smelt from ages away. "What Fresh Hell" had none of those problems.

Really loved what was done with the supporting characters, especially the parents. The episode has been criticised for too much soap opera-like issues but to me they added so much to giving the story depth as well as making the parents interesting and easy to feel for, personally they are among the most interesting and most well-developed parents on the show especially in episodes tackling this kind of story. These plot-lines were balanced very well with the mystery, which contains classic 'Criminal Minds' profiling, and tension and emotional impact are palpable.

Production values are still stylish and atmospheric, and the music is haunting and adds a good deal to scenes if not quite enhancing/inhabiting it (never is it distracting either). The writing is tight, with a well-developed Gideon and considering the subject matter keeping humour at minimum to nothing was a good, wise decision which would have run the risk of jarring if included. The direction is also solid, while all the acting, from leads and supporting, is fine, Mandy Patinkin dominating.

Overall, should have been routine and bland but while not one of the show's overall best it is one of the better, and perhaps underrated, episodes of the first season. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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