Criminal Minds (2005– )
16 user

Riding the Lightning 

The team of investigators interview husband and wife serial killers with their execution date set for two days time.


Chris Long


Jeff Davis (created by), Simon Mirren | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mandy Patinkin ... Jason Gideon
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
Lola Glaudini ... Elle Greenaway
Shemar Moore ... Derek Morgan
Matthew Gray Gubler ... Dr. Spencer Reid
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Jeannetta Arnette ... Sarah Jean Dawes
Michael Massee ... Jacob Dawes
Roger Aaron Brown ... Warden Charles Diehl
Michael B. Silver ... Sam Shapiro
Constance Towers ... Deb Mason
David A. Kimball ... Frank Sheffield
Cher Calvin Cher Calvin ... Lara Sedgwick
Ren Casey Ren Casey ... Riley


The team investigates the Dawes couple on death row in Florida State Penitentiary for thirteen (or more) murders on young blonde girls in 1985. A dozen girl's bodies were found buried under the sexual psychopath Jacob's garage after the police got an anonymous call. Sarah Jean Dawes (née Mason) 'the Ice Queen' only confessed killing her own two-year old son Riley, Jacob would have ordered her to kill him because he slowed down their flight. Sarah's mother Deb Mason claims she was a normal shy girl util she met Jacob, her late father was a strict soldier but hit his wife. Gideon concludes from a letter to her mother and an interview that Sarah Jean is physically innocent. She just blames herself for failing to stop Jacob and tipped the police herself. Jacob, who clearly craves notoriety, refuses to tell Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner or Jennifer "JJ" Jareau if there are more bodies. When told that Sarah got a stay of execution, Jacob spontaneously offers the location of their son's burial ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 January 2006 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Hotch shows his cards near the end of the poker game, he shows ace of clubs, ace of hearts, 8 of hearts and 8 of diamonds, which Jack calls the Dead Man's hand. However the correct Dead Man's Hand is black aces and eights, so ace of clubs, ace of spades, 8 of clubs, 8 of spades. See more »


This show is based at a state prison in Alachua, Florida just outside of Gainesville. This area of Florida is about 138 feet above sea level however as the team is driving to the prison in the opening scenes a very large mountain range can be seen in the distance through the windows of the SUV. The Alachua area is rather lush and green due to the abundance of fresh spring waters however as the SUV is driving into the prison not only is the mountain range in clear view but tumbleweeds are blowing across the road from a field with dead, brown grass. See more »


Jason Gideon: Albert Pine said "What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains, and is, immortal."
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Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Jian Wang
See more »

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User Reviews

striking performances
31 July 2012 | by outwiththe_starsSee all my reviews

From what I've watched so far, Criminal Minds is a mediocre program overall. It's something that's good to watch, when you have nothing else to do. I don't doubt it could get better, but for now (well up to this episode) it's just a plain Jane - there's nothing that would make me recommend it to all my friends, but I have no reason to dismiss it and never watch it again.

However, I do believe this episode, "Riding the Lightening" to have been a flash of something beautiful in all that is plain. As a viewer, I was finally able to connect with a character on amazing amount of levels - something I've found until now was very lacking in this show. This is a very beautiful episode, there are a lot of questions raised, a very powerful story is told, and it made me cry, a lot. And due to the emotional experience i had watching it, I would very much recommend the episode. Happy viewing!

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