Criminal Minds (2005– )
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The Tribe 

The massacre of students using Native American rituals leads the team to consult the reservation policeman, who is also an activist.


Matt Earl Beesley


Jeff Davis (created by), Andrew Wilder | 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
Gregory Cruz ... John Blackwolf (as Gregory Norman Cruz)
Chris Ellis ... Sheriff Rhodes
Robert Curtis Brown ... Peter Greisen
Eric Johnson ... Sean Hotchner
Chad Allen ... Jackson Cally
Skyler Shaye ... Ingrid Greisen
Geoff Meed ... Eugene Leland
Sky Soleil ... Kyle Van Owen


Aaron 'Hotch' gets a visit from his brother Sean, who intends to abandon the plan to study law, like their late dad and Aaron. Five students aged 19 are found horribly murdered in a vacant house in Terra Mesa, New Mexico, unbound, skinned alive, one impaled alive: traditional Indian torture methods. The team quickly suspects it must be the collective work of a 'pack'. First they consider the local reservation policeman Benjamin Blackwood's son John, a teacher noted for Indian activism. His tracker skills on the murder site concludes it was not the work of real Indians, as no tribe practiced all these methods, he agrees to act as a consultant. As the killers were probably not Indian but wanted it to appear so, next suspects are the heavily armed ADU. They were founded by local businessman Roy Minton, mainly recruiting from construction, to fight the Indian land claims. A fingerprint belongs to a sixth student, Ingrid Greisen. Her parents say they didn't even know she was missing as she... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

8 March 2006 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


I Hotchner is visited by his brother Sean (Eric Johnson). When Hotchner mentions that there are law schools in New York that he can try those he mentions are NY, Columbia, and Fordham. Fordham was the last name of the character Eric Johnson played on Smallville (2001): Whitney Fordman. See more »


In this episode it shows an Apache tribe who are dealing with murderers. During a part of the episode one of the men depicting an Apache man says that the Apache call themselves "The Dineh" which means "The People". Actually this is a Navajo word which means "The People" and the Navajo call refer to themselves as that. Furthermore, adding "The" to the beginning would be redundant because simply saying "Dineh" is more than sufficient as Dineh means "The People". See more »


John Blackwolf: [teaching a school class, BAU just entered in the back] Samuel
Samuel: Yes?
John Blackwolf: Tell the man from the FBI who the Ga'he are
Dr. Spencer Reid: The Ga'he are mighty spirits, who dwell at desert caves
Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner: Reid? Is your name Samuel?
[class giggles]
Dr. Spencer Reid: Sorry
See more »


written by Doug Ingle
performed by Iron Butterfly
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User Reviews

While there are better episodes in the season, it is hard not to forget this episode
14 October 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

For 'Criminal Minds', "The Tribe" is different, with a not yet seen before (for the show that is) focus on the Native American Indian Apache and more gruesome murders than usual.

By all means, "The Tribe" is not one of the best episodes of 'Criminal Minds', and there's also better in the season. This said, it is hard not to forget it, not just because it is a change of pace for 'Criminal Minds' and stands out as more unique compared to usual (in a fascinating yet slightly tonally odd way) but also there is a lot to remember about the episode's execution too.

Gideon, the show's most interesting regular team member at this point, takes a backseat and is very underused, and that is true sometimes for most of the team. The regulars that make the biggest impression here are Hotch, in what is at times a Hotch-centric (which is a dream come true for Hotch fans, and after seeing episodes throughout the show recently where he's invisible to see him used so well here was refreshing) and Garcia, who lightens things up masterfully back when she was a ray of sunshine and not a pale and annoying caricature. Reid also has a delightful scene in the classroom, and the depiction of the Native American Indian culture was intriguingly and sensitively handled rather than being stereotypical.

"The Tribe" benefits also from having strong supporting characters, especially the character of Blackwolf, who brings some welcome humour and great one-liners as well as being world-wise and sincere. The tribe of the title are chillingly sadistic and dangerous, and their leader a true psychopath in every sense of the word with not a redeeming quality in his body. Hotch's brother is good fun too.

Case itself is diverting, with some neat twists and turns, especially the revelation of who was behind the kidnapping (did not see that one coming) and the tribe's motivations for killing, and interesting profiling. The murders and modus operandi are very gruesome when being described, but maybe could have done with being a little gorier and a little less sterile (which would have made the team's reactions more horrified and not quite so indifferent) so that the viewer feels the full impact of the crimes.

Acting is very good, with Thomas Gibson and Kirsten Vangsness coming off best of the regular cast members and Gregory Cruz is excellent as Blackwolf. The direction is solid, the production values are stylish, the music is haunting and while lacking in tightness and polish in places the script does balance the humour and the serious at least very well.

On the whole, there are better episodes in Season 1 but "The Tribe" is certainly very high on the "memorable" and "different" factors. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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