Criminal Minds (2005–2020)
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The Big Game 

The slaughter of a wealthy couple just after a super bowl party puts the BAU on the trail of two killers.


Gloria Muzio


Jeff Davis (created by), Edward Allen Bernero | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mandy Patinkin ... Jason Gideon
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
Paget Brewster ... Emily Prentiss
Shemar Moore ... Derek Morgan
Matthew Gray Gubler ... Dr. Spencer Reid
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
James Van Der Beek ... Raphael / Tobias Hankel
Bill Smitrovich ... Det. Farraday
Meredith Monroe ... Haley Hotchner
Todd Grinnell ... Dennis Kyle
Jaime Ray Newman ... Lacy Kyle
Samantha Smith ... Helen Douglas
Cullen Douglas ... Dr. Wilson
Wolf Muser ... Samuel


Dotcom millionaire Dennis Kyle and his wife Lacy are bloodily slaughtered in their suburban Atlanta home, just like animals in the countryside. The police was too late, even responding within 5', to a call from the house that a certain Raphael there was about to kill the 'sinners', he left a Revelation(Bible) quote about the Pale Horse. While the team flies to Georgia, 911 gets another call about Raphael going to punish sinners who possess too much. Garcia reports an Internet video of the Kyle murder. It was made on the Kyles' private computer, with a remote-controlled web camera still active, watched by Raphael who turns it off after sending his message; as Reid suspects, he works at a computer tech support help line, where clients allow him to control their computer for help, only he leaves a Trojan horse. The team is puzzled about psychologically contradictory behavior by the perpetrators. The next victim, after a one-voice call, is a handyman who apparently intruded the Douglas ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This episode was a special broadcast chosen to air after CBS's coverage of Super Bowl XLI. It attracted 26.2 million viewers (according to Nielsen preliminary numbers), which is the highest amount of viewers for a Criminal Minds episode in the show's history. Appropriately enough, the episode is titled "The Big Game". See more »


When the team is listening to the 911 call and reading the transcript, there's a mismatch between the two. The caller says they have too much "stuff. Possessions. Things they don't need." but the transcript reads, "stuff. Possessions. Hurry!" See more »


Jennifer Jareau: [Just won another game of darts] Oh! Another one bites the dust
Another Dart Player: How did you get so good at this?
Jennifer Jareau: Where I grew up darts is like a national sport
Another Dart Player: Seriously?
Jennifer Jareau: Yeah, we were too small for a bowling alley
See more »


Featured in Criminal Minds: Spencer (2017) See more »


Criminal Minds (TV Show Intro / Main Song Theme)
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User Reviews

Pretty good, but could have been better
9 July 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

By all means, "The Big Game" is nowhere near among the low-points of 'Criminal Minds'. At the same time, it's not one of the great, or even masterful, episodes. Although it needs a re-watch, this reviewer does remember the follow-up episode that concludes the two-parter being better.

There are many great things here in "The Big Game", it's tense, suspenseful, often nail-biting and sometimes shocking and one of the show's most memorable serial killers. At the same time, one cannot ignore the odd laziness in the writing.

Starting with the many good things, the production values are very high, stylish and dripping in atmosphere with some of the show's most effective use of darkness (the opening makes the skin crawl). The music is only used when necessary, but when it does it suits the mood and never inappropriately or distractingly placed, if not quite enhancing.

Also really love the dynamic between the team, the profiling, the banter, the chilling biblical references and the delving into the unsub's minds, which even the weaker episodes (apart from the ones that don't feel like 'Criminal Minds') fare decently in. The story starts off incredibly promisingly with an atmospherically lit and shot, tense and suspenseful opening, which is maintained up to when the identity of the unsub is figured out, so the episode is very atmospheric and entertaining.

Plus even though off-screen the murders are pretty brutal, a notable example being the cheating woman being torn to pieces by dogs in a reference to Jezebel. Even though you don't see it you hear it, the team's horrified and disgusted expressions are enough to convince anybody that it was a horrendous way to die.

Direction is also more than solid, the pacing continually involves the viewer and the acting from all the leads is very good, particularly Mandy Patinkin and Matthew Gray Gubler. A big shout out has to go to James Van Der Beek as Tobias Hankel, it's a role that is so far removed from his previous stuff but one that he plays in a way that sends chills down the spine.

However, "The Big Game" does unfortunately suffer from some instances of lazy writing. There are some really nice touches still and the case is intriguing, but it is hard to ignore the computer mistakes, the error made by Gideon regarding the Jezebel reference (Jezebel actually died being thrown out of a window, the dogs came in after her death, not the cause as implied by Gideon) and lapses in continuity that suggest different or too many writers.

Also agree about the implausible ending and also that even for an episode that takes time to develop it does take too long for the team to figure it all out when it was obvious early on and in front of them the whole time. It took until over two thirds of the way in to figure it out, even with obvious clues, while the viewer knew about fifteen minutes in.

Overall, pretty good 'Criminal Minds' episode and often great, but there are better and more consistently written episodes of the show around. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

4 February 2007 (USA) See more »

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Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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