Criminal Minds (2005–2020)
4 user

House on Fire 

When the kill count of a mass-murdering arsonist active in a small town reaches 31, the BAU are called in.


Félix Enríquez Alcalá (as Felix Alcala)


Jeff Davis (created by), Holly Harold | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Mantegna ... David Rossi
Paget Brewster ... Emily Prentiss
Shemar Moore ... Derek Morgan
Matthew Gray Gubler ... Dr. Spencer Reid
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
Michael Rooker ... Chief Carlson
Shannon Lucio ... Tina Wheeler
Sam Anderson ... Dr. Rawlings
Tommy Dewey ... Tommy Wheeler
Marc Bossley ... Fire Captain Danny Wales
Michael Villani ... Chief Tom Schultz
Charlene Amoia ... Nancy
Heidi Fecht ... Mother


A serial arsonist is active in Royal, Indiana. The arsonist went from setting fires in unoccupied buildings to largely populated ones. In the last two fires - in a community center and a movie theater - the death count reaches 31 people. The BAU realize that they have to tread lightly as they suspect the unsub to be a local, and with Royal being a small town, anyone they question will be the target of a public witch hunt. And with the high death count in such a small town, determining if there is a specific victimology is made more difficult. The arsonist strikes again when the BAU least expects. Because the latest fire is different than the previous ones, they believe the last fire is the one that holds the key to understanding the motivation and finding the perpetrator. This case is especially difficult for Garcia, who is asked to do things outside of her normal duties. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Michael Rooker (Chief Carlson), portrayed the serial killer Henry Lee Lucas in the movie Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986). See more »


When Hotch and Rossi are leaving the burn patients room you can see the reflection of the camera in the glass door as they exit. Also, just as they turn away from the bed to leave you can see the shadow of the boom mic on the wall behind them. See more »


Derek Morgan: The bar matches his previous locations. It's another local hot spot.
David Rossi: Only five victims this time. Why lower the body count?
Derek Morgan: [pointing to a chain on the bar door] Rossi. There's something else that's different.
David Rossi: The front and back?
Derek Morgan: He really wanted to make sure nobody got out this time.
David Rossi: But why bother? No one made it out of the other ones.
Derek Morgan: Maybe he knew the fire department would show up sooner.
Fire Captain Danny Wales: Yeah, we're faster now. Practice makes perfect. What the hell difference does it make? And what good are you ...
See more »


Features The Blob (1958) See more »


Theme from Criminal Minds
Composed by Marc Fantini and Steffan Fantini
See more »

User Reviews

Do the writers hate the FBI?
31 August 2019 | by knrocSee all my reviews

Like most shows, the writers depend on viewers suspending belief on a few things. I wonder if it bothers Kirsten Vangsness that her character is totally unbelievable? Normally 90 percent of the information she imparts couldn't/wouldn't be computerized. But this episode takes it over the top. Student records have been protected by FERPA since the 70's. Medical records have been protected by HIPPA since the 90's. It would require a court order to gain access. But Garcia hacks into schools and hospitals at will getting information on everyone without regard to due process. The writers must want us to believe that the FBI is big brother or that they just want to show the FBI as an institution that will break any law they feel like to catch the bad guy. Either way the FBI is to be feared, not respected.

1 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 4 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



USA | Canada



Release Date:

25 March 2009 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed