Criminal Minds (2005– )
2 user 1 critic

Minimal Loss 

Reid and Prentiss, having gone undercover into an underground cult to investigate child abuse, get trapped inside the compound when a federal raid on it goes bad.


Félix Enríquez Alcalá (as Felix Alcala)


Jeff Davis (created by), Andrew Wilder | 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
Luke Perry ... Benjamin Cyrus
Kathleen Wilhoite ... Kathy Evanson
Jenna Boyd ... Jessica Evanson
Connor Trinneer ... Dan Torre
Colby French ... Christopher Cole
Jeff Fahey ... Kane
Karina Logue ... Nancy Lunde
Joel Murray ... Attorney General


Reid and Prentiss enter a Christian cult's community ranch to investigate a anonymous tip about child molestation. Moments after they enter, the state police begin a raid on the place which quickly turns into a Waco Siege-like standoff with Reid and Prentiss being held captive by the cult's militia. Written by J. Rieper

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

8 October 2008 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Benjamin Cyrus is inspired by, if not loosely based on, an amalgamation of Peoples Temple cult leader Jim Jones, Randy Weaver, the U.S. Marshals' primary person of interest in the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff, and David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians, the target of the 1993 Waco siege. See more »


During the news announcement, two clocks are visible above and to the right of the television, one giving the time in Tokyo (11:17 PM) and the other in London (3:17 PM). The television gives the local time (EST) as 9:17 AM. While Tokyo's time is correctly given as 14 hours ahead of EST, London's time is given as 6 hours ahead, whereas London is actually 5 hours ahead of EST. See more »


[first lines]
Announcer: This is a special report from La Plata County, Colorado.
Reporter: We're reminded of Jim McKay's words from Munich: "Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized." Let's hope it's not the latter as we wait to hear the fate of the women, children, and FBI agents inside the building.
See more »


Featured in Criminal Minds: 300 (2018) See more »


Criminal Minds Theme
Composed by Mark Mancina
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User Reviews

No loss of power here
20 December 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Season 4 is a very strong contender for the best season of 'Criminal Minds'. A season with so many classics (like "The Big Wheel", "Zoe's Reprise" and "Conflicted" to name a few), some of the best of the whole show, and one where even weaker episodes such as "Demonology" and "Catching Out" are still watchable.

"Minimal Loss" is only Season 4's third episode and already it sets up the season's very high overall standards brilliantly, for me it was even better than the previous two episodes (which were still very solid) of the season. Sure, it is different from the norm in terms of type of story and concept, something that may raise slight alarm bells because 'Criminal Minds' have done numerous attempts at changes of pace and while some fare very strongly others fail quite badly.

That was in no way a hindrance at all, because while it is one of not many non-serial killer episodes and profiling is minimal the episode is such a masterpiece of characterisation and emotional impact that those reservations are easy to forget about. Even not enough JJ and Garcia (Garcia especially is barely in it) didn't come as that much of a concern for me, underuse or side-lining of characters as well as over-prominence can be an issue on 'Criminal Minds'.

Just for the record, in its prime 'Criminal Minds' is one of my favourite and most watched shows. It's nowhere near as good now, with still some outstanding and good episodes but from Season 6 onwards the quality has been wildly inconsistent and when at its worst it is really bad. "Minimal Loss" is up there as one of the top 10 episodes of Season 4.

Production values as always are as always extremely high with lots of style and atmosphere, there is some slow motion (something that in general doesn't do much for me and is abused a lot) in the climax but it actually added to the tension and isn't overused. The music sets the heart racing and some of the most mood-enhancing of any episode from the earlier seasons. The script is tight and thought-provoking, making one really care about what happens to the characters.

In "Minimal Loss" the storytelling is a triumph. Effortlessly absorbing, and filled to the brim with suspense, chills and poignancy, making for one powerful episode complete with a shocking climax. Prentiss' treatment is gut-wrenching and while one feels sorry for her her bravery also shines. Also striking is Rossi's compassion and Hotch's conflict (showing him as much more than a cold character, never personally thought he was but there are people around who do), as well as Hotch's loyalty to the team and Rossi's loyalty to him.

Direction is alert yet expansive, while the acting at its best was exceptional though absolutely nobody was bad (AJ Cook and Kirsten Vangsness fare weakest but in no way due to their acting but to do with screen time). Matthew Gray Gubler and especially Paget Brewster, displaying some of the best acting she ever did on 'Criminal Minds', are the standouts of the leads, which makes sense as they are the central characters to the action. Luke Perry is more than up to their level as well.

Overall, a classic episode with no loss of power. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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