Criminal Minds (2005–2020)
3 user 1 critic

52 Pickup 

A greatly sadistic serial killer who disembowels women and forces them to clean it up before killing them proves difficult to catch thanks to his social charm and simple, yet clever, disguises.


Bobby Roth


Jeff Davis (created by), Breen Frazier | 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 (credit only)
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
Currie Graham ... Viper
Meta Golding ... Jordan Todd
Gabriel Olds ... Robert Parker
Keri Lynn Pratt ... Ashley Holden
Riki Lindhome ... Vanessa Holden
Courtney Ford ... Austin
Joanna Cassidy ... Mrs. Holden
Kimberlee Peterson ... Melissa Foster




A killer is disemboweling women, keeping them alive for a few hours, making them clean up after their injury, then killing them. The original victims were prostitutes, but the latest victim, Vanessa Holden, was from a wealthy and prominent family, hence her murder being a different victimology. And this latest murder took place one year after the previous, Vanessa picked up at a nightclub. With a different victimology, the BAU determined that the unsub also had changed over the previous year. Finding who would have helped him "change" would assist in finding the killer's pattern and new motivations, namely why he moved from prostitutes to women just out for a good time. Prentiss and Todd may have uncovered a key piece of of puzzle when they track who they suspect of being the killer's teacher. This case also tests the new working relationship between Todd and Hotch. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Thomas Gibson (Hotchner) worked with Cari Shayne (Det. Harding) in the TV movie The Inheritance (1997) based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott in which they starred opposite each other as unlikely lovers. See more »


The unsub uses a roll of tape to cover the victims mouth and then drops the roll into the bucket of cleaning solution. The thunk it makes shows the bucket is empty. See more »


Derek Morgan: [speaking of Viper] Will you listen to that language? He's training serial killers.
Emily Prentiss: Great. We're dealing with a rampant narcissist and misogynist who's turned himself into a snake oil salesman.
See more »


Back to You
Written by Puddu Varano
Performed by Puddu Varano
See more »

User Reviews

The case of the murdering pick-up artist
19 February 2017 | 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", "Minimal Loss", "Memoriam", "The Instincts" 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 and much better than the worst episodes of Seasons 6, 9 and 11.

"52 Pickup" is neither among the season's best or worst. Instead it is a solid episode and somewhere around top middle in ranking. It's also one of those episodes that does very little wrong and where all the good things are numerous, the things that people see 'Criminal Minds' for being present and correct, but just missing the extra spark to make it special and one of the best.

One of the very few criticisms of "52 Pickup", other than the numerous good things being done even better in other episodes, for me is that the character of Todd has never really done much for me. There are certainly far worse female team characters, particularly Tara Lewis and Ashley Seaver, both characters having far worse things than just being a bit dull and lack of gelling chemistry. "52 Pickup" deserves credit for trying to give Todd more development, but her personality just isn't engaging me and it is only really with Prentiss where she gels properly.

The only other fault is that there are episodes with more memorable climaxes, the climactic moments are a little lacking in tension and suspense and resolved somewhat too conveniently.

However, visually the production values are without complaint. It's very well shot and lit and is overall stylish, gritty, classy and atmospheric. The music is moody in the haunting and melancholic sense and fits well, without either enhancing or distracting from it. The direction keeps the momentum going but lets the case breathe, and most of the pacing is breathe especially in the latter parts when the tension builds.

It's a mostly well-written episode too, thoughtful, solid in flow and well balanced between case and team dynamic. In terms of concept, the story is pretty fascinating with a unique case for the fourth season and one of the better-developed unsubs of the season. Tension and suspense is mostly there, love how darkly twisted the unsub is and the balance of fresh genuinely funny humour (which agreed was needed and didn't jar) and adorable emotional moments. Reid and Prentiss really shine here and Garcia, despite her screen time not being much, is charming and amusing.

Acting is very good all round. Overall, not always remarkable but interesting and well done episode. 8/10 Bethany Cox

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

26 November 2008 (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

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Recently Viewed