Criminal Minds (2005–2020)
10 user

To Hell... And Back 

2:49 | Trailer
The team head to Canada to investigate the disappearances of a number of homeless people, junkies and prostitutes and uncover something horrific.


Jeff Davis (created by), Chris Mundy | 2 more credits »





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
Sharif Atkins ... William Hightower
Garret Dillahunt ... Mason Turner
Rowena King ... Det. Benning
John Lacy ... Officer Jeff Bedwell
Paul Rae ... Lucas Turner
Vernee Watson ... Maxine Hightower
Lily Kershaw Lily Kershaw ... Kelly
C. Thomas Howell ... George Foyet


Iraq War veteran Sgt. William Hightower goes to extreme measures to get authorities to investigate the disappearance of several people in Detroit, Michigan, one of those people being his sister Lee. The reason why the Detroit Police Department did not originally investigate is because those missing are exclusively people who live on the streets, specifically those that call the streets of the Cass Corridor home. Despite Hightower's action potentially landing him in jail, he gets his wish in that the BAU are brought in to investigate. The BAU's investigation brings them into Canada. Although they are there on the invitation of the RCMP, the BAU face the obvious problem of jurisdiction. When they get to the site and person they believe the unsub, they are initially dumbfounded due to the unsub's physical state. But he may know more than at first glance, which they will have to get out of him before the latest missing person, a young woman named Kelly, is found dead. This case is ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »



USA | Canada



Release Date:

20 May 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To Hell... And Back 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?


Sharif Atkins (William Hightower), after this episode, went on to play an FBI agent himself, one formerly in the armed services, in White Collar. Prior to this episode, he played a discharged vet who stepped outside the law to solve and then avenge his sister's death in Numb3rs, another FBI procedural show. See more »


Garcia is looking on the computer for locations on the Canadian side of the Detroit River. She refers to the "Blue Water Bridge" which is actually on the St. Clair River between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario. The bridge between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario is named the Ambassador Bridge. See more »


Derek Morgan: You've been with this team, what, 2 years, right?
Emily Prentiss: Almost three already.
Derek Morgan: It's seven for me. I mean, that's all I can think of all day. 'Cause the entire time I've been with the BAU, working almost non-stop, having no real life, these brothers have been out there killing 89 people and we didn't even know about it.
Emily Prentiss: Well, we know now and we'll make them pay.
Derek Morgan: But how many others are still out there, Prentiss? Hmm, hunting and killing? I mean, the thing is, no matter what we do, no matter how hard we...
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References Hannibal (2001) See more »


Criminal Minds Theme
Written by Mark Mancina
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User Reviews

Solid finale if not for the faint-hearted
30 November 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

On first viewing, not much about "To Hell and Back" leapt out at me, other than the character of Lucas, the shock value of the pigs and the cliff-hanger ending.

Having just recently re-watched the episode, there was much more to appreciate on this viewing with the case more than engrossing enough to distract me from things that "To Hell and Back" has been criticised for like geographical inaccuracy and disrespectful representation of the Canadian police force. For a 'Criminal Minds' episode, although it does overall share similarities with the real-life Pickton murders and the film 'Hannibal', "To Hell and Back" certainly stands out and it would be hard not to forget it.

Compared to first viewing, criticisms are few. As somebody who doubted Hightower's guilt very early on, it did take a little too long somewhat for the episode to establish that. The episode has also been criticised for being gratuitously gross, mostly the harrowing and brutal atmosphere was handled incredibly well and was very scary and disturbing but for me "To Hell and Back" did go a bit too far with the pigs. We got the point very quickly so well before the end of the first part, while frightening and leaving one feel unsettled, one did wish that they weren't used so much and so in your face.

Flaws aside, as always, the production values are very atmospheric and stylish, and the music suitably moody. The script is tight and thought-provoking, also with surprising complexity, like with Hightower's dedication to his sister and the lengths he'd go through, the rapport between Kelly and Lucas, that between Rossi and Mason, Prentiss' dry lines, the poignant prospect of homeless people being tracked down being impossible and the twist with Mason was unexpected.

While not one hundred percent perfect, the storytelling is very engrossing and gets better and better, the few issues were in the first half whereas the second was excellent. The episode is not for the faint-hearted but a vast majority of the time the shock value was harrowing and chilling without being excessive or over-the-top, only with the pigs in the first half did it come close. The discoveries on the farm will wrench the gut and bring tears to the eyes, while the climax is nail-biting suspense and the cliff-hanger ending is just another big and very well executed surprise in an episode full of them.

The characters of Mason and Lucas are very well written, one really feels sorry for Lucas while being repulsed by the much more deranged Mason, despite him not being physically able. One also feels sorry for Hightower and understands his point of view, while Kelly is a victim that is likable and easy to root for due to her compassion, which seems genuine, and also her feistiness and the strength and courage she shows in order to stay alive. The BAU still work wonders together and are interesting individually.

Acting is very good throughout, with Paul Rae particularly astounding as Lucas, a "human monster" sort of character, though it's Mason who's the monster through and through.

In conclusion, not one of Season 4's best episodes (one of the best 'Criminal Minds' seasons with so many good episodes, with "Demonology" and "Catching Out" being two of very few disappointments), but a solid finale if not for all tastes. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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