Criminal Minds (2005– )
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The Slave of Duty 

While Agent Hotchner takes a leave of absence from the BAU, the team must regroup to solve a home invasion case.


Charles Haid


Jeff Davis (created by), Rick Dunkle | 1 more credit »

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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
Meredith Monroe ... Haley Hotchner
Rena Sofer ... Erika Silverman
Wes Brown ... Joe Belser
Khary Payton ... Det. Landon Kaminski
Nicholas Brendon ... Kevin Lynch
Josh Stewart ... William LaMontagne Jr.
Jayne Atkinson ... Erin Strauss
Cade Owens ... Jack Hotchner


Following the murder of Haley by George Foyet and Foyet's subsequent death at Hotch's hands, Hotch needs to take some time to regroup and review both his professional and personal life, especially in how to deal with raising Jack on his own. Strauss provides him with an option. In the meantime, the team, without Hotch, is called to a case in Nashville, Tennessee. Two young brunette women, both high powered executives, have so far been killed in their own homes, the floor around them covered in rose petals. Evidence indicates that the women were being stalked, and that the unsub is hyper-vigilant in his control of the murders, with both being almost identical down to what the women ate prior to death. It seems as if the unsub is romancing the women against their will. It isn't until they discover an anomaly to the routine of one of the victims and look at the unsub profile is a slightly different manner that the team begins to piece together who the unsub is and who he might target ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 December 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Slave of Duty See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


"The Slave of Duty" is the subtitle of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance." Hotch has previously revealed that he and Haley met during a student performance of this operetta; he tells Haley that he joined the pirate chorus in order to meet her. See more »


When Strauss comes by to see Hotch, he opens the door with out an alarm box on the wall next to the door like it was after The Reaper attacked him in the same apartment. See more »


Aaron 'Hotch' Hotchner: You said that there was something, you wanted to discuss with me?
Erin Strauss: Yes, I do
[Hands over a file to Hotch]
Aaron 'Hotch' Hotchner: This is retirement
Erin Strauss: I've talked with the director. Given the circumstances there is no reason you have to return to the bureau. We can offer you full pension and benefits
Aaron 'Hotch' Hotchner: Are you saying that you want me to leave the BAU?
Erin Strauss: Well, obviously that's your choice, but I'm offering you a way out. Agent Morgan's promotion was temporary, but he has exceeded our expectations and I'm confident I can make ...
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Criminal Minds Theme
Composed by Mark Mancina
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User Reviews

One of the show's most emotional
14 September 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When it was good or at its best, 'Criminal Minds' is one of my favourites, and although it is frustrating that it became hit and miss from Season 6 onwards with a particularly underwhelming Season 11 its strengths are enough for me to not give up on the show.

"Slave of Duty" is not 'Criminal Minds' at its finest, and a small step down from the previous episode "100", which was a shocking, tense and emotionally devastating episode and one of Season 5's highlights. At the same time, it is not even close to being among the show's worst, like "200", "The Black Queen" and the worst of Season 11. Instead it is one of the very good episodes, if just falling short on being great.

The emotional impact is what is particularly striking about "Slave of Duty", with it being one of Season 5's and the entire show's most touching and emotional episodes. The beginning is one of the show's most touching scenes, while the scenes with Jack (portrayed beautifully by a very cute, but never cloyingly cutesy, Cade Owens) are heart-melting and heart-breaking. Love also the scenes between Hotch and Rossi, which show Rossi's wisdom, and the ones between Morgan and Rossi, showing a sympathetic side to Morgan, and the close and supportive bond within the team.

Regarding the case/mystery itself, it's not particularly original or inventive but it's never dull, and doesn't play second fiddle to the emotional content and never losing sight of what makes the show so great. And it has tension and suspense with a shocking twist and a standout scene with the foreboding line "Why do you have a key" delivered with such deranged anger and intensity. The unsub is not one of the show's most interesting or immediately memorable, but has enough personality and menace to be a proper threat and the scenes with him and Erika are intensely done. Rena Sofer and Wes Brown do great jobs individually and together.

The episode is as ever stylishly made, hauntingly scored with beautiful use of music at the beginning, sympathetically directed and tautly scripted, shining especially in scenes where the team are bonding and in the scenes with the unsub and Erika. The acting is very good, especially Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna and Shemar Moore of the regular team.

For all these many great things, there are shortcomings. Strauss continues to be as cold, underdeveloped and manipulative as ever, and one really doesn't buy her abruptly backing Hotch when she spent all her screen time in previous episodes wanting him out for reasons never made clear. The scene with Jessica also seemed a bit glossed over, while it could have been open to interpretation and Jessica may have been unsure what to make of how she felt it could have been a little ambiguous as to whether she was completely on Hotch's side or blamed or resented him.

Overall, solid episode and a very emotional one. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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