Criminal Minds (2005– )
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The BAU must profile a criminal's past in order to catch him after he escapes from custody and begins a killing spree.


Félix Enríquez Alcalá (as Felix Alcala)


Jeff Davis (created by), Erica Messer | 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
Lee Tergesen ... Dale Shrader
Tim Guinee ... Joe Muller
A Martinez ... Bunting (as A. Martinez)
Reamy Hall ... Molly Muller
Jan Hoag ... Betts
Leslie Stevens ... Karen Otey
Angela Pierce ... Connie Schrader
Jordan Van Vranken ... Jenny Shrader


Hotch is back at the helm of the BAU after turning down Strauss' offer of a full retirement package. He and Morgan have a heart to heart about Morgan's tenure as head of the unit. Meanwhile, while transporting a fugitive into custody in Lockport New York with a local police officer named Bunting, Prentiss is injured when the fugitive is assisted in a getaway by an unknown partner. That fugitive is Dale Shrader, who had just been paroled from prison, where he was serving time for a series of bank robberies in which the moneys stolen were never recovered. Since his release two days earlier, Shrader killed a junkie named Stacy Ryan who was the sister of someone Shrader served time with five years prior, and kidnapped his daughter Jenny as an act of revenge toward his ex-wife Connie. These two acts are seemingly a dichotomy in personality. During the getaway, Shrader killed Bunting. Prentiss did see the partner, but the BAU do not know who that partner is. They have to delve into ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

16 December 2009 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Crown Victoria is hit in the side at the beginning, yet all of the interior shots show that neither the side nor canopy airbags are deployed. See more »


Derek Morgan: I get why you're back.
Aaron Hotchner: Do you?
Derek Morgan: You were never going to sit behind a desk. You know why? Because your son knows that you get the bad guys. And if you're not out there trying to catch them, what's he gonna think?
Aaron Hotchner: Well, tonight he's gonna think I wasn't there at bedtime.
Derek Morgan: You're his hero, Hotch.
[Morgan holds out some paperwork]
Derek Morgan: I, uh, figured I'd save you a couple hours.
Aaron Hotchner: You don't have to do that anymore.
Derek Morgan: I know I don't. But I also know what it's like to be raised by a single parent. Every minute ...
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Criminal Minds Theme
Composed by Mark Mancina
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User Reviews

Interesting episode with a few peculiarities
20 October 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

As a big fan of 'Criminal Minds', if much more in the earlier seasons (particularly seasons 2-4, though Season 1 also had a few of the show's best episodes) than the later ones, Saeason 5 to me was a patchy but not bad at all season. It was Season 6 where the difference between the best and worst episodes became bigger and wider.

"Retaliation" is not one of the season's best episodes, in a season that saw "100", "...A Thousand Words", "The Uncanny Valley" and "Mosley Lane". It is however far better than the bland and rather average "Parasite" (which saw one of the season's blandest unsubs and one of the show's worst child performances) and the rather slight, over-stretched, bland, strangely over-the-top and unsuccessful attempt at doing something different "The Performer". There are also better and worse episodes throughout the entire show too.

Instead it is an interesting and reasonably solid episode, if with the potential to be great but not quite reaching it. It does have peculiarities, such as the all too easy and convenient way the crash and escape happened (a scene explaining how the accomplice knew the car would go that route wouldn't have gone amiss) and Prentiss' far too quick discharge from hospital and to work considering the seriousness and traumatic nature of the crash. The team generally also could have been a little more concerned and shocked, as well as showing more urgency throughout the case, almost like they weren't functioning properly.

The story was mostly a good one. There was tension, tight pacing and suspense, while the final scene between Hotch and Morgan was touching and how Prentiss deals with the aftermath and her dilemmas is well handled and very believably acted by Paget Brewster. "Retaliation" also sees another change of pace and signs of a potential format breaker, with a very promising beginning with the unsub being apprehended. There is a good deal going on and the episode is never dull. At the same time, this also counted as a detriment, the middle act did feel over-stretched, with too many revelations that could have gone into a little more detail, as well as rushed. Didn't like the under-using of Reid, the season does provide a reason for it and was accommodating Matthew Gray Gubler's real life injury, but considering he's the fan favourite surely he deserved more to do.

However, "Retaliation" is a very well made episode, with high-quality production values, and it's hauntingly scored and solidly directed. The script is thought-provoking with good tension and emotions, the profiling is good even if there could have been more, and as said there are good scenes and a story compelling enough to make up for a few peculiarities and story imperfections.

Acting is very good, Paget Brewster standing out of the regular leads, while the team still share an adorable and loyal chemistry that is well balanced with the only flaw being the underuse of Reid. Lee Tergesen and Tim Guinee both do wonderful jobs in the main supporting roles, Tergesen in particular relishes making Dale as repellent as possible while Guinee successfully allows one to understand why the character is doing what he's doing.

Overall, interesting episode if not quite meeting the potential it had of being great after a nice change of pace at the beginning. If the middle act slowed down and had less going on and if the peculiarities had not happened it would have been an even better episode. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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