Criminal Minds (2005–2020)
2 user

Rite of Passage 

The BAU team heads to Texas to track a serial killer targeting illegal immigrants attempting to make safe passage into the U.S..


John Gallagher


Jeff Davis (created by), Victor De Jesus | 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
Mike Doyle ... Deputy Ronald Boyd
Marlene Forte ... Sheriff Ruiz (as Marlene Forté)
Alex Quijano ... Deputy Gentry
Kurt Caceres ... Omar
Joseph Raymond Lucero ... Jose (as Joey Lvnproof Ray)
Casey Nelson ... Deputy Gannon
Elena Campbell-Martinez ... Marion (as Elena Campbell-Martínez)
Kristen Alaniz ... Mother


In the Mexican border town of Terlingua, Texas, three decapitated heads are found outside the sheriff's office. One of those heads was a recent death, while the other two were killed some time ago, although the decapitations themselves conducted recently. The BAU's initial thoughts are that it has to do with the border drug trade, or that because the more decomposed heads displayed now, the drug trade issue is a red herring for illegal immigration from Mexico. Indeed the three deaths are of John or Jane Doe's, fueling the BAU's speculation that they are illegal immigrants from Mexico. Believing the murders drug related, the deputy sheriffs in Terlingua arrest Omar Morales, head of one of the local drug cartels. Recently arrived Sheriff Ruiz on the other hand is certain Morales is not guilty of these murders, and that the deaths have to do with her knowledge of known illegal immigrants missing, the heads a sign for her to stop what has only been her limited investigation thus far. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This episode aired in 2010, in 2009 according to Wikipedia the population of the town was only 58. Satellite photos show 20 to 30 scattered buildings and dirt roads over a 2 mile area. Unlike the multiple homes and paved roads depicted in the episode. See more »


Mention is made of tunnels running under the border. There is no border fence in the Terlingua area (nearest would in El Paso) and tunneling under the Rio Grande is impractical and unnecessary. See more »


Aaron 'Hotch' Hotchner: [voiceover] Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not obtained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. -Helen Keller.
See more »


Mi Mujer
Written by Latin Soul Syndicate
Performed by Latin Soul Syndicate
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User Reviews

Above-average episode with some great moments
10 July 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Not one of the best 'Criminal Minds' episodes, but "Rite of Passage" does have enough that makes one love the best of Season 5 and the whole show even in general so much.

There are a few things that let it down, which makes "Rite of Passage" fall short of full potential. This is all personal opinion of course, but to me the unsub (a decent enough unsub but there have been far more interesting ones before and since) was revealed too early and it is far too obvious almost straight away.

Mike Doyle is also a little bland and somewhat too nice as Boyd, the role was in need of more intensity, sinister edge and charisma but despite the character's repulsive actions Doyle just lacked at times those things, though they do come through more later on. And there is not enough profiling, and when there is any it underwhelms compared to a lot of previous episodes.

However, there is nothing to complain about with the high quality production values, with great use of locale, or the efficient and suspenseful direction and the haunting music. The script has a lot of ingredients that makes 'Criminal Minds' so great in the first place with a nice balance of the then-new and the old. Love the light-hearted humour which is a refreshing change from the very emotional and intense George Foyet story arc, the close knit relationship within the team, Hotch's genuine empathy for the sheriff. Also loved what was done with Garcia, and Prentiss' fluency in languages angle is done far more subtly than with Elle in "Machismo" and actually serves a point.

Storytelling is engrossing, despite lacking profiling and a slightly disappointing unsub. There is enough tension and suspense which come off very believably, with pretty shocking murders (though they're more described than seen, couldn't have come up with a more horrendous way for the sheriff to die), high-voltage chases and a scintillating climax. The characters carry the story very well, and the acting is solid from the BAU, the locals and the sheriff, only Doyle this reviewer had reservations with.

In summary, above-average episode with some great things. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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USA | Canada


English | Spanish

Release Date:

14 April 2010 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Newhall, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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