"Criminal Minds" Remembrance of Things Past (TV Episode 2010) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • The team is still adjusting to the loss of JJ from the unit, she who was transferred to the Department of Defense against her own wishes. The BAU's next case takes them to Bristol, Virginia, where young blond women are abducted from highly public locations. They are tortured and sodomized before being murdered by electrocution, their bodies dumped in a common location. They were forced to telephone a loved one to tell them of their impending death. This case is reminiscent of a sixteen year old cold case that Rossi worked on, the unsub of the cold case nicknamed the Butcher, who killed over a ten year period in the Bristol area. The primary difference between this new case and that of the Butcher is that the Butcher's victims were forced to say in their telephone calls that they enjoyed it. The BAU believe these new killings are the work of copycats, as they know there are two unsubs. Two of the major reasons they believe so is that the Butcher's profile had him as a narcissist who would not work with another, and had him as a then middle aged man who could now not physically abduct the young women due to his advanced age. But Rossi's gut feeling tells him that the Butcher is involved in these new killings. Rossi has to figure out how to reconcile the two sets of profiles.

  • When several women are found murdered in a similar fashion, Rossi revisits a cold case that has haunted him for 25 years, causing him to suspect that the original killer is at work again.

  • When several women are found murdered in a similar fashion, Rossi revisits a case that has haunted him for 25 years.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Bristol, Virginia -- A family is about to drive to a football game when mom realizes that dad has left the tickets inside. The woman reenters her home, grabs the tickets and heads out the door -- ignoring the ringing telephone. The machine picks up and we hear a trembling female voice: "Mom ... dad ... this is Jenny ... I'm in trouble ... I'm in so much trouble ... When you get this message, I'll probably be dead."

    Cut to Rossi, who receives a call from Hotch. A blonde woman has been found tortured, sodomized and electrocuted. Rossi asks whether a phone call was made. He is clearly familiar with the details. But how? Back at the office, Hotch explains the case to the team: dead women are popping up around the old stomping ground of "the Butcher," a serial killer that Rossi came close to catching almost 30 years ago.

    Rossi notes that the killer was profiled as being in his 40s back then, so it might not be the same guy. "It's probably a copycat," Hotch says. "If he's emulating the Butcher, he's probably just getting started." The team hops on the jet and continues to discuss the grisly details. The Butcher would make his victims call their parents before they died. "He wanted to make sure they knew he had complete and total dominance over their daughters," Rossi explains. Later, the team arrives at Bristol police HQ. Derek and Emily note multiple knife wounds on the corpse of the dead woman. "He's sloppy," Emily notes -- not a trait associated with the Butcher some three decades ago.

    Rossi and Hotch, meanwhile, play the tape of Jenny's last words for the woman's parents. "Does she sound like herself?" Hotch asks. The weeping mother says one line -- "I know you taught me not to be afraid" -- doesn't ring true. Hmm.

    Cut to a creepy old man and his "caretaker," a young man named Colby, who is clearly intimidated by his elder. Suddenly, the creepy old man stands up. "It's time when I say it's time," the old man growls. "Take me out!" Emily and Derek, in the meantime, travel to the parking lot where the victim was snatched. They notice a "blind spot" around a corner, but it is still not concealed enough for a single unsub to take the victim. Derek decides that there must have been TWO unsubs -- a diabolical team!

    Sure enough, the creepy old man approaches a pretty, young blonde in the park, claiming his caretaker just had a heart attack. She follows the old man to a van (big mistake) and is quickly pulled inside by Colby. The Butcher and his protégé strike again.

    Back the office, Rossi listens to messages from The Butcher's old victims. The 20th victim -- the Butcher's last kill from three decades prior -- contains the "afraid" line that Jenny's mother thought was weird. In fact, the phone calls from the two victims are almost identical. And it gets weirder. The next day, the BAU team is called to the scene of the most recent victim. "This is the exact same place that Susan Cole, the Butcher's last kill, was placed," Rossi observes. So why are the unsubs trying to recreate the Butcher's "final" victim? Rossi insists the real Butcher is somehow involved.

    Cut to Colby and the old man eating breakfast. Colby recalls that he helped tackle a fleeing victim when he was just 10 years old. Yikes. Colby then gives the old man a series of pictures of unsuspecting young blonde women -- potential victims. "What about the girl outside the other day?" the old man asks. Colby goes white. "Anna? She's our neighbor -- she's too close." Clearly, Colby feels something for this Anna.

    Back at the office, a desperate Rossi pours over his old case file of the Butcher. After an intense montage, Rossi tells the team that he believes the Butcher has a child -- and that this boy (now a man) is likely to be the accomplice. Just then, a detective enters with the voice mail left by the most recent victim. The pathetic voice on the phone says she "enjoyed it" -- the Butcher's signature. Rossi was right. The Butcher is back.

    And, not surprisingly, the Butcher isn't quite right. While Colby digs a grave out back for the latest victim, the old man insists that he had nothing to do with it. His memory is going -- or gone. Colby is patient with dear old dad, who accuses his son of "hunting" on his own. The Butcher then storms off in a huff, leaving Colby looking sad.

    Back at HQ, Reid wonders why one of the Butcher's victims from years ago didn't call her parents. Rossi assumed that the victim just failed to reach her mom or dad. Garcia runs the woman's name through the system and discovers something potentially disturbing: the woman had a son. A son named Colby. Hotch theorizes that the victim didn't make the call because the most important people in her life were already in the room -- her son and husband, who would be about the Butcher's age. Even worse: both father and son, who live a short distance away, are licensed electricians.

    Colby, meanwhile, decides that he'll go "hunt" Anna, after all -- just to make his cranky dad happy. After the son leaves, the BAU team plus local cops burst through the front door the killers' residence. They find the old man in his underwear, confused and afraid. He wets his boxers. Later, the Butcher sits unresponsive on the couch as the team searches the premises. They discover the grave out back. Reid finds medicine for Alzheimer's disease. "He's repeating his last kill because he can't remember it," Reid says. No one can find a torture chamber, though. Where has Colby gone?

    Rossi then sits down with the Butcher, who appears to exist in a perpetual haze. The killer does let slip that he killed one of his old victims with a piece of electroshock therapy equipment. Garcia quickly does a search and discovers a handful of mental institutions where the Butcher contracted worked as an electrician. One of them is abandoned, but still standing. Bingo. "Thanks, baby girl," Derek says.

    Cut to Colby, who has chained Anna to a stretcher in some kind of underground chamber. While he prepares to torture the crying girl, the team breaks into the abandoned hospital. They discover Colby holding a knife to Anna's throat. "This is not your fault, Colby," Rossi says. "Your father got you into this." Rossi tells Colby that dear ol' dad killed Colby's mother. Colby insists that mom "left" for Boston. He has blocked out the fact that dad killed mom when Colby was 10. That's right: Colby was the one who tackled his mother when she tried to escape. The memory floods back, but Colby tries to resist it. "She laid on this table and said 'goodbye' to you -- right here," Rossi says.

    Colby lowers the knife and moves away from Anna. He begins to weep. Case closed.

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