Criminal Minds (2005– )
5 user

Reflection of Desire 

The team hunts a serial killer after a kidnapped woman is found murdered in an alley with her lips cut off.


Anna Foerster (as Anna J. Foerster)


Jeff Davis (created by), Simon Mirren | 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
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
Sally Kirkland ... May Walden
Conor O'Farrell ... Detective Craw
Whitney Able ... Penny Hanley
Kaitlin Doubleday ... Kelly Landis
Robert Knepper ... Rhett Walden
Treisa Gary ... Dr. Karla Hecht
Sam Scarber ... Marvin
Amelia Rose Baldwin ... Taylor Conwright (as Amelia Rose)
John Kelly ... Peter Hanley


Twenty-something Kelly Landis, who has been missing for three days, is found dead in a back alley in Georgetown. Although the D.C. police don't connect her death to any other murders, they call in the BAU because of what was done to her: her lips were cut off. The unsub wants press on the murder as he sent a photograph of Kelly to one of the Georgetown area newspapers. The BAU believe the unsub to be local and that the police have already interviewed him. Based on finding a homeless man living at the crime scene, they determine that the unsub is the man who reported Kelly's murder and who at the time was masquerading as a homeless man. Text found at the crime scene which matches text found on a piece of paper stuffed down Kelly's throat, the three day time frame and the way Kelly was made up when she was found suggest that the unsub is working in some 1950's movie or stage play three act scenario. Another young woman, Penny Hanley, is also determined to be missing and based on their ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

10 November 2010 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sally Kirkland, who guest stars as this episode's unsub, had previously starred in "Cold Feet" (1989) with another unsub/guest star Keith Carradine, who played diabolical serial killer "Frank," the arch nemesis of SSA Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkon), and whose killing spree prompted Gideon to leave the BAU for places unknown. See more »


The BAU's investigation focuses on the Georgetown neighborhood. But the maps and street references they use are for the Noma neighborhood, just north of Union Station and 3 miles east of Georgetown. See more »


Aaron Hotchner: I sent Morgan and Prentiss.
David Rossi: Only one victim?
Aaron Hotchner: It's what he did to her that concerns me. Morgan sent these, also late last night. He and Prentiss are waiting in the district.
Dr. Spencer Reid: The body seems posed. Left arm raised. Oh, that's first. I see your concern.
Penelope Garcia: What?
Dr. Spencer Reid: A photo wasn't all he took.
Penelope Garcia: Reid, what?
Dr. Spencer Reid: Her lips have been removed.
Penelope Garcia: Oh, my God.
David Rossi: Maybe a trophy.
See more »


References Sunset Blvd. (1950) See more »


Criminal Minds Theme
Composed by Mark Mancina
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User Reviews

Very interesting premise if somewhat unbalanced
10 January 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Season 6 generally is one of the weakest and wildly inconsistent seasons.

There are good episodes. "Remembrance of Things Past" may have had a confused and inconsistent portrayal of Alzheimers, but the relationship between the father and son unsubs is both terrifying and sad, the case is horrifying and affecting and Daniel J Travanti sent chills down the spine as much as the MOs. "Into the Woods" gave me the creeps and has one of the show's best, astonishingly natural, layered and moving, child performances. "Hanley Waters" was very moving and tense, and had one of the season's best unsub acting performances courtesy of Kelli Williams. The season premiere "The Longest Night" is somewhat of a divisive episode, but it was dark, creepy and suspenseful and an improvement over the still better-than-given-for previous season finale "Our Darkest Hour due to knowing the unsub more and why he did what he did, plus Tim Curry's terrifying performance makes Billy Flynn one of the show's most memorable unsubs.

At the same time, as well as a lot of the episodes ranging from average to decent, there are some not so good episodes. Particularly bad was "The Thirteenth Step", a huge misstep and didn't feel like 'Criminal Minds' at all. "Today I Do" was a bland episode and too derivative of 'Misery' but without the chills, horror, tension and suspense and too much of a disjointed feel, a strong reminder too of why I dislike Seaver so much. "25 to Life" started off well, but fell apart completely from the revelation of the real unsub onward. "Corazon" is yet another strong reminder of why Seaver is such a failure of a character and while it was an intriguing episode it got too obvious too early towards the end and the ending should have been more harrowing than the overwrought and over-the-top one the episode gave.

"Reflection of Desire", coming back on target, is neither among the best episodes of Season 6 or among the worst. Instead it is around high-middle, and had an interesting premise that would have been really good if the execution was more balanced. Many great things, but at the same time it was a little frustrating that "Reflection of Desire" could have been much better.

Commencing with the good things, as always with 'Criminal Minds' (though with the odd exception), the production values in "Reflection of Desire" are extremely well done. Love the contrast of the grittier and slick look of most of the episode and the glamorous and nostalgic look of the scenes between the unsub and his mother, which served as a nostalgic throwback to the 50s. The music refrains from being intrusive but still has presence and atmosphere, some parts having a Bernard Hermann influence.

Most of the script is thought-provoking with the right amount of intrigue, though more little character moments within the team would have been more welcome (seeing as it's the character moments that are a large part of the show's charm). The story does have tension, suspense and creepiness, and certainly not dull. Standout scenes being the quite nightmarish beginning, the equally creepy scene at the station (that would have been even better if it didn't end so abruptly) and the shocking twist. The scenes between the unsub and his mother are brilliantly twisted, fondly reminding the viewer of Hitchcock's masterpiece 'Psycho'. Also appreciated the focus of the psychological/mental than the physical, though this was something explored a sizeable amount in 'Criminal Minds' and better.

As can be expected the acting is very fine from all the regular leads. Robert Knepper was frighteningly unnerving and definitely sticks in the memory for a long time, though his character should have been better developed and his motivations given more explanation because they were pretty vague at times. Sally Kirkland brings glamour and class as well as chilling egotism. Whitney Able does a great job making Penny more interesting and less hapless than most victims.

However, "Reflection of Desire's" storytelling does suffer from not always being well balanced, with the focus on the wrong things. Did enjoy the atmosphere of the unsub/mother scenes, and how they were acted, but they featured far too heavily in the story and somewhat too derivative and clichéd. An attempt at doing something different and paying homage, but it just at times get in the way of everything else. Also overused is Garcia. She is too ill at ease in "JJ's role" that doesn't suit her, over-parts her actually, and saw the writing's weak spots. Especially the self-indulgent ending and the whole secret stuff, the secret itself was idiotic and the reveal of it forced.

Meaning that the rest of the team feel underused, meaning not enough little character moments and profiling, though what there is is interesting and with less conclusion jumping than some episodes of the season.

Overall, a very interesting premise that, due to imbalance and lack of focus, doesn't quite come together. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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