The discovery of bodies buried in the ocean floor off Jacksonville prompts the BAU to intervene; Morgan's aunt suspects her missing daughter may be among the dead.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... David Rossi
... Derek Morgan
... Dr. Spencer Reid
... Penelope Garcia
... Ashley Seaver
... Aaron Hotchner
... Blake Wells
... Yvonne Burns
... Gary Rhymer (as Ben Parrillo)
... Det. Jarrett Foreman
... James Rhymer
... Pump Operator
... Andre Hutchins (as Hassan Manning)
Mary Thornton ... Louise Jones (as Mary Thornton Brown)
John Marzilli ... Capt. Dan Martin


The teams heads to Jacksonville, Florida after a pumping crew discovers a mass grave off shore. From the several skeletal remains, Reid is able to determine that there is no biological commonality to the victims, they crossing several age categories, ethnicities, and pre-death health conditions. He is also able to determine that the unsub is killing on average once a year and that he has a professional fisherman background from the knife skills used on the bodies. The team decides to go public and ask for those with missing loved ones to provide some background as to the circumstance of the missing person and some DNA to match to any of the found bodies. When they are able to identify some of the bodies, they do start to find some common aspects specifically to the stories of why they went missing. Identifying the latest target may lead them to the unsub. This case is especially difficult for Morgan, whose missing cousin Cindy may be one of the victims. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 May 2011 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


The sea sickness/Parkinson's treatment drug that Dr. Reid calls "trilamide" is actually the real chemical known as scopolamine, which has the same effects he mentions. See more »


Even though the BAU are supposed to be in Jacksonville FL, at 17:10 minutes you can see the Vincent Thomas Bridge in the background behind Agent Rossi. They are clearly filming in Long Beach CA. See more »


David, Rossi: Some years back, Morgan's cousin fled a stalker. She made it to South Carolina. She was never seen or heard from again.
Ashley Seaver: Was it the stalker?
David, Rossi: He killed himself two weeks later, so we never found out for sure. But Morgan's profile led straight to him. So whenever unidentified female remains turn up, he gets that call.
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Criminal Minds Theme
Composed by Mark Mancina
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User Reviews

On re-watch, a middling episode from a wildly hit and miss season
5 January 2017 | by See all my reviews

Wasn't too impressed by "Big Sea" when first seeing it and remembered little about it. After re-watching it, as has been done (and still doing) with episodes that didn't stand out on first viewing but deserving of a re-evaluation, it fared better. However, it stuck out as a middling episode of a wildly hit and miss season that is among the show's weakest.

It is not one of the season's better episodes like "Remembrance of Things Past", "Into the Woods", "Hanley Waters", "Safe Haven" and "The Longest Night". But it is a better episode than "Today I Do", "25 to Life", "Corazon" (in fact most episodes featuring Seaver) and particularly "The Thirteenth Step", which is widely regarded as a low-point episode of 'Criminal Minds' and cannot disagree.

"Big Sea" is not a bad episode, it is just one of those episodes, like Season 3's "Identity", Season 4's "Catching Out" and Season 1's "The Popular Kids" (and to a lesser extent "Blood Hungry"), amongst others, that feels a little bland and middle of the road. The whole thing with Morgan having a cousin, considering that we never knew that the character existed until now, felt rather random and out of the blue, and it took up too much of the episode at the expense of not quite enough profiling and little character moments within the team. Morgan telling such a big lie at the end was quite a turn off and out of character, am aware that it was most likely a difficult decision but still calling the lie big is an understatement.

Regarding the case and story, it was a mixed bag. It did have some unsettling moments, with a very sadistic unsub, the modus operandi even more so and the victims' terror looking genuine, and there are a few really good scenes like Reid's fun exchange about how long it would have taken for the victims to be reconstructed and a chilling interrogation scene. However it did lack tension and suspense and dragged a bit in places, and while there is some good profiling and nice character moments there should have been more. There is too a little too much conclusion jumping still, and one really does wonder why it does take so long for the team to figure it all out and discover the means of transport when it is obvious to the viewer early on.

On the other hand, "Big Sea" is as pretty much always (with a few exceptions) very stylishly made, hauntingly scored and serviceably directed. The script has its bland moments, but still provokes thought and has evidence of tautness. As said, the unsub is a very sadistic one while showing some vulnerability in the climactic scenes, and Reid's exchange and the interrogation are particularly well done. The chemistry between Morgan and his aunt is suitably poignant and one does feel for the aunt, one just wishes that the circumstances weren't so out of the blue and took up too much time.

As ever, the acting is very good. Shemar Moore of the regulars is particularly strong, while Karl Makinen is just excellent as Wells, bringing the right amount of chills and vulnerability, and Denise Dowse is touching. The one exception is Rachel Nichols, who continues to show limited range to the ever dull and annoying Seaver (though she isn't as dumb as she is in other episodes).

In conclusion, better on re-watch but a middling episode of Season 6 and of 'Criminal Minds' in general. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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