Criminal Minds (2005– )
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The team travel to Boise,Idaho where a serial killer is murdering the survivors of a high school massacre that took place exactly ten years earlier.


Larry Teng


Jeff Davis (created by), Breen Frazier | 2 more credits »

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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
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
Eric Jungmann ... Bob Adams
Julia Campbell ... Martha Slade
Aaron Hill ... Jerry Holtz
Joe Reegan ... Lewis Ramsey
Cade Owens ... Jack Hotchner
Kerry Barker ... Tiffany Gleason
Stacie Greenwell ... Ms. McKee
Michael Grant ... Brandon Slade


Ten years ago, Hotch and Rossi, as part of the BAU at the time, worked on a mass murder case in Boise, Idaho, where bright and well liked but narcissistic North Valley High School student Randy Slade killed thirteen of his classmates in a lunch hour shooting and cell phone detonated bombing in the school's cafeteria. He himself was also killed. As several of the survivors return to Boise to commemorate the ten year anniversary of the massacre, a copycat killer seems to be on the loose. The local authorities and media believe that Randy's then seven year old brother, sweet but impressionable Brandon Slade, now a student at North Valley himself, may be involved, which Hotch and Rossi, based on what they knew of Brandon ten years ago, don't believe. What the BAU glean early in this updated investigation is that Randy did have a hit list of people he wanted to kill, and that the latest victims are on that hit list. The list itself is comprised of popular students and students on the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 October 2011 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


At around 9:00 when Reid and JJ are walking through the crime scene, he asks her if she was one of the mean girls in high school. Julia Campbell, who plays the mother of the original school bomber/shooter in this episode, portrayed Christie Masters in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997). Christie Masters was the leader of a group of mean girls. See more »


In an early scene, Morgan pranks Reid by identifying himself as "Dr. Spencer Reid" to the press and gives them Reid's phone number, beginning with a 702 area code. This is the area code for Nevada/Las Vegas. As the BAU is based in Northern Virginia/Quantico, the team's FBI-issued phones should be assigned numbers with the prefix 703. See more »


Dr. Spencer Reid: [muttering] I will crush you.
Derek Morgan: What?
Dr. Spencer Reid: [innocently] What?
See more »


References Heathers (1988) See more »


City Boy
Written by A.M. and Shawn Lee
Performed by A.M. (as AM & Shawn Lee) and Shawn Lee (as AM & Shawn Lee)
See more »

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User Reviews

Not that special plot-wise but the little character moments make it worth watching
6 July 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'Criminal Minds' is not a show where all the seasons and episode are consistent, but there are enough great episodes and episodes to make it one of my favourites and compulsive viewing when it's on.

"Painless" is not one of the best of the show, an episode that is decent but not great, but there is still enough to make it worth watching.

The story in "Painless" is not one of 'Criminal Minds' most involving or absorbing, in fact one of the show's most formulaic and standard, some of the twists are tired, and shootings are a little melodramatic and lacking in suspense and with the exception of the unsub (which despite his awful actions one sort of relates to) the supporting characters are not very well established which makes it harder to sympathise with their situation.

However, the script is sometimes light-hearted and gritty and it is reasonably tight, though more in the leads rather than the supporting roles. What makes "Painless" watchable enough are the little character moments. The relationship between Jack and Hotch is incredibly touching and the scene between Reid and JJ has a sweet element to it. The highlight however of those character moments, and of the entire episode, is Morgan and Reid's prank war, Reid's reaction to Morgan's prank and Reid's hilarious retaliation makes for a contender for the funniest scene in the whole show.

Acting from the leads is very good, especially from Matthew Gray Gubler, the episode is stylishly and atmospherically made and solidly directed and the music fits well and never distracts if not quite enhancing.

In summary, decent but not great. The story could have been much better executed, but it is worth watching for the character moments and the prank war alone. 6.5/10 Bethany Cox

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