A number of bizarre, ritualistic murders prompts the team to search for the killer.


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Adam Rain
Mr. Conrad
Connie Foster
Mr. James
Bobby Putnam
Tucker White


The BAU investigates a series of what look to be ritualistic murders in Arizona. In separate incidents, two men have been found dead, their bodies stuffed in a coffin-like box, their hair dyed black, and several of their joints dislocated. Each died from hanging, although the autopsies show that they were each hung several times. Connie Foster, the girlfriend of one of young adult male victims, is also missing and is assumed abducted by the unsub, who they believe is holding her and trying to find the perfect match for her in whatever context, hence the reason for the two deaths, as those victims weren't the right match. When a third male victim is discovered, they believe their religious ritual theory is strengthened since that third victim had, in addition, holes in his hands, like he had been crucified. But when a father and son go missing, Reid comes up with an alternate theory that the unsub may be putting on a specific kind of show, those he is holding captive his puppets in ... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

5 December 2012 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Guest star Hanna Hall and star A.J. Cook starred together, playing sisters, in The Virgin Suicides (1999). See more »


Jennifer Jareau: [Looking at some clothes] This is all very Spencer'ly
Derek Morgan: Yeah, it sure is. But at least his style is consistent
Jennifer Jareau: Yeah, what's going on with him anyway?
Derek Morgan: Oh, I think pretty boy has got a girl friend
Jennifer Jareau: You do? Why hasn't he told us?
Derek Morgan: I respect his privacy
Jennifer Jareau: No, you don't!
Derek Morgan: You're right, I don't, but I'm not about to play 20 questions with someone I'm not sleeping with!
Jennifer Jareau: Hm!
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Where Is My Mind
Performed by Michael Baiardi
Written by Michael Baiardi
Courtesy Of Rockabye Baby!
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User Reviews

What could easily have been far-fetched and ridiculous actually turned out to be Season 8's most harrowing and creepiest episode
8 July 2016 | by See all my reviews

Reading the synopsis, as said in the review summary, if not done well "The Lesson" could have been too far fetched and far too ridiculous to be taken serious.

Viewing "The Lesson", it is not just Season 8's most harrowing and creepiest episode but also one of the most harrowing and most creepy of the later seasons of 'Criminal Minds', almost giving the terrifying "Mr. Scratch" a run for its money.

There is not much to complain about with "The Lesson". Maeve is a character in her short stint on the show that this reviewer has always found somewhat bland, and she is not particularly interesting here.

However, what really makes "The Lesson" so good is the atmosphere, which is continually unsettling and harrowing. Standout scenes include the "Disarticulation" (or the dislocation of joints scene), just the sound effect is enough to set one on edge (contrary to some it didn't feel that gratuitous and added to the atmosphere of the story), and the beautifully choreographed and extremely creepy scene with the woman marionette with music that couldn't have been more perfect.

"The Lesson" looks great visually, some of the atmosphere coming just as much from the visuals as well as the execution of the story. Music is haunting, hypnotic and melancholic. Scripting is tight, smart and tense with some great exchanges in the team and the rapport between Reid and Alex (who is grating less and is slowly fitting in, if still a bit cold) is great.

Nothing to complain about with the storytelling and the taut and never dull pacing, nor with Matthew Gray Gubler's adept directing, which shines especially in the woman marionette scene, some of his most inspired direction of any of the 'Criminal Minds' episodes he directed. Acting is strong from all, though Beth Risegraf is as bland as her character. The dynamic between the BAU team sparkles and all are strongly played, while Brad Douriff (in a type of role that he particularly excels at, and it is a role he plays perfectly) is terrifyingly disturbing as one of the most frighteningly delusional unsubs in the history of the show.

Overall, wonderful in almost all areas. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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