Criminal Minds (2005– )
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The Caller 

The BAU heads to St. Louis, Missouri where ten year old Andrew Taffert has gone missing. The reason it is a BAU case is that the Tafferts - father Malcolm Taffert and mother Lida Taffert - ... See full summary »

Director:

Rob Bailey

Writers:

Jeff Davis (created by), Sharon Lee Watson
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Mantegna ... David Rossi
Shemar Moore ... Derek Morgan
Matthew Gray Gubler ... Dr. Spencer Reid
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Jeanne Tripplehorn ... Alex Blake
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
Doug Savant ... Malcolm Taffert
Marika Dominczyk ... Lida Taffert
Frank Collison ... Richard Clayvin
Adam Edgar ... Agent Green
Carl Schwaber ... Leon Burns
Ella Saldana North ... Marla Golden (as Elia Saldana)
Kevin Rock ... Dr. Eldon Mercer
Mike Ostroski ... Daniel Milworth
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Storyline

The BAU heads to St. Louis, Missouri where ten year old Andrew Taffert has gone missing. The reason it is a BAU case is that the Tafferts - father Malcolm Taffert and mother Lida Taffert - had been receiving prank calls from someone with a childlike voice stating "I'm gonna get you", and that blood was splattered on their front door after Andy had gone missing. Reid notices that this case is much like a fifteen year old cold case that the BAU worked on where the parents in that situation received such prank calls prior to their son being abducted and eventually found dead. The father in that case, Richard Clayvin, was always considered a suspect. As such, Malcolm is initially considered a prime suspect, especially considering his over controlling temperament. The similarity between the two cases extends to the post-abduction prank calls with the voice changing its statement to, "Did you see what I did?". But as the investigation progresses, which includes re-interviewing Richard ... Written by Huggo

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Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 November 2013 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The abducted boy's mother, Lida Taffert, is said to be Polish. The actress who plays her, Marika Dominczyk, was actually born in Poland. See more »

Goofs

Garcia tells the unit that the Tafferts last saw Andrew when they put him to bed at 10:00. The police dispatcher subsequently reports Andrew was last seen at 2100 hours, which is 9:00. See more »

Quotes

Jennifer Jareau: Phone calls before an abduction/murder? It's a rare signature.
Derek Morgan: But if it is the same unsub, a dormancy period of fifteen years is highly unusual. Maybe we're looking at a copycat.
David Rossi: If I'm not mistaken, Frankie Clayvin was killed within two hours of his abduction.
Aaron Hotchner: Which means we're wasting time. Let's go.
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Soundtracks

Criminal Minds Theme
Composed by Mark Mancina
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User Reviews

 
One of the best episodes of Season 9
30 October 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Season 9 has been a largely uneven season, with a number of episodes ranging from mediocre to quite good. There are episodes at the bottom and top extremes in terms of ratings too.

"200" and "The Black Queen" are two of 'Criminal Minds' worst ever episodes, and then there are outstanding episodes like "Gabby" and this episode that are among the best of the latter seasons, along with "Nelson's Sparrow", "Mr Scratch" and "Entropy" (the best episode of a largely underwhelming season 11). "The Caller" is like "Gabby" in that everything that's great about it is executed brilliantly, with very little to fault.

Child abduction is not a new subject with 'Criminal Minds' or any show and both "Gabby" and "The Caller" could very easily have been standard episodes covering child abduction but both ended up as two of the show's best episodes on that theme. Particularly great about "The Caller" are the atmosphere, showing how child abduction affects the characters and how one really connects with the story and feel really strongly about what's happening. It is a horrible subject to begin with, but made even more harrowing and poignant by the way "The Caller" executes its story.

Atmospherically, it is one of the show's creepiest in recent years and maybe ever, with the phone calls so unnerving that it sends chills down the spine and also an unsub that really gives the creeps. The climax also bites the nails. However, "The Caller" is also very emotional, losing a child is one of the most heart-breaking things that can happen to anybody regardless of age or cause and it's handled very sensitively and poignantly here.

Judging it as a 'Criminal Minds' episode, "The Caller" is one of the episodes of the season and even in latter seasons to feel closer to what was so good about the earlier seasons (Seasons 1-5, Season 6 was when it became inconsistent). There is hard-core profiling, instead of it being underused or completely neglected, in favour of focusing too much on a character, there is more than enough to ensure that the team is taking the case for a reason and it's also clear that they're affected by the case. The team dynamic and how the characters come across as characters and their personalities are very well done too.

Love the more heroic than usual Reid, Rossi's sass, JJ's compassionate side that is slightly closer than the old JJ rather than the condescending action-like JJ that she became on return and Garcia's ingeniously clever exclamation that when taking the first syllables of each word spell out a rude phrase but cleverly disguised. Also did not have a problem with Blake, a character that took time to warm to but at least she started to feel less disconnected and cold and more in place, unlike Kate and Tara. The script is tight and intelligently thought-provoking and the acting is extremely good, with Matthew Gray Gubler standing out of the leads and a moving Doug Savant especially note-worthy of the uniformly good supporting cast.

My only complaints really for "The Caller" were Hotch being a cipher with barely anything to do and the unsub's basic motivation not expanded upon enough.

Overall, one of the best episodes of Season 9 and of the latter seasons. 9/10 Bethany Cox


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