Criminal Minds (2005– )
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A Thousand Suns 

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A terrorist hacks a passenger's tablet and uses it to take control of the auto pilot of a plane in order to crash it.


Rob Bailey


Jeff Davis (created by), Sharon Lee Watson





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
Jennifer Love Hewitt ... Kate Callahan
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
Deidrie Henry ... Commander Jumilla Reardon
Eyal Podell ... Charlie Hosswell
Charles Carroll ... Galen Petosky
Eden Riegel ... Shelley Hicks
Jed Sura Jed Sura ... Frank Canvers
Bill Coelius ... Morris Perrault
Patricia Tallman ... Captain Margot Nolan
Vic Chao ... Co-Pilot Phillip Tran


Trans Alliance flight 420 from Pittsburgh to Phoenix just crashed in a Colorado field, with only one known survivor, co-pilot Frank Canvers, of the approximately 150 aboard. A witness saw a flash of light, which could mean a surface to air missile. However, the crash area is sparsely populated largely by anarchists and extremists, which could make on-ground witness statements unreliable. The BAU is called in to determine if indeed this was an attack and if so to provide a profile of the attacker(s). The plane was off course approximately 150 miles when it crashed, and there are thirteen minutes of lost communication between the plane and air control. As the team goes through the clues, Reid comes across an issue specific to the plane which he believes is key to determining not if it was an attack, but from where the attack definitely did not originate. However, they do believe that other planes will be targeted unless they can find the attacker. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 October 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


This is one of the few episodes where the BAU team finds the unsub in the first place they look. Usually, when they kick open the door of the unsub's home, the unsub is at a different location with the victim. See more »


The quote "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds" was attributed to J. Robert Oppenheimer. He was quoting the "Bhagavad Gita", a Sanskrit text. However, Oppenheimer famously referenced the quote after viewing an atomic bomb test, so Hotchner was likely referring to that. See more »


David Rossi: So Washington is his Hiroshima. Makes sense in a twisted way.
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Theme from Criminal Minds
Composed by Marc Fantini and Steffan Fantini
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User Reviews

Reid is bonding
16 November 2014 | by djquallspnSee all my reviews

There are some great elements of old style "Criminal Minds" in this episode. The main one is the scene where Reid walks through the design of the wings on the plane. This episode is a good one for focusing on the technique of the team.

While there are unsub scenes, they are rare. The focus is on the team. It has been awhile since the writers have really relied on the team to progress the case. Usually it is a mixture of the team figuring things out, and the viewers learning things through the unsub scenes. It is much more interesting to watch the team get there first.

The writers throw another unsub fake out by having a scene following around one of the suspects at the beginning of the episode. Yes, the writers are going for a twist, but the scenes are boring and confusing. Do you enjoy the unsub fake out scenes? They throw viewers in with random people that aren't connected to the crime at all. What were they doing in the woods with guns? No one knows. They just were, and it isn't intriguing or exciting.

There is just confusion.

Then, the writers include a scene with the actual unsub. Then absolutely nothing happens. He is in a creepy cabin working on some tech. Nothing is revealed that the viewers don't already know.

There really isn't a purpose to this scene other than to show that this guy is the real unsub.

A little more of Kate's history is revealed in this episode. It's not a lot, but it really doesn't have to be. The writers are slowly filling in more about Kate, and they answer the question regarding the young girl's identity. The moment where Reid tells her about the sad or tough moments in his life is great. Reid is bonding.

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