Criminal Minds (2005– )
5 user

False Flag 

The BAU is called to investigate when two members of a conspiracy group in Roswell, N.M., perish in quick succession.


Joe Mantegna


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

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Episode complete credited cast:
Joe Mantegna ... David Rossi
Matthew Gray Gubler ... Dr. Spencer Reid (credit only)
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Aisha Tyler ... Dr. Tara Lewis
Daniel Henney ... Matt Simmons
Adam Rodriguez ... Luke Alvez
Paget Brewster ... Emily Prentiss
Zelda Williams ... Melissa Miller
Richard Gilliland ... Bob Orci
Darrett Sanders ... Sheriff Mike Bowman
Amanda Howell ... M.E. Leslie Jackson
Antonio Robles ... Doug Downey
T.J. Alvarado ... Gary Hiles


The BAU team members are in Roswell, New Mexico where two murders have occurred among a group of truthers, more commonly referred to as conspiracy theorists. They have determined that the murderer is hiding among them. The team knows they have a difficult task in that the truthers believe that the authorities in general are working against them. A few days into their stay in Roswell, the team makes the unprecedented step of delivering the profile to the truthers themselves in the hopes that they can identify the murderer, possibly a faker, among them. But something that happens at that meeting turns the tables on the team. While most of the truthers decide to clam up and hire lawyers to protect themselves, one, Melissa Miller, at least decides to talk to the team on the caveat that she be able to record the proceedings and broadcast it on her podcast. As a forensic scientist, Tara is tasked with dealing with Melissa. She has to be able to prove to Melissa that she and the team are not... Written by Huggo

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TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 December 2017 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Guest star Zelda Williams is the daughter of Oscar-winning comedian Robin Williams, who named her after the titular princess in the "Legend of Zelda" video games, of which he had been a fan. See more »


When at one of the crime scenes, JJ noted that there was a bleach solution in the aquarium because the victim had been cleaning it. Any use of bleach in a freshwater or saltwater aquarium would lead to the poisoning of anything living in that tank, including any fish, corals, crustaceans and even the natural waterborne bacteria needed to break down any waste from the live load of the tank. See more »


Emily Prentiss: You want to talk about it?
Dr. Tara Lewis: No.
Emily Prentiss: It's okay to tap out if you want.
Dr. Tara Lewis: No. Emily, I can do this.
Emily Prentiss: Has she said anything that points to her involvement in the murders? Have you gotten any answers out of her?
[Tara shakes her head no]
Emily Prentiss: Maybe it's time to change up the strategy.
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References Criminal Minds: Neon Terror (2017) See more »


Written by Angus Powell
Performed by Angus Powell
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User Reviews

Unpredictable falsehood
16 May 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'Criminal Minds' has always been one of my most-watched shows and was a personal favourite for a while. Seasons 1-5 was its best period, Season 4 was especially great. It did get hit and miss from Season 6 onwards, with a mix of good and more episodes and disappointing and less episodes. Season 11 was, apart from about 5 episodes, pretty weak. Season 12 was inconsistent but generally an improvement, its weakest episodes nowhere near as bad as the low-points of Seasons 6, 9 and especially 11.

Season 13 so far has not been too bad, in fact it's been quite good. It is already so much better than Season 11, which started off well actually but quickly went downhill, and has generally settled quicker than Season 12. As far as the previous Season 13 episodes go, "Wheels Up, "Killer App" and "Dust and Bones" were particularly good. Up to this point, only "To a Better Place" and "Neon Terror" were a little disappointing, with a lot of admirable qualities but also an over-familiar and not much special case.

"False Flag" actually for me was one of the better Season 13 episodes. The case has enough nice and surprising turns to stop things from being too familiar and a lot of creativity. In fact, it is the most unpredictable and unique case of the season up to this point and one of the most unpredictable and unique of the season overall.

The team work, the procedural aspects and how it's all solved evokes prime 'Criminal Minds', there is lots of each and it's all thought-provoking and delightful. It doesn't make the mistakes that many latter season episodes made (i.e. too much unsub, unsub revealed too early, problematically executed cases, too much reliance on convenience, lack of balance, too many soapy personal life subplots, team underuse and not enough procedural/delving into the criminal's mind). In fact, there is a sense that "False Flag" didn't forget what made 'Criminal Minds' work so well in the first place. The twists keep coming, many genuinely shocking, and the unsub reveal was not an obvious one at all.

Plenty of room for little character moments within the team, one of my favourite things about 'Criminal Minds' and something that lifts even the lesser episodes. There are not enough of them, but everybody shares the disbelief and what the heck reaction to Melissa's absurd theory. Am usually not a fan of Tara, she being one of my biggest problems with Season 11, but really liked her no-nonsense approach and saw her point of view.

Everybody does a great job with the acting, all the regulars are strong as ever and Zelda Williams is simply delicious as Melissa. Really liked the colourful character of Bob too.

Visually, "False Flag" is stylish and atmospheric, while the music is haunting without being over-bearing while having presence still, the script is taut with a touch of sweetness and poignancy here and there and Joe Mantegna's directing is some of his best for the show, the interrogation scenes having effective claustrophobia.

Would have liked more team character moments in a flashback and interrogation heavy episode.

But for me the only big criticism was the motive for the crimes, with such a surprising unsub, a creative case and twists that genuinely shocked the motive underwhelms in how clichéd and ordinary it is.

Overall though, very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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