Criminal Minds – Recap & Review – Profiling 101

photo: cbs

Criminal Minds
Profiling 101

Original Air Date: May 9, 2012

Heather – TwoCents Reviewer

This week’s episode focus is on Agent David Rossi. We finally learn a little bit more about Rossi’s past career in the BAU, as well as that of Agent Hotchner. Rossi and the rest of the BAU are giving a guest lecture to a group of students on the most “prolific serial killer” the BAU has ever profiled. Rossi is obviously troubled, for reasons we will learn later on in the episode.

The episode begins as Rossi is staring at a list of names on a paper. Many are already scratched off, although some are still clearly not. His face is clearly troubled, as he gets easily flustered when approached by Hotch. He puts the list away and enters an unknown-named college lecture hall where he and the rest of the team are giving a lecture to a group of criminology students. They begin by stating the basics of what they do, putting away “monsters”- in particular serial killers.

They begin discussing a case that they call “the most prolific serial killer” the BAU has ever seen. (This is a favorite phrase of the writers, it has also been used in two other cases- ‘Frank’ – the UNSUB who eventually drove Gideon insane, and George Foyet ‘The Reaper’- the UNSUB who we all know killed Haley, Hotch’s wife.) This killer is one that the team has termed “a classic”, who has been killing for 20 years up and down the West Coast.

The first victim, Rachel Moore, all the way back in 1995 had been starved and due to ligature marks, they could tell she had been kept for days. The flashback begins as a young David Rossi (with a VERY questionable hairstyle!) consults the medical examiner. The womb has been ripped apart on the body, they think to hide evidence. Suddenly we are back in present day, as Rossi gets a mysterious phone call in which he gets very angry that some as yet unknown event must happen today, because he can’t get a rain check.

Tina Dyson is the next victim. Again, the victim’s womb has been destroyed by the UNSUB. Rossi gets Hotch’s attention and demands that Hotch uses his influence to see someone in a federal prison today. It cannot wait, and Rossi appeals to Hotch. The team indicates that they alerted the media in regards to the case, and then the case went cold until 1997.

The UNSUB reappeared in 1997 in San Francisco. Flashback to Agent Rossi first meeting Agent Aaron Hotchner from the Seattle field office. (I love it when they bring back details mentioned in earlier episodes!) Hotch brings in some very good profiler details, which Rossi obvious approves of. They were sure that the UNSUB had continued to kill in the time between cases, but couldn’t find any other bodies. Again the media had been alerted, and the UNSUB was given a name by the media “The Womb Raider”. Rossi is obviously angered by the naming of the UNSUB and states that his only care is to bring closure to the families – a fact that he proves later in the episode. Again the UNSUB disappears.

During the next break of killing, many things happened. Morgan tells the students that Agent Rossi retired to write his books, the BAU grew and got their own genius- to which both Reid and Garcia say “thank you”. In 2005, in Los Angeles, the UNSUB reappears. This is the first flashback with our current team. Reid, Morgan and Hotch are all at the medical examiners, at which point, Hotch calls Rossi to help build a profile. They decide is he is a white male in his mid to late 30’s, with a menial job as a day laborer. He had a quiet place to keep his victims, and also had a vehicle with which to travel. His focus on sexual organs indicate a hatred of his own mother or of himself. As Rossi indicates “one man’s logic is another man’s crazy.” Again, the case went cold and the BAU had to leave and go onto other cases. Rossi stayed there for another three months in the hopes that he could help in case the killing began again.

The case resumes again in Seattle in 2009 after Rossi comes out of retirement. They are baffled at why the UNSUB has headed “home” to the place it all began. The latest victim was taken from the same spot as his second victim, Tina Dyson. Penelope Garcia then worked her magic to try to find anything life changing that had happened at that location in the past. In 1966, a sixteen year old girl had been raped and found in a car outside of the bar. The rape victim had returned to the hospital several times for pre-natal care. She hemorrhaged badly during labor and died giving birth.

Her son, Thomas Yates, survived, and was raised by his grandparents. His childhood was a nightmare of injuries and fire-setting (one of the hallmarks of the Homicidal Triad). He committed his first murder at 16 and was sent way to juvie, and then 7 years of prison. In prison, he told the psychiatrist of the horrible abuse he suffered at his grandmother’s hands, determined to rid him of evil. Penelope was able to determine that his grandfather had just died, and his grandmother was dying of lung cancer in a hospice.

JJ and Prentiss go to the Hospice to visit Trudy, the grandmother. She calls him a “bastard born in sin” and tells them that “nothing good ever comes out of sin”. From her grandson’s paper work to the hospice, they find the address to a storage container, which Tommy was holding his latest victim. Literally holding coffee in one hand and the bloody knife in the other, to which I had to chuckle when he was told to “drop it” he drops the coffee cup first!

Yates is tried and sentenced to the death penalty. Two years ago to the day of the episode, Rossi got a phone call from Yates. Yates makes a deal with Rossi to give him a list of 40 names of other victims to have the death penalty taken off the table. He will also give Rossi one more name per year on a day of Yates’ choosing.

Rossi reluctantly agrees and we see a montage of him going to the victims’ families, offering them the closure he had promised years before. As the lecture closes, the team offers to go with Rossi to his yearly meeting with Yates. He declines and goes to the prison where Yates hands him a paper, Rossi gets up to leave, and as he is leaving Yates begins singing Happy Birthday to Rossi. He opens the paper to find a name with the words “happy birthday. Love, Tommy”.

This episode had some great parts to it. I loved the glimpses into Rossi’s past, as well as the details they took when going back into the past (Reid’s haircut being the same, Hotch’s Seattle field office). However, the show was a bit disjointed due to the flashback mentality, as well as the explanation of things that regular viewers already understand, such as the meaning of UNSUB and what a profile is.

Looking forward to next week’s 2 hour finale: Hit & Run- In which we are promised that one character will not make it out alive. Is this how Paget Brewster will be making her exit? Stay tuned to find out next week!

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