Criminal Minds

Season 5 Episode 20

... A Thousand Words

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM May 05, 2010 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
436 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The BAU travels to Tallahassee to profile a tattooed serial killer after he commits suicide, but left clues to the location of one remaining victim who is possibly still alive.

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# 6
  • This intriguing episode will likely be ranked among the best of Season 5.

    From the unique overhead perspective of the 911 operators to the closing banter between Reid, Prentiss, and Morgan, the viewer is never disappointed. So, what makes this episode a standout?

    Writing: without the elements of a good plot, the viewer is left watching just a bunch of actors trying to make something work that just isn't there. The opening scenes enticed the viewer to stay with this one. The story never dragged and all parts of the plot were relevant up to and including the climax and ending. The inclusion of the tattoo artist's somewhat comical but morbid curiosity played well against Rossi's and Prentiss' sober information gathering.

    Acting: all of the actors seemed totally engaged in their roles and no one appeared overly dominant. The inclusion of the local detective (Det. Barton) in solving the case was a refreshing interplay; Hotch's compliment at the close was genuinely emotional. Rossi's referral to Garcia as "Kitten" shows that his character development has come a long way. The Prentiss/Reid card game was a light-hearted close to an other wise gruesome case. Prentiss nearly stole the show as she leaves both Reid and Morgan with their mouth's hanging open.

    Directing/Crew: the directing and camera work were some of the best in recent memory for this series. As mentioned above, the overhead pan of the 911 operators certainly focused attention on a very difficult job and the subsequent tight, but not too revealing filming of the unsub's face, added to the suspense of the opening. In-tight facial shots of raw emotion are always powerful, such as the unsub's girlfriend on learning of his death. Also, the seemingly innocent bungalow that housed the chamber of horrors is a lesson in the effective use of contrast-beautiful sunny day outside for gardening, living hell on earth inside the house. The whole labor-delivery scene and ending were filmed and directed for a plethora of emotional responses ranging from horror, to disgust, to empathy, just to name a few.

    More can be said of this episode and hopefully will. This review is merely a framework for an outstanding show in which all the parts come together in near perfect harmony.moreless
  • There was a lot which was very disturbing about this episode as the BAU travel to Florida to investigate the death and crimes of a heavily tattooed killer.

    A man who is about to commit suicide calls 911. When his body is discovered there is also the shock of a room covered with photographs and clippings of women who have obviously been the victims of this man over more than a decade.

    A detailed journal concerning the deaths is found and it is soon noted that the names of the dead women are tattooed somewhere on his body. Just one photo is found which does not have a corresponding tattoo and this leads the BAU to believe that the girl, who has been missing for approximately three weeks, is still alive somewhere. The question is, where? And how will they find her given that the killer is now dead?

    A very disturbing ending which I won't spoil but one which you may find interesting without actually being surprised by it.moreless
  • I really enjoyed this episode...

    i really enjoyed this episode and let me tell you why...

    1. there was great character interaction with all the characters (except a little hotch) 2. prentiss was quite funny in a few scenes with morgan and reid

    3. the case was different and enjoyable

    4. the scenes with the wife and the kidnapped girl kept me intrigued

    5. the whole episode

    this thing must have 100 words maximum so im just gonna talk about next weeks episode...

    can i just say... omg, garcia finds a dead body and sees the killer murder him (i think) and she questions her role in the bau!! looks very interesting coz im a fan of garcia hehe and the season finale looks good as well!moreless
  • Another brilliant episode

    In this episode of Criminal Minds, the following happens. When a tattooed serial killer commits suicide the BAU team go to investigate. We quickly learn that there is another victim out there, who may still be alive. The killer had a partner and as the team try to track down the partner, we see that it is a woman who is pregnant. They ID the Unsub and learn who used to visit often whilst he was in prison. They ID his partner, but when they get there she is dead. She has given birth and the last victim, who is still alive, is there holding the baby of the people who tortured her. Overall another brilliant episode.moreless
  • Dark, emotional... Another good episode

    They did well this time. They had case what was everything than ordinary. As they were thinking: have they ever solved or heard a case where dominate person commits suicide to protect other. And this was just a start what lead us to the person he was protecting.. And when I usually do not like those episodes where viewers know who the unsub is, then this time.. It served it's purpose so well. We saw those storyline simulationsly.. that girl, who was still alive.. and they trying to get to her..

    Plus the emotions.. The local police officer.. or JJ in the end, wondering if the baby will be ok.. The never ending question: what matters more genes or the environment where the kid will be growing up.moreless
Thomas Gibson

Thomas Gibson

Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner

Joe Mantegna

Joe Mantegna

Senior SSA David Rossi

Matthew Gray Gubler

Matthew Gray Gubler

SSA Dr. Spencer Reid

Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore

SSA Derek Morgan

Paget Brewster

Paget Brewster

SSA Emily Prentiss

A.J. Cook

A.J. Cook

SSA Jennifer "JJ" Jareau

Greg Jennings

Greg Jennings

Tech Jennings

Guest Star

Dean Norris

Dean Norris

Det. John Barton

Guest Star

Jolene Andersen

Jolene Andersen

Juliet Monroe

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The names Garcia sees as she reviews the unsub's visitor log when he was in prison are actual names of various crew members.

    • In the beginning of the episode, Prentiss mentions the case is going to interrupt her "Sin To Win" weekend in Atlantic City. EA Games held a "Sin to Win" contest starting at 2009's Comic-Con to promote its game based on "Dante's Inferno" that was released in February 2010.

    • Greg Jennings, wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, guest-stars as an evidence tech at the crime scene in this episode. He received the opportunity due to a chance meeting between Ed Bernero and Jennings' parents, Greg and Gwendolyn, during a Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears game at Lambeau Field. The Jennings and Bernero, a huge Chicago Bears fan, told Greg's parents he ever wanted to be on the show to let him know.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Rossi: (after Garcia identifies the unsub from his prison tattoo) Garcia, remind me never to try to hide from you.

    • Hotchner: Gandhi said, "I have seen children successfully surmount the effects of an evil inheritance. That is due to purity being an inherent attribute of the soul."

    • Rossi: "A sincere artist tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing." Painter William Dobell

  • NOTES (0)


    • "The Illustrated Man" referenced in this episode is both a collection of short stories by science fiction author, Ray Bradbury, and a movie released in 1969. Published in 1951, the book contained 18 short stories while the movie addressed only three. Rod Steiger played the title role in the movie version.