Criminal Minds

Season 4 Episode 17


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Mar 11, 2009 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
382 votes

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Episode Summary

The BAU investigates a series of deaths involving possible exorcisms in the Washington area that appear to be sanctioned by the Vatican, and SSA Emily Prentiss finds herself personally involved in the case.

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# 6
  • The Curious Nosebleed

    The only reason I loved this episode was because it was heavily focused on Prentiss who is one of my favorite characters, and it was exciting to get some character development. I, however, was a bit unimpressed with the un-creepiness of the exorcisms despite the majority of the reactions I've read on here, and the ambiguity of the actual plot. It didn't seem very well thought out to me. That being said, I thought it offered a few interesting perspectives on religion, which I love seeing every now and then because I love controversy.

    As for the nose bleed at the end, I've noticed a lot of people questioning to its cause.

    We may recall Emily questioning the priest, accusing him of splashing his victims with holy water that contained some kind of chemical (though I don't recall what it was called) which was causing the bodies of his victims to give out.

    We may also recall the moment when Emily and Derek rush into John Cooley's house to rescue him. Prentiss shields John as Morgan detains the priest, but not before he splashes a final amount of holy water on both Cooley and Prentiss (note her line: "What is in that water?!").

    I'm assuming the nosebleed is a small residual symptom of the chemical she was exposed to, though obviously not enough to do much damage, but ultimately proving that she was right the whole time.moreless
  • This was thinly veiled anti-religious bigotry.

    I really did not like this.

    I love Prentiss she's awesome! But this was so boring and tbh exorcisms/exorcists is the one thing that truly scares me. Apart from cringing at the fact exorcisms were performed there was nothing interesting about this. Crap crap crap!
  • Whil I love Emily, this episode was well below par.

    This was one of my least favorite episodes ever, even though I really love Prentiss as perhaps my favorite character.

    The storyline was definitely deifferent from anything in the past - I'll give it that much, but I didn't enjoy the idea of the exorcismsf. It was quite freaky and it gave me some nightmares for sure, but it wasn't even that gripping.

    All up, I wouldn't recommend this episode. It ws not very interesting and it was overly freaky and I didn't enjoy it. Thumbs up for trying something different in this episode, but safe to say, it didnt work well.

    I know Criminal Minds is awesome, and I'm sure it weill return to a high standard in the coming weeks.moreless
  • Emily centric episode

    In this episode of Criminal Minds, the following happens. We open with Emily going to a bar to meet a friend. We learn that another friend of Emily's named Matthew has died. Apparently from a heart attack. But they believe that he was murdered and so Emily agrees to look into it. She returns to the BAU and Hotch agrees that the team will look into it as a case, as there appears o be a pattern and a second victim. We quickly learn that Emily's friend had a drug problem and due to this he had nose bleeds (thorough using cocaine and other medications which are illegal). Soon a 3rd victim is reported and Morgan, Emily and Reid go to investigate the crime scene. Emily admits to Rossi that when she was 15 she got pregnant and Matthew helped her get to a clinic where she had an abortion. Matthew helped her throughout it and he started questioning the bible. He also started taking drugs and Emily blames herself for it.

    They soon learn of the priest who is committing the exorcisms which is leading to the deaths of men and they learn that he has diplomatic amenity. Emily questions him but they have to let him go. Hotch sends Emily home for a few days, but Rossi takes her out on a little trip. They go to see Matthews's parents and his father admits that he was in the room with Matthew during the exorcism. His mother says that Matthew was never troubled until he met Emily. We learn from the parents that John (the fiend Emily met in the bar) was not told from them about Matthews's death. We then see that John is next in line for an exorcism. Emily and Morgan go there and find the priest performing the exorcism. As Morgan takes him out of the room, he splashes both of them in holy water. We also learn that John was the father of Emily's baby (at least I believe so after what I saw). At the very end of the episode we see Emily walking, and her nose starts to bleed. But why? Is she now sick? Is she doing drugs? Hopefully all will be explained in next week's episode.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

Carmen Argenziano

Carmen Argenziano

Father Paul Silvano

Guest Star

Jaret Sacrey

Jaret Sacrey

Matthew Benton

Guest Star

Walton Goggins

Walton Goggins

John Cooley

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Although referenced in this episode as a cathedral, Santiago de Compostela is not a cathedral. It a city located in the northwest of Spain in the Province of A Coruña that has a cathedral. There is a tomb in the cathedral that allegedly contains the remains of one of Jesus Christ's 12 Apostles, specifically St. James, son of Zebedee and brother of the Apostle St. John.

    • J.J. says that Father Silvano was "invited to say mass at the Washington National Cathedral," which would never happen because the Washington National Cathedral is Episcopalian, not Catholic.

    • At the very beginning of the episode when Prentiss drives up to the bar, the reflection of the neon "bar" sign on her car is not backward, as a reflection should be.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Morgan: Rossi, don't tell me you believe in evil.
      Rossi: Don't tell me you do this job and you don't.
      Morgan: I believe there are evil acts, but those are choices, brain chemistry. What do you think, Hotch?
      Hotchner: I think deep down inside we are all capable of unspeakable things. Where it starts, or what you call it, I don't know.

    • Prentiss: (entering the BAU office) Is Hotch still here?
      Garcia: Oh, I'm pretty sure he lives here.

    • Prentiss: Leonardo da Vinci said, "He who does not punish evil, commands it to be done."

    • Rossi: "There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being." James Joyce

  • NOTES (4)

    • Ian Woolf, first assistant director for the series, guest stars as a cab driver in this episode.

    • Thomas Gibson and guest star Roxanne Hart worked together previously on Chicago Hope. Guest stars James Remar and Carmen Argenziano worked together previously in the movie Hellraiser: Inferno.

    • The music heard in this episode was "The Fix" by The Noises 10 and "My Side of the Story" by Hodges during the final scene.

    • This storyline for this episode was modeled on "Robbie Doe," the Washington, DC, boy on whom The Exorcist movie was based.


    • Prentiss: 'I think he died for me.'
      Prentiss quotes a line from James Joyce's short story, The Dead, published in Dubliners in 1914. This line is spoken by Gretta as she remembers a young boy who was ill and yet ran through the rain to say goodbye to her when she was leaving Galway. Gretta's memory is bittersweet - Michael, the boy, died from his illness within a week. The main character of the story, Gretta's husband, Gabriel, reexamines his life and his own priorities after his wife's nostalgic story.