Criminal Minds

Season 3 Episode 1


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Sep 26, 2007 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
436 votes

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Episode Summary

The team investigates a serial killer who is targeting women at a small Arizona college in Flagstaff. The BAU shuts down the campus, creates a detailed profile of the unsub, and arrests a suspect. However, the team members begin to have doubts about themselves after another woman is killed while the suspect is in custody.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • My first episode of Criminal Minds and I am HOOKED!

    Let me start off by saying this is my first episode of CM (Criminal Minds) and I love this show now.

    I thought this was a very good episode. It was morbid in an almost carefree way. Sorry I don't really know how I can go into detail with that. I loved the voice over Gideon did because it went great with the episode's atmosphere and it hyped up the suspense of the show.

    The ending seriously left me lying in my bed with some goosebumps. Not only the part with Gideon and the gun, but also the one girl who was suicidal. It just leaves you seeing how some people just fall through the cracks of society. The acting was great!

    My favorite characters are JJ, Prentiss, and Garcia. I like all of the male characters as well, but I noticed that this show has really strong female characters.moreless
  • Broken family and being unappreciated has been the turning point to his aggressiveness. He's started to be aggressive whenever he sees anyone who is similar to his wife and reminds him to her.moreless

    Criminal minds continues to be my favorite series. This episode is simply superb! My blood continue to raise till the end. This episode shows that sometimes profile can goes wrong but you need to have faith in yourself. Team spirit is the most important. This episode also clearly shows Gideon's frustration. In real life, someone who we never expect to be bad. can turn to be a devil, which is more dangerous than the one we expect to be the bad one. It is seriously scary that our life could end at the hand someone we trusted or rather someone we heavily rely on all these while.moreless
  • Suspenseful ending for the third season opener . . .

    This is the episode that is the "Criminal Minds" beginning for me. I had watched the reruns during the break between season two and season three. So, for me, this episode was actually very good. The beginning hooked my attention and the ending made me hold me breath (for a second or two!)

    This episode bounces between Gideon writing a letter to his unidentified friend and his last case. The letter explains what has happened to cause Gideon to "disappear".

    I liked how the writers explained "straw that broke Gideon's back." Every human has a breaking point. For some people, it can be something so miniscule, it leaves others wondering just where that person's head is really at. For others, it can be a compilation of many little things. And for some, it just takes one major catastrophic event. This episode showed what one thing led up to Gideon's breaking point. Think about all the horrors that the profilers face each day. At some point in time, the profiler will face that one horror that becomes too much to handle. This case was Gideon's. It's hard to believe that Section Chief Erin Strauss is Annie from "Free Willy"!! She is NOT a nice person in this episode. She's head hunting and it's clear that it's Hotchner's head she wants on that platter. Seeing Prentiss as the spy/mole . . . I can honestly say that I don't like it. I guess I'm just used to how she is/becomes later in the season. Hotchner's reply to Gideon's question as to how long he (Hotchner) could hold the suspect's attorney was cute! "Are you kidding? I was a prosecutor; I can hold him off for days."

    For me, this episode was an excellent introduction to "Criminal Minds".moreless
  • The Episode That Changes Everything

    I knew going in about Manny's leaving the show. I must say that I was both very nervous and upset when I found out that he was going to be leaving the show. This show is without a doubt the best crime drama on television today and I really wanted to see the formula repeated for the next couple of seasons. This episode itself is still a Criminal Minds episodes with Manny as the lead role and it did not fail to deliver at all. The episode itself was really well done and I liked the fact that they didn't have any physical evidence to hold the first suspect that they had in custody although everyone knew that the guy did it. The continued to doubt themselves at the end of the episode but it was very clear to the audience that the final scene was the showdown between the two killers. The profile process went about as you would expect from this show, which is always a good thing. Gideon is struggling to get over the events that happened with Frank in "No Way Out, Part 2" which is the ultimate reason that was written into the show as to why he would leave. I thought it was a very well written plot twist that the writers had to sum up in about one episode. Overall, I would say this has to go down as the best opening episode to date.moreless
  • Good episode!

    This is my favorit episode of Criminal Minds.

    The episode shows Gidgeon's last case, but I'am glad that he had some episodes in season 3. Also a great beggining of the new season 3. Over to the plot of the episode, the unsub are killing girls on a compass, but when the team has arrested the unsub someone else is killed. So the team must figure out if they have the wrong person. But they let the unsub go in hope to find the other killer. Also at the end Hotch are suspended by the section chief, so after all a good episode!moreless
Mandy Patinkin

Mandy Patinkin

Senior SSA Jason Gideon

Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore

SSA Derek Morgan

Thomas Gibson

Thomas Gibson

Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner

Matthew Gray Gubler

Matthew Gray Gubler

SSA Dr. Spencer Reid

Paget Brewster

Paget Brewster

SSA Emily Prentiss

A.J. Cook

A.J. Cook

SSA Jennifer "JJ" Jareau

Shawn Michael Patrick

Shawn Michael Patrick

Det. Jim Griffith

Guest Star

Elizabeth Hendrickson

Elizabeth Hendrickson


Guest Star

Tori White

Tori White


Guest Star

Jayne Atkinson

Jayne Atkinson

Section Chief Erin Strauss

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (13)

    • JJ: Everyone is so much younger than I remember being.
      Prentiss: It's a weird age. You want to be treated like an adult, but you're still used to someone else solving your problems for you.
      JJ: All I remember is trying to figure out who I was.
      Prentiss: You move around enough, you get used to being whoever people want you to be.

    • Erin Strauss: Give me your badge.
      Hotchner: Ma'am?
      Erin Strauss: You're suspended for two weeks without pay pending an investigation of your conduct. And, Agent Hotchner, if it was solely up to me? You would never get these credentials back.
      Hotchner: Always a pleasure.

    • Prentiss: (about the unsub) I'll sleep when he confesses.
      : We all will.

    • Gideon: Spree killings in a confined area are a race. He's racing to kill as many as he can; we're racing to stop him.

    • Gideon: That was the last domino. The death of that girl. Hotch being suspended over something that was my fault. I said at the beginning of this letter that I knew it would be you to come up here. I'm so sorry the explanation couldn't be better, and I am so sorry that it doesn't make more sense. But I've already told you, I just don't understand any of it anymore.

    • Gideon: All homicide scenes are tragic, but when the victim is someone young, their life ripped away before they've even had a chance to live, it's devastating.

    • Gideon: (writing a letter) I knew it would be you who came to the cabin to check on me. You must be frightened – I apologize for that. I never meant to cause you any pain. I also never envisioned writing this letter. I've searched for a satisfactory explanation for what I'm doing, all I've come up with is a profiler needs to have solid footing, and I don't think I do anymore. The world confuses me – the cruelty, indifference, tragedy.

    • Gideon: How long can you hold that lawyer off?
      Hotchner: Are you kidding? I was a prosecutor; I can hold him off for days.

    • Gideon: Two more dead. Was it a price that needed to be paid? Is death ever worth it? Was the world always this gray? Is it only in the movies that it's black and white? Is that just an illusion? I used to know.

    • Morgan: (about the unsub's guilt) What do you think, Gideon?
      Gideon: I think only a guilty man can lay his head down and sleep when he's facing three murder charges. It's physically exhausting - killing, secrets, evading the police. It's almost a relief when you don't have to hide any more.

    • Gideon: In this line of work I was afraid I would lose the ability to trust. But I've realized I can't really look at anyone without seeing their death. And as bad as losing faith in humanity seems, losing your faith in happy endings is much worse.

    • Morgan: I know how bad cops want to believe they've got the right guy. I've been on both sides of that.

    • Gideon: Kids. They're so resilient. They trust and believe in a way I remember, but can't reach anymore, like a very old picture.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The song in the opening scene when the team arrived at the airport was "Wolf Like Me" by TV On The Radio. The song playing in the security guard's car was "Lazy Eye" by Silversun Pickups. "Cat Claw" by the Kills played while Anna Begley cuts her hair. "Wait" by the Kills played while Morgan and Prentiss wait for the ambulance.

      Other music was "Barely Holding On" by Wes Nickson, "I'm Still Holding On" by Ken Holloway, "New Noise" by Refused, and "Stuck Between Stations" by The Hold Steady.

    • This episode was originally scheduled to air on April 25, 2007. CBS shelved the episode over sensitivity concerns regarding the Virginia Tech tragedy. The version that was aired had been rewritten to include new scenes to explain the departure of Jason Gideon from the BAU.


    • Morgan: …I also know that Richard Jewell fit the profile of the Olympic Bomber to a "T"…

      During the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, a security guard named Richard Jewell noticed a suspicious backpack in Centennial Olympic Park. Jewell notified authorities and helped evacuate the park, ultimately saving many lives. A bomb inside the backpack went off, killing one person and injuring over one hundred. A story appeared in a local paper the next day, identifying Jewell as a suspect in the investigation, and, for the next four months the FBI subjected Jewell to a botched investigation, and the national press made Jewell's life miserable. He was formally cleared of all charges in October, 1996, but the damage to his reputation had already been done.

    • Gideon: How long can you hold that lawyer off?
      Hotchner: Are you kidding? I was a prosecutor; I can hold him off for days.

      This exchange was included to pay homage to SSA Jim Clemente, who is a former prosecutor, and is the only former prosecutor in the BAU.

    • Reid: Could be more like a groupie. After Kenneth Bianchi was arrested, he actually convinced a woman he hardly knew to attempt a murder…

      Kenneth Bianchi and his cousin, Angelo Buono, were the team of killers known as The Hillside Strangler. The two were sexual predators who killed at least 10 women in the Los Angeles area in late 1977 to early 1978, often exposing their dead bodies on the hillsides around town. After being convicted, Bianchi began corresponding with Veronica Crompton, who he convinced to commit a "copycat" crime resembling Bianchi's previous crimes in order to prove to the authorities that the real killer was still at large. Crompton failed, and she was convicted and imprisoned herself.