Criminal Minds

Season 3 Episode 7

Identity

8
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 07, 2007 on CBS

Episode Recap

In Great Falls, Montana, Francis Goehring, a well-built, brown-haired and mustached man, is speeding down the highway, radio turned up loud, popping pumpkin seeds into his mouth. He glances at his face in the side-view mirror and runs his finger along a pronounced scar under his left eye. When he looks up he realizes he's just passed a state police car, and he shakes his head in frustration. The police car takes off in pursuit, and the state trooper radios his dispatcher that he's found the missing blue Honda. Other cars join the chase, but Goehring can't get his car to go above 90 mph, and he's forced to pull over. The Montana State Police officers pull up around him, and train their guns on Goehring, demanding that he get out of his car. Goehring runs one hand through his hair and watches other police cars pull up, coolly fingering a gun as the police continue to demand to see his hands. Finally, Goehring holds a grenade in his lap, out of sight of the police that surround him. He closes his eyes and pulls the pin before putting one hand out the car window, the ring from the grenade pin around his finger. As the police approach his car, an officer notices the pin and shouts, "Grenade!" The blast completely obliterates Goehring and the blue Honda, and severely wounds a Montana police officer.

Morgan sits at his desk in the BAU bullpen, watching the painters leave Agent Rossi's office as Reid goes on and on about the physics of Star Wars. As soon as the painters are out of sight, Morgan moves towards the office over Reid's objections. Prentiss also admits curiosity about Rossi, and she and Morgan begin looking around his office. Morgan wants to know more about Rossi – he doesn't understand why someone with his income would want to come back to work at the BAU. Reid hesitates, looking around, and finally standing in the doorway keeping his eyes open for Rossi's return as Prentiss and Morgan make observations. Prentiss notes that the color taupe on Rossi's walls is linked to loneliness and the desire to escape from the world. Morgan is surprised the walls aren't covered with plaques about his past victories and Prentiss suggests that Rossi may want to start a new chapter in his life. Reid steps inside the office and asks what happened to the "moratorium on inter-team profiling," but Morgan denies that Rossi acts in any way like part of the team. Morgan finds a piece of framed Renaissance art and Reid finally can't resist entering the office and involving himself in the profile. He states that it might be an original work and that Rossi is most likely Catholic, Italian, with a strict upbringing and probably believes in redemption. From the open doorway, Rossi agrees, admitting that he believes in a lot of things. He calmly comments on each one of their observations, telling the three that the art is original, the wall color is a base coat, and the "team" should be in the conference room with JJ and Hotchner. Chagrined, Reid, Morgan and Prentiss walk out as Rossi smiles.

JJ begins briefing the team on the three women who had been reported missing over the past 14 months in Great Falls, Montana. They were all young brunettes, and all have been presumed dead. A fourth woman – Angela Miller – went missing from the parking lot of a convenience store just that morning. Rossi is surprised that Montana is requesting any kind of help from the FBI. Hotchner explains what happened when Montana State Troopers attempted to apprehend the suspect driving Angela Miller's blue Honda. After going through the wreckage, the only remains found were that of the driver, and Hotchner is hoping that Angela Miller is still alive.

In a very small, dark space, a bound and gagged Angela Miller is crying and pounding against the walls, trying to escape.

Morgan, Prentiss, JJ and Reid sit around a table on the BAU jet, going over the case files. Reid is working on a map of Great Falls, marking it with different colored markers. Prentiss comments that she could have gotten him a coloring book at the airport and he explains that he's creating a topographical map, geocoding all locations looking for algorithms. Hotchner is the only other agent familiar with the procedure, and tells Prentiss it is a way of narrowing down the location of the unsub's residence, or where he may have been holding Angela Miller. Morgan wonders why the unsub used a grenade when he had a fully loaded gun with him. Morgan is surprised when Rossi joins the discussion, suggesting that the criminal wanted to make a statement – he wanted to be remembered and to take as many police officers with him as he could.

The team discusses the prevalence of militia groups in that part of the country – that these types have access to a lot of different weaponry and hate federal law enforcement. Many militia members are ex-military who resented the military structure, were discharged, and then set up their own para-military governments. JJ has sent the unsub's dental records to Garcia and will tell her to check the military first. Hotchner assigns duties – he and Prentiss will meet Angela Miller's husband, Morgan will walk the other abduction sites, and the rest of the team will set up base and continue working on the geographical profile. He advises the team members to tread carefully, as the locals will be watching them.

Sheriff Williams is standing outside a small grocery store and greets Hotchner and Prentiss with the news that the state trooper died in the ICU just a few hours ago. The three determine that the unsub waited for Angela Miller to exit the store with her purchases, and then held a gun on her and instructed her to drive away. They wonder where he came from as all other vehicles in the area checked out. Sheriff Williams is just happy to be able to tell his neighbors that the criminal is dead. A Highway Patrol car drives up and delivers Robert Miller and his young son to the crime scene.

At the Sheriff's Department, JJ is frustrated. She is attempting to contact local militia groups for help finding the missing woman, and as soon as she identifies herself as a member of the FBI they hang up on her. Both Rossi and Reid suggest she stop telling them she's with the FBI. The local people will want to help the missing woman, but they won't want to help the FBI. Garcia calls with the identity of the unsub. She found Francis Goehring's records through the Army where he had been dishonorably discharged after several instances of assault and battery. Goehring also shows up on a federal watch-list for aggressive militia groups. His last known address is a compound just outside of town, and he is married to Diane Marie Goehring who lives a few hours away. Rossi asks Garcia to have state police bring in Goehring's wife. He and Reid go to talk with some of Goehring's neighbors.

At the crime scene Prentiss asks Mr. Miller about what happened that morning. Robert Miller wants to know if the man who took Angela took all of the other women, too – he wants to know if he was a serial killer. Hotchner tells him that the BAU is there to help him find his wife. Both he and the Sheriff believe she is still alive, and they need him to try to remember every detail that he can about that morning.

All eyes are on the black FBI SUV as it drives into the trailer park compound. The signs outside the Manager's Office say it all – "Keep Montana Armed!", "No Trespassing," and "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Just About Anyone." After knocking, Reid is confronted with an angry man who cannot believe someone who looks like Reid is an FBI agent. Rossi, flashing his own credentials, backs him up. When the manager would have closed the door in their faces, Rossi holds up a picture of Angela Miller. He tells the manager that Goehring abducted her and their investigation isn't about helping the FBI, it's about helping a woman be reunited with her husband and son. The manager agrees to show them Goehring's place. Inside Goehring's trailer, the two agents determine that the man didn't live there; he just used the address for mail delivery. Goehring had been reading books about Medieval Feudal Society and the Spanish Inquisition. Reid tells Rossi that he's read all of his books and wonders why Rossi just "glanced over" the Ruby Ridge incident. Rossi looks uncomfortable and kicks open an Army footlocker to find an old picture of Goehring and his wife. He changes the subject and asks Reid about his map – Hotchner seemed to think the unsub was on foot when he abducted Angela Miller, but Reid has only narrowed the area down to 30 square miles. Inside the footlocker Rossi also finds a dozen videotapes.

Back at the Sheriff's department, Reid, Prentiss and Rossi begin watching the tapes Goehring has made. In the tapes Goehring talks about the perfect feudal society where there was one lord, and everyone else knew his or her place beneath him. Reid comments that the camera angle and staging of the tapes reinforce Goehring's position of dominance. Goehring rambles on about building a kingdom, lording it over others from his castle on high, and keeping women to serve him. Prentiss wonders if all of the abducted women are still alive. JJ breaks in to announce that Goehring's wife has arrived. She seems hostile, and wants to leave until Prentiss shows her the picture they found of her and her husband. Prentiss then shows her pictures of Angela Miller and all of the other abducted women – women who all resemble Diana Goehring. Diana tells Prentiss that she hasn't seen her husband, Francis, since she and the militia threw him out. Diana begins crying when she thinks about what her husband did to her - she's relieved to find out that he's dead. Rossi tells her that he knows Francis was sadistic, and did horrible things to her. He probably did the same things to the missing women, and they don't have the militia to help them. When Diana cannot think of a place Francis might go, Hotchner says Francis mentioned beginning his kingdom with "nine acres." That reminds Diana of a plot of land she inherited from her parents. Diana points to a small section within the shaded area on Reid's map.

The agents, sheriff's department, and local police swarm all over the house and grounds. As experts look through the house to make sure it is clear of booby-traps and explosives, the agents check the surrounding area. Morgan finds the body of Angela Miller laid out in the garden beside some rose bushes. The body is still warm, and the blood hasn't dried yet. The team knows that Goehring didn't kill her – he must have had a partner.

In his small home, Henry Frost, a slight, blond man with a scraggly moustache, washes his hands and face nervously. He grabs a photograph of Francis Goehring taken near a distinctive rock formation and gazes at it reverently. Tucked into the frame is another photograph - a close-up of Goehring's face.

The BAU team members focus on Reid's map that has been laid across the hood of a car. They know that Angela Miller has only been dead for 30 minutes, and that the unsub just left the area. The Sheriff's Department will set up roadblocks for a 40 miles radius, but Hotchner suggests that someone in the town probably knows who Goehring's partner is. The militia leader is Harris Townsend and he owns a bar nearby. Rossi suggests that Morgan talk with him. Morgan is stunned, and questions why, of all the team, he would pick the only black man. Knowing militia groups, Rossi tells him that his is the last face they will expect to see. Hotchner tells JJ to go with him. Both Morgan and JJ are skeptical of this tactic, but they go.

Rossi and Reid check out the barn which Goehring kept obsessively neat. They find the large gun safe completely empty, except for a few boxes of shells that tell them that the unsub has an assault rifle. The tire tracks tell them that Goehring's partner is driving a pick-up truck. If the partner is as prepared as Goehring he will have a police scanner, so they will have to keep all of their official communications about him on another band. Prentiss has found something in the garden area – there are three different beds of roses, planted at three different times and at three different levels of maturity. The most recent plant still has tags from the store where it was purchased. Reid notices something else – there are carrion beetles around the base of the plants.

The parking lot of Harris Townsend's bar is filled with pick-up trucks with loaded gun racks. Morgan cautions JJ before they enter to be careful, and not to turn her back on the door. Silence descends on the patrons as the two agents enter the bar and show their credentials. Morgan asks to talk with the owner, but Harris Townsend replies that the FBI isn't really known for "talking" in those parts. Townsend comments that Morgan's choice of sidearm – a Glock 17 – is a good choice, but European made. Townsend points to his own Smith and Wesson – "pure American hardware." Morgan keeps calm, but places his hand on his weapon when Townsend fingers his own. He tells Townsend that he has a job to do. Townsend questions Morgan's trust in a federal government which has continually oppressed black people – and asks him if his own team has much regard for him as there were five other agents they could have sent into the militia-run bar to speak with him. Morgan gets back to the point – they just found Angela Miller's body in a bed of roses after she'd been shot twice in the back. Morgan is there to "do right by her." Townsend calls Goehring a "piece of dung," and claims not to know the partner's name. He tells Morgan that his partner was small, and followed Goehring around like his "private pack mule." Morgan leaves his card on Townsend's table, and he and JJ leave the bar.

Once the officers clear Goehring's home of explosives and the team enters, Rossi is surprised to find that Goehring kept his house "almost cozy." Inside a drawer he finds unspooled tapes showing the names of the missing women. Hotchner sends a deputy to collect the tapes and get them to Garcia. Prentiss and Reid find a list of rules mounted in the kitchen that describe the obligations of the servants to the "Master." Reid deduces that the partner is more of a serf who cared for the house and lawn and helped Goehring abduct women. Goehring's bedroom is filled with medieval torture devices – he abducted the women, held them in a box he created in his closet, and tortured them with home-made torture tools for months. Workers find the mutilated bodies of the women wrapped in plastic and buried in the rose garden. Rossi insists they help the families of the victims give them proper burials.

Back at the Great Falls Sheriff's Department, the BAU team gives the profile of Goehring's "partner" to local law enforcement. Hotchner explains that he is slight, in his twenties, and is shy and retiring. He is trained in assault weaponry and is very unlikely to surrender if cornered. He is obsessively neat, and from the hair samples found they know he is blond. He has just lost the man he was heavily dependent on, so he is in crisis.

As the team continues to describe him, Henry Frost is changing his clothes, and dying his hair brown to match Goehring's. Gazing at Goehring's picture, he smashes a beer bottle, and then cuts his left cheek to try to mimic the pattern of Goehring's facial scar.

Garcia has just finished watching every inch of videotape that Goehring made of his torture of the women he abducted. Goehring's last advice to Frost, his "partner," is delivered over the body of a woman, Goehring's bare chest smeared with her blood: "One more thing, never let the bastards take you alive, and never be forgotten." Garcia scanned every frame but never saw a glimpse of the other man – he was holding the camera throughout every moment of torture. Garcia is horrified by what she has seen on the tapes. Prentiss, Reid and Sheriff Williams watch Goehring's torture of Jennifer Hillbridge, the second woman abducted. Reid notices that the cameraman always frames Goehring, not the victim – he's much more interested in Goehring than the torture. The man holding the camera seems obsessed with Goehring's body – and the unspooled tapes are evidence of his jealousy. Goehring's partner was in love with him. On the tape, Goehring teaches the other man how to tie the perfect knot which is in keeping with the idea that the partner is more like a medieval serf who was responsible for cleaning the house, helping abduct women, burying the bodies, getting supplies and planting the roses. Someone from the surrounding nurseries must have noticed him buying all of the rose bushes.

Reid, Prentiss and JJ go to all of the nurseries in the area to ask about a meek young man buying rose bushes. One man remembers that Henry Frost matches the description – he works at the plant store. At Henry Frost's home, Hotchner, Prentiss and Reid find that Frost has destroyed all of his possessions, even burning all the photographs of himself in his grill. Frost depended on Goehring for his identity, and now that identity is gone.

Frost sits outside a gas station in his pickup truck, his face bandaged where he cut it. When a young, brunette woman leaves the store, he approaches her and asks if he can help her with her bag. She brushes him off and opens her trunk to put away her bag. When she turns around, Frost has a gun and forces her into the trunk. The woman cashier sees the abduction and goes back inside for her shotgun, but Frost has driven off before she can get a shot off. When Hotchner questions her she tells him the man had a bandage on the side of his face and bought a bag of pumpkin seeds before he abducted the woman. Frost left his pickup truck at the gas station, and Rossi realizes that Frost had always been the driver – acting as Goehring's chauffer until he picked a victim and abducted her. The cashier cannot identify Frost from a picture JJ has, but she shows the agents a security video that shows his new look – brown hair brushed straight back and a scar just like Goehring's.

Outside, Rossi and Hotchner work on Frost's profile. He needed to be dominated by Goehring, but now Goehring is dead. Frost has lost his identity because his sense of self was tied to his "Master." Frost is showing signs of Depersonalization Disorder which often happens when a person loses a loved one. Frost now hates himself because Goehring has told him over and over again that he is nothing without him. Now, the only way that Frost can survive is to become Goehring, and he has begun to abduct women because that is what Goehring would do. Hotchner knows that they must try to think like Goehring, not Frost, because, even in death, Goehring is calling all the shots.

Frost is speeding down the highway, radio turned up, admiring his new scar in the rearview mirror. He imagines that Goehring is sitting in the backseat telling him that he was a nobody. Frost replies that he isn't a nobody now – now he's Goehring.

Frost is leading his victim up the side of a mountain, and begins tying her up at the top.

At the Sheriff's Department, Hotchner and Rossi explain that Frost will now act like Goehring – he will not surrender and he will try to take as many policemen as possible with him when he dies. Sheriff Williams can easily supply a sharpshooter, but they have no idea where Frost will go. Prentiss remembers that Goehring often mentioned something called "Ideal Land," in his tapes. He also referred to "Higher Ground" as being the best place for a Lord to survey the land and spot invaders. Prentiss hands the Sheriff the photograph she and Reid found on Goehring's refrigerator – the picture of Goehring by a distinctive rock formation. The sheriff identifies it as "Black Eagle Peak" – a place militia groups used to use for training drills.

Frost ties up his victim just as Goehring taught him to. The victim, Becky, tries to talk with Frost, and asks him his name. He tells her that his name is Francis Goehring, and places a device around her neck to keep her head perfectly erect.

The BAU has arrived near the rock formation, and the sheriff's department has located Frost on the very top of the peak where he will be able to see every move they make. Morgan is disgusted to find that the sharpshooter the sheriff located is Harris Townsend. The sheriff advises him that Townsend is the best person for the job, even though he is a civilian and a militia member. Townsend reminds them that, if he's off by even an inch the wrong person might get shot, "but I guess I don't need to remind you gentlemen of that." Rossi volunteers to head around the east face of the mountain with Townsend, and Hotchner tells him that, if he sees the shot, to call it. Morgan and Prentiss will go up the middle, and Hotchner and the Sheriff will stay at the bottom and try to distract Frost.

Hotchner calls Frost "Goehring," and tries to talk with him over the radio as the others get into position. Frost is holding his hostage directly in front of him, and has an assault rifle. Townsend can't get a clear shot and asks Rossi to try to get Frost to move. Rossi advises Hotchner to distract him and try to get him away from Becky. Townsend questions the FBI policy at Ruby Ridge – the "shoot to kill" order – but Rossi tells him it wasn't policy then, but it is in this case.

Hotchner begins telling Frost that he knows all about him, giving him details of Frost's life, trying to anger him. Frost quotes Goehring's last words from the videotape: "Never let the bastards take you alive, and never be forgotten." Rossi tells Townsend to take the shot if he has it, and that his order at Ruby Ridge was the same – that man is not going to be taken alive. Townsend is unsure whether or not to take the shot, hoping that Hotchner can talk Frost out of the situation, but Frost panics and moves back from his victim, pointing his rifle at her back. Townsend fires once, killing Frost. Morgan and Prentiss race up the hill to find Frost dead and the victim alive and unharmed. Townsend flips the spent rifle cartridge at Rossi and walks away.

Rossi sits fingering the cartridge and looking out at the Montana landscape as Morgan walks up to him. Morgan notes that the view reminds him of Idaho and Rossi agrees. He tells Morgan that all anyone wants to remember is that an FBI sniper killed a woman holding her baby, but no one talks about what happened in Waco, Texas, six months later, when 80 men, women and children died and the FBI didn't fire a shot. Both situations were failures, and they still haunt the bureau, and keep some people from trusting them. These are the things that made Rossi first think about leaving the agency. Morgan asks, "So what started you thinking about coming back?" "Unfinished business," Rossi answers, and throws the rifle cartridge to Morgan. Morgan warns Rossi that he is relentless, and he will figure him out. Rossi walks away, and Morgan throws the cartridge as far as he can. [recap written by Finnegan77]
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