Criminal Minds

Season 1 Episode 14

Riding the Lightning

12
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jan 25, 2006 on CBS
8.9
out of 10
User Rating
532 votes
45

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
After interviewing a married couple sitting on death row at Florida State Penitentiary for serial murder, Gideon suspects the woman is actually innocent. Since she's set to be executed in two days; however, it's a race against time to prove it.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • The tale of a Mothers' love

    9.5
    In this episode, love is depicted in a maternal light. One of the most endearing episodes as it focuses on Sarah Jean and Jacob Dawes, a supposed murderous couple that killed many young girls and their son, Riley. However Sarah Jean, a wonderfully complicated yet compassionate mother wanted her son to live without burden. I will not reveal too much but this episode had my heart fluttering in a bitter sweet fashion. Tears welled in my eyes as her last image was of what she wanted. She had everything she could have ever wanted. Riley's happiness, is her happiness. Not too many fans can understand the concept of maternal love as a mothers' love is strength.

    The one flaw is Gideon's acceptance in Sarah Jean's execution. I can easily overlook it because Sarah Jean found her peace regardless.moreless
  • Fred and rose?!

    10
    I don't know how anyone could think this episode was based on the West's. Rosemary was an active part of that partnership, equal in her disdain for human life, and she actually killed one of her children and did not protect the others in any way.. Sarah Jean went all out to protect her child and give him a good and happy life. She was not complicit in her husbands crimes. The only similarities in the 2 cases is they are a couple!

    This is one of my all time favourite episodes. I must have seen it at least 6 times and always she'd a tear at the end.moreless
  • Inspired by...

    3.0
    This is based on Rosemary and Fred West. The series Appropriate Adult gives a more in depth and true telling of the story.
  • RIDE THE LIGHTNING

    9.0
    I do absoloutly love this episode. But watching it again today something I realised was very obvios about it, was that it is PLAINLY based off the murderers, 'Rosemary and Fred West'. Although not completely following their storyline, the similarity was uncannny. I loved that I picked that up, although i'm not sure how many other people actually know who these people are.
  • Why do I feel so satisfied when the BAU is ultimately unsuccessful with both Jacob and Sarah Jean Dawes?

    9.2
    The BAU is trying to determine if the Dawes killed more young women than bodies have been found in order to give closure to Florida families. Certainly the concept of “death-bed interviews” is sound – much of the information our guys have about serial killers comes from the mouths of the killers themselves after they are convicted. Although these interviews have got to be stressful and extremely difficult (as is shown in Hotch’s interviews with Jacob), there is that slim possibility that the FBI might get some answers. So Hotch takes on the very, very evil Jacob, and comes away empty. One more body, one more identification, but no real answers.



    Gideon’s interviews with Sarah Jean end up going down a whole ‘nother road. Once we learn that Sarah Jean is innocent and Riley is alive, Gideon's goal becomes finding enough evidence to keep Sarah Jean from the electric chair. Even though she doesn’t cooperate, he manages to get the information he needs. But Sarah Jean isn’t saved.



    So why is this episode so satisfying? Maybe it’s the contentment that Sarah Jean expresses as she sacrifices her life so her son can grow up without the taint of serial killer parents. Maybe it’s the knowledge that Riley has become a talented and, above all, normal young man in his adoptive home. Or, maybe it’s that final moment when Jacob is in the electric chair and Hotch shows him that his son is alive. Yeah, I think that’s it. You lost, Jacob.moreless
A.J. Cook

A.J. Cook

SSA Jennifer "JJ" Jareau

Lola Glaudini

Lola Glaudini

SSA Elle Greenaway

Mandy Patinkin

Mandy Patinkin

Senior SSA Jason Gideon

Matthew Gray Gubler

Matthew Gray Gubler

SSA Dr. Spencer Reid

Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore

SSA Derek Morgan

Thomas Gibson

Thomas Gibson

Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner

Constance Towers

Constance Towers

Deb Mason

Guest Star

Roger Aaron Brown

Roger Aaron Brown

Warden Charles Diehl

Guest Star

Michael Massee

Michael Massee

Jacob Dawes

Guest Star

Kirsten Vangsness

Kirsten Vangsness

Analyst Penelope Garcia

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (12)

  • NOTES (2)

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Hotchner: Aces and eights. Two pair. (lays down his cards)
      Jacob Dawes: Dead Man's Hand.

      The current accepted Dead Man's Hand consists of two black aces, two black eights, and the jack of diamonds or spades. It is called such because Wild Bill Hickok was purportedly holding those cards when he was shot in the back of the head during a poker game, although there are several "official" versions of the hand. The shooting took place at Nuttall & Mann's No. 10 saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota, on August 2, 1876. Hotch's hand, however, appears not to be any of the contested versions of the Dead Man's Hand: eight of diamonds, eight of clubs, ace of hearts, ace of clubs, and the ace of diamonds.

    • Morgan: Well, she doesn't talk now, she's gonna take that story with her to "Old Sparky."

      The electric chair in this episode is called "Old Sparky." This was the name officially given to the electric chair in at least seven states: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia. Florida's chair was said to have been built from an old gallows; in its latter years it was notorious for setting its victims on fire. "Old Sparky" is sometimes also used to refer to electric chairs in general and not any specific one.

    • The title of this episode "Riding the Lightning" refers to an execution by the electric chair. The condemned would be summarily electrocuted in the chair, hence he or she would "ride" the electric current.

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