Criminal Minds

Season 1 Episode 22

The Fisher King (1)

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM May 10, 2006 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary


While on their separate vacations, each member of the BAU receives a clue from a psychopathic killer who challenges them to save his next victim.

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# 6
  • A dangerous serial killer targets the whole team

    When the team think that they are having a break they have to think again when a killer with big intentions sends clues to each member of the team and tries to frame Elle when she goes to Jamaica with Morgan.The killer shows how much he knows each member of the team by sending clues which links to each member of the teams past.The killer also sends them a video of the rules in which the team should follow so that the woman he kidnapped won't be killed and the killer seems to be crippled somehow.When the team doesn't follow these orders Elle gets in some trouble when the killer shows himself to Elle in her house with a gun up to her and when Elle goes to get her gun one of them fires their gun but which one is unknown until season 2 which I can't wait for.moreless
  • “I shall follow where you lead…” Garcia’s response to her imaginary Sir Kneighf is strangely foreshadowing of the entire Fisher King quest.

    Vulnerable: exposed, in danger, susceptible, at risk. Strong, independent FBI agents aren’t the ones who are supposed to feel vulnerable. They are the heroes, the doers of deeds, the impervious knights who fight the dragons and rescue the damsels in distress. Their armor is not just physical, to protect them from injury, but also moral and emotional, keeping them safe behind shields made of laws, principles, and the knowledge that they are in the right. Confident in their armor, the shock of their vulnerability is enough to undo them.

    Hotch’s vulnerability is his family. He is so happy at the beginning of this episode, looking forward to being with his wife and child, that his interaction with Haley takes 10 years off his face and puts the twinkle back into his eyes. Contrast that with his dawning realization that his wife and son are in imminent danger when Haley shows up at the BAU. He is completely unprepared for this threat.

    Reid’s situation is similar – he feels vulnerable because of his family, but for a completely opposite reason. He wants no one to know that his mother is mentally ill, and hides her from his fellow knights, afraid of what this reveals about him, his life, his past, and his own potential. Having successfully kept this secret from his new family, when he finds that the unsub has found him out he feel completely exposed, even terrified.

    Poor Garcia – hers is the saddest story. A simple game, her defenses down, and her most precious possession – the sanctity of her information systems – is destroyed. And she knows that her own mistakes have caused this breach in the walls. She is the one who has fallen asleep on duty and allowed the enemy a foothold in the sanctuary of her fellow knights.

    Gideon’s vulnerability is the most difficult with which to empathize. He needs his time away – a world where he can escape. “I needed a place where I didn’t have to know what was out there, where I could close my eyes and not see bodies torn to pieces, hear children calling out for help. That cabin was the only thing I had left and this guy took it away from me.” It isn’t until he sees the dangers facing the rest of the team that he is able to pull himself from his wallowing.

    No one is safe. Emotionally. Psychologically. But physically, Elle pays the highest price. The vulnerability of this strong, independent and volatile member of the team takes everyone, including the viewer, by surprise. If these warriors are not safe, then who else can be? As a cliff-hanger leading into season two, we can only assume that the rules have changed, and our heroes are now as vulnerable as anyone they’ve met as victims this year. Certainty is gone. Anything goes.moreless
  • A fantastic finale to this first season and one that will have you on your edge of your seat all the way through, not to mention wanting Season 2 to start really quickly so that you can find out what happens.moreless

    It's time for much-needed vacations for all members of the team, with the exception of JJ and Garcia, who have their vacation time separately from other members. Gideon is going to his cabin in the woods to spend two weeks with a lady friend, Reid is going to visit his mother, Diana, who is a paranoid schizophrenic residing in a hospital in Nevada and Elle and Morgan are both heading off to sunny Jamaica where Morgan's friend manages a luxury resort. Hotch will be spending the time with his family and it's clear that he's looking forward to it very much because he actually smiles!

    All goes well in the beginning with everyone enjoying their free time until a headless corpse turns up in the Jamaican resort and the head is delivered to Gideon in his cabin in the woods. Reid, meanwhile, reluctant to visit is also delivered something, a key, but he has no idea what it is for. Hotch, at home with Hayley, receives a phone call from a stranger and JJ is sent a box containing a mounted rare butterfly found only in England. Garcia, however, is having the time of her life playing an online virtual reality game with the man of her dreams.

    Things turn very sour for everyone when Elle is arrested for murder and Hotch must fly to Jamaica to prove her innocence.

    The unsub has the same message for all of them. "SAVE HER" and leads them on a complainted 'quest' to do just that. The question is, who is the blonde girl being held captive by the unsub and why, if she is being held against her will,(which she clearly is)does he want them to save her?

    An even bigger question is, can they do so in time and what in the world has Reid's mother got to do with the whole thing?

    A truly excellent episode, full of all the mystery, plot twists and drama you would expect from a season finale. Don't forget to watch it and, of course, tune in for Season 2 to learn what happens. You will be enthralled.moreless
  • High stakes

    Team has finally two weeks off as Gideon just cannot take more and they all go their separate ways just to get back soon as they get separate clues for next case - a young girl adopted two years ago and now he comes forward, knows so much about them and wants them to their play with only one rule - only them. And that rule Gideon breaks and this ends with amazing cliff hanger - Greenaway versus the adopter and guns..

    This episode was amazing - the whole clue game, the way they managed to bring more and more personal feeling to char by showing what they would do in their vacation, opened a new side of Gideon - he is person too. Have to see next episode.moreless
  • Possibly my favourite ever episode

    The best episode ever i loved this, i loved all of it even the cliff hanger is really good awesome seing the teams on vacation and there personal life priceless,absolutly hilarious can't wait to see more like this and come on modern knights of the round table great concepts it was cool to met Reids mum all though sad at the same time she seems sweet is crazy, Morgan and Elle at the beach were fun untill people died.

    The case was really clever as well, with the way he was doing things to get to the team and how he really thought he was the fisher king. Plus his poor daughter stuck down there for years

    oh and P.S is it just me or is Reid getting smarter.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

Charles Haid

Charles Haid


Guest Star

Diane Venora

Diane Venora


Guest Star

Challen Cates

Challen Cates

Dr. Jesson

Guest Star

Meredith Monroe

Meredith Monroe

Haley Hotchner

Recurring Role

Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch

Diana Reid

Recurring Role

Kirsten Vangsness

Kirsten Vangsness

Analyst Penelope Garcia

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Hotchner says he joined the theater club the day after he received his yearbook in his junior year of high school and he became the fourth pirate in the play. Because yearbooks are rarely handed out until the last week of classes, it is unlikely the theater club would be staging a play, much less accepting new actors for a production.

    • Thomas Gibson and guest star Jane Lynch worked together previously on the episode Play Lady Play of Dharma & Greg.

    • Haley was in the tenth grade when SSA Hotchner met her and her maiden name was Brooks.

    • It is revealed in this episode that Gideon grew up in Chicago and was a White Sox fan.

    • It is revealed in this episode that Reid's mother had been committed to a sanitarium with paranoid schizophrenia and she had been a professor of 15th century literature at one time.

    • JJ tells the team that Frank Giles lives in Arlington, Virginia, only four miles away from Quantico. Arlington is approximately 35 miles away from Quantico.

    • This episode reveals that Gideon is quite the cook and has a penchant for '40s and '50s era music (as did his character Rube Sofer in Dead Like Me).

    • This episode reveals how SSA Hotchner met his wife, Haley. At the end of his junior year, he accidentally walked in on a theater club rehearsal where he saw her. He subsequently joined the theater group so he could meet her, knowing they would one day marry.

    • It is revealed in this episode that JJ collected butterflies as a child.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Garcia: (angrily over the phone to Morgan when he asks for information) The information superhighway is closed. Someone had the nerve to run a black hat op into my computers, Morgan. They hacked me, okay? But you can bet your sweet ass I will find them. I've got honeypot farms hidden behind UML kernel data packets and a first generation honeynet I personally programmed. My snort-log lists every visitor, every server request, every keystroke of this entire network. If I have to back-hack his IP all the way to the freakin' stone age I will find this son of a bitch, okay? So, bye!

    • Hotchner: Hey, don't knock family. I'm gonna get nothing but for the next 336 hours.
      Morgan: Hmm, good for you.
      : Haley's got a list of chores a mile long and I can't wait. The biggest decision I gotta make is what I'm gonna do first.
      Elle: I bet you she has a thought or two about that as well.
      Hotchner: Bring it on.

    • Gideon: I'll be lost in a cabin in the woods for the next two weeks. Do not call me for anything. Have a great time. You all deserve a break. Seriously, don't...don't call.

    • Gideon: I needed a place where I didn't have to know what was out there, where I could close my eyes and not see bodies torn to pieces, or hear children calling out for help. That cabin was the only thing I had left and this guy took it away from me.

    • Gideon: (reviewing the evidence) I got a Nellie Fox baseball card from 1963 and I got a head in a box.
      Elle: I got the decapitated body and a nice visit to the Jamaican police headquarters.

    • JJ: (Talking about the incredible Sir Kneighf) Please tell me you don't have a crush on a fictional character.
      Garcia: He's not fictional. He's the online alter-ego of a real person.
      JJ: Mm-hmm, but you don't know anything about him, or even if he is… a him.
      Garcia: Look, we meet online at specified times that he is never late to. We spend hours adventuring and chatting during which time I have his undivided attention and he lavishes me with flattery. When was the last time you had a date go that well?
      JJ: See if he's got a fictional brother.

    • Morgan: Well, you all right there, Greenaway?
      Elle: Go away.
      Morgan: See you tomorrow?
      Elle: Afternoon.
      Guy: Afternoon?
      Elle: Don't speak.

    • Elle: (after Reid explains the medieval significance of the word "none") Reid, do not ever go away again!

    • Jamaican Cop: Where is the victim's head?
      Elle: Well, I must have dropped it on my way in here.

    • Morgan: (about Reid) He look OK to you?
      Elle: He looks about the way I would if I was gonna spend two weeks with my family.

    • Unsub: (on videotape) You will all understand in the end why it must be this way. You might even thank me.
      Elle: Don't hold your breath, scumbag.

    • Gideon: Writer Elbert Hubbard said, "No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one."

  • NOTES (3)

    • Closed captioning identifies the music played by the music box as "Forellen Quintet." "Forellenquintett" is the German title of Franz Schubert's Trout Quintet.

    • Amanda Bernero, the actor who portrayed Rebecca Bryant in this episode, is Ed Bernero's daughter and she also works as a researcher for the show.

    • "In the Mood" by Glenn Miller plays while Gideon prepares dinner. "You Go to My Head" by Billie Holiday plays while Gideon and Doris dance. "The Trout Quintet, Op. 114: IV - Tema, Andantino" by Franz Schubert plays on the music box. "Death Whispered a Lullaby" by Opeth plays during the ending montage while Elle goes home.

      Note: Opeth's song was replace by vocal stock music in the US DVD version of the episode.


    • Reid explains that, in medieval times, the day was broken up into hourly intervals called the Canonical Hours, or the Breviary. The complete list of Liturgical Hours (with accompanying prayers) is Lauds, the first hour – prayers to be said at sunrise, then Prime at 6:00 AM, Terce at 9:00 AM, Sext at Noon, None at 3:00 PM, Vespers at 6:00 PM and Compline, the last of the waking hours, at 9:00 PM. There are also hours of the night, called Matins.

    • Reid gives his mother a book by Margery Kempe, which was described as one of Kempe's lesser works. However, Margery Kempe only wrote one book, which was lost until 1934.

      Margery Kempe was born around 1373 and died after 1438 in Norfolk, England. She is famous for The Book Of Margery Kempe, which she wrote about her pilgrimages and persecution. It is widely considered to be the first autobiography in the English language.

    • Hotchner: (looking at the broadsword left in Giles' body) …maybe the light from here casts a shadow and points to something.
      Elle: Come on. Are we in the middle of a Indiana Jones movie?

      This is a reference to the Indiana Jones movie trilogy, with Harrison Ford in the title role. The final movie was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In one scene he is looking for the entrance to catacombs in a library. He finds it by using the reflection of the sun through a stained glass window with the crucified Christ.

    • The "Fisher King" is a character from Arthurian legend that is usually a protector of the Holy Grail. The Fisher King is often depicted as being wounded in the legs or groin, restricting his. This impotence is transferred to his land, and the Kingdom becomes barren.

      In one of the many versions of the legend, Perceval is told not to ask questions (the unsub in this episode tells the team not to ask for help). He later finds out that, if he had asked the right question, the Fisher King would have been healed.

    • The episode title may be an allusion to the 1991 Terry Gilliam film, The Fisher King, starring Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges. The plot surrounds two characters, each the victim, in different ways, of pride, and how one involves the other on his quest for the Grail — in this case forgiveness.

    • The words "All Work And No Play" that appear over and over on the monitors Garcia is watching are a reference to the 1977 Stephen King novel and 1980 Stanley Kubrick film, The Shining. In it, Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson in the movie), works obsessively on writing a novel, but all he actually writes is, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" repeatedly.

    • Aaron Hotchner reminisces with his wife about appearing in the Gilbert & Sullivan musical The Pirates of Penzance as "the worst fourth pirate ever."