The Wife:

Wednesday nights are rough enough with Lost alone and are especially rough now that there’s Idol, ANTM and Make Me a Supermodel. It’s a reality show power block, and when faced with models making fools of themselves and wannabe popstars, it’s really difficult to make the decision to watch a procedural. I love Criminal Minds, but it’s just been getting backlogged on my DVR, so with due respect to other fans and to those involved on the show, here’s a catch up on the last four episodes or so.

4.13: “Bloodline”

In Bloodline, the BAU team investigates kidnappings of young blonde girls and discovers that, over the course of about 100 years, there have been other isolated disappearances. Not only do the kidnappers take the daughters, but murder the parents in their sleep so the girl will have no one to return to. The team ties these kidnappings and murders to a Romani (gypsy) family trying to find a wife for their young son. The mother of the Romani boy was once kidnapped herself, and developed a wicked case of Stockholm syndrome.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty cool episode, especially the twist with the boy’s mother and the extra twist at the end as she whispers to her son in Romani: “Don’t tell them about your brothers.”

4.14: “Cold Comfort”

This episode had a semi-Buffy reunion with a quick guest spot from Nick Brendon and Mercedes McNab (Harmony) as the victim, Brooke Lombardini. A string of missing blonde girls (always blondes as the fetish object on this show) prompts BAU involvement when some of the girls start turning up dead and, even more oddly, embalmed, each with double pierced ears and the same haircut.

As Brooke’s mother, Lolita “Catface” Davidovich gets her missing daughter’s necklace out of evidence and takes it to a psychic who believes he can read a person’s aura if he has contact with something of theirs. Rossi is not cool with this for a variety of reasons, citing the spread of false hope and the potential of conning victim’s families. J.J. is less sure, touched by Davidovich’s desperation to find her daughter, and eventually takes a piece of evidence to the psychic. The psychic her that he sees Brooke near a rocky shoreline, which makes J.J. think that their unsub has taken the girls to his parent’s home on Mercer Island. Only Mercer Island doesn’t match with any of the other evidence, including wire transfers from the unsub’s father to support his income for the four years he’s been killing, living off his trust fund and off the map.

A former medical student, the unsub was raised by an au pair from Denmark, a petite blonde named Abby with a bob and double pierced ears, who suddenly died one day when his parents were on vacation. For three days, he stayed curled up next to Abby’s body and has been trying to recreate her ever since. He kidnapped girls and held them until they admitted they were Abby, and then he killed them, dressed them up as her and raped their corpses.

The team catches him just in time in a warehouse, with Rossi boldly proclaiming that he was as far from Mercer Island as he could get . . . until Hotch takes a tarp off the window and reveals a painted mural of a lighthouse on a rocky shoreline.

J.J. apologizes to Rossi for bringing in the physic and potentially leading them down the wrong path. As a new mother, all she could see was a mother losing her child and she wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Rossi tells her that those feelings are valid and that believing in psychics is fine, as long as J.J. always remembers that she should believe foremost in what they do at the BAU.

Thats my son with Abby. I always knew he harbored a weird oedipal crush on her.

That's my son with Abby. I always knew he harbored a weird oedipal crush on her.

Cybill Shepard was also in this episode as the unsub’s mother, basically playing her character on The L Word as a powerful woman who constantly belittles her husband. (This character, too, was probably going to have an affair with Alice Piezecki and leave him.) It was a guest star-a-palooza, and a decent episode with a nice tension between faith and fact.

4.15: “Zoe’s Reprise”

In the Cleveland leg of his book tour, Rossi meets a young criminology student who tells him she believes there’s a serial killer in Cleveland due to the increased homicide rate. When she tells Rossi of the facts of the case, he says that he currently doesn’t see any serial involvement (as each murder location and type and victimology are wildly different), but tells Zoe to continue her studies, contact him for any career advice she might need and tells her to never stop until she’s got the answers she’s looking for.

When Zoe turns up dead at one of the previous crime scenes, Rossi blames himself, believing she never would have gone investigating if he hadn’t encouraged her to be so intrepid. Her mother doesn’t want anything to do with Rossi, and is incensed when she finds out that a guilty Rossi decided to take care of the funeral.

As for the serial killer, it took Zoe’s murder for people to realize that she was correct the whole time. He started as a copycat killer, unsure of his style, which is why all the murders prior to Zoe’s were so different. He killed first as Cleveland’s own Butcher of Kingsbury Park (who picked up dudes at gay clubs, killed them and left their bodies in the park), as the Son of Sam (shooting couples in cars), as BTK and even as Jack the Ripper, until, with Zoe, he finally found his signature: strangulation, sealed with a tender kiss to the forehead, wiped away with alcohol. The team doesn’t discover the bit about the kiss until two victims after Zoe, and Rossi has to ask Zoe’s mother to return her body to the morgue so they can examine her forehead and see if there’s a kiss. Zoe’s kiss wasn’t wiped away with alcohol, so from her body they are able to get the name of her killer and track him down.

They catch him in what they believe is an act of murder, only to find out he was just trying to have sex in public with his girlfriend – something he does often because it’s the only way he can get off. With him and the girlfriend in custody, Prentiss discovers that he took Linda to every single one of his crime scenes to have sex. The unsub tells Rossi that there are more bodies, which Reid is easily able to locate by comparing the sex list to the framed images on the unsub’s wall. It wasn’t enough for him to simply visit the crime scenes. He had to look at them every day in order to relive the experience.

Also a fan of Rossi’s work, the unsub tells him that he hopes Rossi can write a chapter on him in one of his books someday. Still guilt-ridden, Rossi returns to lay flowers on Zoe’s grave and runs into her mother, who asks if Zoe’s killer was captured and jailed. Rossi assures her that he is, and she tells Rossi that Zoe would be proud of that fact. Rossi goes on to cancel his book tour, and J.J. tells him that he was the reason she joined the BAU. Fresh out of Georgetown, she didn’t know what she wanted to do, but after hearing him speak, she applied to the FBI.

I enjoyed the sentimentality of this episode, as Rossi can sometimes play a little too gruff, but the murders themselves were no big mystery. The minute I saw them, I called copycat. (Thanks to my husband for showing me the film of the same name a couple months ago.) For people who study serial killers, it was most surprising to see the BAU team try to argue other methods of explanation such as escalation of violence or escalation of intimacy to explain the differences between the crimes, rather than seeing the obvious that, at the very least, the murdered couple shot to death in their car looked like Son of Sam and the strangled prostitute looked like Jack the Ripper.

4.16: “Pleasure Is My Business”

In this episode about a high-class call girl who kills her wealthy clients, I learned a couple of valuable pieces of information.

  1. Should I ever want to become a Madame, real estate makes a good cover with flexible hours.
  2. FinderSpyder has become the fiction search-engine du jour, officially outliving the last show it appeared on, Journeyman, in which I thought it was supposed to be LexisNexis. (If it is intended to be LexisNexis, the killer hooker in question has a background in journalism, time traveling, or time traveling journalism.)

(Husband Note: I too started to notice the widespread use of the fictional Finder-Spyder, a mixture of LexisNexis and Google, last television season when it showed up not only on Journeyman, but also on Moonlight. Now I see that there’s a Wikipedia page detailing its appearances, including two I should have already caught (on Prison Break and the guilty pleasure Hidden Palms). The link is here.)
When wealthy Dallas businessmen with a $10K hooker habit start turning up dead, the Dallas cops call in only Hotch, hoping to keep this as under wraps as possible. Hotch requests his team when it appears that there is a single serial killing prostitute, but he has to fight with the corporate lawyers working to cover these murders up as natural deaths for the entirety of the investigation.

The call girl, Megan, kills men who walked out on their families only because her father abandoned her family for a pro. For a female serial killer, the goal is only to kill, never to find some kind of sexual release. She contacts Hotchner when she hears from a client that the FBI plans to cooperate with the corporate lawyers to cover the whole thing up, desperately pleading with him to expose these men, and that she hoped he’d come and catch her because the men she killed were bad men who needed to be punished for leaving their families. She eventually lures her own father to come to her, and he tries to get her to give over her client list so that none of the men he works with will be exposed when she’s arrested. She hands over her Blackberry, but removes the SIM card. By the time Hotcher arrives, she’s poisoned herself, but as she waits to die, she hands the SIM card to him, telling him to stay with her until she succumbs to death.

Of these four episodes (and clearly, I watched “Bloodline” long before I watched the others, given how little I was able to say about it), “Pleasure Is My Business” was probably my least favorite. It tried to be one of the episodes that gives a good psychological portrait of the killer, but it mostly seemed to toss out information about the nature of high-class sex work. I find that information valuable, but I found the characterization of this killer weak. Glad to see a female serial killer, of course, as they’re unusual in the world and the world of this show, but there have been better storylines involving women. Any storyline, for instance, involving a mother who murders or kidnaps children is instantly more harrowing than a prostitute murdering her johns to teach them a lesson. There can be a nice reversal of power in that kind of story, as there is in Monster, but it just wasn’t here.

I’ll try to do these bad boys two at a time in the future, because writing up four is really daunting.