As promised, this is a follow up post in regards to the "Top 10 Most Memorable Criminal Minds Episodes" list I had previously done. This one however, is only to be focusing on the episodes involving the cast members, once again they are not ranked in any specific order, for the most part. I decided to put the most meaningful ones, of favorite characters who have left as the top three (no I do not consider Ell a favorite, personally I could not stand her). Any guessing what number one is? If there is more than one episode in regards to the drama they will be all linked together, ie. the Prentiss drama goes on for tiveepisodes which is too much for this list. Sorry for the length of the descriptions!
10. "The Fisher King"
This the first instance of having a member of the cast being the focus (well part focus) of an episode. It is not the best, but since it is the first I felt as though it still deserved to be included. This two part episode lands on this list because of the moment Ell was shot, the episode changed from being a regular episode to a personal one. Also, it did involve Reid more so as his mother apparently gave the unsub the idea that his team could save him in some way. What happened was that the team was sent home in order to take a break from the case, as they had gotten no where that day. Ell gets in her home, makes it as far as her couch, and then is shot. The unsub, who made it clear to know personal information about each of the team members had broken into her home and was waiting for her because the team broke a rule in releasing a statement to the media. As Ell later described that the unsub reached into her wound to get the blood to write the message on the wall. It was impactful to see as up to this point no one on the team had ever been personally attacked in a episode before, where I personally do not like Ell, it laid the ground work for some on the heart breaking episodes we know today.
One of the first heart breaking moments, when the seemingly innocent Dr. Reid is kidnapped by a very disturbed unsub. The danger being that this particular unsub suffers from multiple personality disorder, meaning that he can be one of three people at any given moment. He is either Tobias, the good one, the father who corrupted Tobias into believing the word of God whole heartedly and Rafiel, the arc angel who does the killing. At first, this is terrible because Rafiel wants to punish all the sinners, and to be realistic, deep down everyone is a sinner technically. Then to add to the pain, Tobias was giving Reid dilaudid (a form of Heroin essentially) to cope with the pain. Dilaudid happens to be extremely addictive as one can imagine. The moment that caused the greatest panic, is when Rapheal killed Ried momentarily, he pushed Reid back, while being tied to a chair, cause his body to go into convulsions and having his eyes roll to the back of his head. Of course, they then go to commercial allowing for us all to panic thinking that he is dead. However, Tobias decides to save Reid after an argument with his father persona(?), and manages to revive Reid using CPR. What comes to follow is equally traumatic, as once Reid is saved by the team, he was developed a habit of using dilaudid and this severely affects him in the following episodes after this one. It changed how Reid acted, because in that episode, for the first time ever he understood how the victims felt, being dragged in the dirt and left there. He had a new sense of how terrified they were in what would be their final moments and, it haunted him for a while, rightfully so. It took him quite a while to find peace with himself, and had us questioning if her could ever make it past this moment.
8. "Profiler Profiled"
This season two episode took us for a journey (well as all the others on this list)! Morgan, at the start seemed to have it all together, nothing seemed to have shaken him. He has a loving family and what seemed to be a slightly normal childhood, though his father was killed in the line of duty when he was younger, but nothing insanely traumatic you would think. However, that took a real spin in "Proflier Profiled." Though traumatic, I did not feel as though it should be ranked any higher as it happened to Morgan in the past. Most of the other incidents listed are happening in the present. In the episode, Morgan returns home to Chicago to visit his family, while there he is arrested in suspicion of committing 2 murders of young teenage boys, who were also molested. This brought us back to Morgan's childhood, where he had gotten into the wrong crowd growing up without his father, and was saved by one Mr. Carl Buford. This man made it onto my other list of the most Prolific serial killers ever and for good reason. The team had to do something they had never done before and that was profile one of their own. This was difficult for everyone, especially Garcia, but it was needed to be done in order to fully understand what was in fact going on. Finding out that Morgan was molested by Carl Buford and what he did to him up at the cabin as unthinkable. Morgan had to come clean with his past that he had buried for years, all that emotion boiled down, is quite difficult to recover from. Especially, in the line of work with the FBI, it is extremely difficult to show any sign of weakness as it may show a sign that you are unfit for the position. Telling everyone that he was sexually abused by this man, admitting that he couldn't do anything about it because it was his way out of the gutter, to make it somewhere else. It is only later on that we realize just how many people were dealing with the same thing.
This set of episodes was/is probably one of the best ways for a character to exit the show, other than the Foyet series, as it gave you time to process what was going on and what was most likely to come. When Prentiss first came onto the show, she came in quite abruptly and nothing was really known about her. Then it began, her secret past came into light, slowly and little by little, becoming more interesting as it came. In this past, we learnt that she became extremely close with one Ian Doyle, who also made my most prolific serial killer list, and was directly involved in his capture and imprisonment. He comes back and starts attacking those Prentiss worked with in the past, those on the same team are her, though she was the only one with direct contact. As the fight get closer to her and her home town, she does the only thing she knows how, leave and fight. She removed herself from the team and went back to doing things her way, which meant going after Doyle herself. It became a thrilling series of episodes where we were never quite sure what was going on, also before this we never have had a character leave mid season, they always leave closer to the beginning or the end of the season. Also, this was the first time a main character was ever "killed" on the show. When Prentiss died, it brought forth something different in the show that we had never experience before, the morning of the team. We briefly saw it when Hotch's wife was killed, but that only deeply effected the one person. This one, the entire team was extremely close to her, so it was difficult for them to understand what had happened. We now know of course that Hotch and JJ helped her escape until they could find and bring down Doyle. Her return at the beginning of season 7 was equally as spectacular as it showed what had happened to her and answered all our questions.
This episode was amazing. Namely because it involved JJ and because it finally told us the back story to why she left during season 6, brilliant way to tie everything in together. During this episode, we found out that JJ being transferred to the Pentagon was just a back stop, that her real transfer was to a task force in the Middle East hunting Osama Bin Laden. She was to help with the female interrogations going one. This was a huge shock to us all, especially when finding out that Cheif Cruse was also a member of this team, since at the beginning of the season we were almost thinking that JJ was having an affair with him. Talk about plot twist after plot twist! The way they made this episode was breath taking, as it seemed like the entire world was against the team finding JJ and Cruse being captured. It also made us realize just how valuable and insightful JJ has been all along. What hurt us more than anything was the torture that she was going through, was finding out that through a bomb blast she had lost a child. It was truly heartbreaking! It showed how she never stopped working though about this because there was a double agent in the loop. The whole time with the team trying to figure out what was happening to her, while they were getting shut down by the larger organizations because of all the sensitive information at stake. We are thankful that she was okay from this because there was no way she could leave again. You could not help but pray that the team would make it there in time. Every time they discussed the time line of the unsub when it came to his torture routine, there was a slight moment where you thought they were not going to make it in time, that they would get there a moment too late like they had with Prentiss that time with Doyle. It was strange when she came back, that she didn't show any signs of being disturbed by it, until season 10 where it was a year later, and her trauma finally comes through. Definitely, a great show just to show how important JJ means to everyone in the show.
Garcia is the innocent one in the show, she fills her room with fun and bright colours and is just the cutest/wackiest character in the entire show! When she was shot, that whole episode made you worry because who would wanna hurt her? Well in season 3 there is a definite asshole who tries to do just that! In the end of an episode, she seems to be enjoying the end of a date with a lovely man who seems to be totally into her. At the end of the date once they get back to her place, to drop her off, after what looked to be a hesitation to kiss her, he turns around and shoots Garcia in the chest. Somehow (thank God) she survives the hit, but then has the guy follow her around trying to finish what he had started. The team attempts to find the man who is hunting her, but when they find that she has intercepted files on her computer the investigation seems to take a turn internally looking more into her than the unsub. After some very uncomfortable confrontations lead by Rossi (who was the newest member on the team so it only seemed fitting as he was least involved), they found out that she had stumbled upon him. That he was an angel of mercy, meaning that he would shoot and gravely injure people, then as a deputy he would turn up on the scene and save them. This is popular usually in other first responder professions as they are able to show up at the last moment and save the day. However, in this case with Garcia handing out his cases to people he thought that eventually, a connection would be made and he would be found out! In the pain staking way they find him, and end up killing him in the FBI office, the ending was extremely happy as she ended up meeting Kevin Lynch who would become her boyfriend later on and for quite a few seasons. So sometimes these terrible episodes have a little happier of an ending!
These multiple episodes struck the hearts of every girl who watches the show, Dark Chocolate was going through hell and being hunted down, all for something that he really had no control over, as he was not the one who pulled the final trigger. This was leading up from the beginning of the season, where they are after a group of serial killers. The father of one of those killers, Chazz Montolo, hired the goons to kill Morgan as payback for him killing his son. Being kidnapped, he is bound and tutored by a group of killers for hire, lead by a man named Edgar Solomon. During this time, while being tortured, Derek enters this dream like state to disassociate himself from the pain he is going through in the real world, in this, the main character to help him through it all is his father. With the rest of the team trying to figure out who too Morgan and what is happening to him, as he is going through insane torture (him getting burnt alive). His father was there to try to either help Derek figure out if his was about to die, or if he was going to be able to fight through it. There was a moment when Derek and the team had everything put together! The team was on their way and Derek went full badass mode! He broke out of the disassociation state and managed to kill all the men who captured him, though he found himself in the middle of no where with no cellphone signal. He then finds one of the men talking on a satellite phone, the men then decided to swallow the SIM card to keep Derek from being able to make the call. Derek did something, unthinkable but he needed to in order to survive, he fished it out of him, by gutting him. He made the call to the one and only Penelope Garcia who let him know the team was on the way! Morgan, almost ready to give up, the clean up crew came to get rid of everything, breaking into one last fight which he was struggling with being that he is hurt and exhausted. Reid then takes out the killer thank god! He is saved, but on his way to the hospital, he does have some complications as he flat-lines for a few moments. He manages to come through and asks his girlfriend/mom to be to marry him making everyone's hearts fill with joy! One of the scariest criminal minds episodes for a while cause he is a favourite!
3. "The Replicator"—All of Season 8
This was a great and unusual season rather, as the entire season was almost a series of episodes that were personal to the team in one way or another. The team has become the target of a serial killer and was stalked for almost every episode. Never, ever in any episode or season was the team followed in this way! He not only stalked their personal lives, but their cases as well. He began to copy the first killer from the season, and continued to do so until episode where they found his partner who was doing the killing while he was the mastermind behind it all. Then he set up the stage to let the entire team know he was targeting them. He began copying the murders that the team had already solved, almost in order of which ones came first. As the season progressed, you could see that he was following the team, taking pictures at different moments throughout their year. Then when we thought it was coming to an end, that they were going to catch him, with the nurse murders. Finding Hotch's photo on the dead body made it all come together. Then as Garcia found the building that was rented using the same stolen card that bought JJ the flowers, with the Zugzwang message that was used to taunt Reid. When they arrived at the building, there was a women dead on a table surrounded by bulletin boards with all the images the Replicator took of them (while stalking them). Though this was just a little taste, as he did not return until the season finale, where he kills Strauss (and we actually miss her), then goes after Blake. This of course was after he hacked into Garcia's computer and found information she only kept at her house, meaning that he was in her house which only Federal Agents (back in her epsiode mentioned above) were. Narrowing it down to someone who had a vendetta against the BAU and Strauss in particular all around the same time as Blake. With this they found their man. Now Rossi was also hit hard in this episode as he and Strauss were seeing each other. He was drugged by the unsub to remain out of the action. The rest of the team went to find him, but a few scary moments, he brought down on of the helicopters and took Blake where he locked her in a basement rigged with C4. He trapped the team down there but thankfully Rossi came late and saved the day, while getting a little personal justice as well! I would say more but want you to watch the amazing episode yourself.
2. "Nelson's Sparrow "
The second episode ever, in the shows episode to make me cry. There was always a slight hope, however small, that Gideon would one day return to the team. They never said what had happened to him after he left after all. Technically, this did not involve one member , it involved the entire team as they all were affected by Gideon in some way. In this episode, it showed us the makings of the BAU as we know it now, digging deeper into the beginning. As the episode began, you see Reid pull up to a cabin, in his car crying and we all were wondering why. As the camera brings you inside, you see a blanket covering up a body and that body is Jason Gideon, the OG profiler and one of the best. He started off the series as one of the favs and then leaves as it appears he quits the FBI as he could not take it anymore. He leaves a note for Reid explaining it all. Flash forward to this episode, he was never voted out, there was a possibility for him to return, until it came to this moment. He was there, on the ground dead, and it hit everyone hard especially Reid as he was Reid's mentor. The episode then went between the past and present, as they realized that the killer was one that they dealt with before. Well not all of them, just Rossi and Gideon. A woman, is abducted by the unsub and he brings them home, showing what she is going to become which is a bird woman. In a flashback, Rossi remembers he and Gideon discussing a series of murders that had taken place in Roanake, about an hour away from Gideon's cabin. At that time three women had been strangled to death, each three months apart. In each case, the killer had left each of the women dead in an open grave with a dead bird in her hand. As the team soon realized, that Gideon found out who the killer was and taunted him as the town was so small an outsider would stand out, and the killer would remember the old FBI agent, so he decided to take Gideon out! The best moments of this episodes were the flashbacks, especially at the end when Gideon and Rossi both profile each other determining that they are both to become fathers. The touching moment behind it all is that Gideon names his son after Rossi, being that Stephen is Rossi's middle name. Gideon will forever be missed!
There are not enough words to describe how memorable this episode is. All the heartbreak, the tears are just too much to explain. The moment Foyet targeted Hotch we all knew it was going to be something horrible but no one would've ever imagined this! Since this episode there have been others that are just as bad, but this one is where we felt the original heartbreak in the show. This was the finale of one of the best series and best unsubs that criminal minds have ever saw. In this episode the Reaper was going to hurt Hotch in the best way he knows how, through his family. He tricked Haliey into thinking that he was a DEA agent and that Hotch was killed and she needed to trust and listen to him, to follow his instructions. As Hotch finds out Foyett's (the Reaper) plan he tries to call Hailey, once she picks up and hears Hotch, that's when the episode goes from sad to depressing as f***. Hailey just realizes who Foyett is and what his plan is. The team is also listening in to this conversation on the way to try to try and help Hotch. Once that trigger is pulled from behind Hailey's head, everyone bursts into tears, I am even tearing up writing this. Hotch arrives at the house and hunts down Foyett, creating the most insane fight ever! Killing Foyett with his bare hands, once the rest of the team gets there to bring him back to reality. Hotch fights Moran off and runs to find Jack, his son. Just when we thought there were no tears left, Jack says to Hotch that "he worked the case just like you said, daddy". In the episode, they are all talking to the a panel of superiors to discuss what went down. Hotch justified why he had to kill Foyett, because if he didn't then Foyett would of killed his son.
Some honorable mentions:
"No Way Out" Parts 1 and 2
"It Takes a Village"