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TV Open Thread: Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior – “Devotion”

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Tonight Sam and the team are called upon to track down a killer who appears to be stalking and then lynching men. At first, all the pieces of the profile point toward an exhibition type of killer with at least one witness who the team believes were forced to watch.

From the audiences point of view this also appears to be the case as we watch the killer force a young woman, who is tied to a tree, watch as he kicks a three legged stool out from under each hanging victim.

Each time this happens she begs the young killer to stop and tells him he doesn’t need to kill anymore.
However, things change quickly and violently when the team splits up in this disturbing episode. Sam, Gina and The Prophet track down the next suspected victim, while Beth and Mick investigate the motel room the killer allegedly slept in the evening before.

With Garcia hot on the trail of the next alleged victim via GPS, the killer poses as an accident victim in a tunnel, skewing the GPS signal. The team and the local police try in vain to find the location of next victim when he makes a 911 call to report the accident, but their efforts are fouled by the killer who chloroforms the victim and crushes his cell phone. The team happens upon the scene shortly after the killing is completed, and the unsuspecting young father is already dead.

Joining back up with Mick and Beth by cell phone, Sam requests that Mick smell the bed in the motel. The cell phone the victim was using was still on and had captured the killer’s and the victim’s voice, but not the voice of the audience. The bed smells like a dead body and the team’s suspicion that they are dealing with a delusional schizophrenic forces them to change the profile.

The killer’s last words to the victim, “You shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep,” ring in the ears of Sam and Garcia as they meet at the Washington office to piece together a profile of who they are looking for, and where he will strike next. The rest of the team investigate a political candidate whose slogan sounds very similar to the killer’s mixed up, word salad statement.

While the political candidate denies any knowledge or association with the killer at large, Garcia and Sam find a likely suspect in the database. Beth and Mick are dispatched to an old farmyard where they find a bizarre scene of loving devotion to the young killer’s sister, and a hangman’s noose where he found her hanging one day. The team suspects that the killer’s audience is this dead sister and that his killings are the result of his inability to accept her death.

It isn’t long before the team learns that this boy and girl are the forgotten and abandoned children of the political candidate they canvassed earlier for a lead. Their original suspicion that he was the final target is confirmed when they arrive at the politician’s house to find the killer already in the process of hanging the politician, who is also his father.  Members of the vicitm’s new family are bound with their mouths taped at the dining room table, a macabre scene. The dead sister sits at the head of the table.

Sam immediately gets tries to empathize with the boy, trying to talk him into letting his sister go, mercilessly admonishing his father as a coward for treating him and his sister as damaged children. The scene is both gratifying and devastating as the father’s shame and guilt for abandoning his first children are openly acknowledged.

The rest of the family is treated to the sniper shots Mick pumps into the corpse at the head of the table. The final acceptance of his sister’s death leaves the killer in a desperate and reproachful state, mourning for his sister. There is no question that the father has no future in politics, and that he has much to answer for.

Once again the Red Cell team has responded to a bizarre and seemingly random murder case. Once again a common theme of finding the holes emerges. What would have happened if this politician had made it into office?

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