Criminal Minds (2005– )
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The seemingly random killings in a Houston ward bring the BAU down for the profile, but finding the pattern proves difficult.


John F. Showalter


Jeff Davis (created by), Oanh Ly | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mandy Patinkin ... Jason Gideon
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
Paget Brewster ... Emily Prentiss
Shemar Moore ... Derek Morgan
Matthew Gray Gubler ... Dr. Spencer Reid
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Holt McCallany ... Roy Woodridge
Nick Chinlund ... Max Weston
Joanna Going ... Dana Woodridge
Kent Faulcon ... Det. Fuller
Sandi McCree ... Jolene
Jeffrey Lorenzo ... Kelvin
Juan Ramírez Juan Ramírez ... Edward
Bridget Shergalis ... Mary


In Houston's Fifth Ward, three murders don't fit the usual drug trade- and street gang-related violence pattern; apparently unrelated adult white men -construction worker, security guard and homeless- had their necks broken, abandoned in the streets near abandoned buildings. The team considers a homeless killer, possibly 'territorial' defending his hole at each time. Next victim, in a sewer, is city worker Travis Overby. Then a man survives, apparently because his young daughter was watching, she describes the white adult. After finding and SOS sign made of rubble, the team profiles a post-traumatic veteran reliving a war zone and finds a plausible suspect, Roy Woodridge, but his training makes him hard to catch... Meanwhile Reid is becoming insensitive... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »





English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

21 February 2007 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This subject matter is in reference to Operation Gothic Serpent, which was depicted in the book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden and in the film that followed (Black Hawk Down (2001)). See more »


The US Rangers used M16A2 during the war in Somalia, not M4s which they had in the flashback. See more »


[They are next to an open manhole where a murder occurred]
Jason Gideon: Someone has to go down
Derek Morgan: Ah, see, this ain't cool!
[Prepares to descent]
Derek Morgan: I putting in for hazard pay
Jason Gideon: Good luck with that!
See more »


Theme from Criminal Minds
Composed by Marc Fantini and Steffan Fantini
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User Reviews

Distressing- in a good way
10 March 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When on form, and even better at its best, 'Criminal Minds' is one of my most watched and most re-watched shows and is a personal favourite. It is nowhere near as good now, but there are still good to great episodes made every now and then when the show doesn't forget what it's about, but Seasons 1-5 was its prime period.

Season 2 was a mostly solid season for 'Criminal Minds'. Boasting great episodes such as "The Fisher King Part II", "Sex, Birth, Death", "North Mammon", "The Boogeyman", the "No Way Out" episodes, "Revelations" and "Profiler, Profiled", with almost all the episodes missing that very high standard still being strong. The only real odd-one out, meaning barely average, was "Honor Among Thieves", while "Aftermath" was also a lesser episode it was still decent whereas "Honor Among Thieves" even strained average level.

Whether "Distress" is a 'Criminal Minds' episode that one can watch over and over, with a subject matter and the way it's done hard to watch, is up for debate. What cannot be denied is its emotional impact and how well it deals with the subject of PTSD. It's an important and polarising topic to cover, and instead of being heavy handed or talking down to the audience "Distress" covers PTSD with tact and delicately.

"Distress" is similarly one of the better episodes featuring Reid's trauma he suffered during "Revelations" and the episode to cover it in a way that wasn't dragged out or under-exposed and its impact was disturbing in Reid's alarming change in behaviour and moving in the team interaction and how they react. The case itself has tension and suspense but also a harrowing and affecting emotional impact. The portrayal of the unsub was a relative change of pace up to this point with 'Criminal Minds', instead of being irredeemably evil or trying too hard to evoke sympathy while never condoning their actions one genuinely feels sorry for this unsub and fully understands how and why they came to be that way.

The rest of the team interaction is similarly delightful, especially the refreshingly amusing one between Morgan and Garcia and the direct but loyal one between Gideon and Hotch.

Visually, the production values are without complaint. It's very well shot and lit and is overall stylish, gritty, classy and atmospheric. The music is moody in the haunting and melancholic sense and fits well, never once being distracting. The direction keeps the momentum going but lets the case breathe, and all of the pacing is spot-on.

The script is thought-provoking, tautly paced and structured and nicely balanced. The story is absorbing and clever in construction, while the acting is very good all round.

Overall, an emotional episode and a great one. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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