Criminal Minds (2005– )
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Cradle to Grave 

The team hunts a suspect who impregnates young women and has them give birth before murdering them.


Rob Spera


Jeff Davis (created by), Breen Frazier | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Mantegna ... David Rossi
Paget Brewster ... Emily Prentiss
Shemar Moore ... Derek Morgan
Matthew Gray Gubler ... Dr. Spencer Reid
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
Mae Whitman ... Julie
Hallee Hirsh ... Carol
Diana Scarwid ... Jane Winmar
Max Gail ... Conrad Winmar
Jayne Atkinson ... Erin Strauss
Frieda Jane ... Linda Reimann
Liz Burnette ... Maria Ortiz
Lyn Alicia Henderson ... Dr. Kathleen Dekeyser


Kristie Taylor is the third and latest victim of a sexual sadistic serial killer in New Mexico. All the victims have been troubled teen-aged blond females, who have been missing for years and that suddenly turn up dead. They have been asphyxiated with ligature marks consistent with being chained. The other connection that the three have is that they all looked healthier just prior to death than when they went missing, and have all shown signs of just having given birth, killed minutes after delivery. The BAU's initial analysis is that whatever his purpose for the babies is the key to finding the unsub. They suspect that the babies are being sold or being placed in the adoption system, as blond haired, blue eyed babies are those in highest demand. But their profile of the unsub changes when they find one of the babies. They also determine what specifically the unsub is looking for in the babies he keeps. On this case, Hotch is especially hard on Morgan, seemingly having to do with a ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 October 2009 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Mae Whitman and Hallee Hirsh were both recurring guest stars on JAG (1995). See more »


The M.E tells David that the victim was given Tamoxifen as a prenatal drug, it is actually an anti-oestrogen agent used to help prevent breast cancer recurrence and could be harmful to a pregnancy. See more »


Aaron Hotchner: [Considering possible new cases] What's next?
Jennifer 'JJ' Jareau: Baton Rouge thinks have a white supremacist problem
Aaron Hotchner: What's you take?
Jennifer 'JJ' Jareau: [Surprised] Really?
Aaron Hotchner: Yeah, I'd like to hear it
Jennifer 'JJ' Jareau: We're dealing with an individual, not a group
Aaron Hotchner: Why?
Jennifer 'JJ' Jareau: The angry letters. The writer switches pronouns from plural to singular: "We are a heavily armed militia", followed by "I will be forced to take action"
Aaron Hotchner: Good. Send it back to the police with our analysis
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Criminal Minds Theme
Composed by Mark Mancina
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User Reviews

The first very good episode of Season 5
22 January 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Season 5 actually got off to a good start with "Nameless, Faceless", though the Reaper scenes were more memorable than the main case and unsub themselves. "Haunted" and "Reckoner" were decent and fared better on re-watch, but "Hopeless" to me is the second worst episode of the season after "The Fight", being gratuitously violent and being too much of the unsub show.

"Cradle to Grave" was the season's first very good episode, if not quite top 5 of it. There is not much to fault here. For my liking though, the main unsub could have been a little more developed than the character that one naturally hates and the motives slightly clearer. Garcia's having Morgan's child/my Prince joke was inappropriate and felt very misplaced compared to everything else.

However, "Cradle to Grave" is stylishly, classily and atmospherically made as ever, and the music has the right amount of haunting mood and melancholy. The direction is solid, while the script is well balanced and thoughtful, with the ability to shock and move.

The story is one of the season's creepiest (often being genuinely scary but not gratuitously so) and most tragic, with a twist at the end that shocks the viewer and is likely to induce tears. It's also told with tension, suspense and a number of twists and turns that give the episode an increasing darkness. The team is well-balanced and the dynamic adorably close knit and tight. Loved seeing more of Reid (having been injured in the season premiere) and JJ (the compassionate and sympathetic JJ rather than what she became after returning), the conflicting emotions of Morgan and the chemistry between him and Hotch. The acting is very good from all.

In summary, very well done and superior to the previous four episodes. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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