Criminal Minds (2005– )
6 user

The Uncanny Valley 

An unusual personal obsession is at the center of a BAU abduction case. Meanwhile, Hotch struggles with his return to work.


Anna Foerster (as Anna J. Foerster)


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
Jonathan Frakes ... Dr. Arthur Malcolm
Jennifer Hasty ... Samantha Malcolm
Rosalie Ward ... Bethany Wallace
Jeffrey Johnson ... Detective Marty Cotrone
Valeri Ross ... Linda Jackson
Christopher Boyer ... Shop Manager
Tacey Adams ... M.E.
Gregory Marcel ... Karl Wallace


In Atlantic City, New Jersey, two women have thus far been identified as having died at the hands of the same killer. Both victims were drug-induced paralyzed and still conscious during their two-month abduction, but otherwise well taken care of. Both were also petite but physically fit, and in life were fashion conscious, although the clothes in which they were found did not match what they would have worn in real life, these new clothes which were more doll-like. And both dead bodies were found in a place that represents a fun childhood, one on a playground swing, another on an amusement park carousel. Because the two women have no other similar characteristics beyond their small stature, the BAU believe the unsub to be a woman who is "collecting" the victims as surrogates for a doll collection that the unsub has lost. When the BAU learn more about the doll line that the unsub is mimicking and after one of the pieces of clothing is analyzed, they stumble across a lead to the unsub ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

13 January 2010 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Monica, California, USA

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?


Once the team figures out the unsub, Garcia says "She was doomed... Like red shirted ensign in Star Trek doomed." The unsub's father is played by Jonathan Frakes who played Commander Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) See more »


The New Jersey license plates on the cars are shown to have a bright yellow stripe of about 2 inches across the top with the remainder of the plate being white. In actuality, New Jersey plates have a more beige-yellow tint at the top which fades very gradually toward the whiter bottom, so that there is no noticeable line differentiating the colors. See more »


Aaron Hotchner: The unsub we're looking for is a woman. She's a collector. It's a psychopathology similar to hoarding.
David Rossi: So when we say "collector", we're not talking about stamps or baseball cards. It's not what your kids, or even you, might pursue as a normal hobby.
Aaron Hotchner: This is an attachment to objects that's become obsessive, by someone who is antisocial and extremely introverted.
Emily Prentiss: These people attach a part of themselves to their collection. If you try to separate them from it or take it away from them, they will...
See more »


References Star Trek: The Original Series (1966) See more »


Criminal Minds Theme
Composed by Mark Mancina
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Both creepy and sad
25 November 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Season 5 has had its ups and downs (though much less so than the succeeding seasons, with the exception of perhaps "The Fight" none of its lesser episodes come close to the low-points of Season 9 and 11).

Most of the season's episodes are decent to very good. There are disappointing episodes such as "Parasite", "The Performer", "Hopeless" and especially "The Fight" (the last one being a rare example of a Season 1-5 episode of 'Criminal Minds' that didn't feel like an episode of 'Criminal Minds' at all). At the same time, there are some great to outstanding episodes such as "100", "...A Thousand Words", "Mosley Lane" and this episode "The Uncanny Valley".

It is a shame that for my money a few of the BAU members are very underused, particularly Hotch and Morgan, particularly disappointing in the case of the former when from the IMDb summary you naturally assume that him struggling with work would feature more heavily. It is true also that the science is ludicrous, and while some will be willing to suspend disbelief (which was successful on my part) it is not hard to see why it won't be so easy for others.

All this aside, "The Uncanny Valley" strictly speaking is one of Season 5's best episodes. Particularly standing out here is the story, which is unsettlingly creepy but also equally sad that tearing up is guaranteed no matter how hard anybody tries to resist. Love the beginning and end scenes with the Reid and how the chess is incorporated. The episode also features one of the show's most sympathetic unsubs, despite her actions this is one that we do feel sorry for for her traumatic past and child-like and docile manner that makes one really believe that she is unstable and not that bad a person.

Production values as always are top-notch, with classy yet gritty photography. A huge kudos has to go to the make-up and costume department on the work they did on the victims, how they are made up is incredibly eerie and they actually do look like dolls. The music is one of the season's, and perhaps even the show's, most disturbing while also being emotion-filled being especially good at the end.

Writing has a great mix of eeriness and pathos, while the story is absorbing and rich in atmosphere. The direction is solid as rocks, doing nothing to hinder the tone and atmosphere of the storytelling, the pace is never rushed or dull and the acting from all is very good indeed. An ever excellent Matthew Gray Gubler (after not seeing enough Reid generally in the season it was wonderful to have him at the forefront, and the episode develops him splendidly) and an understated and moving but also somewhat chillingly psychotic Jennifer Hasty are the standouts. The victims are also wonderfully played.

To conclude, a creepy and sad episode and one of the best of the season. 9/10 Bethany Cox

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed