Criminal Minds (2005– )
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The Bittersweet Science 

The BAU team investigates a string of brutal bludgeonings in Philadelphia and is led to the city's boxing scene in search of the killer. Also, Hotch makes a connection with an attractive runner as they both train for a triathlon.


Rob Hardy


Jeff Davis (created by), Janine Sherman Barrois | 2 more credits »




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
Shawn Hatosy ... Jimmy Hall
Bellamy Young ... Beth Clemmons
Abby Brammell ... Pam
Charles S. Dutton ... Tony Cole
David Mazouz ... Ryan Hall
Ludwig Manukian ... Dr. Raj Surna
Jill E. Alexander ... Dr. Joanne Carlton (as Jill Alexander)
Mark Withers ... Lou Manzoni


The BAU is called to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where two men are violently bludgeoned to death within minutes of each other one evening near a hospital. The way the dead bodies are positioned shows that the unsub is remorseful about his act. They know that the unsub needs to be a physically strong man to be able to exact such killings on other physically strong men. Subsequent victims are found to be beaten solely by the unsub's hands, and that the unsub is no longer showing that remorse, which to the team indicates that he will probably strike again for his new pleasure of blood lust. The nature of the beatings also shows someone who is knowledgeable about fighting, such as a boxer. Hence the team digs into the world of the Philadelphia boxing scene trying to find some connection to the location of the dead body sites near the hospital. Meanwhile, Hotch contemplates going on his first date since Haley's death. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 December 2011 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Boxing is known as "The Sweet Science", so the title is a play on that term. See more »


J.J. wonders whether it's illegal for a trainer to bet against his own fighter. Considering that the bet was placed with a bookie the bet is illegal regardless of the trainer/fighter relationship. See more »


[first lines]
Tony Cole: [picks a phone up] What time is it?
Jimmy Hall: Late. Something happened. Not good, Tony.
Tony Cole: What? What's going on, Jimmy?
Jimmy Hall: After the fight, Ryan was bad.
Tony Cole: Ryan? What about Ryan?
Jimmy Hall: He felt sick, Tony. So I took him to the hospital, you know? People, they started screaming at me. They started yelling at me, Tony.
Tony Cole: About Ryan? Are they doing tests?
Jimmy Hall: Yeah, I think so. But see, when I went outside, the screaming, it didn't stop.
Tony Cole: Who was screaming?
See more »


References Rocky (1976) See more »


Criminal Minds Theme
Composed by Mark Mancina
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User Reviews

A Well Known Yet Well Done Premise
2 August 2015 | by rabbitongueSee all my reviews

Set up to appeal to those with an appetite for violence, 'The Bittersweet Science' manages to be cathartic enough for those that watch crime procedurals for the shock value, yet based in an easy-to- empathise-with situation that even those that are there for the 'gorn' might feel a bit sad.

An easy to follow plot; being away for 5 minutes in any part of the episode would most likely not change it much. 'The Bittersweet Science' does not revolutionise anything, but it's not necessarily a bad episode. It's well-developed and ends with a sense of completeness.

There is a definitive lack of character development in all respects; skipping this episode wouldn't lose you much. This is a classic reset episode, as even Hotch's current involvement does little to develop him and is inevitably rehashed enough. However, though it is a typical 'Baddy of the Week', it is nonetheless very well executed.

In short, if you have the time (or a particular interest in Hotch): watch it! It's a good episode to cool down with.

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