Criminal Minds (2005– )
6.6/10
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Burn 

Trailer
1:20 | Trailer
The team heads to Seattle to hunt for a murderous high school teacher.

Director:

Karen Gaviola

Writers:

Jeff Davis (created by), Janine Sherman Barrois
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Mantegna ... David Rossi
Shemar Moore ... Derek Morgan
Matthew Gray Gubler ... Dr. Spencer Reid
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Jennifer Love Hewitt ... Kate Callahan
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
C.S. Lee ... Justin Leu
Nicholas Brendon ... Kevin Lynch
Potsch Boyd ... Greg Baylor
Chris Devlin ... Detective Sachs (as Christopher Devlin)
Al Coronel ... Mr. Connoley
Jimmy O. Yang ... Nathan Chow
Ambrit Millhouse ... Shanice
Vivian Kerr ... Emily Hazley
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Storyline

Because she has been having nightmares about the aftermath of the issue, Garcia feels the need to go to Texas to speak to Greg Baylor, the man on death row who almost killed her and Reid. She needs to tell him that his death is not what she wants and that she has tried to stop it. Hotch allows her the time off to go to Texas. She finds that she is way in over her head and needs Morgan's support, but he may not be able to provide it as he does not understand or agree with what she is doing. In Garcia's absence, Lynch takes over her analyst duties in the team's next case, which takes them to Seattle, Washington, where two men have been found murdered in separate incidents. Beyond their being in the same age range, the two victims are seemingly unrelated, with dissimilar murder M.O.'s beyond their respective vehicles being found abandoned nearby, and random mutilations around the mouth. By the time the team arrives in Seattle, there is a third victim. At the M.E.'s office, Reid discovers... Written by Huggo

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Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Reid mentions "Herzog and Shermantine" - as in Loren Herzog and Wesley Shermantine - murderers known as the "Speed Freak Killers". The two methamphetamine (speed) addicts were convicted of killing at least 4 people between 1984 and their capture in 1999, though they may be responsible for 68 more deaths. Shermantine is on death row in San Quentin. Herzog committed suicide in prison in 2012. See more »

Goofs

Texas has only one death row, and that is in Huntsville, not Sierra Blanca. The time from conviction to execution, if it happens at all, is about fifteen years. The person administering the lethal injection does not stand in plain view in the death chamber; he is anonymous and hidden behind a partition. Texas does not execute at midnight; it is usually around 6 PM. I do not understand why Baylor is being executed for attempted murder. It is hard to believe that anyone could think that a state has death chambers all over the state, and that they execute someone less than a year after an arrest. Baylor would also have been given time to recover from the gunshot wound that Penelope inflicted on him which had apparently killed him in the previous episode, but he appears totally recovered, and would have been for a long while for the "due process" to take place. See more »

Quotes

Penelope Garcia: [closing quote] "It doesn't take a lot of strength to hang on, it takes a lot of strength to let go" - J.C. Watts
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Connections

References Criminal Minds: L.D.S.K. (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

The Gilded Hand
Written by Ben Cooper
Performed by Radical Face
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User Reviews

 
Had all the makings of an intriguing episode...
16 September 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

It is a real shame that it is botched by very wanting execution. 'Criminal Minds' generally is a favourite of mine, but the general consensus is that it has become hit and miss Season 6 onwards with a mostly underwhelming Season 11, a consensus personally agreed with.

Of the inconsistent Season 10, the only outstanding episodes, though some of the season needs a re-watch, are the poignant "Nelson's Sparrow" and the absolutely terrifying "Mr Scratch", two of the best episodes of the show in years. "Burn" is not quite one of the worst of that season (a very strange-and-in-a-bad-way "If the Shoe Fits" is a contender for that), and there are worse episodes of the show too, especially the worst of Seasons 9 and 11. However it is close and one of the biggest wastes of potential in the latter seasons. It could have been intriguing but was left severely wanting.

Garcia's subplot is the biggest flaw to me. It takes up far too much of the story, and is far too overwrought and melodramatic as well as feeling completely disconnected from the rest of the episode. What saves it from being a disaster are good performances from Nicholas Brendan, as the most sympathetic character in the episode, and Potsch Boyd, especially at the end. Kirsten Vangsness also does her best, but Garcia has had a tendency to be a pale and annoying caricature in the later seasons and it is the case here, and the material is too over the top, Garcia's feelings and obsession with making amends not feeling natural within the story. Other flaws with this subplot are the implausibly fast execution date (may be British but you don't have to be American to know that not only are death row inmates in almost all case are on death row for at least a decade but also cases often take several months/a year or more to go to trial) and Morgan being an out of character jerk towards Garcia (it's not his strong feelings about her decision that is the issue, it was how he worded his reaction and he didn't have to be so cold, it would have been much more justified if it was Reid seeing as it was not Morgan who was affected by Baylor's actions).

The case/mystery itself could have been stronger, though of the two stories it was the far superior of the two. It does have tension and suspense, with shocking murders based on an intriguing modus operandi and a victimology that made one sort of understand why the unsub killed. CS Lee is also both chilling and moving, even with material that didn't give him much to do. The actor playing his father is also spine-tingling and you actually hate him more than the unsub. What wasn't so good was that the murders were so cruel that sympathy towards the unsub does diminish. This was a shame, as his childhood scenes were really harrowing and made it very obvious as to how he came to be that way, there were shades where it was easy to feel sorry for him but not to a fully-realised degree.

Writing is not as tight as it could be, with the best lines of "Burn" quite easily being given to Rossi (particularly the line about the love child which brought a nice if brief humorous edge), and there was often too much of a melodramatic and unnaturally over-the-top tone. Pacing is erratic, the actual case is paced reasonably and doesn't feel rushed or convoluted at all but Garcia's subplot often drags and bogs down the story considerably. The music is sometimes haunting but when it's very dramatic or melancholic it goes overboard and gets overbearing and sentimentalised.

Despite the criticisms, there are things that salvage "Burn". It is very high in the production values, some of the case is intriguing and the performances are very good, with the exception of a dull and out of place Jennifer Love Hewitt, looking too young and somewhat delicate-looking for such a stressful job. The ending is also very poignant, and along with the childhood flashbacks and Rossi's love-child line is the highlight scene.

All in all, had all the makings of an intriguing episode but "Burn" mostly squanders its potential. 4/10 Bethany Cox


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