Criminal Minds (2005– )
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Alpha Male 

A series of acid attacks draw the BAU to Philadelphia, while Reid adjusts to a new reality.


Rob Bailey


Jeff Davis (created by), Karen Maser | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Mantegna ... David Rossi
Matthew Gray Gubler ... Dr. Spencer Reid
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Damon Gupton ... Stephen Walker
Aisha Tyler ... Dr. Tara Lewis
Adam Rodriguez ... Luke Alvez
Paget Brewster ... Emily Prentiss
Harold Perrineau ... Calvin Shaw
Richard T. Jones ... Officer Lionel Wilkins
Phillip Garcia Phillip Garcia ... Luis Delgado
Mo Anouti ... Milos
Matt Lasky ... Hicks
Joss Glennie-Smith ... Little T.
Adam Dunnells ... Dwayne


Denied bail for being deemed a possible flight risk, Reid is sent to a correctional facility in the general population for holding instead of in protective custody in the overcrowded jail. Reid's predicament, which places him at risk, may not be by accident. He receives some unexpected advice on survival on the inside. Meanwhile, the rest of the team is called to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where in two separate incidents half an hour apart, two twentysomethings, a male and a female, were doused in the face with acid. These incidents follow two other closely timed acid dousings one week prior, also of a twentysomething male and female. Of the three victims the team is able to interview, they all state that their attacker was a male wearing an overcoat and baseball cap, and uttered something in a foreign language just prior to the attack. In determining those foreign words, the team is able to track the direct source of the unsub's rage to a website for lonely singles, the outsiders who... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »





English | Latin

Release Date:

1 March 2017 (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?


The hospital shown in the opening credits is actually Hahnemann University Hospital, which is located in Center City, Philadelphia. See more »


Prentiss instructs Garcia to canvass chemical companies in "the Tri-State Area: Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York." In Philadelphia, the Tri-State Area is made up of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware; the closest point in New York State is over 80 miles away from Philadelpia on the other side of New Jersey, while the Delaware state line is only 15 miles from the Philadelphia city limits. Furthermore, the chemical industry is one of the largest industries in Delaware, with DuPont Chemical largest employer in the state. See more »


Dr. Spencer Reid: [In jail] Excuse me, Officer. Uhm, I don't belong here
Officer Lionel Wilkins: Gee, I never heard that before
See more »


References Rocky (1976) See more »


Lovers On The Run
Performed by Bayu Christianto
[Played in the bar where they make the arrest]
See more »

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User Reviews

In the words of the great Oscar Wilde, One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is that things are what they are and will be what they will be
11 June 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

In its prime (Seasons 1-5, with Season 4 to me being the best and most consistent season with a lot of classic episodes and even the weakest episodes being far from awful) 'Criminal Minds' was one of my favourite shows. From Season 6 it did become hit and miss, with the odd gem, but a lot of average episodes and some stinkers.

After being blown away by "Spencer", the best of Season 12 yet and the start of Reid's prison story line, "Collision Course" and "Alpha Male" have been quite as good, though following on from "Spencer" is a very tall order. While stumbling with "Taboo" and particularly "The Anti-Terror Squad", Season 12, while less than perfect, has been nowhere near as bad as feared. Especially considering the troubled behind-the-scenes with Thomas Gibson's firing and Hotch's abrupt departure and undergoing numerous significant changes that to date have had mixed results, also with how underwhelming most of Season 11 was, only 6 or 7 episodes were good and above while the worst episodes were low-points.

Not without its faults by all means. Really hate Garcia's hostility towards Alvez, there have been times where it has been toned down but it just feels so out of character (more the annoying caricature than a ray of sunshine), am aware she misses Morgan but Alvez isn't trying too hard to be him but Garcia treats him that way. It is clear that Wilkins is not meant to be a kind of sympathetic guy, but the character is too much of a clichéd cartoon and his treatment of Reid, which goes well overboard on the cruelty factor, is never explained.

The case is decent enough, though there are elements that are too familiar to "Collision Course", at times with certain details changed or the same it would have been nearly the same.

Reid's story line has been very interesting so far though. It has been shockingly harrowing and has reduced me to tears, as well as Matthew Gray Gubler's impeccable acting though one does hope that it doesn't get too drawn out too long or become too clichéd. And please Reid, don't leave when you're such an essential part of the show.

Visually, "Alpha Male" looks great as to be expected. 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, without either enhancing or distracting from it. The direction is alert, tense and accommodating.

Much of the script is tense and thought-provoking.

While not wowing me the case is still tense and gruesome with sympathetic victims, horrific attacks and a truly chilling unsub. "Alpha Male" also deserves a lot of credit for not trying to show distaste for the manosphere and shining a light on existing nasty attitudes that hold much relevance. Calvin is an interesting character, though the reason for why he's in prison in the first place is pretty flimsy.

Love the team's concern for Reid, and finally Walker has more to do and not as bland as he has been before, his involvement at the climax has been his best scene to date. The acting is very good all round.

In conclusion, not a 'Criminal Minds' classic but a long way from a stinker. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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