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'Criminal Minds' fan recap: The '50 Shades' killer

Season 10 | Episode 17 | “Breath Play” | Aired Mar 11, 2015

With the sudden popularity of a certain romance novel involving ropes, whips, and a millionaire named Grey, you had to guess TV was going to follow suit. Enter episode 17 of Criminal Minds, as the BAU hunts down a killer who refuses to be “tied down” to one victim.

The setup

We open with a young woman running along a nighttime roadway. All seems normal. She jogs into her house, takes a shower, and snuggles into bed. Little does she know there’s a strange man lurking around her house, watching her every move. As she sleeps, he pretends to caress her and pulls out a rope. Bad news is coming!

The unsub zones in on his next victim in season 10, episode 17 of Criminal Minds.

Before we get the inevitable Garcia recap, we see Meg, Kate’s niece, in the hospital after attempting to pierce her own bellybutton. As punishment, Kate takes her phone away—which prompts Meg to call her a fascist. Harsh!

But there’s a reason Meg is in rebellion mode: Kate is pregnant! As the entire BAU finds out and celebrates, the good times are short-lived. Case time!

The case

Wisconsin police have discovered three murdered women. All of them had tied wrists and were strangled with a rope and sexually assaulted. There was no sign of forced entry and valuables weren’t taken. The team hashes out some theories as the wheels go up.

As the BAU flies in for the investigation, we watch our unsub take a plastic bracelet, stolen from the dresser of his latest victim, and drape it around his rearview mirror. But his creepy face vanishes when his daughter gets into the car. He’s a dad!

The investigation

The team’s first step is to interview friends and relations of the three victims. They learn the women couldn’t be more different. One was religious, the other a partier. One loved romance novels, the other online dating. What’s the connection?

A clue arrives when Kate and Morgan learn victim No. 3 had a little thing on the side with an unknown fella. Coincidentally, all three women had similar relationships with someone using the same, unlisted cell phone.

Our unsub lurks around every corner in season 10, episode 17 of Criminal Minds.

Meanwhile, our unsub proves to the world he’s a normal dad. He daughters love him, and his wife is distant yet understanding of his constant “MCAT study dates.” Little do they know he’s a complete creep.

After Morgan and Reid confirm that our unsub gets off on choking women to death, the team circles the wagons. It looks like the victims not only allowed him in, they let him hang around for six hours before dying. Maybe the victims didn’t mind him hanging around.

Like clockwork, we see a new young lady chatting up our unsub over the phone. She hangs up, he’s outside, and you can guess what happens next. Or can you? Just as he’s ready to do the choke, she wakes up, smiles, and asks what took him so long to get there. Reid nailed it. The victims are willingly letting him practice his knot-tying skills!

Our latest victim is Lynn Boyd, another cheating wife who needed some fantasies fulfilled. And where did she develop her taste for all things kinky? The hypersuccessful novel Bare Reflections (an obvious take on Fifty Shades of Grey). Some quick Garcia magic reveals that all of the victims owned a copy, and our unsub’s saucy texts feature direct quotes from the novel. Profile time!

The profile

The team is looking for an attractive, charismatic 30-something male. He’s using the popularity of the book to lure women into re-creating it with him. Once they are vulnerable, he finishes them off.

Kate checks in on Meg in season 10, episode 17 of Criminal Minds.

After the profile, Kate checks in on an upset Meg. She’s afraid Kate’s new baby bump will mean the end of another parental relationship. Kate assures her that won’t happen, but Meg hangs up. Bratty, but she’s 13 with two dead parents. Gotta cut her some slack.

The ramp-up

Meanwhile, Connie (our unsub’s daughter) is getting math help from Charlotte, their nanny. All is fine until dad comes downstairs and sees Charlotte with a copy of Bare Reflections. Immediately, his mind goes to the gutter. Charlotte doesn’t seem to notice and goes home, just to have our unsub follow her.

While Kate and Rossi learn more about the wonderful world of BDSM, we get some tense moments of dad hiding under Charlotte’s bed and creeping around. But as he leaves in his truck, someone spots him: his daughter Connie!

Meanwhile, thanks to Garcia’s keyboard magic, the BAU get a break. They deduce the killer’s trigger is a lack of sexual contact when kids are brought into his marital picture. No nookie makes our unsub ill tempered. Numbers are crunched, and they discover the killer is Patrick John Murphy. Time to roll out!

The closing in

Connie, sensing something is amiss, heads to Charlotte’s house to see what’s going on. She suspects cheating, but the truth is much more sinister. As she heads to the house, Patrick it already there. When he starts putting the moves on Charlotte, she laughs at him. Turns out she has the book as a joke.

Megs tangles with Kate over the phone in season 10, episode 17 of Criminal Minds.

Unfortunately, Patrick isn’t laughing. He attacks, the two wrestle, and before long, Charlotte is tied to the bed and being choked. Connie arrives just as Charlotte is about to bite it. This surprises Patrick, who lets up enough for Charlotte to gasp for air.

Hearing approaching police sirens, Patrick runs from the house. Morgan gives chase and, in no time flat, tackles him and places him under arrest.

Afterward, Kate comes home to find Meg in bed with the words “Go Away” written on her door. Kate walks into the bedroom, gives Meg a hug, and writes a response on the whiteboard: “No.” It’s a wonderfully subtle affirmation that no matter what Meg does or how much she hates parental authority, Kate is going to be there through thick and thin. A lovely coda to a spine-chilling episode.

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 9/8C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com

TV Families -- We compare various television clans through the years to see how they stack up, from ''The Brady Bunch'' to ''The Flintstones''

By Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 at 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons