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'Criminal Minds' fan recap: A killer in cop's clothing

Season 11 | Episode 15 | “A Badge and a Gun” | Aired Feb 24, 2016

This season of Criminal Minds has been a bizarre one. The Dirty Dozen storyline wrapped up halfway through, the first five shows were JJ-less, and a new semi-regular character appeared. It’s been a weird one. But just when you think the season is going to limp to the end, episode 15 hits us with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger. An unsub with a taste for smothering serves as the backdrop for an average yet unnerving Criminal Minds.

We open with a troubled Morgan at the BAU office. Savannah wants “to talk,” and he’s nervous because he doesn’t know why. Some good-natured teasing by Rossi and Garcia fails to help, but there’s no time to worry. A case has just come in.

Morgan gets an uncomfortable text from Savanah in episode 15, season 11 of Criminal Minds.

Out in L.A., two women have been found suffocated by rugs and bed sheets. The team tosses about theories of sexual gratification and murderer’s remorse, but there’s not enough there. What they do know is that the wrapping is significant, and he’s had two victims in two days. Spree killer on the loose? Wheels up!

As the team flies to L.A., we see our unsub in action. He knocks on the door of an unsuspecting victim, claims he’s doing an investigation of some sort, and once invited in, he strikes. As he chokes the life from his new victim, we know we’re dealing with a well-dressed black widow spider.

The investigation
En route, Garcia reports that the latest vic is Patricia Brannon. After meeting Agent Natalie Colfax, the team begins pulling possible suspects. Morgan and Reid learn the unsub is criminally sophisticated and chooses victims based on availability and vulnerability.

One of the three original victims in episode 15, season 11 of Criminal Minds.

As he reviews the apartment’s security footage, Hotch also learns he’s slick at avoiding cameras. But they do notice one thing: He’s getting into the victims’ homes by flashing FBI credentials. Where did he get them, and more terrifyingly, is the unsub an FBI agent? He could be right there in the office.

Agent Colfax, JJ, and Rossi sneakily move into a “quiet room” in the FBI headquarters. Protected from any cell phone or radio activity, they enlist Garcia to find irregularities in the base’s agents.

JJ, Colfax and Rossi head to the quiet room in episode 15, season 11 of Criminal Minds.

Meanwhile, our dashing chameleon of an unsub is busy wrapping up another assault. Literally! As he suffocates a new woman in her shower curtain, we realize this guy will not stop until the BAU catches up.

The profile
After hours of combing through FBI-agent phone records and GPS hits, everyone in the L.A. FBI office checks out. The unsub is most likely impersonating an officer using stolen credentials. A canvas of the new victim’s apartment building connects JJ and Morgan to Susan Groves, your classic nosy neighbor. She tells them about a well-dressed man with a spiderweb neck tattoo leaving the victim’s apartment. A physical clue means one thing: profile time!

The unsub caught on security camera in episode 15, season 11 of Criminal Minds.

Our unsub is posing as an FBI agent with the intention of gaining his victim’s trust only to subdue them. His neck tattoo suggests a long prison stay, which is probably where he honed his craft. He gets off on the respect and affirmation helpless people provide. The more he kills, the more he’s going to devolve. He also gets a sexual charge from claustrophilia (an abnormal desire for tight, enclosed spaces), which explains the fixation on suffocation. Charming.

The ramping-up
As Morgan and Rossi patrol the new victim’s neighborhood, they notice a squad car outside a roped-off house. The guarding officer says a home-invasion homicide was reported a few hours before. Two violent crimes on one block on the same day? Can’t be a coincidence.

After some key tapping by Garcia, the team learns each of the unsub’s victims lived in an area that had a violent crime occur only hours before. This leads to a horrifying realization. The unsub cruises the police scanners, finds a crime, and uses that fear to coerce his way into the homes of well-meaning strangers. All they want to do is help keep the neighborhood safe. All he wants to do is satisfy his sick desires.

The unsub closes in on another victim in episode 15, season 11 of Crminal Minds.

It’s time for the FBI and the BAU to set a trap. The plan is to fake a violent crime, let it leak on the scanners and lure the unsub into a neighborhood filled with police. At first, it works perfectly. The unsub takes the bait and is about to walk up to a house when he’s stopped by an LAPD cop. He asks for his credentials, and the unsub responds with two gunshots!

The closing-in
After the unsub escapes, Rossi and Reid interview the cop. He saw the spider tattoo, but was unable to react before the unsub started shooting. He did notice that the unsub was driving a dark Crown Vic with a baseball cap in the rear window. Rossi recognizes the description as a graduation cap from Camp Brussel. A quick crosscheck with relevant alumni reveals Agent Salsbeck, ex FBI.

While he’s not a suspect, he could be the owner of the stolen hat and FBI credentials. Upon learning he’s been murdered, Garcia probes and discovers he was mentoring Andrew Meeks, a recently released ex-con. It all comes together: Meeks, having a history of violence (including an embarrassing gym class suffocation incident), was released without the proper psychological screening. Salsbeck must have realized this, but before he could submit the report, Meeks found out and flipped.

Garcia helps the BAU close in on the killer in episode 15, season 11 of Criminal Minds.

Meanwhile, a frazzled Meeks is caught at a safety stop by police. In a last-ditch effort, he grabs a random woman from her car and holds her at gunpoint. And we all can guess what happens next: BAU arrives, the talk-down fails, and KA-BLAM. Meeks goes down.

But we’re not done yet. On the way home, it looks like Savannah didn’t want a serious talk with Morgan after all. She assures Morgan everything is fine, she still loves him in spite of his schedule, and playfully asks him to pick up ice cream on the way home. While walking back to his car, still on the phone with Savannah, he bumps into two men. After knocking into the second one, Morgan begins feeling woozy. Three more thugs come out from nowhere and start beating Morgan up, all while Savannah screams for him on the phone!

What will become of Morgan in the next episode?!

An average episode saved by a stunning, cliffhanger ending, episode 15 of Criminal Minds finishes with a bang, a scream, and a stinging kick to the ribs. To be continued next week!

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

TV Families | EW.com
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

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