It took almost the entire length of Season 7 to get one but we finally got an episode featuring our team actually profiling in the aptly named Profiling 101. Many fans of the show have been asking for this and the episode surely delivered in that area.
In Profiling 101, Rossi has been invited as a guest lecturer for an undergraduate criminology class and the entire team insists on joining him. They discuss a case that has haunted Rossi for the past 20 years, the most prolific serial killer the BAU team has ever seen.
Through flashbacks we meet Rossi 20 years ago when he first worked a case in Seattle where two women from opposite ends of the society spectrum find commonality in death; both the victims of a murderer who kept them for days before killing them by removing their reproductive organs. The case went cold before they could gather any real leads.
The killer resurfaced in 1997 in San Francisco and we see the first time that Rossi meets a young Aaron Hotchner. Same M.O. so they quickly realize their unsub has migrated from Seattle to Northern California. They know that he’s probably killed others in the 5 years since they had first become aware of this serial killer, they just haven’t been able to tie them together.
As the story told to the class progresses, we learn that the BAU has evolved and that their resources have come a long way since Rossi first handled this case. We meet our agents through the years and the make-up and hair departments of the Criminal Minds production team does a great job bringing us back a young Reid and the JJ, Prentiss and Garcia of a few of years ago. That was a nice touch to remind us of the time period we were in as the killer continues to work his way down the west coast over the next several years, always killing in pairs; a high-risk victim like a prostitute or runaway and a low-risk victim like a soccer-mom. His victims’ ages have advanced through the years leading the team to believe they were looking for a predator roughly the same age as his victims. And he always removes the reproductive organs of the women which the team recognizes has some importance to him, he either regrets being born or there was some other traumatic event related to his birth.
In fact it is in 2009 that their unsub reappears, this time back where it all began…Seattle. The killer returned to the same neighborhood where one of his first two victims was kidnapped. Garcia works her magic to find out that back in 1966 a 16-year-old girl was raped in that very same quiet neighborhood that had by 2009 grown into a trendy part of town. The young woman had a difficult delivery and died during childbirth causing our unsub to be raised by his grandparents. The young man, Thomas Yates, was the victim of cruel and abusive grandmother who was probably still grieving over the rape and eventual death of her daughter. No excuse for the pain and humiliation that young Thomas suffered and she created a serial killer in the process. Once they discovered who their unsub was, Thomas was arrested, tried and sentence to death though he had never said a word once he was apprehended.
Rossi is troubled this entire episode and we eventually find out why. After his sentence was handed down, Thomas contacted Rossi. This was the two year anniversary since Thomas had broken his silence and wanted to speak to Rossi. Thomas had a couple of demands you see; he wanted his death sentence commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole and he wanted to be transferred to a prison on the east coast so he could have snow in the winter. What did he have in return? He gave Rossi the names of 40 additional victims and where they were buried. Thomas also told him that there were actually a total of 101 names and that he would give Rossi – and only Rossi – a new name every year on the day of his choosing. Rossi has been carrying this burden for the last few years, notifying the families of each victim himself. And the date that Yates chose to reveal his new victim? Rossi’s own birth date. Thomas singing Happy Birthday as Rossi left with the name of the newly revealed victim was one of the creepiest moments ever on Criminal Minds.
Nice job by writer Virgil Williams. The episode was all about profiling and how the BAU eventually tracks down their serial killer. There were some very poignant moments like when Morgan said some of the unsubs you find and just move on while others stay with you. This is one that Rossi will never forget, can’t forget if Yates has his way. They also touched on why they do to this job which most of the time is horrific and I’ll end on this note, a quote by Irish statesman and author, Edmund Burke that Rossi answered the question with: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. So very true and that is why we have knights like those in the BAU.
By Sir Bedivere
By Sir Bedivere