So, every episode of CM takes place in a different "city" (aka, some random area of LA that is meant to LOOK like Idaho, Montana, Florida, etc.). Well, this episode takes place in San Francisco and since it is a special episode, they actually allowed the production to travel up to San Francisco for a few days of shooting. So, the scenes that take place at San Quentin, are ACTUALLY at San Quentin (and those "extras" in the background are real prisoners).
My director was telling me that the inmates at San Quentin are mostly there for the long-term, if not for life. And like all prisons that house bad-ass prisoners, there tend to be fights in the yard. Apparently, if an inmate who is already in for life kills another prisoner in the yard, the only "punishment" they receive is a few weeks in solitary along with their personal belongings taken a way for a period of time.(They're already in for life, you can't exactly add MORE years to their sentence, right?). So, if you can imagine, using those prisoners in the background is a little dicey, but I guess they were all cool with it because get this... THEY ALL WATCH CRIMINAL MINDS AND LOVE IT.
Here is a picture of some of the crew with the prisoners.
Of course Joe Mantegna is in the picture - he's the absolute coolest.
A side note (from Amanda): I worked briefly on Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, and that show also had a lot of fans in the prison system...for a different reason, obviously.
With that little nugget of knowledge, it's time for the recap:
Another body has been found in a park in San Francisco. The victim is male, homeless, in his 30s, and has been killed by a single bullet to the head. One of the police detectives tells another, "Call the FBI. It's starting again."
Rubber gloves? Check. Trench coats? Check. Ability to solve crime? Whoops!
Meanwhile, a dad and his teenage daughter walk down (up?) the street and argue about dad-and-teenage-daughter stuff. A guy approaches them and asks about the helicopters circling the park site. When the father tells him to move along, the unsub calls the girl by name (Jane - played by Alexa Nikolas) and pulls a gun. He takes both the father (Ben - played by Jason Wiles) and Jane.
I can't tell you how many times I took a midnight stroll with my dad as a 14-year old.
We are introduced to Special Agent Sam Cooper (Forest Whitaker) while he is training with another agent.
The sweatpants mean he's allergic to bureaucracy.
He and Hotch discuss the case: Two years ago, they found four homeless men murdered with a single shot - one victim each day. The killings stopped for a year, and then they found four more victims on the same four days. Each year, a father and his teenager daughter were also found shot execution-style. Cooper tells Hotch that he has a gut feeling that the daddy-daughter cases are connected to the homeless murders. They decide to split up the tasks - Hotch will follow the homeless leads and Cooper will follow the father-daughter leads - even though it is against the FBI Director's wishes.
Three of those victims look homeless. The one on the bottom left looks like my company's IT guy.
We meet the rest of Cooper's team: "The Prophet" (played by Michael Kelly), Mick Rawson (played by Matt Ryan), and Gina LaSalle (played by Beau Garrett).
At left: A Prophet. At right: THE Prophet.
The Unsub (John Bell - played by Jason Brooks) has Ben and Jane chained up in an abandoned gym. He tells them that if Ben "gives" Jane to him, they both live. Obviously, Ben says no. So Bell takes Ben to an empty pool and has him fight a homeless guy to the death. Ben wins, and Bell shoots the other dude.
I feel the same way after pilates.
The new BAUers name Jane and Ben as the latest victims, and Hotch and Cooper go to see Ben's wife (Leslie - played by Lesley Fera). She shows them a video sent to her by Bell that shows the first homeless victim being killed (not the pool guy - the other one). She tells them that Bell said he would call with more instructions, and that she was not to contact the police.
Leslie is proof that just because your husband and daughter have been kidnapped doesn't mean you need to shirk on your personal grooming.
Hotch tells Cooper to get out while the gettin's good so as to not get in trouble with the Director. Cooper tells him that the last time he didn't follow his gut, a little boy died. He vowed he wouldn't let that happen again.
Cooper carries a picture of a dead kid in wallet. That's...nice.
Prentiss and Mick check out the latest victim. They determine that he had been fighting, and had also been shot with rubber bullets. They decide that their unsub must have been in prison.
There must have been a sale on leather at Burlington Coat Factory. Everyone on the new BAU team is sporting one.
Mick does his best to flirt with Paget while they try and catch Bell in the act of taking his next homeless victim. No dice.
Trying to find a specific homeless guy in San Fran is like trying to find a specific M&M in the Mars factory.
That's because Bell has already selected the next victim. Bell tells Ben that he has to fight to the death or else Jane gets it, so Ben apologizes as he kills the new guy.
The Criminal Minds' prop department is really trying hard to justify the purchase of this camera.
Gina and Morgan hang out at Leslie's house, and Gina realizes that Jane's journal only goes back nine months. Leslie tells them that Jane had semi-recently started seeing a therapist who recommended keeping a diary.
Dear Diary, I have the handwriting of a 35-year old woman.
Rossi and Prophet go to San Quentin and speak with one of Prophet's inmate buddies (El Prophet was in the prison system for 6 years). The inmate asks around, and gives them Bell's name - apparently, Bell went crazy after his daughter died and started picking fights with the other inmates and guards.
Garcia confirms that Bell's daughter was taken away from him, and she died in car accident (after 3 days on life support) while he was in prison for beating the Social Services guy to death. His last known address is on the same street as Jane's therapist.
Did Garcia get a new 'do?
Back at the gym, Jane agrees to go with Bell if he lets her father live. He releases her, and they run off.
Minutes later, the FBI breaks into the gym. Ben tells them that Jane and Bell are on foot, and so the FBI takes to the streets (and the air - big budget helicopter for this ep). The corner Bell on a parking garage roof, where he fake-jumps and is then shot by Mick. Case neatly closed.
I bet she'll have something to write in that diary now.
During their celebratory beerfest, Cooper gets a call from the Director who tells him that not only is she not mad, she has a pile of cases for him to work on. Cue the spinoff!
This is the first sign of a drinking problem.