The episode begins with a strange man tells two road crew members that there are bodies lying in a place nearby to the highway. They go to the site. One of them asks his partner to call the cops. Next day, Hotch is at his son’s soccer practice and Beth arrives. She has something to talk and she says that she will tell him at night. At the BAU office, Garcia updates the team about the missing family from Kansas out of which three of them, John, Trisha and the daughter, Christine’s bodies were found by a road crew. The younger child is still missing. The road crew who was tipped off by the drifter is now MIA.
The murder weapon is a 9mm and the prints on the gun were the father’s and there is gun residue on his hand. They think that he shot his family and killed himself; but he also spared his son. But no one has seen him. Reid points out that the residue was on the right hand and he also wore a watch on his right arm, which means he is left-handed. Garcia suggests abduction and the team feels that taking out the entire family is slightly extreme; unless the son was the target. If it is a sexual predator, then Alex feels Scott, the younger child, could still be alive. Hotch arrives and tells the team that another family, the Acklins, is missing from the Kansas suburbs and the family make-up is slightly identical to the dead family. Next, we see that the kidnapper unties the daughter and then leaves.
She then quickly frees her parents. But they find that Braden, the boy, is missing and they are locked in a house. On the flight, the team finds out that the Yamada family was remarkably similar to the Acklin family. But they don’t know anyone in common. The sons of both families weren’t popular as Scott Yamada was shy and Braden Acklin has asperger’s syndrome. Next, at the Kansas police department, Hotch and JJ meet with Detective Carr. Carr tells them that Trisha’s mother and Mike Acklins’ brother are here. But there is no sign of the drifter who tipped the road crew. Hotch feels he could be the unsub. He also tells them that the Acklins are really behind on their mortgage payment and the fraud lawsuit did shake them up. He feels that both the cases aren’t related and they feel that Mike just took his family and walked away.
Meanwhile, the Acklins are trying to find a way to get out. Mike breaks the ventilator window and shouts for help; but the daughter sees the surrounding area and declares that they are in the middle of nowhere! At the Yamada house, Alex and Reid go through Scott’s room and determine the possibility of the way Scott was abducted. Rossi and Derek are at the Acklins’. Rossi thinks that the abduction is staged as Mike could have wanted to get away from the lawsuit and mortgage; but the scene at the house forces Morgan to think otherwise. If that is the case, then it is not easy to subdue so many people; Rossi thinks they could be looking at a team.
Just then Morgan gets a message saying that the point of entry at the Yamada house was the son’s bedroom; so in that case, it would be easy to subdue the rest as the unsub could have walked down the stairs with their son as hostage. They work out the scene and figure out how the victim’s were tied up. Next, Braden is sitting and the unsub is painting a small figurine. Braden wants to know why he is doing this and he tells him that he has three guesses; if he gets the reason right, then he would let the family go; else they are dead.
Next, two workers arrive at a construction site and find a body. Carr tells the team that the site where Scott’s body was found was shut for two weeks. Hotch points out that the unsub left the boy around the fence where there are no security cameras; but he also left him around the front gate so that he could be found quickly. Alex tells them that the reports don’t show that Scott was sexually assaulted or tortured. Rossi points out at the evident remorse as the unsub had carefully wrapped the body. Garcia finds out that two families vacationed at a Raven wood camp outside of Topeka at different times last year; the Yamadas in April and Acklins in July. Meanwhile, at the house, Mike is trying to break open the window. Just then a light come on and Mackenzie sees Vanessa, Braden’s tutor, tied to a chair in the room on the other side of a glass window.
They are shocked. The unsub asks Mike to tell the family who Vanessa is and he says that she is Braden’s tutor. He gives him three chances and Mike sticks to his answer. The kidnapper then shoots Vanessa. The voice then tells Mike to tell the truth which could set him free. Mike admits to having slept with Vanessa; twice. The voice tells the family to think of the reason why they are here. Debra is pissed and doesn’t want to talk to Mike. Next, Reid and Alex go to the Raven wood camp and talk to the owner who says that the families did have issues and he did send them emails saying that they should return to Raven wood soon; else they would regret it. but that doesn’t mean he hurt them. also, Garcia finds out that Debra Acklin visited a shrink and john Yamada made huge cash withdrawals at a place which indicates that he was into gambling.
The families also have web pages that showcase lots of happy family pictures and there is this one person who visited the web pages everyday for the past year, up until the families disappeared. The sad part, the IP address cannot be traced. They then find Nathan Eades, the drifter and figure out that he didn’t kill but he witnessed the dumping. His description leads them to believe that the unsub had a dark SUV. They are ready to profile the unsub. They are looking at an unsub without a family and wants to destroy the very thing he cannot have. He makes it look like the fathers are wrong and make them look responsible for whatever happened to them. He relates to the young boys as probably something dreadful happened to him when he was that age and feels that death is a merciful.
Also, they figure out that he must have a place where he could keep the family and then kill them. By now, he must be monitoring his next family. Next, they find out that Mackenzie was dating Darren Wilson, who is bad news! They feel that may the girl was getting deeper into drugs and owed someone money. They go to talk to Darren. At the house, the unsub brings out the fact that Mackenzie is a junkie and the family ends up getting into an argument. Rossi and JJ go to the place where Darren works and finds someone else is filling in for him. He tells them that Darren is a bad ass who could get away with murder as his uncle knows the jury. Also, Debra was there for a loan which was due last week.
Rossi gets a call about Vanessa’s body being found. At the house, Braden manages to escape from his captivity but gets caught. The coroner examines Vanessa’s and says that there is semen found on her body. Also, it looks like she was tied and she did put up a fight against her assailant. The weapon used is a 9mm and TOD is less than 24 hours ago. Garcia calls Alex and says that Vanessa got a text message from Ross, Mike’s brother, the day before the abduction. Hotch interrogates Ross. He says that Mike slept with Vanessa and he only facilitated the meeting ass Mike was scared that Debra would check his phone. Carr arrives and says that the semen is a match with Mike’s.
At the house, the next on Vanessa’s chair is Darren and Mackenzie freaks out. The unsub asks Debra to choose between the money and Darren and she chooses the money as she feels that Darren is the reason her daughter got on to drugs. The team is at the Acklins’ and they find out that Debra had a shopping compulsion as she has expensive stuff and also the house has been recently remodeled. At the Yamadas’, Reid finds out that John has been gambling away the family money. In both the houses parents slept in different beds and were recently remodeled. Alex finds a camera in one of the spotlights. Garcia states that the both the re-modeling were done by the same electrical company and the guys who found Scott’s body, Brad and Arthur worked there. Next, at the house, it is Braden on the chair and they are shocked.
Garcia has information on Arthur who was charged for assaulting his teacher. H was raised by an orthodox family, who didn’t real love him and he fell in love with a happy family across the street. But one day he saw the teacher kissing the wife and so he attacked him as he felt he was ruining his own family. At the house, the unsub tells them to kill themselves if they want to save their son. Garcia sends Arthur’s address to the team and the team arrives at the house. Debra shoots herself, proving that they are ready to die for each other; they do value what they have. But there is no blood.
The gun the unsub gave them was loaded with blanks. The team then arrests Arthur. Darren and Braden are fine. They find an automatic gun in the house. Next, Beth tells Hotch that she has got a job at New York and so she thinks that they might have to end their relationship. But Hotch says that he can come to NY and they can work it out. The episode ends.