The episode begins with a woman tied up to a table. She begs her captor to let her go. He duct tapes her mouth and picks up his tools. Erin tells Alex that she is sorry for what she did to her; she tells her that she wants to make amends. Garcia walks in with flowers that have been sent for JJ. JJ checks the note and it says ZUGZWANG, the term from chess that Diane Turner told Reid. JJ feels that the person who sent this was stalking Reid. Reid thinks that this guy is stalking everyone and wonders if this is the “Replicator”. The team discusses the case and Erin wants to be updated on this one; direct orders from the Director.
Garcia tells them that the flowers cleared the security check and the florists from where the flowers have been bought came up clean. The first victim was Maxwell Holmes and his mouth was sown shut, a replica of the Silencer case. Next was a John Doe whose leg was severed and someone else's was sewn on. And the last one was Megan, who was turned into a human marionette. Just then Garcia tells them that an unidentified woman has just been found; her eyelids have been removed. This murder took place in Philly, the same place where the flowers have been sent from. On the flight to Philly, the team thinks that the killer is trying to mock them but they cannot figure out why. They also note that all the copycat murders took place in the same area as the original murders but this one is in a different city.
JJ figures that the kidnapper has a lot of money for all the traveling. Hotch points out to the the kidnapper's patience and attention to detail. This means that he has a bigger plan. Garcia comes online and tells them that the first exsanguinated eyelid victim is Molly Patton, who is a nurse. By this she means that there is a second eyelid victim just found. They arrive at Philly and the officer in charge is not too pleased with their presence. He tells them that the victim is Sandy Larson and she is a widow with six grandchildren. Reid points out that this is a double replication and moreover, the old woman is not staring at any art object. JJ doubts that this is the work of the replicator. The coroner examines Molly’s body and tells the team that Molly was sedated before he bled her out.
Rossi states that the kidnapper is not as much of a sadist as he is mission oriented. They also infer that the victims are being grabbed in broad daylight. Next, we see a woman loading groceries in her car and a man walks up to her and tells her to sign on some “save the water” papers. He then pulls out a gun and tells her not to scream or try to run. He knows that her name is Shannon and that she has a son named Eddie. Rizzo, the officer in charge, is not at all happy about the BAU’s involvement. Just then they receive news that another body turned up; it is Shannon and her eyelids have been cut off. But on this one the kidnapper has pinned Hotch’s picture on the dead body. Morgan thinks that this is about revenge. Rossi checks Shannon’s id and learns that Shannon was a nurse, just like Molly.
Hotch asks Garcia to find out about their second victim, Sandy, and Garcia tells him that Sandy was a registered nurse for 30 years. He wants her to find out about all the homicides related to nurses. We then see that the kidnapper is cleaning the blood on the floor and his hands start trembling. He pops a pill. Garcia finds a case which took place in Pittsburgh; stabbing of four nurses and it was a BAU case. The perpetrator, Kemper, from that case died five months ago and that is exactly when the copycat murders started. They profile the kidnapper. They state that it could be someone with law enforcement training and who has the intelligence to remain evasive. They need to look at Kemper’s relatives and friends. They also need to check on the families of the victims.
Later, they find out that Kemper’s family had nothing to do with these murders. JJ thinks that they should also look at other suspects before they caught Kemper. Rossi checks the files and finds out about Bidwell, the primary suspect before they arrested Kemper. We see that Donny Bidwell is the guy who abducted Shannon from the parking lot. Garcia tells the team that Donnie had a business before the arrest and it shut down after the BAU arrested him as the primary suspect. He also had a nervous breakdown. Alex thinks that this is why he wants payback. They go to his house. Donnie tries to shoot Rizzo but Morgan saves him. They then chase Donnie and arrest him. Later, Rizzo thanks Morgan for saving his life. He then tells Morgan about his partner who was shot and since then he has been having trouble working with other people.
Next, Rossi and the team notice the tremors and they learn that he has been on anti-convulsant medication since the time he took a blow to his head at a bar, where people mistook him as the “nurse killer”. Rossi tries to talk but Donnie doesn’t say a word. Rossi feels that something is not right. Reid and Hotch find the team’s pictures and eyelids in Donnie’s house. JJ and Alex talk to Donnie and JJ tells him that it will be a lot easier on everyone if he cooperates with them. Donnie is pissed about the fact that the FBI ruined his life and did not apologize. He tells JJ that he lost his entire family. JJ then shows him the pictures of all the replicated murders. Donnie looks at the pictures and he appears surprised. He asks for his phone call and a lawyer. Rossi feels that all these murders were news to him. Donnie looks nervous but Alex doesn’t trust him.
Hotch tells Reid that Donnie lawyered up. Hotch thinks that the house does not fit the Replicator’s profile because it is too sloppy. Donnie gets his phone call and we see that he looks upset. Moments later, Rizzo arrives and tells them that Donnie took all his pills. He is lying on the floor and having convulsions. Donnie dies on his way to the hospital. The team infers that Donnie was being set up and he was nothing but a pawn. They tell Garcia to check the emails and his phone calls. We then see that another woman is being abducted and the van drives into Pittsburgh. Garcia has traced the incoming calls to a prepaid phone, which is currently in Pittsburgh. The team flies to Pittsburgh. They call in the SWAT team for backup. Morgan feels that something isn’t right and that they are going exactly where the kidnapper wants them to go. They arrive at the building and break in.
They find that a woman lying on the slab; she is dead. Her head has been hammered and covered with plastic. On the walls they find the entire team’s pictures and it has ZUGZWANG written all over it (the term used in chess where the player knows that his opponent is inevitably going to checkmate him). The episode ends.