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Criminal Minds: The Fisher King (1)

After each receiving mysterious items while on their respective vacations, Gideon, Hotchner and the rest of the team reconvene at the BAU offices in order to put all of the interlocking clues and messages together in the hopes of solving the case.

Episode Info

Episode number: 1x22
Production Number: 122
Airdate: Wednesday May 10th, 2006

Alternate Airdates:

DE (Sat. 1) Mar 18, 2007
FI (Nelonen) Aug 02, 2007
NL (Veronica) Dec 13, 2009


Guest Stars
Jane LynchJane Lynch
As Diana Reid
Meredith MonroeMeredith Monroe
As Haley Hotchner
Challen CatesChallen Cates
As Dr. Jesson
Charles HaidCharles Haid
As Unsub
Diane VenoraDiane Venora
As Doris
Judith MorelandJudith Moreland
As Detective Lindo
Treva EtienneTreva Etienne
As Detective St. Pierre

Co-Guest Stars
Amanda BerneroAmanda Bernero
As Rebecca Bryant
Brian AppelBrian Appel
As Agent Anderson
Dean LemontDean Lemont
As Agent Green
Gina Garcia SharpGina Garcia Sharp
As Agent Sharp
Rachel GrowRachel Grow
As Nurse
Aaron D. SpearsAaron D. Spears
As Gerald Dupree
Alexander ChanceAlexander Chance
As Delivery Man
David RoweDavid Rowe
As Jamaican Cop
Main Cast
Shemar MooreShemar Moore
As Derek Morgan
Matthew Gray GublerMatthew Gray Gubler
As Dr. Spencer Reid
A.J. CookA.J. Cook
As Jennifer "JJ" Jareau
Kirsten VangsnessKirsten Vangsness
As Penelope Garcia
Thomas GibsonThomas Gibson
As Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner
Mandy PatinkinMandy Patinkin
As Jason Gideon
Lola GlaudiniLola Glaudini
As Elle Greenaway


A blonde woman is sleeping and a deformed hand appears, grabbing a lock of her hair before letting go and producing a knife...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
We learn that Reid's mother is a committed schizophrenic and that at one time she was a professor of 15th century literature.

We learn that Hotch met his wife in his junior year and he accidentally walked into her theater club rehearsal. He decided then and there he would eventually marry her, along with the fact that he's not a very good actor.

It appears that Gideon is quite the cook, and has a penchant for 40s and 50s era music.

ArtistSong TitlePlayed When
Billie HolidayYou Go To My Head 

Episode Quotes
Elle: (after Morgan finds a hollow space in the wall) Definitely an Indiana Jones movie!

Morgan: Oh, there he is. Pretty boy. Last chance. I can get my man to swing you a hotel room for practically nothing, even you might get a little lovin' out there!
Reid: Thanks, anyway.
Morgan: Come on, Reid, live a little, huh?

Morgan: (on Reid) He look okay to you?
Elle: He looks about the way I would if I was gonna spend two weeks with my family.

Gideon: I'll be lost in a cabin in the woods for the next two weeks, do not call me for anything, have a great time, you all deserve a break! Seriously, don't-don't call!

Gideon: Writer Elbert Hubbard said: "No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one."

Morgan: (on the resort) Come on, did I lie to you?
Elle: You did not lie!

Morgan: Gotten me a better deal on my room?
Gerald Dupree: You want me to show you a brochure with the real rates?
Morgan: Hey, hey, I'm done, I'm done, I'm done!

Morgan: (spotting a beautiful woman on the beach) Ooh, wait a minute. Look at that right there, Looord, have mercy! I think I need to handle something.
Gerald Dupree: You need any backup?
Morgan: You better watch your mouth!

Garcia: My humble servant? Why can't the real world be like this?

Garcia: JJ, this guy is amazing.
JJ: Oh, gosh. Please don't tell me you have a crush on a fictional character?
Garcia: He's not fictional. He's the online alterego of a real person.
JJ: Mmhmm, you don't even know anything about him... or even if he is a him.
Garcia: Okay, you know what? I don't... look, we meet online at specified times that he is never late to. We spend hours adventuring and chatting during which time I have his undivided attention and he lavishes me with flattery.
JJ: Wow.
Garcia: When was the last time you had a date go that well?
JJ: See if he's got a fictional brother, alright?
Garcia: Yeah, he doesn't.
JJ: Cousin... uncle... grandfather, whatever.

Dr. Jesson: What makes her most happy are her journals and your daily letters. She is exceptionally proud of you.
Reid: She is?
Dr. Jesson: Talks about you all the time, to anyone who will listen - staff, other patients. Her journals are filled with the cases you write to her about. Calls them your adventures.
Reid: Mom's of the believe you can find adventure all around you if you just look. It's what happens when you're a professor of 15th century literature.

Morgan Well, you alright there, Greenaway?
Elle: Go-away.
(Morgan laughs)

Elle: For the hundredth time... I didn't even know that there was a victim until you dragged me out of bed!
Detective St. Pierre: Where's the victim's head?!
Elle: Well, I must've dropped it on my way in here - come on! You know that I have nothing to do with this! I'm an American FBI agent! I'm here on vacation, man! I'm the police just like you.

Morgan: Garcia, I need a rundown on a guy.
Garcia: No!
Morgan: What?!
Garcia: The Information Superhighway is closed.
Morgan: What are you talking about?
Garcia: Someone had the nerve to run a black cat op into my computers, Morgan, they hacked me, okay?! But you can bet your sweet ass I will find them, I've got honeypot farms hidden behind UML kernel data packets and a first generation honey net I personally programmed! My snort log list, every visitor, every server request, every keystroke of this entire network, if I have to backhack his IP all the way to the fricken stone age, I will find this son of a bitch, okay?! So, bye!

Aaron: How much sleep have you gotten in the last 24 hours?
Elle: Hotch, I spent half of the night in an interrogation room. I am not sleeping until I find this Frank Giles.

Morgan: Unsubs... they don't contact us this way. I mean, they might taunt us, dare us to catch 'em but they don't drag us into their fantasies.
JJ: Why not?
Morgan: Because they're sexual fantasies. I mean, taunting us is a show of power but making us the object is... I don't know what the hell that is.

Garcia: I was playing a game yesterday. An online game.
Gideon: A game?
Garcia: Not on the Bureau computers, sir, on my own personal laptop.
Morgan: No, Garcia, no-no-no-no...
Hotch: I don't understand.
Morgan: Wireless internet.
Garcia: By wirelessly hooking into the net here to get online, the hacker could've gotten into my computer first and... I have far less protection on my own laptop.
Hotch: And he could've gotten into the entire Bureau computer system this way?
Garcia: Yeah, it's possible.
Gideon: A game... are you that stupid?! Information files... you have a responsibility.
Garcia: I know, sir, I'm so sorry.

Elle: (after Reid explains the medieval significance of the term "hour be none") Reid, do not ever go away again!

Morgan: It's a box.
Hotch: Take it out.
Reid: Wait, wait, are we sure that's safe?
Hotch: What? You think it's a bomb, you think he'd be playing this game just to blow us up?
Morgan: He'd have already done that as long as we'd been standing here.

Cultural References
Episode title:

The Fisher King is a character from Arthurian legend that is usually associated with keeping the Holy Grail. Though there are sometimes two different Kings described (usually as the Wounded King and the Fisher King), the Fisher King is unable to move much due to injuries to the groin or legs. As a result, the only thing he is able to do is fish in a river near his castle.

Hotch: The bed's in the middle of the room.
Morgan: Which isn't by chance.
And maybe the light from here casts a shadow and points to something.
Elle: Come on, are we in the middle of an Indiana Jones movie?

Indiana Jones is a fictional character, an archaeologist and adventurer who deciphers clues to find treasure.

Many of the "clues" that the team gets -- the skeleton key, the sword, the improvised sundial and its medieval marking of time, the species of butterfly JJ receives (from Great Britain) and the Old English vocabulary the unsub writes in coupled with other references like the profession of Reid's mother and Garcia's game could mean the team needs to look for a book dealing with either Arthurian legend or the story of King Arthur himself.

Taking into consideration the first analysis and the clues given throughout the episode, another possibility for the book the team needs could be the Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy), by Dante Aligheri.

The Commedia, written in about 1305 and set in 1300, was about the author-as-Pilgrim's journey through the Inferno (Hell) to discover the results of evil, ascending toward the terraces of Purgatorio (Purgatory) to learn about repentance so as to one day be allowed entrance into Paradiso (Paradise).

One point that makes this another choice for the book are the drawings on the unsub's desk (the ones under and around the photos of Gideon, Hotchner & co.) which look to be more like those of the Inferno than those of Camelot and its conquests.

Another is in Hotch's message: the unsub tells them to "disregard the first two deaths" because the victims were "...unrepentant men." Penitence is a key point of the Purgatorio, which upon a person's completion of his stay there could gain access into heaven.

Still another is the girl. While this fits in with the medieval cliche of the "damsel in distress," it could be an allusion to Beatrice, the woman Dante adored and who, in the Commedia, started Dante on his journey in hopes of saving his soul from damnation. Perhaps the "quest" is about not only saving the girl but saving themselves?

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