[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/criminalmindsseason8cast_31.png]]
[[caption-width-right:350:The BAU Team, as of Season 8.]]

These days, every PoliceProcedural needs a clever gimmick. Something that separates it from the pack. For ''Series/ColdCase'', it's the pursuit of old, unsolved cases. For ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'', it's sex crimes. For ''Series/{{CSI}}'', it's solving crimes with [[AppliedPhlebotinum magic]]. For ''Series/{{Bones}}'', it's…well, bones. (And magic.)

And for ''Criminal Minds'' (2005-), it's ''crazy serial killers''. ([[RunningGag And magic]].)

''Criminal Minds'' centers around a team of FBI profilers who use their knowledge of the human mind to get into the heads of the worst criminals--and catch them. The offenders who on other shows would merit a special event or multi-parter--serial killers who taunt the cops, school shooters, child abductors-- are just [[MonsterOfTheWeek this week's]] "[=UnSub=]" ('''Un'''known '''Sub'''ject) to this team.

Beyond that, ''Criminal Minds'' is notable for a mostly gender-equal cast, its standards of realism for the motives of its criminals (who are often fascinating characters, though the mechanics of the crimes aren't always that realistic), and for the sympathy and respect with which it treats the victims of violent crime (and sometimes the perpetrators as well!).

In 2011 it got a spinoff, ''Series/CriminalMindsSuspectBehavior''. This did not last.

Has [[Characters/CriminalMinds a character page]].

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!!This show provides examples of:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: A-B]]
* AbandonedHospital: In "Heathridge Manor," a woman's body is found in an abandoned asylum.
* AbusiveParents: Show up often, and aren't limited only to [=UnSubs=].
* AccidentalAimingSkills: Invoked in "L.D.S.K." when Reid claims, after shooting an [=UnSub=] in the head, that he was "aiming for his leg." Reid recently failed his gun test, so it would be easy to believe this explanation...except that Reid was lying just a few feet away from the [=UnSub=] at the time, and it had been previously established that anything less than a [[BoomHeadshot headshot]] would probably result in the deaths of half the people in the room. Reid was making his first joke of the series, and fittingly, it was a morbid and obscure one.
** The joke is also a call back to the opening of the episode when Reid was practicing with Hotch for the not yet failed test and aims for the target's head but hits the groin.
*** Potentially a ShoutOut. Reid is a sci-fi fan. Criminal Minds began three years after ''Firefly'' first aired.
* ActorAllusion: Reid finding Morgan and Rossi watching ''TheYoungAndTheRestless'' in his hotel room is an allusion to Shemar Moore's tenure on the show.
* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: Jennifer Jareau. Lampshaded by her preferred nickname of JJ.
* {{Adorkable}}: Reid almost ''personifies'' this trope.
* AdultFear: Let's just add "take a shot every time a child is abducted/abused/assaulted/threatened" to the Criminal Minds drinking games.
** Notable episodes include "Risky Business", "Cradle to Grave", "Seven Seconds", and others.
** Taken UpToEleven in "Gabby" where we not only have child abduction, but [[spoiler: the person trusted to watch the child engineered it because she was abused as a child by Gabby's mother's father, and there was fear of the child's drug addict father having taken her, and fear of another drug addict as the abductor, and finally we get a look at underground "adoptions" where people, often bad people, acquire children from those who don't want them. Including people taking kids after having lost custody of their own.]]
* AdventuresInComaLand: After [[spoiler: Elle]] is shot by the SerialKiller of the week she is left unconscious and bleeding to death. Throughout the remainder of the episode while emergency workers attempt to resuscitate her, she is in [[spoiler: a dream version of the BAU jet, where she is visited by her police officer father who died when she was a child. During their conversation, Elle's father tells her that the decisions she makes in the plane will make the difference as to whether she lives or dies in real life]].
* AesopAmnesia: No matter how many times they encounter one, the team is always shocked to discover that the unsub is a woman and exposit to each other about how rare it is for a SerialKiller to be female.
* AffectionateNickname: Morgan and Garcia have dozens of these for each other.
** JJ is also the only person (in the world, apparently), who calls Reid "Spence."
* AllWomenLoveShoes: In "From Childhood's Hour", Morgan cites that a woman is definitely depressed because she only has ''four'' pairs of shoes. Reid doesn't get it. At the end of episode Reid is talking to JJ, Prentiss, and Garcia about it. JJ comments that even 10 pairs isn't enough, and Prentiss says that reminds her... she needs new boots.
* AloneWithThePsycho: Numerous times. This is a show about serial killers after all.
** Hotchner, at the end of season 4 and beginning of Season 5. However, [[spoiler: Hotchner, stabbed multiple times, is not rescued by his teammates, but rather by the SerialKiller (called the Reaper) who ambushed him. The Reaper even takes Hotchner to the hospital to make sure that Hotchner survives to suffer more]].
** Reid and JJ at the end of "The Big Game"
** Reid's entire plot during "Revelations"
** The entire Hotch and Reid subplot of "Damaged"
** And the Hotch and Prentiss subplot of "Outfoxed"
** Reid and Lila Archer during "Somebody's Watching"
** Reid tries to pull this at the end of "The Fisher King," but Hotch and Morgan don't let him succeed.
** Sci-fi author and postmodern literature professor Ursula Kent in "Empty Planet"
** Prentiss at the end of "In Name and Blood".
** Prentiss and Reid (although Prentiss more so) in "Minimal Loss".
** JJ in "The Performer".
** Morgan and Det. Spicer ([[spoiler:and, after Spicer is killed, just Morgan]]) in "Our Darkest Hour".
** Prentiss in "Lauren".
** Reid in "Derailed" (much to the team's dismay)
** Will in "Hit and Run", the two part season seven finale.
** Reid in "Zugzwang"
* AlwaysMurder: Well, they ''are'' the FBI's Behavior Analysis Unit. But if there were actually that many serial killers out there, no one would ever leave their houses.
** This ''may'' be TruthInTelevision -- the FBI estimates that at any given time, there are somewhere between 20 and 50 active serial killers in the United States. Rough calculations suggest they may have either dealt with half of the active serial killers in the US, or considerably less than that depending on how you think the statistics work (i.e. new killers replacing the old ones, old ones not getting caught or worst of all patterns not even being noticed). Also, most of the murderers they run into are actually spree killers, not serial killers
*** The team also deals with child abductions, serial rapists, terrorists, and spree killers, none of which are included in the FBI's estimates. Only about half of any given season's cases are actual serial killers. The serious element of unrealism here is that one team would work all of those types of cases; in reality, the BAU has [[EconomyCast separate units to deal with separate kinds of specialized crime]].
*** Other divisions specializing in things like the Mob and child exploitation have shown up occasionally.
** JJ once said that the BAU picks cases where they believe lives are at stake. In another episode, it was expressed that the BAU gets sent the "weird" cases.
* AmazingFreakingGrace: "A Real Rain". The Cop of the Week even [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] how much of an EarWorm it is, and invokes some horror when she says anyone who kills cops should have to hear "Amazing Grace" [[HellIsThatNoise being played for eternity]].
* AnachronicOrder: "No Way Out," "100", "It Takes A Village".
* AndIMustScream:
** "Uncanny Valley" [[spoiler: has the [=UnSub=], a mentally ill woman, kidnap young women, use drugs to paralyze them so she can dress them up as dolls. While all of this is going on, the victims are still alive and can hear, see and presumably feel ''everything''- including the wigs being sewn into their scalps, and the slow deterioration of their body under the influence of the drugs]].
** There's also what Frank did to his victims: injecting them with a drug that left them completely paralyzed, but fully conscious, as he ''very slowly'' vivisected them. With mirrors in the ceiling.
** And the Pittsburgh suicides that weren't suicides. [[spoiler: The [=UnSub=] was using support groups to make friends with grieving parents of a local tragedy, then would follow them home, inject them with a paralyzing drug, and set up the fake suicides, all the while explaining to his fully conscious victims that he was just doing what they ''wanted'' him to do]].
** The [=UnSub=] from "Proof". Holy ''shit'', the idea of [[spoiler: being immobilized, feeling the torture someone's putting you through, getting acid dripped on various parts of you, and having it all videotaped with a running childlike commentary]].
* AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent: "Secrets and Lies", "Honor Among Thieves", "Minimal Loss", and "Tabula Rasa".
* AndStarring: Thomas Gibson, after Joe Mantegna joins the cast in season three.
* ArchEnemy: Frank to Gideon, the Reaper to Hotch, and Doyle to Prentiss.
* ArcVillain: The presence of the Reaper and later Ian Doyle were both felt for an entire season, despite them only appearing in person a few times.
** [[BigBad The Replicator]] is a much more direct version in Season 8. He literally lasts for the entire season.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: In "It Takes A Village", it appears that ''Criminal Minds'' takes place in a universe where you can get from Quantico, VA to Baltimore, MD in an hour.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: In "I Love You, Tommy Brown", the titular underage student in a TeacherStudentRomance GoneHorriblyWrong (well, more wrong) is starting to have doubts (after the teacher in question shoots his classmate / neighbor), and she tries to calm him down and justify their love by saying that in Medieval times 12-year-olds marrying their elders was not unusual- this was only true of the aristocracy, and still wasn't very common; that when HenryVIII married Catherine of Aragon she was a much older woman (she was only 5 years his senior); and that RomeoAndJuliet were 13 (true of the play, not of the original story; also, the point of the play is that they are too young and their love is childish; also, ''its a play''). Possibly [[JustifiedTrope justified]] since the teacher is a [[ManipulativeBitch manipulative]], AxCrazy [[TheSociopath sociopath]] trying to control a not-very-smart teenage boy, and of course she doesn't have to know a lot about history / English literature anyway.
** It's also a common mistaken fact made in most references to Medieval times. Most people uninterested in that time period would make the same mistake and those who are interested wouldn't really bother to correct them.
** Oddly enough, it ''was'' true of HenryVIII's grandmother, who gave birth to his father at the age of ''12''-and was rendered sterile as a result. Aside from the inherent horror of this, many families thus had practical concerns not to marry girls that young, because of this happening.
* ArtisticLicenseReligion: The episode "Minimal Loss" that deals with a hostage situation involving an isolated, self-sustaining religious commune that is similar to the real incidents at Waco and others, states the group was begun as libertarians, before turning religious-because, of course, "Libertarians aren't religious." Uh, no-many libertarians are, though granted, the movement itself is not religious. While a group could go from being libertarian to authoritarian regardless of having religious beliefs or not, the scenario the episode lays out seems pretty unlikely, to shift from libertarian community to apocalyptic cult.
** In the episode "Perennials" (season 8), the suspect believes himself to be the reincarnation of a serial killer who died the day he was born, in the same hospital, and is killing the people he believes are reincarnations of the dead killer's victims, placing fly larvae by their bodies in the belief that it will make their souls be reborn into these instead of humans, so ending the cycle. Morgan states that "See, a fundamental tenet of reincarnation is that you can come back in any life form, not just human" (as part of {{Karma}}). Wrong-in some reincarnation beliefs, such as Hindus', this is true-others like the Druze, though, believe people are only reborn in human bodies, not animals. They also differ on whether people can be reborn into different sexes than they had in their previous life, along with the concept of karma, which is primarily Hindu belief.
* ArtShift: In "True Night", the [=UnSub=] was a comic artist who unknowingly acted out scenes from his own violent comics by murdering gang members. The audience knows in real life, he wears a hooded sweatshirt, but while "on camera" within his delusion, he's wearing a hooded BadassLongcoat that seems to come standard issue from [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII Organization XIII]], wielding a pair of scimitars. He moves in slow motion, smooth techno music in the background. The entire scenes are in highly contrasted black and white, with highly sharpened raindrops and super slo-mo splashes when he steps in a puddle or slashes one of the "werewolves" he's fighting, with occasional bright splashes of blue or red. The entire style is deliberately evocative of something directed by FrankMiller, like the film versions of ''Film/TheSpirit'' or SinCity. Which makes it FridgeBrilliance for those familiar with those movies, as both FrankMiller and the [=UnSub=] (in-universe) are both highly successful and revolutionary comic authors.
** Less fridge when you watch the epilogue of that story and Garcia actually compares the [=UnSub=] to FrankMiller.
* AssholeVictim: A few; for instance, in "Pleasure Is My Business" the [=UnSub=] is a prostitute killing {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s who are cheating their ex-wives and children out of alimony.
** Another example is "Elephant's Memory" - the [=UnSub=] of the episode is profiled as an "injustice collector," killing people who've caused him or his girlfriend pain: her abusive father, his neglectful father, school bullies, etc.
** A third example are the victims in "True Night" - the [=UnSub=] is murdering the gangbangers that were responsible for the murder of his fiancée, who was carrying their baby.
* AttractiveBentGender: This is how [[spoiler:Adam/Amanda]] lured his victims in "Conflicted".
* AxCrazy
* AwesomeByAnalysis:
** Hotchalanches. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BlJ_MQNjY0 Wherein Aaron Hotchner is made of awesome]], though were this real life the complaint of the defense attorney, especially in pointing how ''wrong'' the team's methods often are on specifics, would have been entirely justified.
---> '''Defense Attorney''': The fact is, behavioral analysis is just intellectual guesswork. You probably can't even tell me the color of the socks I'm wearing with no greater accuracy than a carnival psychic.
---> '''Hotchner''': Charcoal gray. You match them to the color of your suit to appear taller. ... You also wear lifts and you've had the soles of your shoes replaced. One might think you're frugal, but you're having financial difficulties. You wear a fake Rolex because you pawned the real one to pay your debts, my guess is to a bookie. ... Your vice is horses. Your Blackberry's been buzzing on the table every twenty minutes, which happens to be the average time between posts from Colonial Downs. You're getting race results. And every time you do, it affects your mood in court, and you're not having a very good day. That's because you pick horses the same way you practice law - by always taking the long shot...
* BackdoorPilot: The 18th episode of Season 5, "The Fight", featured another BAU team, which starred in a {{Spinoff}}, "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior". Not really a PoorlyDisguisedPilot... the producers announced this intention right from the beginning. Didn't really pan out, as very little fandom interest plus poor writing got it canceled.
* TheBadGuyWins:
** "North Mammon", essentially. The [=UnSub=]'s entire plan pretty much went perfectly, and he obviously didn't care that he was caught in the end, and may have even wanted to get caught, since he likely could have gotten away with it if he had bothered to cover his face when letting the remaining two girls go.
*** His entire plan likely hinged on getting caught anyway, since he wanted to use the girls to put the town through the same kind of pain the town put him through, which wouldn't work if he didn't get caught.
** "Into The Woods", where Shane gets away. Whether he's gotten away for good, however...
** "Lauren", where [[spoiler: Doyle escapes after capturing and stabbing Prentiss. She does survive, but since she must go into hiding, Doyle has arguably made good on his earlier threat to "take the only thing that matters to you: your life". Technically, her life as Emily Prentiss is indeed over]].
** "Out of the Light", where not only does a bad guy get away, the team thinks he's innocent.
** "3rd Life," sort of, though the Bad Guy who wins isn't the Worst Guy in the episode. The Worst Guy loses big time, mostly due to the Not-as-bad Guy [[spoiler:shooting him in the head]], but the Not-as-bad Guy is still pretty bad, and gets away with absolutely everything [[spoiler:due to being a valuable witness against more Worse Guys]].
** "Zugzwang" has Reid's girlfriend, Maeve, captured by her stalker, requiring Reid to enlist the team to find her. [[spoiler:The team eventually does, and Reid goes in to negotiate with the [=UnSub=] to release Maeve, but fails as the [=UnSub=] shoots herself in the head and holds Maeve's head right next to hers so that the bullet kills her as well]].
** "...And Back." [[spoiler:Mason Turner gets away with all his crimes because, as Rossi points out, no one would believe that a quadraplegic could be responsible for the deaths of 93 people, all of his murders are pinned on his now deceased brother (who he manipulated and abused all his life), and while he does die in the end, its own his own terms and the world will see him as a victim and his killer a murderer.]]
* BadassBookworm: Reid occasionally has his moments.
* BadassLongcoat: The fantasy/noir sequences in "True Night".
** The [=UnSub=] in "Elephant's Memory" is a big Johnny Cash fan and dons a BadassLongcoat when shooting folks.
* BaitAndSwitch: The opening scene of "Rabid." An attractive young woman in somewhat-revealing clothes is taking the bus home at night. A guy on the bus looks at her in a way that makes her uncomfortable. She gets off the bus and starts walking down the dark street to her home, visibly nervous, then she realizes the guy from the bus is following her. It seems obvious that the girl is being set up as a victim ... but the guy just wants to give her something that fell out of her shopping bag, then he leaves. ''He's'' the one who gets targeted by a killer. The girl makes it home safely.
* BallisticDiscount: The [=UnSub=] in "Hanley Waters" already has the ammo and intends on simply purchasing the corresponding gun, but resorts to this trope when she learns that she can't do it right away because of a mandatory waiting period. With the gun still sitting on the counter, the clerk gives her the gun license application and walks off to deal with another customer, giving her time to load before he notices what she's doing.
* BankRobbery:
** The [=UnSub=] in "Psychodrama" started out as a simple bank robber, but as the episode progresses he grows steadily more insane.
** The season seven finale "Hit"/"Run" dealt with bank robbers and a hostage situation.
* BasedOnATrueStory: "25 To Life" was based on the case of Dr. Jeffrey [=McDonald=], the subject of the book (and TheFilmOfTheBook) ''Fatal Vision'', convicted of killing his wife and children, with the premise that ''his'' story of the events (intruders killed his family) was true, which turns into ClearTheirName.
* BatterUp: "The Boogeyman", "Paradise", "Reckoner" and "Middle Man".
* BeamMeUpScotty: The trope is referenced by Reid in "What Happens at Home".
* BeneficialDisease: One of the abducted women in "The Uncanny Valley" is diabetic, which somehow allows her to metabolize the paralytic drugs she was given at a faster than usual rate.
* BerserkButton: There was an episode where a guy who dealt really badly with a breakup went around getting women to "play along" with him as he raped them at gun or knifepoint, killing the boyfriends and then the women after he'd finished with them. When the team eventually tracks the [=UnSub=] to his latest victim, who he is kicking and punching, Prentiss [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome pushes him to the ground, points a gun at his temple, and basically tells him he is going to be raped in prison and there is nothing he can do about it, and then she tells him to "play along" for her when this eventually happens]]. Needless to say, Prentiss and sex abuse cases is like gasoline and fire.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: [=JJ=] and Garcia, especially [=JJ's=] BoomHeadshot through a plate-glass window to [[spoiler: Garcia's shooter]]. PlayedForLaughs with Reid who takes pranking UpToEleven.
* BilingualBonus: Prentiss speaks several languages and some of her languages scenes aren't dubbed. However, "Catching Out" becomes an unintentionally funny episode when you hear Prentiss speak Spanish. To Spanish speakers it is blatantly obvious that her pronunciation is ''atrocious''.
* BitCharacter: Agent Anderson and Tech Gina Sharp, who have made a number of appearances, but never really do anything that noteworthy. Anderson hasn't even been given a first name. Even then, Gina Sharp is a case of TheDanza.
* BlindAndTheBeast: "The Big Wheel" with the little blind boy and the [=UnSub=] of the week, but played with in that it's not anything about the man's appearance that's frightening, but the boy would see him as a monster if he could see, because he would recognise him as his mother's murderer.
* TheBluebeard: The [=UnSub=] from "The Fox" could be seen as a variant.
* TheBookCipher: "The Fisher King" features an Ottendorf cipher brought to the Behavioral Analysis Unit by [[spoiler:the [=UnSub=] via Hotch's wife]]. The cypher is part of a larger puzzle to find [[spoiler: a girl who's been missing for two years]]. The key text is [[spoiler:''The Collector'' by John Fowles]].
* BoomHeadshot: "L.D.S.K.", "Identity", "Penelope", "Lo-Fi". "Nanny Dearest".
* BottleEpisode: All but two scenes of "Seven Seconds" takes place in the same shopping mall.
* BreakTheCutie: Poor Reid can't seem to catch a [[IncrediblyLamePun break]].
** After the Reaper case and the events of "Nameless, Faceless", it's only a matter of time before Hotch crosses the DespairEventHorizon... which is confirmed by "100": [[spoiler: Hotch beats Foyet to death using his bare hands]]. Understandable crossing of the DespairEventHorizon, but still a crossing of it.
** "Lucky"/"Penelope", "House on Fire", "Exit Wounds" and "The Internet is Forever" for Garcia.
** The Doyle arc (beginning in "The Thirteenth Step" and ending with "Lauren") for Prentiss.
* BreakTheHaughty: Rossi gets broken in "Limelight", "Damaged","Zoe's Reprise", "From Childhood's Hour", and "Epilogue".
* BreakingSpeech: In "Identity" Morgan receives one from ConspiracyTheorist Harris Townsend. It did not end well. [[ShutUpHannibal For Townsend]].
* BrokenHeel
* BrotherChuck: Hotch's brother, Sean, and Gideon's son, Stephen. Gideon talks to Stephen on the phone at the end of "Blood Hungry," and Sean actually appears at the beginning and end of "The Tribe", but neither of them are even ''mentioned'' again after Season One.
** Sean finally makes an appearance seven seasons later.
** Though never appearing or heard in the series, Garcia's four brothers mentioned in the Season 2 episode "P911" mysteriously disappeared from existence by the Season 6 episode "Safe Haven," where she says she was an only child. (Though since she has a stepfather -- Mr. Garcia -- both could arguably be true at once.)
* BuffySpeak: Usually averted, what with this being a team of highly intelligent agents, but sometimes...
-->'''Morgan:''' Come on, genius. Do something... genius-like.
* BurnTheWitch: The [=UnSub=] in "Heathridge Manor" first tries to drown them (if they're witches they'll revive and if they drown they're innocent) then sews them into poisoned dresses, but before he even finds them he paints creepy portraits of them surrounded by flames.
* TheButcher: Killed around 20 women 20 years ago then stopped after Rossi got too close. [[spoiler: After getting Alzheimer's, he and his [[WellDoneSonGuy approval-seeking son]] start killing again while he can still do it right]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: C-E]]
* CainAndAbel: Zig-zagged at the end of "The Inspired": [[spoiler:one of the twin [=UnSubs=], Jesse, intended to kill his brother Wallace (at the behest of [[EvilMatriarch their mother]]), but couldn't go through with it and turned on the mother instead. This in turn provoked Wallace, a standoff ensues, and Jesse ends up dead]].
** In any case, they're largely equally rotten but [[spoiler:Jesse]] is arguably slightly more evil than his brother, since [[spoiler:Wallace]] is technically insane.
* CaliforniaDoubling: Almost every episode. The BAU travels around the country to solve crimes, but filming is limited to LA and surrounding areas. LA has so far passed for New York City, New Orleans, countless small towns in the Midwest and South, and even Mexico, among other places.
** In "Amplification," the climactic scene takes place in what's supposed to be the [[http://blog.aia.org/mt-static/plugins/Ajaxify/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/imagemanager/images/favorite_architecture_images/106_washington_d.c._metro_lg.jpg Washington D.C. Metro]]; it's the [[http://www.metro.net/about_us/rail_ops/rail_operations.htm Los Angeles Metro]] standing in for Washington.
** In "The Thirteenth Step", what is obviously the trunk of a palm tree can be spotted in what is supposed to be Billings, MT, where the only palm trees you're likely to find in real life are on signs for travel agencies.
** Averted in the PoorlyDisguisedPilot that took place in UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco (although it's still California...)
* TheCallsAreComingFromInsideTheHouse: "Somebody's Watching." Justified because the caller was using a cell phone.
* CallBack: The jet scene in "The Performer" has two, one to the team's previous case in LA (complete with teasing Reid about Lila Archer) and one to the vampire subculture "dressing like Prentiss did in high school."
* CanadaEh: "To Hell..."/"... And Back"
* CannotSpitItOut: Gideon deliberately provokes the stuttering Footpath Killer until he gets so angry that he can't talk.
* CaptiveDate: "Charm and Harm" opens with the killer having a one-sided conversation with a bound-and-gagged woman over a gourmet dinner in a fancy hotel room.
** One episode focuses on a killer who treats his victims to a romantic evening complete with rose petals, though they're not tied down. He means no harm until they turn him down once they reach the bathtub part of the date. The rest fits to a T though.
** In another episode, a guy was stalking a woman and ended up kidnapping her. One scene shows them sitting at a table and talking, until the woman raises her hands and it's revealed that she's tied up.
* CarFu: "Roadkill"
* CastingGag: The kid who plays a smart-aleck 13-year-old sociopathic serial killer from "Safe Haven" played essentially the same character on an episode of ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit''.
* TheCastShowoff: Matthew Gray Gubler does magic tricks in RealLife; they incorporated it into his character on the show. Not to mention his talent for artwork, which has also been used in several episodes.
** Guest star [[Film/TheLastKingOfScotland Forrest]] [[Film/RepoMen Whitaker]] got to show off his awesome stick-fighting skills.
* CatapultNightmare: Played straight with Rossi at the beginning of "Damaged" (waking up from a nightmare involving lots of blood and screaming children) and with the [=UnSub=] in "Hanley Waters" (haunted by dreams recalling her son's death). Averted in "The Instincts" with Reid, who wakes up reasonably calm, despite his nightmare being rather creepy.
* CatchPhrase:
** "[=UnSub=]", short for "'''un'''known '''sub'''ject," a bit of [[TruthInTelevision real-life FBI jargon]].
*** Amazing Fun Fact: ''[=UnSub=]'' was also the title of a short-lived series aired in 1989, which the Other Wiki tells us was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unsub_(TV_series) "centered around an elite FBI forensic team that investigates serial murderers and other violent crimes."]]
** Reid: "Actually..."
** Garcia: "Off the grid" and other techie/gamer/Internet slang.
*** Also: "Jinkies" and "Yahtzee"
** [=UnSub=] Stanley Howard from "Scared To Death": "Is it worse than you thought?"
** Hotch: "Wheels up in..."
* CatScare: "The Angel Maker"; it even gets lampshaded when the soon-to-be victim actually finds her cat ("Geez Bo, you scared me half to death... such a cliche"). Also, in "Sense Memory", a paranoid Prentiss is startled when her new cat, Sergio, jumps in her lap.
* CensorshipBySpelling: PlayedForDrama in "100". Hotch is on the phone with his wife Haley after learning that she and their son Jack are held in hostage by [[spoiler:George Foyet]] aka The Reaper.
-->'''Hotch''': He's just trying to make you angry.
-->'''The Reaper''': Well she should be! She's gonna ''(covers Jack's ears and lowers his voice)'' D-I-E because of your inflated ego!
* CentralTheme: Why do people do terrible things?
* CharacterBlog: Garcia's [[http://twitter.com/Garcia_BAU Twitter account]]. Several of the team members also have Facebook accounts.
* CharacterFocus: The BAU Team members each get a few episodes that either explore their backstory or in other cases where they take it seriously.
** A lot of the Season 1 and Season 2 episodes tended to focus on Gideon (He even narrates the quotations on all of them) but the most notable ones have to be:
*** "Extreme Aggressor"
*** "Won't Get Fooled Again"
*** "What Fresh Hell?"
*** "Riding The Lightning"
*** "Unfinished Business"
*** "Secrets and Lies"
*** "Lessons Learned"
*** "No Way Out"
*** "No Way Out II: The Evilution of Frank"
** Elle Greenway (Though not much)
*** "The Fisher King Part 2"
*** "Aftermath"
*** "The Boogey Man"
** Hotch
*** "Natural Born Killer"
*** "The Tribe"
*** "Ashes and Dust"
*** "In Name and Blood"
*** "Scared To Death"
*** "Pleasure is my Business"
*** The Reaper Story Arc (Starting from "Omnivore" and ending with "The Slave Of Duty")
*** "Brothers Hotchner"
*** "Route 66"
** Morgan
*** "Profiler, Profiled"
*** "Brothers In Arms"
*** "The Fox"
*** "Hopeless"
*** "Our Darkest Hour"/"The Longest Night"
*** "25 to Life"
*** "Cradle to the Grave"
*** "Big Sea"/"The Company"
*** "Foundation"
*** "Lucky"
*** "Restoration"
** Reid
*** "Revelations"
*** "LDSK"
*** "Memoriam"
*** "Elephant's Memory"
*** "Conflicted"
*** "The Uncanny Valley"
*** "Somebody's Watching
*** "Zugzwang"
** Rossi
*** "About Face"
*** "Damaged"
*** "Zoe's Reprise"
*** "Masterpiece"
*** "The Reckoner"
*** "Remembrance of Things Past"
*** "The Fallen"
*** "The Replicator"
** Prentiss
*** "Demonology"
*** "Valhalla"/"Lauren"
** JJ
*** "North Mammon"
*** "The Crossing"
*** "JJ"
*** "Hit"/"Run"
** Garcia
*** "Blood Hungry"
*** "Penelope"
*** "House on Fire"
*** "The Internet Is Forever"
*** "Exit Wounds"
** Blake
*** "The Silencer"
*** "#6"

* CharacterOverlap: The character Penelope Garcia is the technical analyst in both ''Criminal Minds'' and its spin-off, ''CriminalMindsSuspectBehavior''.
* ChekhovsGun: In the beginning of "L.D.S.K.",we're shown that Hotch has a gun in an ankle holster. When [[spoiler:Reid and Hotch are being held hostage at the end of the episode, Hotch tricks the [=UnSub=] into letting him kick Reid around, so Reid can get the gun out and shoot the [=UnSub=]]].
** In "Valhalla", Reid notices Prentiss is agitated because she's been picking at her fingernails. In "Lauren", this turns out to be the key to uncovering Prentiss' secret: [[spoiler: that it's her hand holding the gun in the photo of Declan Doyle's fake assassination]]. The reason this actually works well is that Brewster herself apparently has this tendency, so if you go back to earlier seasons, Prentiss can indeed be seen picking at her nails in times of stress--[[FridgeBrilliance and it's never pointed out]].
* ChildrenAreInnocent: Most of them, but it is subverted at least twice (in [[spoiler:"The Boogeymen" and "A Shade of Gray"]]).
** In "Safe Haven," [[VictimOfTheWeek Nancy]] thinks this and tries to convince Jeremy of it [[spoiler:even though this is a kid who has already killed two whole families, plus a minister in his car, threatened her two kids, and is holding her at knife point in her car, only not killing her because he needs a ride to his mother's house to kill her. In fact, her insistence on it ends up being part of what gets her stabbed before he gets out of her car]].
* ChildByRape: In the episode "Birthright", the team suspect a serial's killer's son is carrying on his legacy... only to discover there's also a second son, whose mother was raped by the killer. This avoided the second part of this trope in that the child by rape, while not a stellar human being (he's a bit of a bum), isn't evil because he's known for most of his life that his father was a bad man and loved his mother for caring for him despite it. The child by marriage however...
** In another episode, this was the unsub's motivation, though he does not succeed (the only victim he impregnates is unwilling to have an abortion, but also unwilling to carry the child, and ultimately commits suicide.)
** The killer in "Profiling 101" was conceived through his mother's rape, after which she died giving birth to him, with the horrible abuse of his cruel grandmother who resented him being born, saying he was conceived in sin and that her daughter's "womb was cursed", helping to lead him into murdering women [[FreudianExcuse and cutting out their uteruses]].
* ChildSoldiers: Having to kill one was the StartOfDarkness for the [=UnSub=] in [[spoiler: "Distress."]]
* ChristianityIsCatholic
** Played straight in "Demonology" and "Public Enemy".
** Averted in at least one episode, with an appropriate depiction of a Protestant Christian survivalist enclave.
** Crisscrossed with the unsub of "The Big Game" and "Revelations" -- his preaching is pure fundamentalist protestant, but the mythology surrounding his [[spoiler: dissociated personalities]] comes from the Book of Tobit, which is canon for Catholics but not Protestants.
* ChronicVillainy: "The Big Wheel".
* CIAEvilFBIGood: Played straight as far as the FBI being good of course, but averted the one time the CIA shows up; they're portrayed as just kind of inoffensively shady, and although the [=UnSub=] of the episode is a CIA agent, he's explicitly a rogue one, with the victim (also CIA) coming across as almost saintly. In the episode that dealt with the Navy SEALS they're portrayed as being pretty awful, however.
* ClearTheirName: Becomes the plot of ''25 To Life'' when it turns out that a man who's just been paroled didn't commit the murders he was convicted of, and the hunt for the real killers begins.
* ClickHello:
** Rossi [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome pulls one]] during a MexicanStandoff in "Exit Wounds".
** Most of the team in "Cradle to Grave" where the [=UnSub=] walks out of his bathroom and looks up to discover his kitchen is now full of FBI agents and SWAT pointing guns at him.
** The [=UnSub=], a former Navy SEAL, pulls one on Rossi, Morgan, JJ, and Reid in "Dorado Falls". In the bullpen at Quantico.
* CliffHanger: [[PunctuatedForEmphasis At. The. End. Of. Every. Single. Season.]]
** Season 1 - Elle walks into her house and lies down on her couch. The [=UnSub=] walks over to her with a gun. We hear a gunshot and it fades to black.
** Season 2 - Strauss tells Prentiss that she's going to help Strauss end Hotch's career or lose her job.
** Season 3 - Each team member is seen getting into a car. One car blows up.
** Season 4 - [[spoiler:Hotch walks into his house and is greeted by the Reaper with a gun. We hear a gunshot and it fades to black]].
** Season 5 - [[spoiler:The Prince of Darkness kidnaps Ellie and leaves Morgan incapacitated and Spicer dead]].
** Season 6 doesn't have a cliffhanger in the same vein as the other seasons- the case is wrapped up in one episode. [[spoiler:However, there is some debate whether or not the team will be split up next season]].
** Season 7 - The only season without a ''major'' cliffhanger. It ends with [[spoiler:the main [=UnSub=] getting arrested, JJ and Will's wedding and Prentiss telling Morgan that she wanted to leave the team. Not a surprise for the people who knew that Paget Brewtser was leaving at the end of the season, though]].
** Season 9 - [[spoiler: opens with one when they find out that the sighting by a cop of the unsub actually led them to his twin brother who was so freaked out at being chased that he went without protest, leaving the real killer free and aware he's being hunted at the end of the episode]].
** Non-end-of-season example: "The Big Game" ends with JJ being attacked -- off-screen -- by rabid dogs who'd just finished tearing apart another woman and Reid held at gunpoint by the psychotic unsub, both miles away from the rest of the team.
* ClockDiscrepancy: The profilers trick a captured terrorist into revealing his co-conspirators' target by gradually adjusting the clock in his cell, then letting him think the planned attack had already taken place.
* ColdBloodedTorture: This is a show about crazy serial killers. It comes up.
* ConMan: "Parasite"
* ConsultingAConvictedKiller:
** Once when MadBomber Adrian Bale was called upon to help stop a copycat bomber. [[spoiler: Bale was unable to resist the opportunity to try and trick the team into blowing up a potential victim. Gideon caught on to this and stopped it]].
** In another episode a serial hostage taker was asked to help stop a group of copycats. It turns out [[spoiler: [[ExploitedTrope the guy hired the copycats so the BAU would have to consult with him]], which gave him an opportunity to escape]].
** Third time's the charm in "Outfoxed", where the team has to consult with Karl Arnold when a new family annihilator emerges. When they get in contact with Arnold, they find out that it seems as though the new killer has contacted him. [[spoiler: Turns out ''she'' didn't and the note was actually from a much worse source: The Boston Reaper]]. Still, Arnold does give them a key insight that provides an important fact about the killer.
* ContaminationSituation: "Amplified," at the end of season four. Reid is exposed to anthrax by a serial killer.
* ContinuityNod:
** In the season five episode "Exit Wounds", Emily and J.J. are discussing the difficulty of maintaining relationships with their jobs. Emily starts to come around when J.J. says that she and Will make it work, but when they are called into work less than a minute later Emily dejectedly remarks that she should get a cat. In her Ian Doyle story arc in the sixth season, her new cat, Sergio, can be seen wandering around her apartment and even figures into the story a bit. Also, in an early seventh season episode, Hotch calls Emily out on lying to her therapist about Sergio, a wonderful guy she's become involved with. Emily states that he's the perfect man...his qualities include the fact that he doesn't hog the covers and poops in a box.
* CopKiller: Several unsubs. Possibly the most memorable was the one in "Brothers in Arms" who targets policemen. In another episode, there was a cop-killing unsub who [[KillerCop turned out to be a cop himself]].
* CouldntFindALighter: In "Natural Born Killer," Morgan and Gideon imagine the killer lighting a cigarette with a blowtorch before using it on his victim.
* CourtroomEpisode: "Tabula Rasa".
* CowboyBebopAtHisComputer: In the Season 7 episode "There's No Place Like Home" which aired in late 2011, a newscaster says a recent tornado was rated an F2 on the Fujita Scale. Except the Fujita Scale was replaced by the Enhanced Fujita Scale in February 2006 and the rating scale changed to [=EF0-EF5=].
* CrazyPrepared: The Reaper[[spoiler:/George Foyet. In the ten years he stopped killing, he memorized the schematics of every jail, holding facility and courthouse in Massachusetts so that when he got caught (which was also self-organized), he would escape to taunt and terrorize another day]].
** He also [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] it when he says to Hotch: [[spoiler: ''"Do you know how much you have to study the human body to stab yourself repeatedly and not die? I don't want to brag, but I'm something of an expert."'', referring to the manner in which Foyet faked his own attack and threw the police/FBI off the scent for ten years]].
** More than that: [[spoiler:he has his entire season five arc with Hotch planned out to the last, down to the details of getting members of the BAU interviewing Karl Arnold]]. It's a BatmanGambit with a heavy reliance on FlawExploitation, taken to a power of ten.
** How Frank gets away in "No Way Out".
* CriminalMindGames: Done a number of times.
** In "The Fisher King", by the [=UnSub=] of the same name, who mostly just wanted to send them on a quest. Some of the team worked on it like a normal case, some of the team followed the breadcrumbs. The trail of breadcrumbs solved the case, and not following the rules nearly got one of the BAU killed.
** In "Masterpiece" by Professor Rothschild/[[spoiler:Henry Grace]], who [[spoiler:used clues and a "live video feed" of torture to lead the team into a trap]]. Luckily, Reid's GoodWithNumbers combined with Rossi's OutGambit turned the [=UnSub=]'s severe OCD around to figure that out.
** And then there's [[spoiler:George Foyet]]/The Reaper, who [[spoiler:stalked the cop who called him off, tried to guilt Hotch into taking the same deal, tortured Hotch, got his family taken away, stalked him for months, and sent the team clues through Karl Arnold, knowing that they would go to him when he got mail about a new string of crimes]].
** Before all those there was "Unfinished Business". The BAU teams up with a retired profiler to track down The Keystone Killer, a serial killer who had started killing again after almost twenty years and whose signature was sending complicated word puzzles to the authorities.
* {{Cult}}: "The Tribe" and "Minimal Loss"
** Subverted at least once, when it turned out they were atheists who just used the Satanist thing to annoy the conservative locals.
* CureYourGays: Turns out ''horribly'' for all involved in "Broken". Considering their methods included telling gay teenage boys they were abominations and getting a female prostitute to "rape them straight," they really shouldn't be too surprised that a former student freaks out and starts killing people after he has sex with a man.
* CuriosityKilledTheCast
* DaddyHadAGoodReasonForAbandoningYou: Reid, as well as [[spoiler: Jack Hotchner]] in season five.
** Reid would disagree. Despite promising to forgive his father in exchange for help on a case, Reid remains (rightfully) unappeased. In "Public Enemy", in response to a case related statement, "There are lots of ways that sons defeat their fathers," he quips bitterly, "I just kept getting Ph.D.s."
** You could even call [[TeamDad Gideon's]] departure from the team this.
* DamselFightAndFlightResponse: The [=UnSubs=]' target during most of "Open Season" starts looking promising at fighting back until she decides two stabs in the back and running away, not taking his weapon either, is enough to stop a serial killer she's already aggravated. For the record, ''Criminal Minds'' is good at keeping moments of stupidity from feeling [[ContrivedStupidityTropes contrived]], and it's justifiable in that a few of her screws seemed out of place by the end of the episode.
** "Reflection of Desire" had a victim break the [=UnSub=]'s nose and immediately flee for a door...only to discover it's locked. Later in a second escape attempt, she finds out she wouldn't have wanted to go in there anyway.
* DaydreamSurprise: Appears on "Sniper Sniped". [[spoiler: The ScaryBlackMan protector of the [[MonsterOfTheWeek UnSub's]] target we had followed throughout the episode was in reality the [[MonsterOfTheWeek UnSub]] himself, a mercenary ColdSniper using a kind of "focusing technique" so as to keep alert until the time the victim exposed herself]].
* DaylightHorror
* DeadAllAlong: [[spoiler: May Walden, the actress mom in "Reflection of Desire", is able to belittle and sexually harass her son from beyond the grave]].
** The same goes for [[spoiler:Norman Hill's family in "Normal"]].
* DeadArtistsAreBetter [[spoiler: The unsub in "Magnum Opus" commits SuicideByCop for this reason]].
* DeadGuyOnDisplay:
** The "Art of Dying" chapter from the upcoming PC game.
** "The Lesson", where victims are left on display inside a box randomly located around town
** "Magnum Opus", where victims are posed with their eyelids cut out looking at selected murals in San Francisco
* DealWithTheDevil: Essentially what keeps the Reaper at bay for ten years.
* DeathByChildbirth:
** [[spoiler:The second [=UnSub=] (the first [=UnSub=]'s lover)]] in "A Thousand Words".
** Played with in "Cradle to Grave", where [[spoiler: the [=UnSub=] and his wife]] are killing the girls ''after'' they give birth, if it's a baby girl.
*** They were allowed to live if they gave birth to a girl, on the rationale that if they'd produced a full-term, healthy baby of the wrong gender, the next one might be a boy; it was the girls who miscarried who were killed.
**** Nope, this troper just rewatched that episode. The girl who gives birth right at the end says that they kill you for a girl and keep you alive if it was a boy; she even had a boy earlier who died, and she got to stay. Your logic makes more sense, though.
** The killer's mother in "Profiling 101" not only died while giving birth to him, but he was a [[ChildByRape]]. This, along with the horrific abuse he received at the hands of a cruel grandmother who resented him being born, saying he was conceived in sin and that her daughter's "womb was cursed", helped lead him to murder women [[{{Squick}} and remove their uteruses]].
* DeathByIrony: End of "Paradise", and what happens to the main [=UnSub=] in "Minimal Loss."
* DeathCourse: The meatpacking plant in "Legacy". Highlights include gas vents, vicious dogs, a room with the floor covered in broken glass, and the body parts of previous victims suspended from the ceiling.
* DeceptiveDisciple: "Amplification".
* DespairSpeech: Some [=UnSubs=] do this while confessing.
* DevelopmentGag: Gideon was originally going to be named "Jason Donovan". In "Extreme Aggressor" that name appears on the cover of a book Gideon finds in a suspect's room.
* DirectedByCastMember: Recently Matthew Gray Gubler got to take the directing skills he's honed on other projects and direct episodes of the show ("Mosley Lane", "Lauren").
* DirtyCop: [[spoiler:An entire squad]] in "Demons".
* DisappearedDad: Much of the cast, most notably Reid.
* DisposableSexWorker: Happens a lot on this show (''e.g.'' "Legacy", "Sex, Birth, Death", "The Last Word"), but subverted in that the prostitutes are treated like people too, and the team takes crimes against them just as seriously.
** Inverted by "Pleasure is My Business", where the [=UnSub=] is a prostitute.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Maeve's stalker is eventually revealed to be working off of this. [[spoiler: Maeve rejected her thesis years ago because the study she did on suicide and couples included her own dead parents in the sample group, which was also implied to be too small to hold up. For this slight the unsub decided to make Maeve's life a living hell ''and'' prove herself better by dating Maeve's old boyfriend and then trying to seduce Reid, again to one-up Maeve. She is only happy when being assured that Maeve is not as good as she is. And the real kicker? Maeve actually thought her hypothesis might have merit, but thought she needed to improve her sampling techniques in order to present it properly]].
* TheDogBitesBack: "Machismo"
* DoomMagnet: "Divining Rod": A woman was told that has a knack for "finding the evil in men" by her dowsing (grand?)daddy and two serial killer boy-friends can't be wrong! [[spoiler: SuperEmpowering: The ending implies that she might have been "encouraging" them -- possibly unawares to the first (executed) boyfriend, but when your copycat boyfriend kills four women in one day [[TraumaticHairCut just to make you a nice wig]] you may as well embrace your "gift"]].
* DoubleMeaningTitle: Several examples.
** "Derailed" is an episode about a man having a psychotic break...on a stopped train.
** "Empty Planet" refers to an [[FictionalDocument in-universe science-fiction novel]] [[spoiler:and to what the [=UnSub=] thinks the world is being turned into, due to the proliferation of machine technology - courtesy of his delusions inspired by the aforementioned book]].
** "Revelations" has an [=UnSub=] who believes he is living out the Biblical Literature/BookOfRevelation, and also contains several major, more mundane revelations about Reid's backstory.
** The StoryArc of Reid's drug use is developed in "Jones"; the title is the name of a bar in New Orleans which is a crime scene, and also a reference to an addict "jonesing" for his next fix.
** "Open Season" refers both to what the [[spoiler:[=UnSub=] team]] is doing with the victims, who appear to have little in common, and to [[spoiler:the fact that the [=UnSubs=] are hunters]].
** "In Name and Blood" refers to various fathers or father figures, and their respective tribulations with their sons (or sons-in-spirit): Hotch, [[spoiler:who loses his son when Haley leaves him]]; the [=UnSub=], [[spoiler:Mister Smith, who is dying of a malignant brain tumor, has been using his son to lure murder victims, and structured his abductions and dumpings around his son's school schedule]]; and Gideon, a father-figure to Reid ("in name"), who left the team due to his inability to handle the work, but [[spoiler:only explained himself to Reid]].
** "About Face", while referring to the [=UnSub=] who is sending his victims and the local media "missing persons" fliers with their faces manipulated in and then cut out, is also the episode where we meet Rossi, Gideon's replacement. Rossi's character is an "about-face" (180-degree turn) from Gideon, egotistical and ruthless where Gideon was cerebral and team-oriented.
** "In Heat" involves an [=UnSub=] who kills because of his sexual impulses, and takes place in the very warm city of Miami.
** "Tabula Rasa" refers to both the presumed serial killer's memory, which has been wiped by coma-induced amnesia, and to the fact that, due to time-degraded evidence, the team spends the episode working primarily from the profile.
** "Cold Comfort" refers to both the cold comfort of false hope, and the cold comfort of necrophilia.
** "Demonology" refers to both the personal demons faced by [[spoiler:Emily Prentiss]] over the course of the episode, and to [[spoiler:demonic exorcism]].
** "Conflicted" refers to both [[spoiler:the conflict between Adam Jackson and his alternate personality, Amanda]] and the fact that Reid is [[spoiler:still conflicted about his experiences with Tobias Hankel]].
** "Haunted" refers to the psychological haunting [[spoiler:of the [=UnSub=] by his father's career as an [=UnSub=], and of Hotch by the Boston Reaper]].
** "Outfoxed" brings back the serial killer from "The Fox," who reveals at the end of the episode that [[spoiler: the Boston Reaper has out-foxed Hotch and is threatening Haley and Jack]].
** "The Slave of Duty" [[spoiler: deals in part with Hotch's decision to return to the BAU after the Boston Reaper killed Haley; the title is both a description of Hotch's personality and the alternate title of ''Theatre/ThePiratesOfPenzance''. Hotch met Haley when they were both in a high school production of ''Pirates'']].
** "Risky Business" refers to and darkly twists certain plot elements of the Creator/TomCruise movie of the same name - [[spoiler:privileged, apparently straight-edge kids get into trouble behind their parents' backs, to hilarity in the film's case and to their deaths in the episode]] - as well as echoing the notion of a victim being high or low risk, which is brought up several times over the course of the series.
** "JJ" Agent Jareau [[spoiler:having to leave the team]] as well as the potential nickname for the victim of the week. Her mother says they were considering naming her Jennifer instead of Kate.
** "Compromising Positions" refers to the sex the [=UnSub=] forces his victims to have before killing them, as well as the swinger's parties he's finding them at. It also refers to Garcia "compromising" [[spoiler: both her usual role as technical analyst and taking on JJ's former job as media liaison, and finding it impossible to do both to an acceptable standard]].
** "Safe Haven" refers to what the families who are killed are trying to give the [=UnSub=] not knowing what he's planning for them [[spoiler:as well as being the name of the law that the teenaged [=UnSub=] was given up by his mother under, precipitating his descent into murder]]. On top of all that, you also have [[spoiler:little Ellie Spicer from "Our Darkest Hour" and "The Longest Night" looking for a safe haven away from her neglectful foster family in California by running away to Virginia to see Morgan]].
** "Profiling 101" refers to both the undergraduate class the team walks through the case in the episode and [[spoiler:the [=UnSub=]'s whopping 101 victims]].
* DoubleStandard: In "Psychodrama" the family treats the father like he let the unsub have their way with them while the unsub held them at gunpoint with a Mac 10. Stating he should have fought back to protect them despite doing such action would have been suicidal.
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale[=/=][[DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnFemale Female on Female]]: No, it is ''[[AvertedTrope not okay]]''. Both either occur or are a concern in "I Love You Tommy Brown", and it's treated with as much horror as it deserves.
** This trope is actually invoked in-universe during that very episode, acknowledging the double standard. A damn rarity for television. Shame as that is.
** The episode "Psychodrama" also indicates that a mother sexually abused her son and daughter. It's a relatively minor plot point, but is treated as being appropriately horrific.
** Also averted in "The Angel Maker". The team initially assumes the [=UnSub=] is male as the victims are being raped and murdered. They later learn the killer is a woman, and while they make a comment that she would had to have used an object to commit the rape, it is still clearly not okay.
** A [[CureYourGays "conversion therapy" center]] in "Broken" hired a prostitute to have sex with gay boys against their will in an attempt to "cure" them of their sexuality. This is treated appropriately as just one more of the center's many crimes-such as chaining them to chairs and keeping them drugged awake to watch heterosexual porn for the same purpose.
* DownerEnding:
** "100" most notably, since it's where [[spoiler:Hotch crosses the DespairEventHorizon]].
** "North Mammon" is also pretty bad, since [[spoiler:they don't find the three missing girls before they make the SadisticChoice offered to them by their kidnapper - kill one and the other two go free]].
** "The Fox" -- [[spoiler:Sure, Karl Arnold is caught and tricked into a confession, but then Hotch finds a little box in which the [=UnSub=] keeps the wedding rings of the men he kills. There are eight rings, which mean Karl has killed much more people without raising any suspect before being caught]].
** The end of the case (but not the episode) in "Normal" - [[spoiler: Norman's family was DeadAllAlong, and he'd been hallucinating that they were still alive the whole time]].
** "Honor Among Thieves" -- [[spoiler: The victim's daughter turned out to be the [=UnSub=]'s girlfriend, and was working with him to extort ransom money from his father, a Russian mob boss. In the end, the only justice that gets handed down is Mob justice]].
** "Aftermath" -- [[spoiler:Elle's pent up resentment and rage over how she believes the team abandoned her during the events of "The Fisher King" ultimately causes her to snap and brutally murder an unarmed man, effectively destroying her career in the FBI and horrifying her teammates.]]
** "Doubt" -- [[spoiler:Hotch's mishandling of the case leaves three people dead and his career with the BAU in jeopardy. Gideon, already heavily traumatized by the events of "No Way Out Part 2", blames himself for the case's failure and resigns from the BAU for good.]]
** "Revelations" -- [[spoiler:Reid]] is rescued from his kidnapper... But he's now a drug addict.
** "3rd Life" -- [[spoiler:Reid is ForcedToWatch as the teenage [=UnSub=] is gunned down by the kidnapped girl's father, who is revealed to be an unrepentant hitman who will continue to go on killing.]]
** "True Night" -- [[spoiler:"Hey, this is Vicky! I can't come to the phone right now because I'm out living my life!"]]
** "Bloodline" -- [[spoiler: The Romani family has multiple branches, which will continue to kill families and kidnap girls to maintain the bloodline]].
** "Conflicted" -- [[spoiler: Adam is completely consumed by his female split personality, Amanda]].
** "A Shade of Gray" -- [[spoiler: The BAU may have caught a predatory pedophile who killed two young boys, but he was framed for the murder they were after him for. The victim's real killer turns out to be his older brother, and his parents conspired with their police detective friend to stage it as a murder by the pedophile, whom the cops were already looking for anyway. In the end, the boy is implied to be on his way to an institution, and the detective has been forced to resign and will likely face charges]].
** "The Big Wheel" is a pretty huge downer, although there is some goodness in the fact that [[spoiler: the [=UnSub=] actually did have a breakthrough that enabled him to finally clasp the hand of his friend]].
** As Hotch himself pointed out in the narration, "To Hell and Back" - [[spoiler:Lucas is gunned down by the team, and Mason is killed by the brother of one of the victims, leaving no one alive to face justice for the crimes they committed. The fact that the episode, and season, ends with Hotch being ambushed by The Reaper makes it an even bigger downer ending]].
** "Into the Woods" -- [[spoiler:The [=UnSub=] gets away]]. Rossi however [[DefiedTrope denies that this is the case]], because they still [[spoiler:saved the children]], and that's what mattered the most.
** "What Happens at Home", because [[spoiler:the killer murdered his own wife, while his own daughter begs him to stop. Later he attacks Hotchner, who has no choice except to shoot him, though not before the murderer apologizes to his daughter, leaving her alone]].
** "Lauren" -- [[spoiler:Subverted: Although there are wrenching hospital and funeral scenes, and the team suffers a terrible loss, Prentiss is shown to be alive at the very end]].
** "Dorado Falls" -- [[spoiler: The [=UnSub=] opens his eyes, triggering his mental illness, making him want to kill his wife and daughter, whom he now thinks are impostors]].
** "From Childhood's Hour" ends with Rossi's first ex-wife [[spoiler: telling him she has ALS and asking him to help her commit suicide]]. The very next episode, [[spoiler: Carolyn, the ex-wife kills herself and dies in Rossi's arms. Then he's shown at the cemetery, starting at a headstone that belongs to their son, who died the day he was born]]. Poor Rossi.
** "Heathridge Manor" -- [[spoiler: The [=UnSub=]'s sister ends up succumbing to the same mental illness as her brother, and hallucinates Satan arriving at the house to take her away]].
** "Zugzwang" (see TheBadGuyWins above). It was such a downer that many fans got upset with the ending, and Breen Frazier, the writer of the episode, said that the anger was his goal all along.
** "The Edge of Winter" -- [[spoiler:The [=UnSub=] [[StockholmSyndrome utterly broke]] one of his kidnapping victims, to the point where she aided him in killing his victims and cleaning up afterward. The episode takes place in a mental institution (her story told through flashback), and it's unlikely that she'll ever recover.]]
* DrivenToSuicide: A number of [=UnSubs=] kills themselves at the end of their episode.
** This was actually the original plan for how to write Gideon out, but Creator/MandyPatinkin refused. You can still see echoes of it in "In Birth and Death", particularly in the shot where he contemplates his gun before putting it on the table with his badge instead.
** Done literally by an [=UnSub=] who targets people driving red coupés and runs them over with his pick-up, because his wife died from an accident involving a red coupe. When the team discover that [[spoiler: the red coupe was her car, and he was driving it when the accident happened]] and confront the [=UnSub=] about why his memories of the tragedy are so vague, [[GoMadFromTheRevelation he drives off a cliff]].
* DropTheHammer: "The Angel Maker" and "To Hell and Back".
* DuelingHackers: How Garcia and Kevin meet.
* DysfunctionJunction: Let's count them off, shall we?
** Morgan [[spoiler: was sexually molested from childhood through adolescence by an authority figure]], and his father was killed in front of him when he was very young.
** Prentiss had a neglectful mother and [[spoiler: had an abortion at age 15. One should note that the abortion itself is never played for angst, rather the consequences of it - her isolation from the baby's father and the guilt heaped on her by her Catholic upbringing - is]]. She also [[spoiler: went under deep cover to catch Doyle, to the point of feigning a relationship with him. We see that Doyle fell for her, but whether she did or didn't have some feelings for Doyle is unclear. In any case, they wind up trying to kill each other. Oh, yes, and it was also revealed in "Unknown Subject" that she's been raped before.]].
** Rossi has 3 ex-wives as a result of being MarriedToTheJob. He also had [[ThatOneCase the Galen case]] ("Damaged") and the Butcher case ("Remembrance of Things Past") which haunted him for more than ten years and didn't get solved until he came out of retirement. And in "From Childhood's Hour", [[spoiler: his first ex-wife, Carolyn, returns to ask him to help assist in her suicide, not wanting to go through the deterioration of ALS. He turns her down, and she kills herself anyway. The same episode revealed that they had had a son who died the day he was born]].
** Garcia's parents were killed by a drunk driver when she was 18. She "went underground" and became one of the most dangerous hackers in the world. She was forced to join the FBI to avoid prison and [[spoiler: was once ''shot'' by a narcissistic [=UnSub=]]]. She also worries that she's getting desensitized by all the horrible things that she sees.
** Hotch is trying to raise his son [[spoiler: after his ex-wife - his high school sweetheart - was murdered by the Reaper, who made him listen over the phone while she died. Hotch was so grief-stricken that he beat the Reaper to death ''with his bare hands'']]. Oh, and this was ''after'' he got [[spoiler: stabbed and possibly raped by the Reaper, and had his son taken into protective custody]]. ''And'' after that time he nearly got blown up by a suicide bomber, lost an old flame in the same attack, and had painful hearing problems for some time afterwards as a result of it shattering his eardrums. And it does not stop there, as in implied at the end of "Natural Born Killer", [[spoiler: he was abused by his father]].
** J.J. had [[spoiler: an older sister who committed suicide by slitting her wrists]] and grew up in a stifling small-town environment.
** Reid? Schizophrenic mother, a dad who walked out on them, drug addiction and social isolation. And his father figure up and left without even saying goodbye in person.
** Both Gideon and Elle were so messed up by the job - Gideon by the serial killer [[spoiler: who killed his girlfriend in his own home]] (after he'd already had to get over the trauma of losing his previous team to a MadBomber); Elle by [[spoiler: the serial rapist she went [[VigilanteExecution vigilante executioner]]]] on - that they up and left the team. Gideon didn't even resign in person, he just left a letter behind for Reid and took off.
** Seaver's [[spoiler:father was a serial killer]].
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The pilot. Hotch smiles. Repeatedly. ''On the job''. There's also some tonal differences, like having multiple voice-over quotes throughout the episode instead of just as bookends; and characterization weirdness, like Morgan's wardrobe and Reid's "autistic tendencies" being decidedly more pronounced. This all gets smoothed over within the first four episodes or so.
* EldritchLocation: The team briefly discuss the possibility that the titular "Heathridge Manor" [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane might be this]], given that [[spoiler:all three of its residents end up going completely insane]].
* ElectricTorture: "Charm and Harm", "Limelight", "Remembrance of Things Past", and a variation in "Lauren".
* EnfantTerrible: "The Boogeyman" and "A Shade of Gray".
--> '''Jason Gideon:''' Why did you hurt those kids?
--> [[spoiler: '''Jeffrey Charles:''']] Because I wanted to.
** In "A Shade of Gray" a [[spoiler: little boy named Danny kills his younger brother because he broke one of his model planes. When his parents discover what he has done Danny only feigns remorse so he won't get in trouble, secretly content his "annoying" brother is dead]].
--> [[spoiler: "He shoved plane parts down his brother's throat."]]
** Some of the adult [=UnSubs=] were also pretty screwed up as children; Mark Gregory from "Charm and Harm" drowned his mother, Floyd Feylinn Ferell from "Lucky" tried to eat his baby sister, Peter Redding from "A Higher Power" slashed his brother's wrists and The Reaper killed his parents and made it look like a car accident.
** [[spoiler: Jeremy, the budding sociopath]] in "Safe Haven".
** As of "All That Remains," [[spoiler:Sarah Morrison kills her sister and mother, and meticulously planned out their demise while setting up her dissociative identity disorder afflicted father to take the blame. She even tries to convince the BAU unit that [[WoundedGazelleGambit JJ wants to hurt her!]]]]
* EnhanceButton
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Fanfiction-wise, writers will do nearly anything to Reid: have him raped, stalked, blown up, become a killer, and even kill him. But you will have a very hard time finding one where he goes back to the drugs. The closest you'll usually find are those that take place during his addiction, or ones where he never got over it.
* EvilCripple: [[spoiler: "The Fisher King", "Roadkill", "To Hell..."/"... And Back" and "A Family Affair"]]
* EvilLaugh: "Lucky" and "Outfoxed".
* EvilGloating: [[spoiler: Foyet to Hotch in "Nameless, Faceless": "Like my scars? Yours are going to look just like them." He does it again in "100": "I'm going to find that little bastard son of yours and show him your dead bodies and tell him it's all your fault."]]
** The second example was [[BerserkButton something]] [[DespairEventHorizon of]] [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown a]] mistake on the gloater's part.
* EvilIsPetty: [[spoiler: Maeve's stalker is entirely motivated by the fact that Maeve rejected a thesis of hers since the girl had poorly conducted her sample by including her own parents' suicides. She then shaped her entire life around being better than Maeve, began dating Maeve's ex-boyfriend, and then tried to take Reid when she realized Maeve loved him]].
* EvilTwin: Parodied in "The Angel Maker", where Reid suggests they're dealing with an Evil Twin and an ''Eviler'' Twin. Needless to say they're not.
** Played magnificently straight in [[spoiler:"The Inspiration"]], where it's not revealed to be that until the very end. And then subverted the next episode, when they turn out to be equally evil.
* EvilVersusEvil: Okay, maybe not ''evil'', but the Guantanamo guards detaining the BigBad in "Lessons Learned" are portrayed as little more than [[SmashMook brainless, brutish thugs]] themselves. This was likely partly due to [[HellholePrison the perception of the facility in the public eye]] and partly to contrast them with the protagonists.
* ExactWords: Weaponized by the [=UnSub=] in "JJ". The team are trying to figure out how he beat a polygraph. They then realize he used this. [[spoiler:He threw her overboard to be eaten by sharks. "Did you kill her?" No, sharks did. "Do you know where her body is?" No, because it could be anywhere now]].
* ExecutiveMeddling: JJ was written out and Prentiss' screen time was reduced for season six, due to budget cuts, leaving Garcia as the only regular female cast member. Naturally, the fans were not pleased. Especially the female fans. And neither is the entire cast and crew, as expressed with, among other things, pointed double-meaning lines in "JJ". It was made worse by bringing in [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute a new female lead]] to replace JJ (though she doesn't have the same job). Thanks to the fans, they were brought back as regulars for season seven and the ReplacementScrappy went bye-bye.
** In light of the producer's comments about always intending to bring JJ and Prentiss back, an alternative explanation from industry workers has appeared on several sites. That explanation being that the producers wanted to more heavily focus on Prentiss for at least part of the season and explore her mysterious past. As part of this they needed someone to have the access that JJ's new job gave her for story reasons. However, experts in union contracts say that AJ Cook was cut as a regular because keeping her at that rank would mean paying her for all episodes of the season even if she was not in them, at a huge expense. Same with cutting back Paget Brewster's contracted number of episodes given that they knew she would be missing from several. But they had always left open a way to bring back Emily at any time both in story and contract.
* ExpandedUniverse: A trilogy of books (all of which take place mid-Season Three) and an upcoming computer game.
* ExtraYExtraViolent: Played with; one killer claims that he's XYY, and that's why he kills. However, Rossi replies that the study linking that condition to criminal behaviour was debunked years ago.
* EyeScream: "The Eyes Have It"
** Particularly {{squick}}tastic is a part where Reid mentions that sometimes "enucleators" (eye gougers) eat the eye balls they take. Hard cut to a scene of the [=UnSub=] eating something small and round and white--and it takes the viewers a couple seconds to realize he's just eating eggs.
** For a more subdued example, there's the killer's habit of gluing his victims' eyes open in "Plain Sight".
** "Proof" features a killer who dribbles acid into his victims' eyes. We get to see a lovely view of the corpses' vacant eye-sockets.
** "To Bear Witness." The idea of [[spoiler: a microscopic camera installed in your eye via a lobotomy. Also, the way the spaces around Dana and Sam's eyes were red and almost sunken was horrifying]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: F-H]]
* TheFaceless: The [=UnSub=] from "A Thousand Words".
* FaceDeathWithDignity: Averted with [[spoiler: Strauss]], who dies terrified and crying for her children. Running contrary to the trope, this actually makes [[spoiler: her]] more sympathetic and human.
** Played straight with [[spoiler:Haley]]. "Show him no weakness. No fear." "I know."
* FacialRecognitionSoftware: In "Derailed," Garcia uses this, plus her standard OmniscientDatabase, to successfully identify every single passenger on a train using grainy security camera footage.
* FairyTaleMotifs: "The Fisher King" and "Solitary Man"
* FakeGuestStar: Kirsten Vangsness, before her PromotionToOpeningTitles in the second season.
* FakeKillScare: [[spoiler: Haley's death scene]] was set up as this in the show's 100th episode. And then it was terribly, horribly averted...
* FamedInStory: SSA David Rossi, who's made a boatload of money from his [[FictionalDocument books]], is one of the founders of the BAU, and apparently has a big following "when Manilow's not in town".
* TheFamilyThatSlaysTogether: The episode "Bloodline" is about a family (a mother, father, and young son) who kill another family to abduct their daughter as a future mate for the son. [[spoiler: Gets very creepy when it turns out that this is how the family continues; ''[[InTheBlood they've been doing this for generations]]''. And then at the very end of the episode, it turns out that the family has other branches, and the last shot of the episode is another similar set (mother, father and young son) preparing to kill some other people]].
** "Open Season" had brothers [[HuntingTheMostDangerousGame who hunted people for sport]], having been taught to so by their uncle, a paranoid psychotic who had died some time before the events of the episode.
** Two borderline examples are "Mosley Lane" (the first kid abducted by the couple was kept alive, because he developed severe StockholmSyndrome; the couple treated him sort of like a son, and he even helped them abduct other kids) and "A Thousand Words" (a near example because the father committed suicide, and [[spoiler: the mother dies giving birth to their son]].)
** "Remembrance of Things Past" plays with the trope. [[spoiler: The [=UnSub=] had started as a serial killer years before, and only as he'd started to lose his memory due to Alzheimer's Disease did he grudgingly take on his son as a partner]].
** "The Longest Night" also plays with the trope. [[spoiler:Billy Flynn is so messed up in the head that, because he left her father alive, he believes himself to be responsible for Ellie Spicer's being born. In fact, he's come to see himself as a grandfather figure to her of sorts, and actively tries to invoke this trope. Needless to say, [[LittleMissBadass it doesn't work]]]].
* FanService:
** We have Garcia's spectacular cleavage and Elle's double gun holsters criss-crossing over very tight t-shirts. Not to mention [[BeachEpisode the time she wore a bikini]].
** Prentiss also gets a chance to flaunt her [[GagBoobs considerable]] assets in "JJ." And let's not forget her and Jordan Todd in "52 Pick-up" at the club.
** Garcia and Prentiss's dresses in "Run" [[spoiler:at JJ's wedding]] seem specifically designed to show off their [[Film/YouOnlyLiveTwice healthy chests]].
** The episode "Supply & Demand" had a lot of cute brunette women in their underwear.
** On the male side we have,[[{{Adorkable}} Reid]]. [[MrFanservice Reid]]. [[NerdsAreSexy Reid]]. [[DistressedDude Reid]].
** [[MrFanservice Also]], [[DarkAndTroubledPast Morgan]].
** Hoo boy, yes, Morgan. Most especially [[spoiler:: coming out of the shower wearing only a towel in seventh season episode Snake Eyes, with every inch of him showing a sheen of water droplets. A moment that caused many a remote control to wear out and smoke as it was constantly brought back up to the screen...]].
** [[MrFanservice Hotch]].
* FatalFamilyPhoto: [[spoiler: "Fear and Loathing" and "Our Darkest Hour"]].
* FictionalDocument: Several examples:
** David Rossi is the author of several books on criminal psychology; an [=UnSub=] quotes from them in an interrogation scene in "Masterpiece" and he reads from one in the opening to "Zoe's Reprise".
** A new book on the Keystone Killer induces the [=UnSub=] to resume his murderous ways in "Unfinished Business."
*** The spin-off novel ''Criminal: Killer Profile'' has another book written by the former profiler featured in the episode - ''Serial Killers and Mass Murderers: Profiling Why They Kill''. Near the end, its discovered [[spoiler: the [=UnSub=] is using it as a guide to [[JackTheRipoff his copycat murders]]]].
** A reporter who wrote a book on the Boston Reaper is a character in "Omnivore."
** Professor Ursula Kent's SF novel in "Empty Planet."
** Jonny [=McHale=]'s comic book ''Blue'' in "True Night."
* FingerInTheMail: The season 1 finale features a variation on this trope; SSA Jason Gideon receives, at his cottage, a baseball card and a head in a box via courier, which sets the BAU's targets on this new case.
* FiveManBand: See ''Seven-Man Band''.
* FootDraggingDivorcee: Hotch hesitates for several episodes to sign the papers that divorce him from Haley.
* ForcedToWatch: If the [=UnSub=] is particularly sadistic. Though a couple go further and force them to ''participate''.
* ForTheEvulz: "3rd Life". The three thrill killers from "Hopeless" and the (unrelated) rioters in the same episode.
-->'''Morgan:''' You know what gets me? All this time we figured you guys were down and out.But here who are working? What the hell is so so God-awful about your lives that you have to take it out on everyone else?
-->'''J.R. Baker:''' It was fun boss.
** Syd and her husband in "The Thirteenth Step", though they have a reason [[spoiler: it's leading up to killing their sexually abusive fathers. Syd's especially, since she's the leader of the two and all but one of the attacks happen in places that remind her of her dad]].
** Ben Bradstone from "Proof". He doesn't understand why people ask why someone would do these horrible things. He says its the same reason people do anything, because it's fun. That's why he [[KickTheDog kicked his dog]] as a kid.
* FreakOut: Most of the spree killer episodes, most notably "Haunted".
** Really, any time one of the [=UnSubs=] devolves.
* FriendshipMoment: Pick a scene on the jet from the end of the episode. Any ending scene on the jet.
** Special mention to the one from "The Performer", where Reid mothers JJ, Morgan and Prentiss pick on Reid, and Hotch and Rossi argue about music and do their best [[HoYay married couple]] impersonation.
** The team - minus Reid (who is with his mother)- having dinner together in "The Instincts", which is heartbreakingly reprised in "JJ".
** Hotch and Rossi coaching Jack's soccer team at the end of "Out of the Light".
** Rossi teaching Garcia, as well as the rest of the team, to cook Italian food at the end of "Proof". Bonus points to JJ for just wanting to drink the wine and Hotch being the most knowledgeable besides Rossi.
** The implications that JJ was Prentiss's lifeline [[spoiler: while Prentiss was in hiding and presumed dead by the rest of the team]].
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: In "Compulsion", a student is telling to Hotch about his physics project and, rhetorically, asks 'Do you know how to solve the Three-Body Problem?' Behind them, Reid nods with a serious look on his face.
* {{Gayngst}}: "In Heat"
* GenderEqualEnsemble: Comes extremely close.
* GenreSavvy: The woman in the first episode who saw that the lights in her house weren't working and the door was open, (despite the fact that she locked it), and ''immediately'' goes across the street and asks a neighbor to go in with her. [[spoiler: of course, she works for the FBI, and the neighbor is a suspect, but the point stands that it's a good idea]].
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: It airs in daytime as well, so the episode featuring Lila Archer does ''not'' have the bikini scenes [[{{Bowdlerise}} edited out]] [[EditedForSyndication at all]].
** This show does get a fair bit past the radar in daytime hours, but Sky Living's censors don't seem to notice, let alone care ([[LoopholeAbuse but no Ofcom rules are broken, at the time of writing]].)
* TheGlassesGottaGo: Fabulous subversion: After JJ's departure, Garcia (normally a {{Meganekko}}) tries dropping her usual distinctive style of dress for boring dark dresses, and (in a complete flip of PurelyAestheticGlasses) gets contacts so that she can look serious when dealing with victims' families and such. When she's starting to lose it, Morgan actually gets her to put the glasses (and her old wardrobe) back on.
* AGodAmI: The [[spoiler: original bomber]] from "Painless".
* GoIntoTheLight: In "Epilogue," the [=UnSub=] [[spoiler: resuscitates his victims so he can find out what they saw and compare it to his own NearDeathExperience]]. During the investigation, Reid reveals that he saw a bright light before [[spoiler: Tobias Hankel resuscitated him]]; but the trope is subverted for Prentiss, who counters that she flatlined in the ambulance after [[spoiler: being impaled by Doyle]] and only felt cold and darkness.
* GollumMadeMeDoIt: "The Big Game"/"Revelations"
* GoodCopBadCop: Hotch (Bad Cop) and Prentiss (Good Cop) do a fairly spectacular version in "Bloodlines."
** Again with Morgan (Bad Cop) and Gideon (Good Cop) in "The Boogeyman", although it should be noted that Morgan had every reason to believe the guy was the [=UnSub=], while Gideon was aware that he was innocent (but covering for the real [=UnSub=]) just before he took over the interrogation from Morgan.
** Rossi (Bad Cop) and Reid ([[strike:Snarky]] Good Cop) in "Lauren", against a weaselly mook that Rossi keeps calling a "hood rat".
* GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion: Subverted by [[spoiler: Emily Prentiss, FBI agent who had an abortion at fifteen and is never shown to have angst over it. She does regret the division it caused among her friends - such as when Matthew's family cut all contact with him because he supported her - and that it's affected her faith and relationship with the Catholic Church. She is never once shown to have been "punished" or seen as "bad" because of her abortion]].
** Also subverted in the episode "The Crossing": [[spoiler: it's revealed at one point that a stalking victim had an abortion, but although this causes some problems between her and her boyfriend, it's not connected in any way to the stalking and her abduction is not positioned as narrative punishment for having it. The episode also subtly implies, entirely non-judgmentally, that newly-pregnant JJ has been considering an abortion up until the point where she calls her boyfriend in the final scene]].
* {{Goth}}:
** "The Performer" involves a series of murders seemingly associated with a {{Goth}} rock star and his fans' subculture.
** "Tabula Rasa" tells us that Prentiss was a goth in high school--[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZyzGxU0brw and there are pictures to prove it]].
--->'''Prentiss:''' You obviously altered it in Photoshop or something. That ''hair''?
--->'''Garcia:''' Oh, no, Pussycat. That - that's all you. Garfield High, Class of '89.
--->'''Prentiss:''' You really didn't change anything?
--->'''Garcia:''' I hacked it, as is. You're seriously trying to tell me you don't remember rocking that look?
--->'''Reid:''' Perhaps your lack of recognition stems from a dissociative fugue suffered in adolescence. Say, at a Siouxsie and the Banshees concert?
** "Doubt" featured a {{Goth}}/{{Emo}} college student who [[spoiler:copycat-killed a dorm-mate so the [=UnSub=] would be released. She wanted the [=UnSub=] to kill her because she didn't have the nerve to kill herself]].
** "Risky Business" gives us the {{Goth}} kid the team believes runs the "choking game" site. [[spoiler: He's actually not the [=UnSub=]. His father is]].
** "The Popular Kids" had a group of {{Goth}} kids who were viable suspects. [[spoiler: They were innocent]].
* {{Gorn}}: Creator/MandyPatinkin supposedly left the show due his belief it was becoming something like this.
* GoryDiscretionShot: One aversion occurs in "Jones", which features a particularly nasty throat slitting.
* TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: What motivated the [=UnSub=], a social pariah, in his RoaringRampageOfRevenge in "Painless". By the grace of God, he [[spoiler: stared down the original bomber]]; by the disgrace of God, he [[spoiler: did not get to appear in TV like other survivors did; in fact they not only claimed one of ''them'' did it, they didn't even ''remember'' him, if they knew who he ''was'' in the first place. Worse is that the title refers to the fact that, because of the injuries he incurred from the explosion, he can no longer feel any pain due to brain damage, and is the only one who has any kind of long-term injury like that, so he suffered more than the rest too]].
* GroinAttack:
** A victim briefly gets away by delivering one to her attacker in "Fear and Loathing". The [=UnSub=]'s rape victims in "Machismo" also castrated him.
** The sole female victim in "Haunted" gets knifed right below the belt.
** In S09E09 ‘Strange Fruit’, [[spoiler:a white woman claims she was raped by a black man when she misses her curfew. Her brother, a Clansman, and five other Clansmen friends of his, capture him and castrate him in retaliation; after finding out what had happened, he goes and kills two of them, and later kills the daughters of two others who have died.]]
* GuileHero: Jason Gideon.
-->'''Prentiss''': When did you know you were going to have to trick him?
-->'''Gideon''': The first time I talked to him.
* HackerCave: Garcia's workstation.
* HalloweenEpisode: "About Face", sort of. It takes place near Halloween and the [=UnSub=]'s MO is fittingly creepy. Also, "Devil's Night".
** "The Good Earth" is a minor example, premiering on Halloween of 2013 and with a B-story about JJ's son not wanting to go trick-or-treating.
* HannibalLecture:
** A militia member and ConspiracyTheorist tries to give Morgan one in "Identity", but it [[ShutUpHannibal backfires]].
** The Reaper is prone to them as well.
* HarmfulToMinors: ''A lot''. Besides things that happen during the cases themselves, some HarmfulToMinors events form various [=UnSub=]s' backgrounds and {{Freudian Excuse}}s.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: The original quote is used first as one of the quotes in the pilot, "Extreme Aggressor", though it's shortened. It's used again, this time as the full version, at the beginning of "100." [[WhamEpisode For a reason]].
* HellHotel: "Paradise"
* HeroInsurance: We find out that Prentiss's [[spoiler: fake funeral and real hospital expenses]] cost the government more than $650,000. Imagine what sort of tab the BAU has run up altogether over the years with their not-quite-by-the-book antics (see ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight, below).
* HeroismAddict: The Deputy Sheriff who [[spoiler: shoots Garcia]]. The disorder is identified by the name "Hero Syndrome".
** Precisely the case with the shooter in "L.D.S.K." He's a [[spoiler: nurse in the ER where the victims were brought]], which allowed him to 'heroically' help the victims. Here, it is called "Hero Homicide".
* HiddenDepths: The hitman in "Reckoner" is portrayed as a brutish thug, but his signature weapon is a gun that he built from scratch and his nickname is cribbed from a relatively obscure 17th century play.
** Emily Prentiss. A new agent, straight from a desk job, with a relatively comfortable upbringing... but she copes ''really well'' with the things the BAU deals with. It stands out enough that both JJ and Hotch remark on it, but that's the only hint we get for quite a while!
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The killer in "Paradise".
** A depressing heroic variant occurs in "Mayhem". [[spoiler: Kate Joyner]] has been badly injured by terrorist bomb. The FBI alerted authorities to the terrorist tactic to bomb emergency responders, and so though they arrive on the scene quickly, they stay back until they know the area is secure. The delayed medical response may have been why she died.
* HoldingTheFloor: In one episode Hotch and Reid are locked in a room with a serial killer and the guards won't be back for fifteen minutes. Hotch [[{{Badass}} prepares to fight]] the guy, but then Reid, true to his nature, starts babbling about all of the possible factors contributing to the killer's sociopathy. For fifteen minutes.
-->'''Chester Hardwick''': "Is that true? I never had a chance?"
-->'''Spencer Reid''': "I dunno...maybe." *scurries out the door*
* HollywoodAutism: One episode featured a kid with autism, whose portrayal would have been [[UnfortunateImplications extremely offensive]] had it not been so utterly ridiculous.
* HollywoodHealing: Averted for the most part. Injuries suffered are dealt with for weeks afterwards. Only occasionally enforced by actual cast injury.
* HonorBeforeReason: Prentiss in "Valhalla" and "Lauren"
* HopeSpot: "Legacy".
* HuntingTheMostDangerousGame: "Open Season", "Rite of Passage" (though to a far lesser extent), "Exit Wounds".
* HypocriticalHumor: In "The Internet Is Forever" Rossi makes fun of social networking sites like Twitter. Almost every single member of the cast has a prolific Twitter presence.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: I-K]]
* ICannotSelfTerminate: [[spoiler: Prentiss does this in "Lauren" after being stabbed by Doyle, prompting Morgan to respond, of course, with NoOneGetsLeftBehind]].
** In "Reckoner," the last name on Judge Schuller's hit list is his own.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: Although it may be a stretch to call it a pattern yet, the 100th episode is titled "100", and the 200th will be titled "200".
* IdiotBall: Averted. It's rare, if ever, that a member of the cast - serial killer or FBI agent - holds the idiot ball. They are all very competent, and usually remain highly competent. In fact, it's rare among police procedurals these days to have such a consistently competent cast. Everyone but [[DoesNotLikeGuns Garcia]] can shoot well and know how to handle themselves in a crisis situation, and rarely if ever miss anything.
** Example: When an [=UnSub=] and a victim he's taken hostage crash into a marsh in a car, and there's no sign of bodies, the team fans out and find him almost immediately, and take him down with a headshot instead of forgetting how to use their guns.
** Worth pointing out that this applies to the victims, too. In the above example, the victim crashes her car on purpose, runs away, and even when the killer has caught up with her and is drowning her, she grabs the next thing that can serve as a weapon, and fights back. Oh, and the noise from the car crash is what told the nearby police and FBI where to go.
** The one female victim in "Our Darkest Hour" seems to have gotten an entire season's worth of [[IdiotBall Idiot Balls]] - she arrives home in the middle of a blackout, on a night when every news media in the city has been publicizing a home invader, to an open front door and only her young child for company. She ''takes her child into the home anyway''.
*** Three words: RuleOfScary.
**** Actually the media hadn't broadcast about the serial killer yet.
** Open Season has arguably two victim examples. The Unsubs are hunters who let their victims loose in the forest and attempt to hunt them for sport. One victim intentionally rips her shirt on a tree bark while the other tosses a rock to lure them out. The latter then proceeds to run ''in the general direction of the rock!'' Naturally, she ends up being shot. Then that first victim jumps on the unsub, stabs him twice then ''runs away'' instead of making sure he's dead. Fortunately, Morgan and Prentiss show up before he kills her.
** One could argue that the second-part episodes of "Revelations" and "Penelope" are the results of Reid and Garcia (of all people!) making stupid mistakes in the first parts ("The Big Game" and "Lucky" respectively). In the "The Big Game," [[spoiler: while in the midst of chasing Tobias Hankel, Reid decides in the heat of the moment to split up from JJ in order to cover more ground to capture Hankel (which JJ didn't think was a good idea in the first place) and it backfires on Reid as he ends up being kidnapped instead]]. For "Lucky," since Garcia is the Techno Goddness, you would think that she would have done a background check on her [[spoiler: would-be shooter before going out with him?]] Then again, for Rule of Drama, if Reid and Garcia didn't make the choices they did, those two episodes would never have happened or impacted their Character Development (they do regret them later).
*** And you'd think that after everything that had happened with Hankel, Reid would have learned his lesson about splitting off from the rest of the team on an impulse, but no. He does it again in "Amplification." And again in "Corazon." It's understandable in-character, because Reid, for all of his smarts, does tend to get caught up in the emotion/excitement of it all more than most of the other team members, but still, come on, Reid!
*** If Garcia did a background check on her date, all she would have found (assuming she penetrated the false name he gave her) was that he was a decorated cop. Yes, she might have caught him in the lie of being an attorney (which he didn't bring up until they were already out to dinner) and, of course, the fake name, but she would have already been on the date and in danger. She's not a profiler... his Chronic First Responder Syndrome would not have raised any red flags for her.
** In "Roadkill," the first victim tried to OUTRUN a truck, when she could moved out of the way or something of the sort.
*** While definitely not the smartest option to take, it seems unlikely that any of her options would have worked out; where could she go that that truck couldn't have followed? The driver was willing to ram it into ''steel elevator doors'' when in hot pursuit, and it didn't damage anything but the bumper! It was pretty clearly modded for what he intended to do with it.
** "Sense Memory". Prentiss, when you know a dangerous international criminal is after you, and you know he's going to want revenge, and you think he's broken into your apartment, you do NOT take the mysterious package he's left inside. Even if it IS only a flower, you ''call the bomb squad and leave it there''.
*** Likewise for the mysterious packages received by several team members in "The Fisher King".
**** Reid actually mentions this in "The Fisher King," once the team has reason to be suspicious. Hotch points out that the plan was too elaborate for the unsub to just blow them up. As for Emily, she knew very well who was after her. She probably knew that it wasn't Doyle's style to send her a bomb. Too impersonal.
* IHaveYourWife: [[spoiler:"Retaliation"]]
** Also, "100", with [[spoiler: Foyet and Haley]].
** Happens to the Cop of the Week played by Eric Close in "Our Darkest Hour", though [[spoiler: it's more of a case of "I Have Your Sister and Daughter."]]
* ILoveTheDead: "The Last Word", "Cold Comfort", and [[spoiler: "Reflection of Desire"]].
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: Though this normally applies to villains, [[spoiler: Prentiss takes a wooden stake to the gut in her knock-down, drag-out fight with Doyle]].
* ImprobableAimingSkills: With his handgun, Hotch once shot a perp who was on top of a moving train from a speeding car. Also, [=UnSub=] Ian Doyle shot his henchman square on the wrist tattoo, conveniently obscuring it for the sake of plot tension.
* ImprobableAge: Justified by Reid, as yes, he ''is'' that young and that accomplished, because he's a genius. Played straight by Hotch, who manages to have been a prosecutor for a while before joining the FBI, worked with the SWAT team and the Seattle field office, joined the BAU, trained under Rossi and Gideon and worked the Reaper case 10 years ago, but made Unit Chief in only 6 or 7 years. Probably a result of WritersCannotDoMath.
** As of "The Last Word", Hotch has been with the Bureau since Emily went off to college. Which means at least fourteen years (Emily's been with the Bureau almost ten years).
*** It's recently come to light that Prentiss may have been, and in fact probably was lying about having worked for the Bureau for ten years, as she worked for Interpol prior to that and couldn't tell anyone.
** Reid has also been with the Bureau for three years by season one (L.D.S.K.). So, since he graduated from high school at age twelve, he's earned three [=PhDs=] by the time he was 20.
** And there were two birth dates given for Morgan in "Profiler, Profiled."
** Since the entire cast suffers from OlderThanTheyLook in RealLife, some of these accomplishments are not as improbable as they seem at first. Thomas Gibson is almost 50... it would have been a quick ascension from law school to prosecutor to BAU, but not entirely impossible for a man that age. Shemar Moore and Paget Brewster are both 40+ as well. But damn they look good, don't they?
* ImAHumanitarian: Given what he feeds his pigs, the [=UnSub=] in the episode "To Hell...and Back".
** Sure, there's that one, though there's never any evidence that he eats any of the victims himself. But there's also the season one [=UnSub=] who drinks the blood and eats the organs of his victims because he believes they're divine, plus the infamous season three [=UnSub=] in "Lucky" who not only eats parts of his victims (he has [[ToServeMan a cookbook!]]) but also [[spoiler: tricks all of the volunteers searching for them into eating them, too]].
** And now there's the [=UnSub=] from "Exit Wounds", especially creepy because [[spoiler: he's a sixteen year old kid]].
** Plus, there's Gina King, though she only drinks their blood. That still counts, right?
* IncurableCoughOfDeath: Appears to be what Brooke is suffering from in "North Mammon". For one thing, it's implied that the only reason her cough is 'fatal' is because they're locked in a cellar with no way to treat it; not to mention there's a lot of protesting going on due to the situation the [=UnSub=] has set up. For another, [[spoiler: while the other girls are working each other up to kill her, convincing themselves that she's dead anyway because she's coughing and they have no medicine, she [[SurprisinglySuddenDeath picks up the hammer and kills one of them from behind]]. So arguably it ''is'' a "cough of death"... but the death isn't hers!]]
* INeverSaidItWasPoison: Standard operating procedure.
** In "The Fox", the killer, profiled as probably having OCD, has a minor FreakOut during questioning when he notices the pictures of his victims are out of order.
** From "A Real Rain":
--->'''Gideon:''' Is that why you stabbed him in the groin?
--->'''Suspect:''' It's what he deserved. [[note]]The victim, of course, had been stabbed in the head.[[/note]]
* InfantImmortality: Subverted painfully on multiple occasions.
** Played straight in "Our Darkest Hour": [[spoiler: the [=UnSub=] played by Tim Curry doesn't harm children. Well, not ''[[HarmfulToMinors physically]]'']].
** Frank also mentioned he had absolutely no interest in harming children. ''Indirectly'' harming them, however...
* InformedAbility: At the start of season 7, Prentiss made a passing comment about Hotch telling her that JJ was the best rookie profiler he had ever seen, which is understandable given she's worked with them some 6 odd years. However, we haven't exactly seen these amazing profiling skills. Yes, she's contributed to the profile, but she's always done that. She hasn't really done anything different from what she did back in season 5 or 6 before being written off of the show.
** Actually, she ''didn't'' do that; her job was always more media-orientated. She sat at the table and took part in the conversations, but usually the actual profiling was done by the profilers- its another bit of FridgeBrilliance. Her contributions were always geared towards introducing the case and anything pertaining to more regular police style work, like interviewing suspects and witnessess etc., though the rest of the team did that too.
* InsaneEqualsViolent: Several [=UnSubs=], but the [=UnSub=] in "With Friends Like These..." stands out.
** Reid does everything but mention this trope by name in this episode, in fact. He gets quite upset at the implication that all schizophrenic people are violent, and goes to great lengths to point out what a varied condition schizophrenia is, and how peaceful most of the people who suffer from it are. Given that his mother is one of those people, and he himself might be one day, that's pretty understandable.
* InstantMarksmanJustSqueezeTrigger: In "L.D.S.K.", Reid is trying to pass his firearms qualification test, and Hotch gives him lessons, telling him "front sight, trigger press, follow through". Hotch also mentions the "squeeze, don't pull" advice.
* IntelligenceEqualsIsolation:
** Reid's school experience - "Being the smartest kid in class is like being the only kid in class."
** Prentiss, too-- she laments in "Fear and Loathing" that she is a nerd and the guys she dates always find out.
* InternalAffairs: Erin Strauss, though she's sympathetic to Hotch after [[spoiler: Haley dies]].
** Though Straus isn't actually Internal Affairs. She's just the big boss.
* InTheBlood: Subverted in "Birthright"; while it turns out that [[spoiler: the killer's father was also a killer, this is not portrayed as being genetic, and rather the result of a teenager who was raised to worship his dead father finding his dad's old journal and deciding to carry on the family tradition. Meanwhile, the father's other son, who's known for years that he was born out of rape, is a perfectly nice guy]]. In another episode, the [=UnSub=] claims that he has an inherited chromosomal disorder that makes him predisposed to violent crimes. This is met by Rossi pointing out that the study linking that particular disorder to violent crime had been debunked years ago.
* InvoluntaryBattleToTheDeath: "The Fight"
** Also, Reid.
* IronicNurseryTune: A young boy hums "Pop Goes the Weasel" in "At Childhood's Hour", intercut with footage of his mother being stabbed to death.
* ISurrenderSuckers: Part of Gideon's backstory is a bomber taking out six of his agents this way.
** It nearly happens a separate time in the episode that reveals this. Two agent have cornered the supposed [=UnSub=] in a storage room. He throws his gun to them and is about to come out, but then Gideon, in another building, puts all the pieces to the puzzle together, and realizes that the cornered guy is strapped with bombs. He tells the agents to get out, and they do so, right before the bombs strapped to the guy detonate and he becomes paint on the walls.
** One of the [=UnSubs=] from "Identity" also pulls this.
** The Reaper makes an attempt at this at the climax of "100," but Hotch doesn't buy it and [[spoiler: beats him to death]]. See KarmicDeath below.
*** More likely that Hotch was too far over his DespairEventHorizon to care.
* ItNeverGetsAnyEasier
* ItsAlwaysSunnyAtFunerals: "Fear and Loathing", "100" (although the coffin looks as if it's been rained on), "The Slave of Duty", and "Lauren".
* ItsForABook: Stated by a school principal when child porn is found on his computer in "P911".
* ItsPersonal: In addition to having hot-button issues, each agent has gotten a case which leads to this. Hotch has the Reaper arc; Gideon had Frank; Rossi in "Damaged", "Zoe's Reprise", and "Remembrance of Things Past"; Morgan in "Profiler, Profiled" and "Our Darkest Hour"; Prentiss in "Demonology" and in her Doyle arc; Reid in "Instincts" and "Memoriam"; Elle in "Aftermath"; JJ in "North Mammon" and "Risky Business"; and the entire team in "Penelope", "The Fisher King", "100", "Lauren", and "It Takes a Village".
* IWantYouToMeetAnOldFriendOfMine:
** In "Minimal Loss," the antagonistic Attorney General that Hotch gets into an argument with is Joel Murray, Thomas Gibson's old co-star from ''Series/DharmaAndGreg''. Gibson also runs into Mimi Kennedy (another ''Dharma and Greg'' co-star) in "Coda".
** In "JJ", the two [=UnSubs=] are played by Michael Welch and Chris Marquette, who played, respectively, Luke Girardi and Adam Rove opposite Joe Mantegna in ''JoanOfArcadia''.
* JackTheRipoff:
** There's a serial killer who is specifically stated to be copying Jack the Ripper's ''modus operandi''. [[spoiler: Although, this one is a woman killing men]].
*** This is actually one of the more out-there theories about the real Ripper's identity. Since he was never caught, we can never know.
** Occurs in "Doubt": after the primary suspect is arrested, there is a second killing which seems at first blush to be the work of the [=UnSub=]. [[spoiler: It's the work of a copycat who wants to see the [=UnSub=] released; the team realizes this because the copycat's ''modus operandi'' varies from certain signature details which were withheld by the police]].
** The killer in "Zoe's Reprise" is JackTheRipoff in human form. His kills are (almost) all recreations of famous serial killers' [=MOs=].
** Similar to the killer from "Zoe's Reprise", a villain from the spin-off book series also copied infamous serial killers, though in his case it was for infamy, and near the end he even tried copying spree killers and mass murderers.
* JoggersFindDeath
* JustInTime: The team almost always capture the [=UnSub=] just as they're about to claim their next victim, since arresting them while they're at home watching TV or something would be boring.
** Subverted in "Cradle to Grave" when they catch the [=UnSub=] coming out of the bathroom.
** And "Zoe's Reprise", where it first looks like the [=UnSub=] is strangling another victim in a park, only for it to turn out "the victim" is the [=UnSub=]'s girlfriend, and they were just starting a bout of rough sex.
** "Lauren" plays with this. Morgan is just in time to [[spoiler: save Prentiss before she can bleed out]], but thanks to [[spoiler: Hotch and JJ's plan to fake Emily's death]], he's led to believe he wasn't. He later tortures himself with the idea that being sixty seconds earlier could have changed everything.
* KarmicDeath: At the end of "Paradise", the serial killer who murders couples and stages car accidents for cover is run over by a truck.
** The hitman in "Reckoner" eludes the BAU (and didn't really leave behind any conclusive evidence of his guilt even if they had caught him), but ends up being killed by the protege of a mobster he murdered.
** At the end of "100", the Reaper, a [[AGodAmI God complex]] as he is, finally met his 100% deserved, ultimate ''defeat'' in the hands of an angry Hotch, ending his reign of terror over the innocent lives for good.
* KarmaHoudini: Consistently averted, even when it initially seems VillainExitStageLeft has occurred (i.e. "Reckoner"), and it is the BAU's job to defy it. The only [=UnSub=] to successfully pull this off was Frank, one of the series' worst of the worst (and even he was eventually brought down in later episodes).
** Played straight in [[spoiler: "Into the Woods", though, where the child killer manages to get away]].
** The fate of the guy from "Secrets and Lies" is also left somewhat ambiguous.
** Nothing happens to [[spoiler: either of the two [[PapaWolf Papa Wolves]]]] from "3rd Life" (though they were, if not exactly sympathetic, certainly understandable), nor do we ever learn the fate of [[spoiler: the second killer family]] from "Bloodlines." None of these were the primary [=UnSub=], though.
** "Dorado Falls" has another one, although it's not the [=UnSub=]. It's the person who made the [=UnSub=] the way he is.
** The first suspect in "Out of the Light" could qualify. While he isn't guilty of the murders, or (probably) any murder, he's still, at worst, an accessory who knew who had kidnapped the girls and kept silent, and at best a pedophile who decided to conceal evidence and get off on the victim's suffering after the fact. Either way, he gets off scot-free, and the BAU believes he's an innocent man who was framed.
** The lying kids in "Painless." Granted, they are not the [=UnSub=], but their [[UngratefulBastard ungratefulness]] is so heartbreaking that it makes the [=UnSub=], who has saved their lives and could have grown to be a decent man, become a murderer. At the end of the episode, nobody mentions what liars they've been.
** [[spoiler:Darlene]] in The Pact, but it is downplayed for three reasons. First, [[spoiler:she is an ''extremely'' SympatheticMurderer]]. Second, [[spoiler:she targeted [[AssholeVictim Asshole Victims]], ranging from mild- to serial-child-molester-and-killer- level]]. Third, [[spoiler:her partner and leader of the duo was caught]], making it hard to feel bad about the ending.
* KickTheDog: {{Sympathetic Murderer}}s are sometimes given an instance of this, especially if the victims so far have been fairly faceless or [[AssholeVictim assholish]]. Examples include Owen killing the elderly ranch owner in "Elephant's Memory" and Megan killing an executive who was a childless widower in "Pleasure is my Business".
** Morgan snapping at Garcia in "The Longest Night" because she doesn't have the answers he wants.
** "The executive branch" does this to the BAU team when it [[spoiler: puts forward the decision to transfer JJ out of the BAU, completely disregarding their family]].
** "Reflection of Desire":
-->'''[=UnSub=]:''' "No, I think you're an ugly little girl who has nothing to offer the world."
:: However, if you consider what the episode's [=UnSub=] did to women he found beautiful...
* KillerCop: [[spoiler:Jason Clark Battle]] in "Penelope", [[spoiler:Ronald Boyd]] in "A Rite of Passage", [[spoiler:Owen [=McGregor=]]] in "Angels"/"Demons".
* KillItWithFire: The [=UnSubs=] in "Ashes and Dust" and "Devil's Night".
* KillThePoor: The rich and completely insane killer in the episode "Legacy" believed he was doing the world a favor by exterminating street people, who he viewed as completely subhuman garbage, tainting everything they touch. When the detective who watches over the part of the city the killer gets his victims from is actually awarded due to the lower crime rate, the killer is insulted, and sends him a letter saying he should be ashamed for stealing the credit for other people's work. In the end, when the killer is surrounded by the police just as he is about to murder someone else, he actually screams "Just let me do my job!" before being shot.
* {{Kneecapping}}: In the season 6 episode "Today, I do", a self-ascribed motivational speaker turned serial killer shatters the kneecap of her most recent victim with a hammer after the victim refuses to eat the popcorn she made for her. She later turns this into a self-help lesson, by teaching the victim to "walk in the face of adversity".
* KnifeNut: A number of [=UnSubs=], including the ones from "The Big Wheel" and "Public Enemy", as well as the Reaper.
* KnockingOnHeathensDoor: Morgan and Prentiss are briefly mistaken for Jehovah's Witnesses in "Compromising Positions".
[[/folder]]

[[folder: L-N]]
* LampshadeHanging: In Exit Wounds, the victim in the opening scene, upon hearing rustling chains on the "deserted" pier, calls out "Who's there?" and immediately after says "Right, because the homicidal maniac hiding in the shadows is really going to answer you."
** The show does another one about its own tendency to run with ParanoiaFuel in "Paradise".
* LaserGuidedKarma: The BAU is an embodiment of this trope against serial killers.
* LastNameBasis: Everyone but JJ, who is referred to by her nickname.
* LittleMissBadass: Ellie Spicer in "The Longest Night", who stands up to a serial killer who's just [[spoiler: murdered her father in front of her, left her aunt to die, and has been killing in ''every single state for twenty-six years'']].
** [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstructed]] in "Remembrance of Things Past," where we find out that the poor thing has developed PTSD and can't sleep without talking to Morgan first.
** And played straight again in "Safe Haven" when she hijacks her foster mom's credit card, flies cross-country, lies her way past airport security, and talks her way into the BAU to see Morgan (and because [[spoiler: her foster brother is perving on her in the shower and no one's taking her seriously]]). Impressive, for a nine-year-old.
* LivingDollCollector: "The Uncanny Valley"
* LocalAngle: The obligatory reporters who appear, occasionally real-life ones.
* LoonyFan: "Somebody's Watching" and "The Performer".
* LostInTheMaize: "Middle Man", and the end of "The Big Game".
* LyingToThePerp:
** Rossi is slick like an oil spill. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_W8_X3F-tc There's a reason why he teaches interrogation at Quantico]].
*** Particularly impressive in "Reckoner" when he has not only the [=UnSub=] believing he'd slept with the [=UnSub=]'s wife multiple times, but ''the entire team'' believing it, too.
** General Whitworth in "Amplification"
** And before Rossi came Gideon, especially memorably in "Lessons Learned".
** The team tries to trip up the title [=UnSubs=] of "Soul Mates" by convincing them they're betraying each other while one is incarcerated. The one who's loose doesn't act on it but seems to fall for it, while the captive one isn't fully convinced but eventually does just as the team wants after his partner kidnaps his daughter.
* MadBomber: "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Empty Planet"
* MadDoctor: John Nelson in "God Complex."
* MadMathematician: Ted Bryar in "Derailed."
* MagicalDefibrillator: Used on the little girl in "Seven Seconds". Obviously, it doesn't work, and resort to using CPR again.
* TheMainCharactersDoEverything
* TheMafiya: "Honor Among Thieves"
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: "Paradise"
** HuntingAccident: How the father of the [=UnSub=] from "Natural Born Killer" died.
* MarriedToTheJob: Pretty much everybody. Led to Hotch's divorce, and implied to have also led to Rossi's three divorces, and possibly Gideon's one, as well.
** No longer implied; Rossi says he's more married to the team then he's ever been to three wives.
* MauveShirt: SSA Kate Joyner from "Lo-fi"/"Mayhem", [[spoiler: Sheriff Ruiz in "Rite of Passage", Detective Spicer in "Our Darkest Hour", and Tsia Mosely in "Valhalla"]].
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: Pondered by Morgan at the end of "Lucky". Rossi tells him not worry about it. Also used in [[spoiler: "Cold Comfort"]], where it's left ambiguous whether or not [[spoiler: Stanley Usher was genuinely psychic]], in "Demonology", where one line of dialogue suggests that maybe [[spoiler: John Cooley actually is possessed]] and [[spoiler: it's only ever a theory that the holy water was poisoned]], and in another episode when [[spoiler: the possessed Voodoo priest told Reid (who had been experiencing migraines and visions) that he had "ghosts" in his brain (there's no physical problem with his brain and now he's terrified he might be going crazy like his mom)]]. ''[[AlternateCharacterInterpretation Possibly]]'' also "With Friends Like These..." ("Our spirits have ''always'' been with you.")
** Done more subtly in "Revelations": [[spoiler: Tobias Hankel]] calls his Russian Roulette game "God's will". He tries to shoot [[spoiler: Reid]] at least five times and fails, but when [[spoiler: Reid steals his revolver he kills Tobias on the first try]].
*** Averted in "The Angel Maker" were everything is eventually explained and it was deliberately made to look like the supernatural going on. However it did take the original [=UnSub=] a long time to die and his death freaked the Doctor out so much he quit executions.
** Does [[spoiler: the Devil really come for poor Lara]] at the end of "Heathridge Manor", or is she just as crazy as her brother and mother? (The last shot of the episode shows [[spoiler: Lara is looking at thin air when she opens the door to the Devil, but even that's a little ambiguous]].)
*** For that matter, is the Manor itself [[EldritchLocation somehow sentient and causing the madness of its inhabitants]]?
* MeaningfulBackgroundEvent: Subverted in [[spoiler: "Damaged", when a sign partially-obscured by JJ's head reads "Gacy". As the [=UnSub=] they're looking for is a carnival clown, this coy use of RealLife serial child-killer John Wayne Gacy's name makes things far creepier, implying that the culprit may be ''far'' worse than they expect; in the end, however, Joe turns out to be as mentally-challenged as they'd hypothesized, and surrenders without resistance on his father's say-so]].
* MeaningfulName: The name of the GeneralRipper in "Dorado Falls" who [[spoiler:caused the episode's SympatheticMurderer's StartOfDarkness by forcing him to assassinate two innocent children to keep a covert Navy SEALS operation quiet]]? ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Milgram Milgram]]''.
* MemeticBadass: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iVcMs9NZxs This conversation]] between Reid and Garcia seems to imply that Hotch is an in-universe example.
** His son seems to think so as well, "no one beats daddy."
* MenAreTheExpendableGender: If an episode features an [=UnSub=] who kills both genders indiscriminately, the "main victim" will almost always be female.
** Actually subverted in "Big Sea" where [[spoiler: a man and his teenage son are the [=UnSub=]'s main victims. The father is killed, but the son is the last surviving victim]], as well as in "A Real Rain" and "Roadkill".
** For bonus Unfortunate Implications, she's [[MissingWhiteWomanSyndrome almost always white, too]].
*** She's almost always white because the *killers* are almost always white, and, as the team frequently mentions, serial killers tend to kill within their own race almost always. When they have a black killer, the victims will usually also be black.
* TheMenInBlack: They are sometimes perceived as this, which can be detrimental to the case. In "Identity," it causes conflict because they're trying to solve a case in an area with a heavy militia presence, and the FBI aren't very welcome after the events of Waco and Ruby Ridge. It can also work against them if they're trying not to feed the [=UnSub=]'s fantasies, and attracting the attention of the FBI would do that.
** Lampshaded by Gideon in "Compulsion":
---> '''Gideon''': No badges. I don’t want to satisfy the [=UnSub=]’s need for attention by letting him know the FBI is here. Try not to look official. ''(looks at the team)'' Try to look less official.
* MindScrew: For a show about crazy serial killers, Criminal Minds is fairly light on the mindscrew.
** A minor bit is tossed at you in "Normal" but it's foreshadowed, appears internally consistent, and may not even register as such.
** The opening of "Reflection of Desire", however, is a masterpiece of television mindscrew. And even when you think it's over, it isn't. [[spoiler: In fact, they've been mindscrewing you the entire episode. The [=UnSub=]'s mom is dead, despite the fact she seems to appear in public]]. Of course, if you know what [[Film/{{Psycho}} homage the episode is making]], you'll have spotted it.
* MissingMom: Just about every unsub on the show has one.
* MissingWhiteWomanSyndrome: Lampshaded in "The Last Word" and in "Legacy". Also in "Fear and Loathing"; several black girls are killed and the murders look like hate crimes and, when the BAU gets involved with the investigation, a local preacher claims its only because the latest victim's ex-boyfriend, who was white, was killed alongside her.
** Interestingly the white blonde haired and blue eyed Rebecca Bryant, VictimOfTheWeek in the "fisher king" two-parter was not treated this way due to her behaviour. She was a serial runaway and troublemaker so the dectective on her case talked about her in a way more common with DisposableSexWorker[=/=]DisposableVagrant cases.
* MissionControl: Penelope Garcia
* MommyIssues: The hitman in "Natural Born Killer" got sloppy in the triple murder that opens the episode because one of the victims was a woman and he identified her with his mother.
** Also a main issue for [[BigBad Frank Breitkopf]] and [[BigBad Billy Flynn]].
** The insane mother of the [=UnSub=] in "Heathridge Manor" convinced her son [[spoiler: from beyond the grave thanks to "infecting" him with her delusions]] that he had to destroy "the devil's brides" to save his sister.
* MonsterFangirl: Several examples, most prominently in "Riding the Lightning" and "The Angel Maker".
* MonsterOfTheWeek: When the perp is more than this, you know that the [=UnSub=] in question is really, really deranged. See: Frank, the Boston Reaper, Tobias Hankel, Billy Flynn, Mason and Lucas Turner.
* MonsterSobStory: The [=UnSub=] of ''The Uncanny Valley'' [[spoiler: was sexually abused by her father, who then gave her repeated electric shocks to shut her up about it]]. It's also a valid FreudianExcuse.
** The [=UnSub=] of "Normal" shoots random motorists because [[spoiler: his daughter was struck and killed by a speeding car]].
*** [[spoiler: He also shot the rest of his family dead in their sleep and hallucinated that they were still alive. When he realizes it, it results in a serious VillainousBSOD complete with MyGodWhatHaveIDone, adding to the sob story assuming [[MoralEventHorizon anyone still felt sympathetic for him]]]].
* MoodWhiplash: The ending of "Proof". [[spoiler: We see a father watch a tape of his PsychopathicManchild brother torturing his own daughter, covering his ears in fear as she screams. The scene then cuts to Rossi cheerfully teaching the team how to cook. Though to be fair, Hotch & Rossi were deliberately invoking this in-universe]].
* MoreDakka: "Rite of Passage", where the team breaks out the MP-5s since they're headed into cartel territory and might need heavier firepower if someone objects too strenuously. It comes in handy since the [=UnSub=]'s backup plan included an AR-15 modified for full auto.
** In "Lauren", Prentiss leaves her badge and Glock in her desk drawer and goes after Doyle's men armed with an MP-5 and flash-bang grenades.
* MotiveRant
* MotorMouth: Reid veers into this territory sometimes, going off on tangents when he's nervous or thinking hard.
** Garcia, too, when she's upset or excited about something. Or drinking too much coffee:
--> '''Garcia:''' The kid's tech savvy, sir. But fret not. I am tech savvier. Is that a word? That sounds like a word. If it is a word, I'm it.
--> '''Prentiss''' (wearily): D.C. time, Garcia.
--> '''Garcia''' (checks her watch): 11:17 a.m.
--> '''Prentiss:''' D.C. ''Decaf''.
* MrFanservice: Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, and Matthew Gray Gubler. If you need to ask, you've never watched the show.
** Lampshaded in "Legacy":
---> ''[after canvasing the area for potential witnesses]''
---> '''Prentiss''': How'd you guys do?
---> '''Hotch:''' Well, Reid got propositioned by every prostitute we talked to, but we didn't find anybody who thinks they'd seen the [=UnSub=].
** Isn't the joke there supposed to be that Reid is canonically UNATTRACTIVE and looks like a potential John to them?
*** Reid isn't canonically unattractive. Morgan's nickname for him is "Pretty Boy," and girls tend to go after him in just about every episode where he makes even the slightest bit of effort. His problem isn't that he's unattractive, it's that he's awkward and nervous.
** Also in that episode, Morgan flirts with a homeless lady, much like he does with Garcia, to get her to go to a shelter. He uses his hotness for good!
*** TruthInTelevision indeed... the ''very same thing'' happened outside a chip shop in Southport [[MayDecemberRomance between a 22-year-old man and 46-year-old woman]]. For added bonus points that RealLifeWritesThePlot, the guy indeed seemed ''very'' much like Reid (in terms of geekiness), albeit with Garcia's technogeek personality.
* MsFanservice: In an unusual departure from the norm, it is the [[BigBeautifulWoman heaviest]] woman on the team who provides most of the female fanservice. Garcia often wears clothes that emphasize her impressive bustline, and while this may have been unintentional on the part of the costuming department at first, it definitely seems to be deliberate as of season 7; to wit, "Snake Eyes" opens with the camera ''staring directly down her nightshirt''.
** Several of the female [=UnSubs=] have a rather alluring quality to them, as well; Megan Kane, Sydney Manning, Izzy Rogers...
** Laura Allen in the episode where humans were hunted for sport.
** [[CanadaEh Bre Blair]] as the prostitute Maggie in the series 2 episode with the murderer taking homeless people off the streets. She got ''a lot'' of positive comments on showbiz forums for this role.
** Of course, who could forget A.J Cook, who the British love more than their American counterparts!
** Also, [[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004719/ Jennifer Aspen]] who appeared in "A Higher Power". Also qualifies as MsFanservice
*** From that same episode, [[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0395360/ Brynn Horrocks]],
**** And Lila Archer the actress Reid had a ShipTease with in "Somebodies watching" managed to wear a bikini twice in one episode. Once at her job on a TV show and the other time while hitting on Reid.
* MuggingTheMonster: "The Big Wheel" (although the [=UnSub=] doesn't get away uninjured).
* MultiPartEpisode: "The Fisher King", "Lo-Fi"/"Mayhem", "To Hell..."/"...And Back", "Our Darkest Hour"/"The Longest Night", "Hit"/"Run", "The Inspiration"/"The Inspired", "Angels"/"Demons".
* MurderByCremation: "Mosley Lane" [[spoiler: (well, almost)]]
* MurderDotCom: "Revelations" and "The Internet is Forever".
* MurderSuicide: A number of killers do this rather than be caught.
* MyCard: Hotchner in "Poison", giving his ABA card to the [=UnSub=] of the Week. Also by other BAU members, when persons of interest in the Case o' the Week are being squirrely.
** Used in hilarious fashion by JJ, Garcia and Prentiss to some guy in a bar claiming to be a Bond-esque FBI agent.
** Used by Reid in "Sex, Birth, Death" when he gives his card to Nathan Harris. [[spoiler: At the end of the episode, Harris attempts suicide and leaves the card on the table as a "suicide note". The prostitute he's with uses it to call Reid, saving Harris's life]].
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: The [=UnSub=] in "Normal," word for word.
* MyGreatestFailure: Prentiss' [[spoiler: assumed death]] was this for Morgan, and he's been slow to get over it.
* MyGreatestSecondChance: Morgan [[spoiler: trying to keep the drowning kidnapping victim alive at the end of "Out of the Light" is very similar to his tending to Prentiss in "Lauren." Of course, it's somewhat ironic in that he actually managed to save Prentiss--he just doesn't know it]].
* NamesTheSame: Billy Flynn, serial killing [[Theatre/{{Chicago}} tap-dancing lawyer]].
* NeckSnap: "Secrets and Lies" and "Distress".
* NerdGlasses: Dr Reid, [[DependingOnTheWriter sometimes]].
* NeverFoundTheBody: Morgan's cousin Cindi. They found ''a'' body [[spoiler: that Morgan claimed was her body so his family could move on]], and later [[spoiler: found Cindi alive]].
* NeverGotToSayGoodbye: Reid actually says this in "Lauren".
* NeverSuicide: In "A Higher Power" a town has a disturbingly large number of suicides, which turn out to be the work of an Angel of Death serial killer who believes he is putting the townspeople who lost their children in a fire out of their misery. A subversion occurs in the end when its discovered [[spoiler: the guy whose death sparked the BAU's involvement in the case wasn't a victim of the killer and did just commit suicide]].
** Also seen in "Risky Business," when JJ refuses to believe that several teens from the same school, with no apparent risk factors, would kill themselves. [[spoiler:They didn't, intentionally. All of them were trying to play "The Choking Game," getting high through autoasphyxiation, with an apparent contest going on between their school and another. They took webcam videos of their deaths, which were then were downloaded and backed up on DVD by the [=UnSub=] who used the game to lure them into killing themselves]].
* NeverTrustATrailer: "Snake Eyes'" B-story says that Garcia and her boyfriend have a fight over her flirty friendship with Morgan. Actually [[spoiler:Garcia's afraid that she slept with Morgan while drunk. Not only did that not happen, but Garcia's boyfriend completely trusts Morgan (though the next episode has him state he "went through a lot of therapy to figure out their relationship")]].
* NewMediaAreEvil: "P911", "The Big Game", "Revelations, "Risky Business", and "The Internet Is Forever." You'd think a show featuring tech goddess Penelope Garcia would be better about averting this.
* NietzscheWannabe: In "The Popular Kids," Morgan and Reid speak as though the killer is one simply because he was carrying a copy of ''Thus Spake Zarathustra'' the first time Reid met him. The killer himself, however, never says anything to indicate that he is one.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: [[spoiler: How Hotch kills Foyet. ''Barehanded'']].
* NoKillLikeOverkill: See above. In Hotch's defense, though, [[spoiler:Foyet]] did fake his own near-death once by stabbing himself so many times that the police thought he was one of the victims. Hotch was probably right to make sure he was down for the count.
* NoodleIncident: There's a few of these, mainly involving JJ, which are often [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]].
* NoSell: Hotch's completely [[BadAss badass]] response to [[spoiler: Foyet/the Reaper shooting at him? To not even ''move'' as the bullet goes right by his shoulder into the wall behind him]].
** Move? He doesn't even '''blink'''.
-->'''The Reaper:''' Is this part of your profile? You can't show me fear?
-->'''Hotch:''' If you don't see fear maybe it's because I'm not afraid of you.
* NoSocialSkills: Dr. Reid has obviously spent a lot of his life in academia, and before that had a rather isolated childhood; as a result he's socially awkward. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by Rossi, when he [[CrowningMomentOfFunny jokes]] that Reid was found as a baby on the steps of the FBI.
* NotProven: The team arrests a man who fits the profile perfectly, and who has no alibis for any of the murders, but as there isn't any definitive evidence to say he did it, the team aren't sure what to do with him. After he is released, the team enact a plan to get him to confess, but [[spoiler:it goes horribly wrong and results in his death and the death of someone else, and they still don't have any proof that he did it]].
* NumberOfTheBeast: In that satanic cannibalism episode "Lucky", the [=UnSub=]'s name is "Floyd Feylinn Ferell".
** The first three digits in the Reaper's mugshot.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: O-P]]
* ObliviouslyEvil: The [=UnSub=] of "God Complex", a MadDoctor who abducts people, amputates them and forcibly grafts prosthetic limbs onto them, genuinely has no idea just how wrong his work is. In fact, he is genuinely shocked when he discovers just how horrified and revolted others are by his actions.
* TheObiWan: Gideon, who acted as Reid's father and mentor-figure for a couple of seasons before leaving under mysterious circumstances to a place where Reid can never contact him again.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Erin Strauss.
** Subverted in "100" where she [[spoiler: doesn't even try to punish Hotch for killing the Reaper. After spending almost the entire episode playing the ObstructiveBureaucrat role in trying to get all the facts from the team, she actually almost tears up as Hotch finishes his report]].
** Some deleted scenes from "In Name and Blood" also had her showing a softer side (she's actually shown comforting the husband of a victim in one of them).
* OhCrap: The expression on the [=UnSub=]'s face [[spoiler: before he gets blown up]] at the end of "Ashes and Dust".
* OldMaster: Jason Gideon. To ''everyone'' - (although more specifically, he's TheObiWan to Reid).
* OminousMundanity: Some episode titles, like "Mosley Lane", "Hanley Waters" and so on.
* OminousMusicBoxTune: "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn3uOQGBdcA The Fox]]" and "The Uncanny Valley".
** The music in the former is, unfortunately, replaced by a much more generic piece on the DVD release, making a number of scenes far less disturbing and creepy.
** Strangely, that same music, which is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1DKy1uqGpE&playnext_from=TL&videos=nfYRu15M0Co "Illabye" from Tipper]] came back in "Mosley Lane".
* OmnidisciplinaryScientist: Reid has [=PhDs=] in chemistry, mathematics and engineering, [=BAs=] in psychology and sociology, and he is working on a bachelor's degree in philosophy.
** Joked about in the very first episode, where Hotch introduces Reid as "Doctor Reid, expert in... well, everything".
* OnceAnEpisode
** The voiceover quote at the beginning and end of each episode. It was averted and lampshaded at the end of "... And Back," when Hotchner begins his voiceover with, "Sometimes there are no words, no clever quotes to neatly sum up what's happened that day..."
** Playful telephone banter between Morgan and Garcia. Used well to show the changed team dynamic after [[spoiler: Morgan gets promoted. "Thanks Babyg- Agent Garcia."]] Also used in "The Longest Night" to show Morgan's stress: he snaps at Garcia for not having an answer for him.
** Reid going off on a tangent.
** The briefing where the team delivers the profile.
** A scene on the jet after the case is concluded.
*** Unless the case is taking place in the DC area, there's usually a scene on the jet beforehand too.
** Meeting the local cops. It's entirely possible that there are dozens of police captains out there who think JJ's full name is "Agent Jareauwespokeonthephone."
* OneOfOurOwn: Reid is in peril almost every week, but it happens to the others sometimes, too. (They spread the love around.)
** Garcia even [[spoiler:got shot]].
** Oh, and half the time, when Reid isn't getting kidnapped or held hostage or [[spoiler:infected with anthrax]], the case is still hitting him in the gut: nightmares, visions of himself in the victim's shoes, etc.
*** The one time that Reid is held hostage but not the one the Bad Thing happens to, he's guilty about it for the rest of the episode. (In "Minimal Loss", when [[spoiler:Emily takes the beating to keep him from getting shot]].)
**** And in the end, he was still slammed in the gut with a gun[[spoiler:and nearly blown up]]. Reid does not have a good track record.
** Hotch, in ". . . And Back" and "Nameless, Faceless".
** Prentiss in "Lauren"; Hotch even goes so far as to [[spoiler: declare Prentiss the victim and her abductor, Doyle, the [=UnSub=]]].
* OneOfUs: In-universe, Rossi is a hardcore gamer.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted, logically - there have been how many [=UnSubs=] called Vincent, again? And how many victims named Katie/Katy? There have also been at least two blonde boys called Michael, and a baby.
** An extremely weird example is in "Closing Time," where two victims are named "Joe Krause" and "Joseph Kraus." They apparently ''aren't'' intended to be the same person, either, because the [=UnSub=] killed them in different ways.
* OnlyInFlorida:
-->'''JJ:''' We got a bad [case].
-->'''Morgan:''' How bad?
-->'''JJ:''' Florida.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Animal, The Footpath Killer, The Hollow Man, and The Mill Creek Killer.
* OrphanedPunchline: "Reckoner":
--> '''Tony:''' "Hear the joke about the two Irishmen-" ''([[KilledMidSentence gets shot]])''
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: "The Performer"
* OutlawCouple: "[[spoiler: The Perfect Storm]]", "Mosley Lane", "[[spoiler: A Thousand Words]]", "The Thirteenth Step", and the novel ''Finishing School''. [[spoiler:"Conflicted"]] is suspected to be the case, but it is subverted when it turns out to be a case of [[spoiler:SplitPersonality]].
* {{Paparazzi}}: "The Performer", "Public Enemy", "Somebody's Watching"
* PapaWolf: Hotch. Do not threaten his son. Just... don't.
* PaterFamilicide: [[spoiler: "Normal"]]
* ThePlan: "Masterpiece" [[OutGambitted it fails]]. "Omnivore" ([[MagnificentBastard a successful one]]).
** The lead killer in "Children of the Dark" also tries pulling one, and it's just barely averted (the gambit, not the trope).
* PlayfulHacker: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MalSc-Ei2fI Garcia]].
* PlayingPictionary: Morgan looks at a picture drawn by an autistic kid and can't figure out what it is. Hotch makes a glance, says "It's obviously a dog" and keeps on with what he's doing, leaving Morgan absolutely befuddled.
* PoisonousFriend / PsychoSidekick: "The Performer" [[spoiler: Dante/Davies's manager is completely loyal to him to the point of manipulating an obsessed, schizophrenic fangirl to murder other fangirls to promote his new album. Needless to say, Dante is horrified]].
* PoliceAreUseless: Generally averted, as the local police assisting the BAU are generally depicted as helpful and competent within the boundries of their expertise and experience, but simply outmatched by whatever [[MonsterOfTheWeek Psycho of The Week]] they're currently facing. There are a few exceptions, of course, including a remarkably bizarre LostInTranslation moment in "Machismo", and the prejudiced and antagonistic Detective Gordinski in "Profiler, Profiled".
* PowerBornOfMadness: "True Night". The guys from "The Big Wheel" and "Reflection of Desire" also had an extremely high tolerance to pain.
* PowerWalk: The team doesn't get as many of these as you might think, but special mention has to go to Hotch, Rossi, and Prentiss's in "Hopeless".
* PrecisionFStrike: A few time but the most notable would be Reid In "Painless" yelling "Son of a bitch!" when his phone's been ringing off the hook for the past two days when Morgan pranks him.
* PregnantHostage: "Derailed", though she was actually on her way to get an abortion when the train was hijacked.
* PrisonRape: Prentiss openly implies this will happen to the [=UnSub=] in "Slave of Duty."
* ProfessionalKiller: "Natural Born Killer", "3rd Life" and "Reckoner".
* TheProfiler: Obviously.
* ProperlyParanoid: The hitman in "Natural Born Killer," whom the BAU had classified as suffering from paranoid personality disorder, asks Gideon, "Hey, Jason, is it still called 'paranoid' if I'm right?" He says this after a non-BAU agent confirms his suspicions about an undercover cop.
* PsychoLesbian: [[spoiler: [=UnSub=] Maggie Lowe in the episode "Somebody's Watching." She stalked Lila Archer for years after falling in love with her in college. She killed people who were either in Lila's way or were competing for her attention]].
* PsychopathicManchild:
** The perpetrator of the brutal murder that haunted Rossi for twenty years - built up to an extent as a ruthless, brilliant, homicidal maniac - turned out to be [[spoiler: a frightened, mentally ill man who never meant to kill anyone (he followed a little girl he liked from his carnival workplace, broke into the house, and panicked when the parents discovered him and the father, quite understandably not knowing what was going on, attacked the 'intruder' with an axe and fought back with tragic results) and cries helplessly for his daddy when he's arrested. He felt so bad about the murder that he had been sending fluffy toys as presents every year on the anniversary as an apology]].
** The [=UnSub=] in "To Hell..."/"And Back" was revealed to be [[spoiler: an overgrown manchild who was being manipulated into stealing the stem cells of homeless people by his quadriplegic mad scientist older brother]].
** The [=UnSub=] from "The Uncanny Valley" is probably an example of this as well, as [[spoiler: she has the mind of a young child, due to verbal and sexual abuse she suffered from her ''father''. She just wants a pretty set of dolls, the perfect set, to play with]].
** The [=UnSub=] from "Proof" is an extremely dark one. [[spoiler: As a teen he got Seven Minutes in Heaven with the popular girl, only to have her taken by his brother. Many years later, he hears they're having marital problems and starts brutally torturing and killing women after she rejects him again. He ends up kidnapping his niece when she bleaches her hair to look like her mom on prom night and when kidnapped himself he explained what he did in glee. Oh, and he taped every murder. "I like hearing the women scream, it's reminds me of the roller coaster!" Playing KickTheDog was fun too]].
* PutOnABus:
** At the end of the season 5 opener, [[spoiler:Hotchner's ex-wife Haley and his son Jack get whisked off into protective custody in order to protect them from the serial killer known as the Reaper, which means that Hotchner will lose all contact with Haley and more importantly, with his young son Jack as long as the Reaper is on the loose]]. For a PapaWolf like Hotchner, this is probably a FateWorseThanDeath, which was exactly the Reaper's goal all along.
** In "JJ", [[spoiler: JJ was shuttled off to a new position in the State Department]].
** Gideon, after Frank pushes him over the edge in Season 3.
* PyroManiac: "Compulsion", "Ashes and Dust" and "House on Fire"
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Q-S]]
* TheQuisling: "Bloodline".
* RapeAsBackstory: and not just for the [=UnSubs=].
* RealitySubtext: "JJ". So much it practically bleeds into the context.
* RealLifeRelative: The victim the team is working to save in "3rd Life" is played by Gina Mantegna (who now credits herself as Gia Mantegna), Joe Mantegna's (Agent Rossi's) daughter in RealLife.
** The two oldest Galen children from the episode "Damaged" are played by real-life twin brother and sister Nicholle Tom and David Tom.
** JJ's son Henry is played by five-year-old Mekhai Andersen, AJ Cook's son and the actual result of the pregnancy that put JJ into maternity leave in the first place.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot:
** Actor Matthew Gray Gubler, who plays Reid, injured his knee just before production commenced on the show's fifth season, forcing him to get around on crutches. In the first episode of season five, "Nameless, Faceless", Reid is shot in the leg, and has to use crutches for the next few episodes.
** Likewise, AJ Cook's real-life pregnancy resulted in a pregnancy being written in for JJ, and the actor took maternity leave at the same time as her character.
*** For that matter, that's why Will was brought back as well. The writers realized they'd need to give her a love interest as well, and remembering the chemistry between JJ and Will brought him back.
** As well as Creator/MandyPatinkin's dissatisfaction with his role and subsequent leaving requiring rewrites to the beginning of season three, and the casting of Joe Mantegna as his replacement.
*** In his final episode Gideon left a letter for Reid to find for him but also addressed indirectly to the rest of the team, explaining why he was leaving the team and wishing them all well; in RealLife Creator/MandyPatinkin left letters for each his co-stars explaining why he was leaving the show, [[TearJerker and wishing all of them well]].
** Morgan's lack of kicking down doors or tackling people in season five so far is because Shemar Moore was hit by a car and broke his foot.
** In a more unusual case occurs in "To Hell...And Back." The writers acknowledged that the episodes were so dark, depressing, a monumental downer ending, and bordering on ShootTheShaggyDogStory that they couldn't think of any quotes that would adequately apply for the episode. So they used that:
-->'''Hotch:''' Sometimes there are no words, no clever quotes to neatly sum up what's happened that day. Sometimes you do everything right, everything exactly right, and still you feel like you failed.
* RecurringCharacter: Haley Hotchner (S1-5), Jack Hotchner (S1-present), Erin Strauss (S2-8), Kevin Lynch (S3-Present).
* RedHerring: According to the commentary of "The Perfect Storm", the characters set up to be red herrings for the real killers are nicknamed "[=UnSchmucks=]".
** One of their earliest [=UnSchmucks=] was in the second episode of the series. The student security guard was apparently there to be a suspect for the serial arson, but his ''real'' purpose was to give Gideon a EurekaMoment.
* RefugeInAudacity: This is some of the Unsubs schtick, and occasionally taken UpToEleven as an artform.
* {{Revenge}} / RevengeBeforeReason / RoaringRampageOfRevenge: The unsub in "Bully" kills seven people with his bare fists (he's stopped from killing another and KO's Blake's detective brother), but only two of them were directly involved with the crime that motivated his revenge [[spoiler: his only friend in high school was publicly humiliated and later killed himself]] and the actual ring-leader [[{{Irony}} was safely out of the country fighting insurgents in Afghanistan]] so he settled for [[spoiler: ''the guy's ex-girlfriend's parents'']] instead.
* RevengeByProxy: Attempted in "Masterpiece" - [[spoiler:Rothchild attempts to kill the entire BAU team except Rossi, who is the object of his rage]].
* RightBehindMe: Penelope Garcia, meet Alex Blake.
* RightForTheWrongReasons: In [[spoiler: "A Higher Power"]] the detective who called the team in started investigating [[spoiler: the spike in suicides because he didn't believe that his relative would have commited suicide. Turns out the unsub was faking the suicides but didn't have a trophy from the detective's relative suggesting it really was a suicide that time]].
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: Almost all of their cases are based at least in part on a real-life case, some examples being:
** The Footpath Killer from "Extreme Aggressor" and "Compulsion" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trailside_killer David Carpenter]]
** "Won't Get Fooled Again" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Hofmann Mark Hofmann]]
** "Natural Born Killer" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Kuklinski Richard Kuklinski (The Iceman)]]
** "Blood Hungry" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Chase Richard Chase]]
** Key parts of "What Fresh Hell" were taken from a case that the show's real-life BAU consultant, Jim Clemente, had worked on.
** "Unfinished Business" - and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Rader Dennis Rader (BTK)]]
** The Reaper - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zodiac_Killer The Zodiac Killer]]. Also [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Berkowitz The Son of Sam]].
** "The Tribe" - The [[UsefulNotes/CharlesManson Manson Family]] murders.
** "Machismo" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juana_Barraza Juana Barraza (Mataviejitas)]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Antonio_Rodriguez_Vega Jose Antonio Rodriguez Vega (The Old Lady Killer)]]. As well as the refusal of Mexican authorities to acknowledge the possibility of a serial killer in Mexican society - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Chikatilo Andrei Chikatilo]]
** "The Perfect Storm" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karla_Homolka Karla Homolka]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bernardo Paul Bernardo]]
** "Empty Planet" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Kaczynski Ted Kaczynski (The Unabomber)]]
** The Mill Creek Killer from "The Last Word" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Bundy Ted Bundy]]
** "Open Season" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hansen Robert Hansen]]
** "Legacy" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._H._Holmes H. H. Holmes]]
** "Identity" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Lake Leonard Lake]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Ng Charles Ng]]
** "Minimal Loss" - An amalgam of a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waco_Siege Waco-style standoff]], set on a Texas compound reminiscent of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YFZ_Ranch Warren Jeffs']].
*** This is referenced in the episode by the sheriff, Rossi, and Morgan, discussing Waco and other FBI/cult hostage situations. Rossi was also apparently at [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_Ridge Ruby Ridge]], another standoff, as part of the FBI's Hostage Response Team.
** "Catching Out" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Railway_Killer Ángel Maturino Reséndiz (The Railway Killer)]]
** "Amplification" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_anthrax_attacks Amerithrax]]
** "To Hell..."/..."And Back" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Pickton Robert Pickton]]
** Bill Jarvis from "Haunted" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wineville_Chicken_Coop_Murders the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders]]
** "Hopeless" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dnepropetrovsk_maniacs The Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs]]
** "The Eyes Have It" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Albright Charles Albright]]
** ([[UnfunnyAneurysmMoment or just an eerie coincidence?]]) "The UncannyValley" - [[http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-hospital-director25-2010feb25,0,5761517.story Claude E. Foulk]], a sanitarium chief accused of molesting his son and least four others.
*** More like the second trope, as the episode was made before this news story.
** "Our Darkest Hour" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Ramirez Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker)]]
*** Possibly also Gordon Fredrick Cummins, an obscure serial killer who struck exclusively during blackouts.
** "JJ" - The disappearance of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natalee_Holloway Natalee Holloway]]
** "25 to Life" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_R._MacDonald Jeffrey R. MacDonald]]
** Morgan's kidnapped cousin - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colleen_Stan Colleen Stan]]
** "Damaged" - the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villisca_Axe_Murders Villisca Axe Murders]]
** [[ArcVillain Frank Breitkopf]] - the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Torso_Murderer Cleveland Torso Murderer]]
** "Profiling 101" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Lee_Lucas Henry Lee Lucas]]
** "I Love You, Tommy Brown" - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Kay_Letourneau Mary Kay Letourneau]], although she was not a serial killer like the character on the show was.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: "Elephant's Memory", "House on Fire", the appropriately-named "Retaliation", and what Hotch does to [[spoiler: Foyet after he targets Hotch's family in "100"]]. Also evident in many other episodes where particular victims are chosen because they have somehow hurt or offended the [=UnSub=] (or are somehow like someone who has).
** Also Doyle's killing spree of the people who put him in prison, leaving Emily for last.
* RoaringRampageOfRescue: The Dorado Falls [=UnSub=] ''believes'' he's on this.
* RoomFullOfCrazy: [[spoiler: Clara Hayes]] in "Compulsion."
-->'''Morgan''': OCD? I'm thinking more like OMG.
** When they peel back the wallpaper in Tobias's house in "Revelations" its revealed he's covered the entire wall in "Honor thy father"... in Latin.
* RunForTheBorder: Subverted in "To Hell ... " in which the Canada/US border is deliberately run into by what is initially presumed to be the [=UnSub=], in order to instigate an investigation into the missing persons from Detroit.
** Played straight in "Rite of Passage".
* RunningGag:
** The blank look Reid always gets from [[strike:local law enforcement]] everyone whenever he goes on a tangent. Also, the awkward smile-and-wave combo he invariably gives when being introduced.
** Morgan really seems to like kicking down doors. (Possibly) lampshaded in "Honor Among Thieves", when he's all prepared to take down the door, [[spoiler:only to hear the suspect escaping in a car at the front of the house]].
*** Lampshaded in the season four gag reel, in which Shemar Moore kicks down a door that the crew has unhinged so that the entire door just falls off.
*** And lampshaded again in the season five opener, where JJ says that Reid's going to be on crutches for a while, but that's okay, "kicking down doors is Morgan's job".
*** From "Psychodrama:"
----> '''Elle:''' (about to enter a suspect's motel room) Key?
----> '''Morgan:''' Nah, I got one (kicks in the door)
*** Lampshaded in "A Higher Power"
----> '''Morgan:''' If I'm not kicking down doors, it's smashing down walls. At the end of the day, they both make me feel like I'm changing something.
** Morgan and Garcia's telephone banter.
** The [=UnSub=] being impotent. While this is part of the standard personality profile creation, it's practically the first thing out of an agent's mouth OnceAnEpisode and the [=UnSub=] never seems to be so.
** Any configuration of the team getting together outside work--provided it occurs at the beginning of the episode--will always be interrupted by a call (normally to JJ) summoning everyone to the office immediately. Usually they attend the briefing still in their party (or, in one case, funeral) duds.
** Anytime Hotch is talking with someone in his office, the rest of the team stands in the bullpen looking at them and trying to profile what's going on. And then failing miserably to cover it up. Lampshaded by Hotch in Season 7, when he decides to talk to Prentiss in the back of the plane instead.
-->'''Hotch:''' Well I get tired of being profiled through my office window.
* SadisticChoice: "Psychodrama" and "North Mammon"
* SamaritanSyndrome: Hotch has this, to a certain extent, and Rossi deconstructs it angrily:
--> '''Rossi:''' It's not your conscience talking, it's your ego.
* SanctuaryOfSolitude: Happens several times:
** At the end of "Lucky", Morgan, who's been dealing with a crisis of faith, goes to church for the first time in years. Ironically, he's there because [[spoiler:his [[MostImportantPerson 'baby girl']] Garcia is mad at him, and refused to spend the evening with him. As a result of that she gets shot by her date. The team can't reach him to tell him because he's turned his phone off in church. Morgan {{lampshade}}s it in the next episode asking Reid "What are the odds that the first time I pray in twenty years, she's on the table?"]]
** Prentiss subverts the trope in "Demonology", when she walks home instead of leaving with the team when [[SinisterMinister Silvano]] is finally captured. She ends up outside a church (which she hasn't been in since her [[spoiler: abortion at fifteen]]) and while she looks longingly at it, the last shot is of her deciding ''not'' to go in.
** Gideon ends up in a church at some point for himself, but he also follows a young girl into one in "The Popular Kids". She confesses what's really been going on with the murders the BAU is investigating and she blames herself, though Gideon tries to help.
* SarcasticClapping: Done by Morgan at the end of "25 to Life".
* ScarilyCompetentTracker: John Blackwolf in "The Tribe" was able to (among other things) determine that Hotch carried a second gun by noticing that the right instep of his footprints was slightly deeper than the left "and since you don't appear to have a club-foot..."
* TheSchizophreniaConspiracy: Ted Bryar in "Derailed."
* ScoobyDooHoax: In "The Popular Kids" two bodies (one of them a skeleton) are found in the woods near some strange symbols, suggesting that some kind of Satanic cult may be responsible. A girl is also missing. It turns out [[spoiler: the skeleton belonged to a hiker who died when he fell and hit his head, and the other body belonged to a teenage runner; another teenager, who had a thing for the runner's girlfriend, killed the boyfriend to get rid of him as competition, but the girl was out jogging with him. To distract the cops, the kid made the homicide look like some kind of demented ritual killing, and essentially used the hiker skeleton as a prop]].
** In "The Angel Maker", the [=UnSub=] tries to make it look like a dead serial killer has come back to life/didn't actually die.
* ScreamDiscretionShot
* ScrewedByTheNetwork: JJ and Prentiss leaving and coming back.
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: Happens a lot, usually culminating in the involvement of Strauss. Lampshaded in "It Takes a Village".
* SecondEpisodeIntroduction: J.J. is neither present nor even mentioned in the first episode.
* SelfServingMemory: "Roadkill" has an [=UnSub=] who believes the reckless driver of a red car was responsible for killing his wife and leaving him paralyzed. Near the end he realizes [[spoiler: there was no other driver and that he is responsible for the crash that cost him his legs and wife, as he had fallen asleep at the wheel]]. [[DrivenToSuicide He does not take this well at all]].
* SeparatedAtBirth: The twist ending to [[spoiler:"The Inspiration", setting up "The Inspired": the [=UnSub=] has a brother, and ''both'' of them are the EvilTwin]].
* SerialKiller: Well, natch.
* SerialKillingsSpecificTarget: "Sniper Sniped": the targets of a sniper rampage throughout Dallas were in reality the targets of a mercenary hired by a rich [[DomesticAbuse domestic abuser]] out to kill his runaway wife, killing his way through the "underground railroad" she used to escape.
* SeriesContinuityError: The inconsistencies between Rossi's story in "Birthright" (twenty years ago, three kids witnessed their parents get beaten to death on Christmas Eve) and what's shown in "Damaged" (nineteen years ago, three kids woke up one day in March to find their parents had been hacked up with an axe).
** In "P911", Garcia recognizes a scout uniform worn by the abducted boy because all four of her brothers were members of the same organization. In "Safe Haven", she mentions she is an only child.
** Subverted for Prentiss' backstory. In "Revelations", JJ and Hotch marvel at Prentiss' sang froid. Although this seems inconsistent with [[spoiler: the later discovery of Prentiss' background as a badass undercover agent]], it is conceivable that the rest of the team could have been barred from that info (at least until they're cleared in "Lauren").
---> '''JJ:''' How come none of this gets to you?
---> '''Prentiss:''' What do you mean?
---> '''JJ:''' You came off a desk job. Now suddenly you're in the field, surrounded by mutilated bodies, and you don't even flinch.
---> '''Hotch:''' She's right. You've never blinked.
---> '''Prentiss:''' I guess maybe I compartmentalize better than most people.
*** This does not, however, account for the discrepancy between Prentiss' original season 2 statement that she had then been with the Bureau for ten years and the revelation in "Lauren" that [[spoiler: a mere seven years earlier, she was instead working for Interpol and/or the CIA, apparently]].
*** Well, the statement was just that, a statement. And since her previous assignment was kind of secretive, you don't blurt it out.
** When, exactly, did Hotch "liaise" with Kate Joyner? He married Haley right out of high school, and it would be incredibly out of character for him to cheat. It's not like the episode forgot about Haley, either, as Kate's similarity to her is remarked upon.
*** Nothing in that episode suggested that Hotch and Kate were more than just good friends.
** The [=UnSub=] in "Profiling 101," who killed [[TitleDrop 101]] people, is described as the most prolific serial killer the BAU has ever encountered. Apparently, despite the fact that they were very prominent villains, the show forgot about Frank Breitkopf (166 victims) and Billy Flynn (in the neighborhood of 200-400 victims).
* [[FiveManBand Seven Man Band]]:
** TheLeader: Hotch
** TheLancer: Rossi (seasons 3-9)/Gideon (seasons 1-3)
** [[TheSmartGuy The Smart Guy I]]: Reid
** [[TheSmartGuy The Smart Guy II]]/[[TheChick The Chick I]]: Garcia (intelligence and role of TheSmartGuy, personality of TheChick)
** TheBigGuy: Morgan (GeniusBruiser)
** [[TheChick The Chick II]]: JJ
** [[TheSixthRanger The Seventh Ranger]]: Blake (seasons 8-9)/Prentiss (seasons 2-7)
* ShakyPOVCam: "Blood Hungry", "Our Darkest Hour", and (to a lesser extent) "What Fresh Hell?" and "Catching Out".
* ShellShockedVeteran: "Distress"
* SherlockScan: Hotchner does this occasionally when someone is skeptical of the team's abilities. The fact it is a completely unrelated skill from profiling [[FridgeLogic always seems to elude these people]].
** Rossi and Gideon have also pulled these in several episodes.
** Prentiss does it in "Lo-Fi".
* ShootTheShaggyDogStory: "No Way Out II" turns [[spoiler: "The Fisher King"]] into one of these, because [[spoiler: Frank kills the girl they saved in those episodes]].
** [[spoiler: "Zugzwang" ends with Reid failing to talk down his girlfriend Maeve's stalker/kidnapper. She suddenly and immediately shoots herself in the head without warning, which goes right through her into Maeve's head as well (due to the way they were both positioned), killing them both instantly]].
** "To Hell...And Back." [[spoiler:The team fail to accomplish ''anything'', none of the victims are saved, there is no justice in how the [=UnSubs=] were defeated, and to top it all off, the final scene has Hotch attacked by a vengeful Foyet.]]
* ShoutOut:
** An episode involving a serial bomber takes place in [[Series/CSIMiami Florida and is titled "Won't Get Fooled Again"]]
** The episode "In Heat," also set in Miami, starts with a ColdOpening that closely mimics a ''Series/CSIMiami'' ColdOpening in its cinematography and editing. At various crime scenes in the episode, several extras in the background are seen wearing "CSI" windbreakers.
** The hyper-egotistical surgeon in "L.D.S.K." (Gideon calls him "The worst narcissistic personality disorder I've ever seen.") looks and sounds just like Hugh Laurie's character in ''Series/{{House}}''.
*** Also could be considered at TakeThat.
*** Or TruthInTelevision.
** The title of "A Real Rain" refers to ''TaxiDriver'', while the ending is a Shout Out to ''TheBoondockSaints''.
** The [=UnSub=]'s methods in " North Mammon" and "Legacy" are similar to the traps set up by the Jigsaw Killer from the ''{{Saw}}'' saga.
** The episode "Legacy" opens with the [=UnSub=] whistling [[Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet 'Johanna']]
** The ending of "Damaged" has a sort of a ''Series/ColdCase'' feel to it.
** In "True Night", the scenes where Night kills the victims is shot in dramatic, SinCity-style black-and white. This is appropriate, as the prime suspect is a comic-book artist. Garcia even quotes FrankMiller towards the end.
*** Night also looks very similar to an Organization XIII member (particularly Roxas), with his BadassLongcoat, a hood covering his face, black gloves, black boots and DualWielding swords. Some of the poses can be seen in the Deep Dive video too (although from slightly different angles).
*** Aside from that, the whole storyline is a wee bit familiar: [[Film/TheCrow A psychotic and creative young man whose fiancée is raped and killed by gang bangers adopts a dark and intimidating superhero-esque persona in order to get revenge on those who wronged him]].
** The kidnapping we saw in "The Uncanny Valley" was strangely similar to the one done by [[TheSilenceOfTheLambs another famous fictional serial killer who also predated young girls]]. Also, the entire plot is suspiciously similar to that of Dollhouse episode "Belle Chose", though the [=UnSub=] is portrayed far more sympathetically than Terry Karrens is.
*** They are actually both based on Ted Bundy. He used that ruse.
*** Speaking of TheSilenceOfTheLambs series, even in context of Shout Outs, ''an evil quadriplegic heir to a pig farm named "Mason"'' was pushing it.
** The family in the beginning of "Children of the Dark" have an awkward conversation in their house's entryway with two strangers, who admire their lifestyle and golf clubs before torturing and killing them. [[FunnyGames Sounds familiar, in a funny sort of way]].
** A WhiteCollar conman who's juggling too many aliases is described as a [[Series/{{Leverage}} functioning alcoholic]].
*** It's probably nothing, but one of his aliases is [[ComicBooks Alex Ross]].
** Character David Rossi is based on real-life FBI profiler John E. Douglas. However, a certain Forensic Psychology textbook cites not only John E. Douglas, but another FBI profiler named D. Rossi.
** Garcia swears by using "[[Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined Frak]]."
** Billy Flynn (played by TimCurry) from "Our Darkest Hour" is dubbed "The Prince of Darkness", the moniker of several characters that he's previously played.
*** Could also be a Theatre/{{Chicago}} shout-out.
*** It's a reference (or also a reference) to the Night Stalker Richard Ramirez, the killer he's based on.
** Possible shout out in ''Penelope'', Garcia has this piece of dialogue.
----> '''Garcia''': When I was in the ambulance I could hear the song [[Series/LifeOnMars2006 “Heroes” playing in my head. I kept flashing in and out of consciousness, everything was really bright and I remember thinking]], [[AshesToAshes “Wait, is David Bowie really God?”]]
** A brief scene in the Season 4 episode ''Demonology'', shows two priests preparing for an exorcism. Obviously, [[Film/TheExorcist one of them is old and the other one is young]].
** In "Devil's Night", Garcia calls Kaman, the [=UnSub=], "the BigBad".
*** The episode also features [[Film/TheCrow Ernie Hudson as Detroit police officer dealing with a series of revenge murders on Devil's Night]]
** "Reflections of Desire" is basically [[spoiler: ''Film/{{Psycho}}'' and ''Film/SunsetBoulevard'']] thrown in a blender.
** In "What Happens At Home", we first meet FBI cadet Ashley Seaver when Rossi goes to see her [[Literature/TheSilenceOfTheLambs on the FBI academy training course]].
** At the end of "Amplification", the shot of the virus being sealed in a gigantic virus vault refers back to ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk".
** One of two murdered convenience store clerks on Garcia's computer is [[TheSimpsons Apu N.]].
** [=SF=] author and blogger Elizabeth Bear is a ''huge'' and [[http://matociquala.livejournal.com/tag/geeks%20with%20guns vocal]] fan of the series, and someone on the writing staff obviously loves her back; not only was the opening quote in "Lauren" from one of her books, it was from a ''thematically appropriate'' one. Doubly appropriate because Bear was one of the first to vocally support Prentiss' addition to the show.
** In "With Friends Like These", there is a shout out to ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' when [[spoiler:Ben sees his hallucinatory friends pinned to the ceiling, dripping blood on his face]].
** Perhaps unintentional, but the plot of "Sense Memory" concerns itself with [[Literature/{{Perfume}} an antisocial man who harvests beautiful young women for their scent]].
** In "Mosley Lane," Bud Cort [[spoiler: hangs himself]]. [[HaroldAndMaude Does that sound familiar?]]
** In "Zugzwang", which is already filled with Conan Doyle references, [[spoiler: Diane Turner brings Maeve onto the roof for a final confrontation, wherein she wants Maeve to jump to her death to prove her theory. The situation is a mirror of the final scene between Moriarty and Sherlock in {{Series/Sherlock}}'s ''The Reichenbach Fall'']].
** [[Series/{{Profiler}} Robert Davi]] appeared twice; as it happens, Hotch has pretty much the same job in the BAU as Davi's Bailey Malone did in the fictional Violent Crimes Task Force.
** "The Edge of Winter" could be a subtle one to [[BatmanTheAnimatedSeries Harley Quinn]]: [[spoiler:A young med student is tortured until she "falls in love" with her captor and becomes a willing participant in his crimes. When she reveals she'd still kill for him if he asked, she is deemed criminally insane, not to mention a very unreliable witness in his trial.]]
* [[ShownTheirWork Shown Their Work]]: At least in the early episodes. For example, when discussing recovered memories through hypnotherapy, they note that they are notoriously unreliable.
* ShutUpKiss: [[spoiler:J.J. and Detective La Montagne in "In Heat"]].
* SiblingsInCrime: The [=UnSubs=] of "Open Season" (formerly TheFamilyThatSlaysTogether) and, in a gut-wrenching variation, [[spoiler: "To Hell..."/"...And Back"]]. Two of the robbers in "Hit"/"Run" are brothers, though neither turn out to be the primary antagonist.
* SinisterMinister: the [=UnSub=] in "Demonology", and the [[RedHerring decoy UnSub]] in "Angels".
* SlasherSmile: The BigBad in "Lessons Learned" cracks an ''incredibly'' creepy one at the thought of Islamic extremists brutally murdering all ''four billion'' non-Muslims in the world.
* SmartPeoplePlayChess: Simultaneously subverted and played straight: Reid is the designated genius of the team, but while good at chess, he isn't exactly world-class, almost invariably losing to Gideon and apparently being out-thought by Prentiss.
** Played straight in "Compulsion" when his ability at chess is presented as an index of his ability to "think outside the box."
** And played straight again with Reid in "Uncanny Valley", where Reid says that after Gideon left, he went through every possible chess maneuver (an exponentially high number) as an attempt to figure out a way to beat the system. He's then shown at the end of the episode playing a lightning-fast game of chess with a young chess prodigy.
** More interestingly, chess (or, rather, the learning of it) is used in that episode as a metaphor for loss, trauma, and closure.
** "True Genius" had former two chess prodigies, both were over 160 in IQ but one was far more successful than the other.
* SmugSnake: Professor Rothschild in "Masterpiece.", at least [[spoiler: Rossi destroys his master plan of revenge]].
* SnuffFilm: A number of [=UnSubs=] ("Hopeless", notably) have a habit of recording their murders, sometimes for... [[ADateWithRosiePalms later use]]. In the book ''Jump Cut'', the [=UnSubs=] planned on making "the best horror film ever" by using real murders, and were insane enough to believe it will make them rich and famous once they show it at film festivals and the like.
* SoundtrackDissonance: In "Mosley Lane" we can hear ''Illabye'' as [[EvilMatriarch Anita Roycewood]] carefully puts a sleeping boy in a cardboard box, smiles to him, hums a lullaby... [[spoiler: and then proceeds to burn the boy in a crematorium]].
** "Ashes and Dust" gives us one of the most powerful examples of all time, as Enya's "Boadicea" plays over [[spoiler: a family trying to escape their burning house in vain, as the arsonist watches]]. You can watch it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=steKWtFkZ4g right over here]].
* SouthOfTheBorder: "Machismo"
* SpiritualSuccessor: To ''The Inside'', a Fox series which also revolved around a unit within the FBI tasked with pursuing serial killers (see {{Expy}}).
* SpinOff: The show, itself, is not a spin-off, but, rather, has a type 3 spin-off, ''CriminalMindsSuspectBehavior''. They met the team that is in the spin-off in "The Fight" (season 5, episode 18).
* SplitPersonality: Two [=UnSubs=]. [[spoiler: Raphael/Tobias Hankel/Tobias' father in "Revelations,"]] and [[spoiler: Adam/Amanda in "Conflicted."]]
* StalkerShrine: "The Crossing"
* StalkerWithACrush: "Broken Mirror", "Somebody's Watching" and again "The Crossing"
** Morgan's cousin Cindi fled Chicago over hers and was never seen again. [[spoiler: Too bad she had ''two'' stalkers, and one of them was more determined and sadistic than the other]].
* StandardCopBackstory: Morgan grew up in a low-income, inner-city neighborhood, lost his father at a young age, and suffered abuse at the hands of a leader in his community.
* SteelEarDrums: Averted in "Lo-Fi"/"Mayhem", when [[spoiler:Hotch and Kate Joyner's van]] explodes. [[spoiler:Hotch's]] ears are ringing for a good while during the episode itself, and it affects [[spoiler:his]] hearing for a couple episodes afterward.
** Also averted in "A Rite of Passage". While driving to where the [=UnSub=] is, Hotch asks Rossi ''not'' to fire his gun in the car. He quips "You mean try not to deafen you?" Later Morgan ''does'' fire his gun in the car, and Prentiss yells at him for blowing out her eardrums.
* StockholmSyndrome: "The Edge of Winter": [[spoiler:victim Daria is forced to participate in her captor's sadistic games and "falling in love" with him was the only way she could cope. There's enough of her old self left to escape when she gets the chance, but by the time she's found she's gone back to loving him and confesses she'd kill again if he asked her to.]]
* TheStoic: Hotch. Many characters remark that they hardly see him smile... but with a job like that, who could blame him?
** The biggest (only?) smile Hotch gives is [[spoiler: when JJ announces that she's pregnant]]. He's clearly happy for [[spoiler: her]], but it just doesn't look right on his face.
*** Actually, he does smile more. Go back to Season One's "The Fox". Hotch and Hayley showing off baby Jack to everyone is [[HarsherInHindsight heartbreaking when you consider how closed-off he becomes]].
** Prentiss becomes this following her [[spoiler: return from the dead]]; she shows very few signs of post-traumatic stress.
** NotSoStoic: The season 5 episode "100" gives us [[spoiler: the Reaper getting hold of Hotch's family]]. You can feel Hotch's pain throughout the episode.
*** He also loses his composure to a lesser extent back in "Ashes and Dust" when [[spoiler: Evan Abbey incinerates himself]].
* StoryArc: Several long arcs have been developed over the course of the series.
** Hotch's attempt to [[FamilyVersusCareer balance his marriage/family with his career]] and the consequences of those decisions.
** The conflict between Gideon and Frank ("No Way Out"/"No Way Out II") and how it leads to Gideon's departure ("Doubt", "In Name and Blood").
** Greenaway's breakdown (beginning in "The Fisher King" and running through "Aftermath" and "The Boogeyman")
** Reid's drug addiction ("Revelations", "Jones", "A Higher Power", "Elephant's Memory," "Amplification") and his relationship with his mother and father ("The Fisher King", "The Instincts", "Memoriam")
** Morgan's history of being abused as a child (hinted at through much of the first season and a half, [[TheReveal revealed]] in "Profiler, Profiled") and his return to religious faith ("Lucky" and "Penelope").
** The relationship between JJ and William [=LaMontagne=] ("Jones", "In Heat", "Memoriam")
** The continuing conflict between Strauss and Hotchner.
*** As well as Emily's hatred of the former, stemming from her TenMinuteRetirement situation in the beginning of season three. The echoes of this situation are still in Emily's voice when she talks about Strauss in "JJ," three seasons later.
** The Boston Reaper arc ("Omnivore," "...And Back," "Nameless, Faceless," "Outfoxed," "100," and "The Slave of Duty")
** Morgan's relationship with little Ellie Spicer starting in "Our Darkest Hour" through "Safe Haven".
** Prentiss' history with IRA terrorist Ian Doyle, which spreads across "The Thirteenth Step", "Sense Memory", "Today I Do", "Coda", "Valhalla"/"Lauren", and finally "It Takes a Village".
*** Many of these can also be considered examples of CharacterDevelopment.
* StrictlyFormula: Most of the episodes have a highly predictable structure - the team talks about the [=UnSub=] of the week, the team investigates the last murder scene, the team rings up Garcia to get her to hack into a database, the team describe the [=UnSub=]'s personality to the police, the team chases the [=UnSub=], end of episode. [[TropesAreTools However]], this actually works for the show - the formula establishes the fact that the team are professionals who know what they're doing, and the [=UnSub=]'s stories are always different and unpredictable.
* SelfHarm: In one episode, on a campus that the team has been investigating a spate of murders, one of the girls there is shown cutting and deliberatly trying to get herself killed by the murderer (like a suicide attempt).
* StoryboardBody: The [[spoiler: first]] [=UnSub=] in "A Thousand Words".
* {{Subject 101}}: The season seven episode where the BAU speaks to a college class about profiling is called "Profiling 101".
* [[TemporarySubstitute Substitute Media Liaison]]: Jordan Todd.
* SuicideByCop: About half of the [=UnSubs=] on the show are not apprehended alive. And almost half of said deaths are during confrontations with police officers or the BAU, many of those being instances of this.
** The [=UnSubs=] in "Hopeless" take this route, as Morgan predicts.
** Also, the [=UnSub=] in "[[spoiler: Parasite]]."
** Averted by Will in "Jones" and Reid in "Elephant's Memory."
** What [[spoiler: Billy Flynn forces Morgan to do in "The Longest Night"]].
** The [=UnSub=] in "Lo-Fi" forces Emily into this, too, as part of the plot to make it look like the shooter was dead.
** The [=UnSub=] in "What Happens At Home" pulls this with Hotch.
** The [=UnSub=] in "Penelope" walks into the BAU and, when he realizes they know who he is, intends to go down that way taking as many of them as he can. [[spoiler: JJ shoots him from behind before he gets a chance]].
** Under the circumstances, the older [=UnSub=]'s refusal to back down when surrounded at gunpoint in "Open Season" comes across as one part SuicideByCop and another part [[TheDeterminator being hell-bent on taking down the week's damsel in distress]]. He failed at the latter, but was wildly successful at the former.
* SuicideIsPainless: Averted by "Risky Business" and the "choking game". The kids think it's a big contest until [[spoiler: the [=UnSub=], a paramedic who has also been egging them on via a website, collects them from their houses and makes sure they've succeeded in killing themselves]].
** Also, in the same episode, Reid responds to a smartass student who's not taking the issue seriously with an [[{{Squick}} all too detailed description of how unpleasant death by asphyxiation really is]].
* SuperOCD: A handful of [=UnSubs=], the most prominent probably being Vincent from "The Big Wheel" and [[spoiler: Clara Hayes]] from "Compulsion".
** This show deserves points for playing OCD fairly accurately and sympathetically. There's even a case where it helps - in "Legacy", the Kansas City detective's compulsive note-taking was the very reason he noticed that ''sixty-three'' homeless people were missing, leading to the discovery that they were being systematically tortured and killed.
* JustForFun/SurprisinglySimilarStories: Sort of. Would you believe [[spoiler: there was an episode of ''Series/CharliesAngels'' wherein Sabrina, played by Kate Jackson--Prentiss's mom--had to [[FakingTheDead fake her own death]], which included a funeral? Her colleagues were in on it, though, so not quite so much angst involved]].
* StockFootage: One episode took place partially in Guantanamo Bay and used stock footage to establish the location. Judging from the recording quality, said footage was several years old.
* SympatheticMurderer: "Distress", "Jones", "True Night", "In Heat", "Elephant's Memory", "Pleasure is My Business", "The Big Wheel", "Uncanny Valley" and undoubtedly more.
** Any case where the killer is psychotic or forced to commit their crimes through compulsion while they regret their actions. Sociopaths and Psychopaths who torture and kill, however, will be portrayed as the monsters they are without hesitation.
** This show also has a couple of rare sympathetic ''rapist''-murderers ([[spoiler:"Conflicted"]] and arguably [[spoiler:"The Perfect Storm"]]) and an even rarer sympathetic ''domestic abuser'' ("The Performer").
* SympathyForTheDevil: Even some of the [=UnSubs=] not listed under sympathetic murderer are quite pitiable. The guy from "Solitary Man" is a good example of a killer who doesn't have a mitigating factor like not knowing what he was doing or killing only bad people, but has a tragic enough backstory that you do feel somewhat bad for him.
** The song is actually used at the beginning of "Revelations".
[[/folder]]

[[folder: T-Z]]
* TakeMeInstead: Prentiss does this for Reid in "Minimal Loss".
* TakeOurWordForIt: The more gruesome activities the [=UnSubs=] partake in and their effects on the victims are often only shown through the horrified or disgusted looks on the team's faces.
* TakeThat:
** Upon arriving at a crime scene [[{{Series/CSI}} in Las Vegas]], this exchange between Rossi and Prentiss in "The Instincts": "Not exactly a well-preserved crime scene." "It's the crime scene investigators. They all want to play cop instead of being scientists and they end up trampling on everything."
** "JJ" is an episode-long TakeThat. [[spoiler: JJ's voiceover during the "goodbye montage" makes it quite clear that she, the actress portraying her, and the rest of the cast and crew don't want her to leave, but "people above her pay grade" (the studio) are forcing it]].
* TakingYouWithMe: The end of [[spoiler: "Ashes and Dust"]].
* TalkingTheMonsterToDeath: In some standoff situations, the BAU manage to talk the [=UnSubs=] into surrendering. Also occurs literally in one instance where the detective working with the BAU accidentally prompts the [=UnSub=] to kill himself by breaking his delusion. And at the end of "The 13th Step" the team defuse a hostage situation by pushing the [=UnSub=]'s buttons so that he ends up killing his partner then committing suicide by cop.
* TalkingToHimself: Elisabeth Harnois in "Broken Mirror", when the Davenport twins briefly talk on the phone.
* TattooedCrook: "A Thousand Words", given attention in "Honor Among Thieves", "Valhalla", and "Lauren".
* TeacherStudentRomance: In "I Love You, Tommy Brown", which also brutally deconstructs the idea that it's okay if it's a teenage boy with an attractive woman.
* TeamPet: Reid.
* TearYourFaceOff: The victim in "About Face" is killed this way.
* TelevisionGeography: Often.
** "Normal" begins with an aerial shot of [[{{Nerdgasm}} the Civil Engineer's wet dream]] that is the [[http://members.cox.net/mkpl/interchange/4lvl_mg.jpg Four-Level Interchange]], subtitled "Orange County, CA". The Four-Level Interchange is not in Orange County though... it's 20 miles away in Los Angeles. Orange County's freeway interchanges are not nearly as pretty from the air. They look a lot more like a [[http://www.ptank.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/I-5ca22ca57.png Freeway Full of Crazy]].
** In "Limelight", the [=UnSub=] is somehow able to get from police headquarters (which is in downtown Philadelphia) to a house where his next victim is (the design of which can only be found in parts of West Philadelphia), and then deposit her next to what is supposedly the Schuylkill Expressway near Conshohocken (which it's clearly not, considering the complete lack of a river nearby) in what has to be less than an hour. Any Philadelphia native will laugh at that above description. Repeatedly.
* TenMinuteRetirement: [[spoiler:Hotch and Prentiss, in the beginning of season three. They don't even make it through the episode]].
** Averted with [[spoiler:Elle and Gideon]].
* TermsOfEndangerment: The killer in "Natural Born Killer" puts himself on a FirstNameBasis with Gideon while being interrogated.
* TerroristWithoutACause: "Empty Planet"
* ThatManIsDead: "Identity" and "In Heat".
* ThatOneCase: Multiple ones, in this show:
** Gideon had Frank ("No Way Out" and "No Way Out II: The Evilution of Frank")
*** Not to mention the bomber in Boston, which led to his nervous breakdown. He caught the man, but lost 6 agents and a hostage immediately afterwards.
** Rossi had the Galen case ("Damaged") and the Butcher ("Remembrance of Things Past"). In the latter we briefly see the Butcher case is just one of several old cases he still hasn't solved.
** Hotch had the Reaper case ("Omnivore", "To Hell..."/"...And Back", "Nameless, Faceless", "100").
** Reid had [[spoiler:Tobias Hankel, the [=UnSub=] with DID from "The Big Game" and "Revelations")]], and who sticks with him for a few reasons: first, the [[spoiler: drug addiction StoryArc]] that comes from being [[spoiler: shot up with Dilaudid, a painkiller, to help him survive the torture (physical and psychological) that the alter personalities were putting him through]]. This plotline is developed in "Fear and Loathing," "Distress," "Jones," and "Ashes and Dust," comes back for further development in "Elephant's Memory," and is referenced in "Amplification" and "Proof". Second, he feels a connection to the [[spoiler:primary personality, Tobias]] who showed him empathy, including [[spoiler: providing the aforementioned Dilaudid, which despite the long term consequences, clearly helped Reid cope with the torture at the time]]. As seen in "Conflicted," this [[spoiler:allows him to make the connection that Adam is switching personalities, and that the alter is the mrore agressive partner they have been looking for]]. In the aftermath of that case, it [[spoiler:results in him feeling guilty for failing to save the (relatively innocent) primary personality, Adam. This leads him to maintain a relationship with Amanda in hopes of bringing Adam to the surface]].
** Reid also has the Riley Jenkins case ("The Instincts", "Memoriam"), from before he even "knew" it was a case.
** The Prince of Darkness ("Our Darkest Hour" and "The Longest Night") became this for Morgan.
*** Lampshaded by Morgan in "The Longest Night", telling Hotch that he needs to go after Billy Flynn personally:
---->''"We were there for you when you needed us. This one's mine."''
** The Doyle case for Prentiss, haunting her from her previous assignment [[spoiler: and coming back to bite her in the ass in a big way]].
* [[ThatsWhatIWouldDo That's What I Would Do]]: "Elephant's Memory". Reid empathizes with the [=UnSub=] and says this almost word for word regarding how he figured out the [=UnSub=]'s next move.
** To further the point, the [=UnSub=] looks a lot like a younger Reid, right down to the hairstyle.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill
** The Boston Reaper.
** Numerous other [=UnSubs=]: "Natural Born Killer," "True Night," and "Hopeless," for example.
** In "100," [[spoiler: Hotch does this to Foyet. With his ''bare hands'']].
** Unintentionally done in "Normal" after Norman shoots the first victim her car crashes and flips over in an over dramatic way. [[spoiler: She still survives albeit in critical condition and paralyzed from the waist down]].
* ThisIsGonnaSuck: Prentiss, word for word, in "52 Pickup."
* ThousandYardStare: Hotch gets this a lot in early season five after Foyet's attack, especially in "Haunted."
* TitleDrop: Happens a lot with episode titles.
* ToKnowHimIMustBecomeHim: Count the times Morgan says "I'm the [=UnSub=] ... "
** Also, Reid in "Elephant's Memory".
** Hotch and Rossi use this to break the case in "Identity".
** Subverted by JJ in "The Longest Night", when she ''can't'' empathize with Billy Flynn, and instead, talks to him about what his mother ''should'' have done for him.
** Morgan and Prentiss play "you're/I'm the [=UnSub=]" in "Compromising Positions".
** At the end of "Open Season" Emily relates to Morgan that the victim asked her how killers can do such things, and she replied that [=UnSubs=] think differently... But she goes on to say that the BAU, who also hunt down people (the [=UnSubs=] they catch) may not be as different from their prey as they'd like.
* TooDumbToLive: The guy in "Psychodrama" who continually refuses to take his clothes off, even after the [=UnSub=] starts hitting him and shooting the floor around him.
** The woman in "Our Darkest Hour" who, despite seeing her door is now wide open even though there is no wind, and after just hearing a news broadcast about a killer who strikes in areas of the city that are blacked out (she happens to live in tonight's area) goes in anyway.
*** The news about a serial killer had not yet been broadcast.
** While the opening of "Ashes and Dust" is quite powerful... you kind of have to wonder why the family decided to try and crawl to the front door through the inferno, instead of using the large window that was quite plainly visible in the parents' bedroom.
*** [[YouFailPhysicsForever Wouldn't that have caused a backdraft]]?
** The woman who goes to see Vincent in "The Big Wheel". Think before you point out that the guy whose house you're alone in with looks just like that serial killer they're talking about on TV.
** The victims in "Roadkill". [[spoiler: The victim in the garage was especially stupid. He had ample opportunity to escape from the [=UnSub=] by dodging behind columns or other cars, but instead he tries to outrun the truck. Becomes even more apparent when it is revealed the [=UnSub=] had no legs and couldn't have caught his victims if they had got away]]
** The first thing Hotch tells Agent Seaver is to never go anywhere by herself. Granted, the person she went to see was a grieving father and his young daughter, [[spoiler: but he was also a SerialKiller like Seaver's own father. Fortunately the dad was distracted because he needed to know ''why'' Seaver mentioned apologizing in the killer's family's place, but she was still chewed out by Hotch]].
** A victim in "Divining Rod" who fails to notice her full wine glass is now empty and her back door's open.
* TookALevelInBadass: JJ's at ''four'' and counting - shooting the dogs in "The Big Game"; shooting [[spoiler: Garcia's attacker]] in "Penelope"; bashing an [=UnSub=] upside the head with a shovel while just having been concussed in "The Performer", and [[spoiler: talking Billy Flynn down over the Emergency Broadcast System]] in "The Longest Night". Pretty damn good for the team's ''communications specialist''.
** Now she's up another. Apparently, she took some intensive hand-to-hand training courses while doing paper work with the State Department. She charges and beats the ever loving ''shit'' out of an armed [=UnSub=] in Closing Time. It comes out of ''nowhere''.
*** No, it doesn't, J.J. mentions in that episode that while she was working with the State Department Morgan gave her self-defense lessons.
** Six with her fight with a [[spoiler: professional killer]] in "Run."
** Reid definitely had one between seasons 6 and 7. Just watch the season 7 premiere if you don't believe me.
** Prentiss took a monumental level in badass during her Doyle arc, especially in "Valhalla" and "Lauren," when she donned a leather jacket, grabbed an MP-5, and led her colleagues to discover that she wasn't quite so much the desk jockey they thought she was in her pre-BAU assignment.
* TooSpicyForYogSothoth: The [=UnSub=] in "Lucky" said he stopped killing and devouring prostitutes since most of them were drug users, and they "taste funny."
* TonightSomeoneDies: "Lo-Fi": [[spoiler:[[MauveShirt Kate Joyner]]]]
** And in "100": [[spoiler:Haley Hotchner]]. Also [[spoiler:Foyet]], but no one really cares about [[spoiler:him]].
** "Demons": [[spoiler:subverted; everyone lives, but Blake leaves the team for personal reasons. Chalk it up to NeverTrustATrailer.]]
* TragicHero: [[spoiler:Elle, Gideon, and Prentiss]].
* TraumaticHaircut: Inverted in "Divining Rod": [[spoiler: A man kills four women in one day just to make the woman he loves a nice wig, which he lovingly places on her head. It wouldn't have been quite so bad if the last victim hadn't been ''scalped'']].
* TrueCompanions: The Team. Perhaps shown best in "100". Which makes JJ's and Prentiss' departures all the more heartbreaking. It's as though the BAU family is torn apart.
* TruthInTelevision: While Hotchner promptly shuts the guy down, the defense attorney's criticism in "Tabula Rasa" that profiling is just "intellectual guesswork" is actually a common opinion expressed by real-life detractors. There have been studies that suggest that observers not specifically trained in the profiling process can sometimes notice the same details and make the same inferences as trained profilers. ** Furthermore, even some of the most experienced and well-known profilers will concede that the profiles they build are to be used as a tool to aid criminal investigation, not as a substitute for it, as often happens on the show.
** It's also not uncommon, even on the show, for the team to have to drastically revise their profile when new information comes up or they have some sort of EurekaMoment...or both.
* TwoLinesNoWaiting: Crops up on occasion, most notably the season 3 episode "Damaged." Morgan, Prentiss, JJ, and Garcia help Rossi tackle a cold case that's been haunting him, while in the B-Story, Hotch and Reid interview a serial killer on death row.
** Also used in "The Crossing," another Season 3 episode, where Hotch and Rossi investigate a woman's abuse claims while the rest of the team goes after an erotomaniac stalker.
* UnexpectedGenreChange: The comic-based scenes in True Night, featuring someone who looks like [[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI Al'tair]] fighting werewolves. [[spoiler: They're actually a metaphorical representation of a comic artist killing gang members who killed his girlfriend; he's unknowingly drawing his crimes]].
* UnflinchingWalk: At the end of "Hopeless", where the [=UnSubs=] decide to commit suicide by cop, and the policemen outside are so frustrated and angry they happily oblige. Knowing that they can do nothing to help, Hotchner, Rossi, and Prentiss walk away, while the hell breaks loose behind their backs.
** And promptly declare INeedAFreakingDrink, as we see in the final montage.
* {{Ungrateful Bastard}}s: In "Painless", this fueled the [=UnSub=]'s anger, as not only did [[spoiler:the media ignore his survival to focus on a top ten list of survivors]], but [[spoiler:one of them stole his story and took all the credit for ''his'' actions]].
* UnholyMatrimony: "[[spoiler:The Perfect Storm]]," "Mosley Lane," and "The Thirteenth Step.". Also possibly [[spoiler: "Divining Rod"]].
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: In ''Compulsion'', the [=UnSub=] is setting fire to buildings all over campus. By the time the episode starts, three buildings have already been destroyed by this psychotic arsonist. And yet, every student continues to go along with their merry lives, worrying more about their homework and relationships than their lives, parents aren't arriving in hordes to take their children home, and the administration is doing little to protect their students other than helping the BAU and pulling the fire alarms.
** Near the end of "Psychodrama" no one (up until the birthday party scene, and even then it takes a bit) notices the [=UnSub=], who is wandering the streets in broad daylight, tweaked out of his mind and brandishing a MAC-10 machine pistol.
** In "Mayhem" as well... no one on the streets of New York gives much thought to guys dressed all in black with hoods completely covering their faces, even though the clothing worn by other civilians suggests it is not winter. Even after said [=UnSubs=] ''shoot strangers execution-style in broad daylight'', they still manage to get away undetected 6 out of 7 times. Because by the time they round a corner, and put the gun in their pocket, they're don't look all that out of place again.
* UnreliableNarrator: "Normal." Maybe you figured out before TheReveal that [[spoiler: there was no one else in the car]], but did you see it coming that [[spoiler: ''every interaction'' with his family in that episode was a delusion and that he'd killed them before the BAU had even arrived]]?
** That is actually a CallBack to the earlier on in the episode when the come to the inevitable conclusion that [[spoiler: he was going to kill his family eventually, after killing all those other victims, but they had no idea when. This is further proven when they go into the last room and you can see near-fresh blood stains on the bed sheet]].
* VerbalTic: Reid's preference for [[SesquipedalianLoquaciousness highbrow synonyms]]: "exceedingly" instead of "extremely", "consume" instead of "eat", etc. Also, his tendency to say "actually..." and then go on a long-winded explanation of something to correct someone.
* VerySpecialEpisode: More than a few occasions.
* VigilanteExecution: "A Real Rain", "Demonology", and "Reckoner". Also played with in "True Night", where [[spoiler: the [=UnSub=] is a vigilante getting revenge on gang members for his girlfriend's murder, only without knowing that he is doing so]].
** There are also a few episodes where the [=UnSubs=] ''themselves'' undergo these: "[[spoiler:Aftermath]]", "[[spoiler:Brothers In Arms]]", "[[spoiler:Ashes and Dust]]", and, ironically, "[[spoiler:Reckoner]]".
*** Averted in "[[spoiler: Tabula Rasa]]" and "[[spoiler: Exit Wounds]]."
** [[spoiler:TimCurry's character]]'s death came across as one part this and one part SuicideByCop. He wanted Derek to shoot him and was going to shoot the hostage to get him to do so, but Derek seemed a ''little'' too eager to give him what he wanted.
* VillainEpisode: "True Night"; other episodes prominently feature the killer, but none of them have the spotlight shine as brightly on them as this one.
** In the opening of most episodes you see what happens to the victim, and then follow the BAU as they slowly uncover who the killer is and why he kills. In "True Night" this is reversed: You know immediately who the killer is, and over the course of the episode you find out who he killed and why.
*** That might be because "True Night" starred [[MalcolmInTheMiddle Frankie Muniz]].
** "The Longest Night" is one for Billy Flynn.
** "The Big Wheel", though not quite to the same extent as "True Night".
* VomitingCop: "No Way Out", "Valhalla".
* TheWatson: Usually the role of the local cops of the week.
* WackyMarriageProposal: [[spoiler: Garcia's boyfriend runs a few of these past Morgan, but ultimately proposes in her office while giving her her favorite foods. Sadly, she's not interested in taking things to the next level because she knows terrible things can happen out of nowhere (or the possibility that she might be a doom magnet)]].
* WesternTerrorists: "Lo-Fi"/"Mayhem", "Amplification", and "Valhalla"/"Lauren".
* WellDoneSonGuy: [[spoiler: The son of TheButcher, to the point where, at age ten, he ''knocked out his own mother'' to help his dad kill her, then repressed it, then started helping his dad go hunting. It didn't help that, even if The Butcher showed approval, he'd just forget it due to his Alzheimer's]].
* WhamEpisode: "Profiler, Profiled", "Lucky", "The Big Game"/"Revelations", "Lo-Fi"/"Mayhem", "...And Back"/"Nameless, Faceless", "100", "Valhalla"/"Lauren", and "Brother's Hotchner/"The Replicator".
* WhamLine:
** "[[PunctuatedForEmphasis There. Were. Rules!]]" [[spoiler: Randall Garner, right before shooting Elle in her home]] at the end of "The Fisher King: Part 1".
** "Hey, Garcia? I've been thinking about doing this all night." ([[spoiler: Jason Battle to Garcia, before shooting her]] in "Lucky")
** From "Lucky":
--->'''Father Marks''': God is in all of us.
--->'''Floyd Feylinn Ferrell''': [[spoiler: [[ImAHumanitarian So is Tracy Lambert]]]].
** From "3rd Life":
--->'''Reid''': When does it end, Jack?...When does it stop?
--->'''Jack Vaughan''': [[spoiler: Tomorrow. *BLAM!*]]
** "Don't tell them about your brothers." ([[spoiler: The mother to the young son of a family of killers]] in "Bloodlines")
** "Did you get all that?" (Rossi to [[spoiler: Garcia]] in "Masterpiece")
** "You should've made the deal." ([[spoiler: Foyet to Hotch]], in "...And Back")
** [[spoiler: "She never made it off the table." JJ breaks Prentiss' death to the team]], in "Lauren"
*** And then, even more so, [[spoiler: "Good luck." "(Emily's voice) Thank you."]]
** From "Divining Rod":
-->[[spoiler:'''Helen Garrett''']]: Have you ever read ''1001 Arabian Nights''?\\
[[spoiler:'''Dylan Kohler ''']]: No, what's that?
*** [[spoiler: Everyone thought a copycat sent letters quoting the book to the original killer, who died reciting the quote; turns out the letters were from the original's wife who has since decided to embrace her "ability" to amplify serial killing tendencies after the copycat fell in love with her]].
** The ''closing quote'' in "The Inspiration'' manages to be one:
-->'''Hotch:''' Josh Billings once said, "There are two things for which we are never really prepared for: [[spoiler:[[EvilTwin twins]]]]."
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Did we ever find out who the target was in the hospital (which the Secret Service had locked down) in "Mayhem"? We're given little context to draw from, and the Secret Service guards many different public figures, not just the President and Vice President. We're clearly supposed to know the individual in surgery is very important, but the writers neglect to name who it is, and leave viewers hanging.
** To be important enough to cause ''literal'' "Mayhem" and be the target of a terrorist attack, it would have to be, most likely, the VP or the President. However, with no hints within the episode besides their political importance, it's difficult to say which of those two it would actually be.
** "In Name and Blood" the Hotchners' home phone rings, so Hotch picks it up, but after saying "Hello?" once or twice, gets no answer. Immediately after whoever was on the other end hangs up, Haley's personal phone starts ringing, but she doesn't answer it, and after talking to Hotch, leaves with it. What was up with this is never given an explanation.
*** While never explained, it is implied by the suspicious look on Aaron's face and the guilty look on Haley's and her defensive behavior that the phone call is from whomever Haley is having an extra-marital affair with.
*** Or it could be Haley's lawyer, calling her to discuss divorce options and didn't want Hotch to know about it.
** In "It Takes a Village", the [[spoiler: scarification]] inflicted by Ian Doyle in "Lauren" evidently disappeared without a trace. (But at least we did find out What Happened to the Cat, i.e. Sergio.)
** In the episode "Identity", Reid is working on a map that would help narrow down where the [=UnSub=] lives. Rossi asks how the map is coming along and Reid replies that he's almost finished with it, then it's never mentioned again.
** In season 1 we meet Hotch's little brother for a single episode- he is never seen nor mentioned again. At the end of the episode it is shown that he has left to become a cook / chef in a New York restaraunt; the team has worked several cases in New York since then, but Hotch still hasn't bothered to drop in.
*** Explained that Hotch was kind of tired of dealing with him - Sean finally re-appears at the end of season 8.
* WholePlotReference: All the time, usually as a method of [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruction]].
* [[WhosLaughingNow Who's Laughing Now]]: "Elephant's Memory".
** And [[spoiler: "52 Pickup"]], only for the first victim.
* WireDilemma: "Won't Get Fooled Again".
* TheWorfEffect: Morgan, usually an [=UnSub=]-beating machine, has been Worfed in both the sixth and seventh season finales, in the former by TheDragon and in the latter by the BigBad. [[spoiler: He managed to turn the tables on the first, but actually needed Hotch to save him from the second]].
** He was also taken out by The Reaper in "Omnivore", and didn't even get the chance to recover. This was apparently done at Shemar Moore's suggestion, who thought Morgan needed to finally lose a fight.
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: "True Night," "A Real Rain," "The Thirteenth Step," "Pleasure Is My Business," "The Perfect Storm," "Elephant's Memory", "Jones", and ''especially'' "The Uncanny Valley."
* WoundedGazelleGambit: The [=UnSubs=] from "The Perfect Storm", "Supply & Demand" and The Reaper pull this.
* WriterRevolt: And actor revolt, and creator revolt... basically, no one is happy with the reduced roles and departures of Prentiss and JJ. You'll notice how "budget issues" and "the higher-ups" tend to get mentioned a lot in season six...
* YouBastard: The team is rather disturbed at the public fascination with serial killers. Rossi encounters it more frequently, through his books and author appearances, and still seems baffled every time.
** Reid might qualify as an exception; he seems to be the only one of the team who is interested in criminal psychology for its own sake rather than just as a means to stop dangerous people. For example, he describes the near-unique psychological traits of the [=UnSub=] from "The Big Wheel" as "absolutely fascinating".
** Special mention should go to the [=UnSub=]'s audience in "The Internet Is Forever."
* YouGotMurder: "Won't Get Fooled Again". Played with in "Poison", where [[spoiler: the [=UnSub=] tries to kill his former bosses by poisoning the glue strips of envelopes they are using]].
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: "Poison", "The Fisher King", "Honor Among Thieves" and "Middle Man".
* YouLookFamiliar: Jason Wiles played the [=UnSub=] in "Psychodrama" and the abducted father in "The Fight".
* YouWouldMakeAGreatModel: This was the tactic of the killer in "Fear and Loathing." Although he doesn't rape his victims. He records their voices as trophies and kills them by drugging and strangling them.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle
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