On Criminal Minds season 11’s “Internal Affairs,” Hotchner and his team were recruited by the NSA to investigate the death of one DEA agent and the disappearance of two others. The team’s ongoing involvement with darknet gave Hotch the perfect cover to investigate a possibly shady agent without arousing suspicion. The profilers headed to the border town of El Paso and into the seedy world of drug cartels. While Hotchner worked to uncover a mole, the team also raced against the clock to find a serial killer before he struck again.

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Hotchner Is Assigned a Covert Mission

Tony Axelrod asked the BAU to investigate the murder of one DEA agent and the disappearance of two others. The NSA and DEA were working together to take down Libertad, a drug cartel with a pervasive online and on-ground presence. Axelrod’s real motivation for involving BAU was so Hotch could try and unearth a possible mole, Bernard Graff. Graff was the assistant DEA director in charge of the operation. Hotchner decided to follow up on Graff on his own, only telling Rossi about the mission within a mission.

The UnSub’s MO Doesn’t Add Up

The dead agent’s body had another man’s face on top of his own. The team believed this could be the cartel’s way of sending a message. After seeing the corpse, Rossi and Morgan learned from the medical examiner that the UnSub went to great lengths to attach one face to another, indicating he spent a lot of time with the body postmortem. Rossi said this type of meticulous detail didn’t seem like the work of a cartel killer.

Graff Gives Hotch a Lead 

Graff informed Hotch that there were multiple darknets, and Tor network is just one. With over two million users, Tor was vulnerable and users were switching to Hornet. Graff told Hotchner he believed Montolo’s hitmen had already made the jump. Graff also mistakenly thought Hotchner was nosing around because he believed the DEA cyber team had access to a Hornet router. 

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The UnSub Reveals His Freaky Side

The two missing DEA agents, Sarah Miles and John Portman, were being held hostage by the killer. The UnSub took John, and Sarah assumed he was dead. Later, it looked as if John had gotten away and returned to help Sarah. In reality, it was the UnSub wearing Portman’s face which he flung to the ground much to Sarah’s shock and horror.  

A Serial Killer Uses Warring Drug Cartels to Cover His Tracks

Garcia discovered there was a serial killer investigation started amid all the cartel chaos back in 2011. Four bodies were found over the course of six months, all with their faces removed. It was determined that the condition of the bodies was just the calling card of a new street gang. The detective in charge sent a copy of the report to the police in El Paso in case there had been any similar killings on the other side of the border. JJ commented there hadn’t been until John Portman.

A Clandestine Meeting and an Unexpected Death

Graff called Hotchner and told him to meet him at a local bar. Hotchner was suspicious Graff was setting a trap, but it was Graff who wound up dead. He was found with a gunshot wound to the head in the front seat of his car. Axelrod was convinced Graff committed suicide because he feared he was going to be exposed.

Hotchner Learns Graff Is Clean

One of Graff’s agents, Adrienne Mitchell, told Hotchner she believed Graff was killed by the Libertad mole. Graff was the one who alerted the NSA that an insider might have been running Libertad, an individual known only as George Washington. Graff thought Hotchner might have been the mole, but changed his mind when Hotchner was genuinely clueless about Libertad leaving the Tor network. 

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A Soccer Mom with a Dark Secret

The BAU learned the identity of the man whose face was put on top of the first dead DEA agent was a man named Arvin Cole. This low-level drug dealer had been in contact with a seemingly squeaky clean mother of three named Jillian Carter. JJ and Rossi questioned Carter who played stupid even though a witness saw her with Miles, and she was tied to Cole by email and phone records. Only after Rossi and JJ threatened to tell her husband did Carter admit she was the nexus between Libertad’s ground and online operations. 

Hotchner Accuses Axelrod of Foul Play

Hotchner went to Axelrod and insisted Graff was set up. Mitchell had a flash drive belonging to Graff full of evidence against the mole. Hotchner concluded that the head of Libertad was an insider, and he believed it to be Axelrod. Someone from the NSA had requested the police report the detective in Mexico sent to El Paso. The request came from an onsite server, and Axelrod was out of the country on the date the request was sent. 

Morgan and Lewis Stumble Upon the UnSub

Any cartel member Carter considered suspect was told to meet her in a place called Esperanza Valley. Morgan and Lewis followed up, but all they found was closed general store. Garcia pulled up information on the proprietor, a man named Jacob DuFour. Sketchy cell service prevented her from warning them that DuFour was seriously disturbed, and most likely the UnSub. Lewis unknowingly knocked on his door. DuFournshot Lewis with a stun gun, but Morgan came to the rescue, killed DuFour and Sarah Miles was rescued. 

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The Head of the Cartel Is Arrested

Hotchner meets with CIA Director Brian Cochran. Hotchner informed Cochran the BAU team had caught DuFour, but that the killer had not been working alone. He had a partner putting victims directly in his path, and that partner was Cochran. Cochran was the one who requested the file on the 2011 slayings. Hotchner also found 5 million in bitcoin, an anonymous form of currency, in an account that was traced back to Cochran (kind of defeats the purpose of anonymity). 

Criminal Minds season 11 airs Wednesdays at 9pm on CBS. 

(Images courtesy of CBS) 

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.