Criminal Minds pays tribute to Meshach Taylor, who played Harrison Scott, Rossi’s former Marine sergeant, as Rossi receives news that he has died. Coinciding with a vacation to see his daughter, he isn’t a profiler in “Anonymous,” but a man who has lost his friend and a father still getting used to being “Dad.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the team travels to Tallahassee, Florida, to investigate when an UnSub calls 911 before shooting his victims, and it’s not only a sad case, but it’s also one that can only end one way.
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What’s the Connection Between the Victims?
The UnSub’s first victim is a woman he’s driving to the hospital. He helps her out of the car and props her up against a tree outside the hospital, but then he suddenly turns, answers her “thank you” with his own “thank you” and shoots her. By the time the BAU gets the case, it’s three days later. The woman, Betty, is brain dead in the hospital, and the UnSub has found another victim, Cliff, and bludgeoned and shot a man to death outside a church, using the same gun. Before they’re even discussing the case on the jet, he’s found a third victim, Victor, called 911, ditched the cell and shot him.
“You know, I would love one day to interrupt you on the jet to report that a stray puppy was found and saved and given the best home ever, but it’s not going to be today,” Garcia says to preface the report of the third victim. This time, however, there is a witness: the victim’s therapist. They had just finished a session, and he was going for coffee when sirens made him turn around. He saw the UnSub approach Victor, hit him over the head, then crouch down and move the gun around like he was looking for an angle. Another strange fact about this case is that it looks like the UnSub used “underkill” when it came to the blows to Cliff’s head. Why did the UnSub hold back?
At this point, “Anonymous” offers a look at the UnSub at home, and he’s not happy that the authorities “let” Victor die. His daughter, Estelle, checks on him, and he checks that she got her medicine. She apologizes for the bad years she put him through with the drugs and calls him a “lifeline” for her and her son. Even if the promos hadn’t revealed that organ donation was the common denominator here, it’s pretty easy to guess what’s going on with this UnSub.
The UnSub then goes after a fourth victim, only he finds that this guy’s apartment is covered in pill bottles and alcohol bottles, and there is no “underkill” present here. He’s shot multiple times.
They confirm that the same person made the 911 calls, and when they look at the surveillance video of Betty outside the hospital, Hotch notices that the UnSub looks at her bracelet. He realizes what’s going on just as Garcia finds the note that explains why Betty has been taken off life support and passed on but hasn’t been transferred to the ME yet: she’s an organ donor. All the victims are organ donors.
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How Far Will a Father Go for His Daughter?
The UnSub is engineering murder scenarios so his victims are attended to quickly enough for organ recovery. He’s creating a supply. The latest victim had substance abuse issues, and so he was a poor candidate for a transplant. For that, his punishment was cold-blooded murder.
When Estelle gets a call from her doctor that a liver didn’t go to her and she tells her father that there are many people on the list ahead of her and sicker than she is, the UnSub goes after Keith, from her support group and high up on the list. The BAU then realizes that he’s eliminating the competition, and that means that the UnSub is trying to help one specific person. To make matters worse, when Frank gets home, Estelle is on the ground and when he brings her into the hospital, her doctor tells him that time is running out and it’s only a matter of weeks. Resume your normal life, the doctor recommends.
At this point, the BAU focuses on finding out how the UnSub knew these people were organ donors. Betty had on the bracelet, but what about the others? The latest victim had a temporary license, the victim at the church had recently moved from New Jersey and the victim outside his therapist’s office had been mugged, so he’d need a replacement license. The DMV. That’s how Garcia identifies Frank Cosgrove, whose daughter is on the waiting list for a liver. He had been rejected as a living donor because of his high blood pressure. Yes, the DMV can be more than a place that has you waiting for hours. It can also be the perfect stalking ground for an UnSub.
Frank does resume his normal life, and because of that, he finds his next victim, Carol Murray, and after taking her photo, he tells her she’ll receive her license in 3-5 weeks. (Meanwhile, she’ll receive a visit from him in 3-5 minutes.) JJ and Morgan get Carol’s name from Frank’s boss and call her, but he grabs her before she can go back inside. They and the police arrive on scene, but he holds Carol hostage. Frank argues that his daughter deserves to live, that she’s a mother, and JJ tells him that Carol is also a mother while Morgan tries to convince him that his daughter wouldn’t want him to do this. Frank then shoots himself, and Estelle gets his liver. Even though the directive states that she won’t know it’s his, it’s not going to be hard for her to do the math.
Full Honors for a Fallen Marine
Rossi goes from so happy to so sad in a matter of moments. At first, he’s just looking forward to spending time with his daughter and fishing and even gives Morgan a quick lesson in his office with plastic fish. “It’s all in your technique,” he explains. “All those muscles of yours won’t help in something like this.” Morgan comments that he’s “taking time to smell the roses” and that “this daughter thing might be paying dividends,” and Rossi agrees. However, moments later, he receives word that Harrison Scott is dead.
Harrison had bone cancer, but as Thomas explains when he sees him at New Directions for Veterans, he made him promise not to tell anyone he was sick. Harrison knew he was sick even before Rossi last saw him, and because of that, Thomas is grateful that he had the time he did with his father. Rossi insists on taking care of the funeral for him and turns to Garcia to track down the men who served under Harrison in Vietnam, something the man himself had been trying to do with little luck.
Rossi had been flying to California originally to see his daughter, but Joy instead comes to him, and I have to admit, I may have been iffy about Rossi getting a daughter, but I do like their relationship — and after things felt a bit rushed between them when he went to meet her family right after meeting her, I like that he’s still adjusting to being called “Dad.” “There are times when families should be together, and this seemed like one of those times,” she says to explain her presence as she joins him outside New Directions. Rossi tells her about Harrison, how he straightened him out and helped make him the man he was that really made Joy possible. It’s a sweet scene, and him telling her he’ll educate her in Tony Bennett at the end is just the light-hearted note that the scene needs to end on.
Rossi makes sure that Harrison gets a funeral with full honors, just as he deserved, and Garcia tracked down the men she could from his unit so they can attend. At the end, Rossi takes a moment at his friend’s casket and leaves the photo of their unit and the medal Harrison gave him on top.
Criminal Minds season 10 airs Wednesdays at 9pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)