Review for Criminal Minds Episode 12×09, “Profiling 202”

Review for Criminal Minds Episode 12×09, “Profiling 202”


“Happy Birthday, Dear Agent Rossi…”


This offering felt different in many ways. The ghosting was different, the team byplay was different, which I guess makes sense because we no longer have Hotch or Morgan, and Reid was absent so we’re watching our show slowly change into and utilize a very different team dynamic.

But I loved that here Rossi was, back in the classroom teaching the next level recruits profiling… and Emily Prentiss was by his side, assisting and contributing. Did anyone else feel like we had just taken a mini-profiling class? That was cool. The Kobayashi Maru-style of role play was a device we’ve never seen before, and I dug it. Great effect.

I’m not a fan of Damon Gupton yet, though if he’s for sure staying, I hope to be one soon. I don’t know him at all, and he’s a stranger to a lot of us. I can tell you that I don’t like his Walker coming in and pretending to know all about the people on our team right away. He’s too familiar, too soon. He acts almost as if he’s been there longer than Alvez. And he makes me miss Morgan more than I already do. I chalk it up to the swagger.

The callbacks to the original episode (Profiling 101, also written by Virgil) were consistent, and of course CM got the same actor to play Tommy Yates (Adam Nelson), because that’s how they roll. I appreciated the attempts to give the UnSub more backstory, as it fleshed out his motivation. And I cracked up (sorry) when he said his grandmother would sit on him. What? Is that really a thing?

I liked how Rossi explained his process, and I enjoyed how it was shot (thanks, Rob Bailey). By the way, here’s Rossi’s recipe for the Spaghetti Carbonara he ritually makes, courtesy of Joe Mantegna:


The scenes with Emily and Rossi where she turned the advice tables on him were warm, and thoughtful. I felt they did a good job of showing the type of friendship Rossi and Emily have always had (one that he had shared with Hotch, too), and that no, she wasn’t being his boss in those moments, but a pal who could see something was up and wanted to help. Em of course knows the history of Rossi’s grim birthday “date”, and just wanted to make sure he was okay, which meant maybe using his own ammo against him to get him to see reason.

I understand the choice Rossi made to save the living woman’s life, rather than give closure to the grieving families of Yates’ previous victims. It was the right choice, but it’s sad that there won’t be any more reveals from Rossi’s list. I asked Virgil if Rossi regretted killing the UnSub and here’s his response:

“I think he struggled a bit. That’s not to say he thought twice about shooting Yates to save that woman. Rossi did what he had to do. But he’ll be forever haunted by the fact that he’ll never recover Yates’ old victims.”

Virgil’s episodes have heart. Whether or not you’ve decided to like him personally, or think yourself capable of judging his writing, you have to recognize the copious amount of genuine feels he brings to the screen each and every time he pens an episode. Thank you for this continuation of, and revisit to, a previous episode, and for holding up show canon while simultaneously introducing a new and interesting storytelling device.

I really missed Reid, though.


Written by: Virgil Williams

Directed by: Rob Bailey

12 thoughts on “Review for Criminal Minds Episode 12×09, “Profiling 202”

  • January 8, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I unfortunately did not like the episode at all. I absolutely love Rossi and Joe is just beyond belief amazing but the episode dragged for me a lot. Also the new guy was boring as hell. Way too many people on this show now I have no idea why they saw a reason to bring another person onto the team… I did not connect to him at all and to be honest, him being brought on the team kinda pisses me off. It seems like CBS has no regard for what the fans want. Were they that afraid of having more females than males on the show? I loved the team how it’s been the episodes before this. All in all this episode had the makings of being the worst episode of the season so far. Funny enough, Virgil Williams is responsible for the best episode in YEARS (Sick Day) and then the worst episode of the season (Mirror Image). Hopefully this was just a flop and the season can go on from here.

  • January 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    I loved Mirror Image (as you can see by my review), and Virgil didn’t write it, Breen did.

    Virgil wrote one more this season too that we’ve yet to see: “Assistance is Futile”, episode 12×16.

  • January 8, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    I have not been watching the show. Because of a new job and early hours. School Bus Driver. I know Morgan’s, @ Hotchner’s charector’s are no longer on the show. Has Reid’s been let go as well?

    • January 8, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Despite what a certain faction would have you believe, no, our dear Doctor Reid is still very much with us.

      Spencer’s absence is due to him going to Houston to be with Diana, his mother, for a time. Matthew is already shooting new episodes.

  • January 9, 2017 at 3:04 am

    I enjoyed the ep. I actually didn’t mind Damon’s character… Think I was mesmerized by his deep voice… I missed Reid alot, though not as much as last season, I think because this time his absence was not a surprise like last time. Also there were no insulting comments about him like last time, though I wish he had been mentioned, especially after Emily told him to keep in touch. Also another reason I didn’t notice him missing as much was because JJ, Alvez, Garcia and Lewis were missing for big chunks too.. The story was good, feel sorry that Rossi won’t now get all the names of Yates’ victims but at least he has his birthday back. Looking forward to the rest of this season especially what is in store for Reid…

  • January 9, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I thought the episode itself was pretty good story-wise bringing back Tommy Yates, Rossi’s history with him and the class lecture/hunt for the killer. Joe Mantegna is always great no matter what he’s doing, whether he’s intense or pissed off or cracking wise. I did like Emily’s support in this episode but I’d like to see more camaraderie in the team since she returned not too long ago. I don’t care for the new guy and I’m still getting used to Alvez and even Lewis. They already have two new people and Hotch and Morgan are gone; I don’t need another new guy! The team dynamic seems quite skewed now and that is the main thing keeping me watching since there are so many other crime shows you can watch if you don’t need to know the personal lives or care about the characters

    • January 10, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      I really enjoyed this episode. Any episode that features Joe will indeed be a great one. It kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering who was next. Although not all the victims were found, I thought using Rossi’s premises a great way to end the search. Something was said that made me think that was going o happen.
      I love the present cast. They are melding together quite well. I really don’t miss the others. Law and Order has been on for 17 seasons with various cast members and they are doing well. After seeing MGG in an orange jumpsuit, I am somewhat worried about Reid. But I’ll take your word for it that Reid is still alive. You notice I didn’t say alive and well. Reid always seems to get himself in harm’s way.
      Anyway, 12.9 was a great episode and look forward to more.

      • January 16, 2017 at 10:16 am

        speaking of law and order (the SVU spinoff); I started watching almost from the beginning and stopped watching not long after Chris Meloni left the show.
        even though the storylines are still compelling and replacement actor/characters are good, the Benson/Stabler pairing had just the most amazing chemistry to make me care about the characters. I’ll still watch reruns of the old episodes (even when Benson was not on or absent like when Stabler was paired with Dani Beck or the focus was on secondary characters like Finn paired with Munch or Chester) but I won’t watch the newer episodes that have replaced everyone except Olivia.

  • January 16, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    I’m having such a hard time with the new cast!!!!! LOVE Prentiss, but her being unit chief doesn’t feel right. I’m not happy with Hotch just being gone. They at least needed to show a little hustle to finding Scratch and give some hope as to them being safe even if he never comes back. Maybe some screen time for Jessica and Haley’s dad. Damon Gupton unfortunately doesn’t fit. However, I LOVE Alvez. Dare I say even more than Morgan? Only thing missing, for real, is Hotch. Not sure I’ll ever get over it. Just won’t be the same! The team isn’t complete. Once was the best show on tv, but now I find it hard to even connect to the characters! Still praying that things may be resolved with Thomas Gibson and producers.

    • January 16, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      I understand those that are having a hard time. It’s a period of adjustment and I’ve not altogether gotten my sea legs yet, either. Agree that Damon isn’t gelling, but as much as I miss Aaron Hotchner in some of these scenes… I would be very disappointed indeed if Thomas Gibson were to return to the show.

      Hotch isn’t just Hotch for me any more. He’s also Gibson’s temper. He’s also Gibson’s dismissal of other people’s worth. He’s also Gibson’s smug, insincere denial.

      Take it as you will. I’m no longer his fan. I’ll worship THE HOTCH I KNEW probably forever. But why would I want back someone who doesn’t exist any more?

    • January 19, 2017 at 9:27 am

      I respect your opinion but based on all the negative vibes by a fraction of the fandom I would stop watching if Hotch ever came back. They have soured the character for me, by demeaning all others and telling me he is all that is good with CM. And also, him coming back would only make sense if he was promoted to Section Chief because otherwise Prentiss would need to leave (based on her experience it would be an insulting demotion if he comes back as Unit Chief and she needs to be just a Profiler).

      I have stopped watching other shows when favorites left or stories have gotten boring. That is normal, but people wanting CM to be cancelled because their guy left? Not acceptable

  • February 2, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Love, love , LOVE Damon Gupton being added to the show! I just adore him, and he fills a gap with his calm demeanor. I was never a “Derek” fan -( sorry to his fans, but I found him arrogant ), and though I miss Hotch, and I could not imagine the show without him, I am totally embracing Damon. He fits, and completes the team.
    Thank you for bringing him into the fold!!! Great job, Criminal Minds!
    Welcome, Damon ?

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