'Criminal Minds' Recap: Deadly Taxicab Confessions – BuddyTV (blog)

With “Drive,” Criminal Minds may make you think twice about those taxi and ride-share services. To make it even worse, let’s throw in a guillotine, because why not? Be careful when you get into a stranger’s car, even if you think it’s a legitimate service.

Meanwhile, Rossi and Tara bond over fixing up old cars. (The 1970s Opel and the 1947 Buick belong to series star Joe Mantegna.)

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Heads up

In Boston, a man walks a woman to her door, which seems sweet … until he won’t leave. He notes that she likes champagne, has expensive taste and then tases her.

In the last week, two headless victims (20-year-old Lily and 45-year-old Denise) were found in public places: a playground in Roxbury and a couch by the curb in the North End. Neither victim lived in the area, meaning the UnSub had to transport their bodies somehow. There are no signs of robbery or sexual assault, and the only things missing are their heads and cell phones. Why leave the bodies in public places? To shock who finds them? To spread panic and fear?

The UnSub puts his victim in a guillotine, bucket under her to catch her head. She begs him to let her go, promises she’ll never do it again and can only watch as the blade comes down to slice her head off.

By the time the team arrives in Boston, the third victim is found with bruising and swelling on her hands. The UnSub had to be strong enough to carry her body since there are no signs of dragging nearby. Again, her phone is gone.

According to the ME, the UnSub doesn’t need to have a medical background, just something razor sharp for a weapon. All the victims’ knuckles were broken in the same place, as if repeatedly hit by something. The UnSub could be torturing them before beheading them. What is different is how the first victim was beheaded; there are indications of a sawing motion. The worst part? There’s no evidence they were drugged or sedated. They were awake when they were killed.

They are able to find a connection among the victims: Southie. Also, they all seemed to be on the phone before their phones died. While the latest victim told her father she had been taking the T home, it was out of service at that time. She did order a car from Zimmer ride-share, but she cancelled it minutes later.

Profiling the UnSub

As they figure out, all three victims were involved in unethical situations they weren’t proud of. The third was depressed, shop-lifted and had her assets frozen because of allegations of insider trading. The first was on academic probation.

After Garcia calls in as she researches “super-sharp possible head-chopping weaponry” and begins looking into those in Boston who may have bought one of those swords, Reid rules out anything on her list. Looking over the crime scene photos, he notes that the method of killing has evolved since the first kill and what’s important to the UnSub is displaying the bodies in public.

“He wants to make an example out of his victims,” he explains and points to a guillotine as the murder weapon. Guillotines were used as instruments of justice, and crowds came to executions. Since the UnSub can’t do that, he’s doing the next best thing and leaving his victims in public. (Oh, and it’s way too easy to make your own guillotine, in case you were wondering.)

The UnSub picks up another fare, this time a man who is willing to pay double since the car he ordered is 10 minutes away and he has to get home. He’s on the phone, talking about how his wife thinks he was meeting a client and doesn’t suspect anything, and bam, the UnSub has his next victim.

Morgan and Tara visit the Zimmer offices since the first two victims also called for ride-share, and basically, they find out that even though the company does put its drivers through background checks, the drivers are independent contractors and the company is not responsible for anything that the drivers do. Yes, someone recently hacked their app, but it was just a rival company wanting their customer list. But it’s possible that the UnSub is a driver who was rejected or one with a criminal history that goes back more than seven years since background checks don’t go back that far.

They’re looking for a ride-share driver or someone posing as one, in his late 30s or early 40s due to the sophistication of his planning. He’s an injustice collector and holds onto grudges. A minor insult could cause him to go into a murderous rage. He may have been excessively disciplined at home, and striking the hands is a form of punishment.

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Is the UnSub’s Latest Victim Guilty?

The UnSub’s latest victim’s wife shows up at the police station, convinced her husband was taken because he’s a frequent ride-share user and didn’t come home last night. It was the first time in their 10 years of marriage. When they look into his supposed client dinner, however, they discover that he was actually in Southie, at a hotel, ordering for two. Yes, Anthony ordered a Zimmer car, and yes, it was cancelled minutes later.

The UnSub is certain that Anthony getting in his car was divine intervention, shows off the guillotine and demands that he tell him who Tanya is, hitting his hands when he lies that he doesn’t know who she is. Okay, she’s a woman from work, he admits. He calls and texts her a lot, the UnSub notes. He’s just like the others, thinking he’s in a private bubble on the phone in the back of the car, but he’s not. Admit he’s having sex with Tanya, the UnSub demands. Anthony insists he’s not. But the UnSub doesn’t believe him.

The BAU discovers that the victims’ last calls all featured them talking about their transgressions, and it’s likely the UnSub overheard, taking them from fares to victims.

Anthony comes to again in the guillotine and he again insists he didn’t cheat on his wife. He was just joking, he said, just guy stuff. Actions have consequences, the UnSub tells him. He can prove it, Anthony says, just let him call a friend. No, the UnSub decides. He’ll call Tanya.

But was Anthony cheating? He had been talking to his AA sponsor on the phone, and while he didn’t think Anthony was telling the truth about cheating, he also says that he’s good at lying.

Who is the UnSub?

When Tanya doesn’t answer her phone, Anthony begs him to give her time to call back. A flashback shows the UnSub as a kid getting hit with a ruler and called a liar. He gives Tanya 10 minutes.

When Anthony has five minutes left for Tanya to call back, the BAU figures out who the UnSub is. Garcia looks into teachers who believed in corporal punishment and scandals going back 30 years and found Principal Brendan Burke in Southie, arrested and charged with sexually abusing a 10-year-old student. His school was right in the middle of the UnSub’s hunting ground.

Burke was known in the community as a moral crusader. He killed himself 10 days ago, when the first victim was found. That was the UnSub’s trigger. He left a note apologizing for his sins of the flesh and moral weakness. Cross-checking his students with suspended drivers gets them an ID on the UnSub: James, a Zimmer driver who was fired six months ago due to negative reviews and an allegation he threatened someone with a hammer.

Anthony then starts praying, but all that does is lead to James remembering the same prayer on the wall next to Burke’s Wall of Shame. He’d hit them with rulers, even as the students insisted they weren’t lying and then take their photos and put them up on the wall.

Since Burke took his own life, James was denied the satisfaction of seeing him publicly humiliated and punished, so he punishes others he deems immoral.

Tanya calls back just in time, but the conversation James has with her only paints Anthony as a sinner. Anthony then begins begging for his life, promising it won’t happen again. But it doesn’t matter. It’s time for James to put him on his own Wall of Shame: in his refrigerator, with the other victims’ heads.

Hotch and Morgan show up in time, but they can’t talk him down. Instead, Morgan tackles James and Hotch manages to stop the guillotine blade before Anthony is beheaded.

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

(Image courtesy of CBS)

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