In season 13 episode 4 of Criminal Minds, titled, “Killer App,” the BAU travels to California to help investigate a workplace shooting. They soon realize, however, that this is no ordinary shooting. Rather, this crime was not executed physically by an unsub, instead, it was carried out by a drone. The team must rush to find out who’s behind the tech before it’s too late.
A Shooting in Silicon Valley
The episode begins with a hip tech company in Silicon Valley. All of a sudden, shots ring out and the employees run and duck for cover, but no one can seem to see a shooter.
At the BAU, Prentiss asks Luke to her office to talk about what happened with Scratch. She says Luke wasn’t specific enough in his report. Luke admits that he didn’t try to help pull Scratch up. Prentiss said he did the right thing.
Homeland security calls the BAU for help with the workplace shooting at tech company, Ori-Gamey. The team heads to Silicon Valley. On the jet, the team evaluates what they know about the shooting so far. They haven’t found a shooter, nor has a terrorist organization claimed responsibility. Three victims of three different races were killed and the team theorizes that the shooting might be a hate crime.
When the team arrives in California, Prentis works with Homeland Security on the scene. Things aren’t adding up. The security guard who was killed had served in Afghanistan. He was shot several times but he never fired his weapon. Luke, J.J., Reid, and Simmons interview employees at the scene. A few people say they saw the shooter, but none of the stories add up. Prentiss and Luke play out what happened to the three victims. Abdullah was killed first, then Devlin and the security guard, one after the other. They theorize that there might have been two shooters.
Garcia calls the team with the name of a possible suspect, Hugh Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was fired, had a grudge, and was in the building earlier. The BAU tracks him down and he tries to outrun them in his car but fails. Hugh reveals that he tried to get away because he keyed his boss’s car. He insists, however, that he did not shoot up the office. The team, therefore, theorizes that the shootings are personal and that the three victims were killed for a reason.
Flash to another tech company where four employees are working. As they work, bullets start to fly, and all four people are killed. The BAU responds to the second shooting. Based on the four people killed, the team rules out a hate crime and confirms that the killer probably is targeting specific people.
Reid notices that no one responded to the shooter and that the trajectory of the bullets is too high to make sense. He realizes that there is no physical gunman. Instead, a drone is being used to attack the offices and the unsub controls it offsite.
In reviewing what they know, the team concludes that the security guard was the only one killed who wasn’t on the unsub’s list. J.J. discovers that the common thread between all the victims is a period of unemployment in 2016.
A blonde woman named Tori is talking on the phone in her car. She is afraid because coders “on the team” are dead. Then her car starts getting shot by the unsub. The BAU finds the shot up car, but the unsub has taken Tori. Tori works for a private military consulting firm called Peakstone. The team theorizes that Peakstone’s civilian drone operations could be the connection. Prentiss speaks with the Homeland Security agent, who insists that the BAU take over the case. The unsub, whose name is Jake, is holding Tori at gunpoint. He thinks she won’t remember him, but she does.
The team looks into Tori and find out she was in charge of drone teams consisting of coders and one pilot. They think the unsub is a former drone pilot blaming the coders on his team for making killing people seem like a game. Garcia calls in with helpful information. Tori’s team ran during the time in 2016 that lines up with the victims’ unemployment, until their contract was canceled in July 2016. The team’s last mission, attacking an insurgent camp, had a lot of casualties, 372 dead. Garcia is trying to find the unsub’s name from Peakstone but isn’t have much luck.
Meanwhile, Jake has brought Tori back to his house. She tries to convince him that he should be proud of his service, he kept his country safe. Prentiss goes to the Homeland Security agent, trying to get him to help her obtain the unsub’s name from Peakstone. The agent says he can’t help, but after Prentiss insists, he gives her his contact.
Still keeping Tori captive, Jake reveals he’s upset about the letter he received after the team’s contract ended that broke down every mission, including body count. When Jake puts down his gun, Tori takes the opportunity to grab it, fire, and run out of the house.
Prentiss returns to the team, letting them know Peakstone won’t give up the information. Simmons announces that Tori is at the hospital. When the team arrives, J.J. and Luke talk to Tori and she admits she shot Jake. When they ask about the casualty counts, however, Tori lies, saying Jake said nothing about casualty counts.
Rossi and Simmons go to Jake’s house and find him dead. He was shot multiple times, just like his earlier victims. Tori fired once and then dropped the gun on her way out. Rossi and Simmons wonder who could have wanted the unsub dead.
Back at the station, Garcia calls the team to let them know what she found out about the mission with the 372 casualty count. It turns out that there is no record of such a mission occurring at an insurgent training camp. Instead, she has finds that there was a bombing at an elementary school that matches the 372 count. Peakstone, the team realizes, covered up the bombing of the elementary school. They also find out that Tori was on the phone with the company when she was kidnapped.
Tori, therefore, is unfinished business for Peakstone, because she knows what happened with the elementary school. Not only did Peakstone kill Jake, but they were trying to kill Tori as well. Just as the team makes this discovery, a suspicious cop takes over watching Tori’s door at the hospital.
The cop goes in the room to shoot and kill Tori and the team arrives and arrests him. Tori reveals to J.J. and Luke that Jake blamed everyone on the mission team for turning him into a murderer. She also explains that Peakstone made her file fake reports and cover the mistake up. They place Tori under arrest. Rossi and Prentiss arrest the contact at Peakstone.
Back in D.C., Luke tells Prentiss that Tori cut a deal to testify against Peakstone. The government ended all contracts with the company and those responsible are going to jail. As Prentiss is swamped with paperwork, Luke offers Thai food and stays to share it with her.
What did you think of this complex episode? Did you feel sympathy for Jake, the unsub? What did you think of the brief conclusion to the Mr. Scratch saga? Let us know in the comments!
Criminal Minds season 13 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Criminal Minds Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of CBS)