10 Best Episodes of Criminal Minds: Unsubs That Still Haunt Us

Ever wanted a detailed exposition of the police work and the brainpower it takes to track down the most wanted criminals of this nation? Criminal Minds packages it with hours of entertaining and intriguing stories that deconstruct the mystery. Here are the best episodes of Criminal Minds you can binge-watch.

List of the Best Episodes of Criminal Minds

#1. Entropy


Image source: IMDB

• Season: 11
• Episode: 22
• IMDb: 9.2/10

Easily one of the best episodes of Criminal Minds in terms of screenplay. It follows the story of a woman named Cat Adams who works for a mysterious assassination group called the “Dirty Dozen.”

Spencer Reid, the supervisory special agent with the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), decides to go undercover, pretending to be on a blind date to meet up with Cat. He pretends to have a job for her organization, but Cat wasn’t born yesterday. She catches on to Reid’s ploy and starts playing mind games.

What follows is a subtle verbal chess game with each trying to take the other down.

#2. Moseley Lane

Moseley Lane

Image source: IMDB

• Season: 5
• Episode: 16
• IMDb: 9.0/10

There’s a mysterious predator in Ashburn, Virginia, who’s been abducting children for over eight years and has been successfully evading the local police. The BAU has been summoned to investigate and profile this crook.

There have been cases of 12 missing kids, all of whom were kidnapped the exact same way. Upon investigating, the BAU uncovers how they were all taken at the same age.
Here’s an interesting bit of trivia — did you know this was the first episode directed by a member of the main cast?

#3. Extreme Aggressor

Extreme Aggressor

Image source: IMDB

• Season: 1
• Episode: 1
• IMDb: 7.9/10

A good series sets the tone for the show in the first episode itself. This is the very first episode of Criminal Minds and where it all begins.

The plot is simple but the action enthralling. A woman goes missing in Seattle and her body surfaces after a week.

Her murder is eventually connected to 3 other murders that took place in the same fashion, and the killer is labeled as the “Seattle Strangler.” His MO is that he kidnaps women and holds them prisoner for no more than a week before he brutally strangles them.

#4. Date Night

Date Night

Image source: Criminalminds.fandom.com

• Season: 15
• Episode: 6
• IMDb: 8.710

If you’ve watched the Entropy episode from earlier, you cannot miss the next part. Cat Adams has been arrested by Reid and is awaiting a death sentence, but Reid still needs more intel on her crew.

Their third coffee date ends abruptly when the BAU gets a phone call about Cat’s father being abducted. The kidnappers demand that Cat be released in exchange for the father’s security. In spite of being on death row, Cat oddly shows no interest in wanting to be released. This makes Reid suspicious of a conspiracy stirring.

#5. Lauren


Image source: IMDB

• Season: 6
• Episode: 18
• IMDb: 8.8/10

The BAU sees a new hell in this episode when BAU Unit Chief Emily Prentiss disappears, leaving her badge and gun behind. They have to bring in an old friend, Jennifer Jareau (J.J.), to provide intel on Prentiss’ CIA background.

They learn that Prentiss was working with an international team on the profiling of Doyle, an IRA terrorist. Thanks to the light J.J. sheds on Prentiss’s CIA past, her recent behavior up to disappearing starts to make more sense. They believe it’s possible she’s set out to track and punish Doyle herself.

#6. Mr. Scratch

Mr. Scratch

Image source: IMDB

• Season: 10
• Episode: 21
• IMDb: 8.8/10

Three different murders take place in three different parts of the country. In each case, the killer is actually the victim’s lover and they all claim they were being tormented by a supposed “shadow monster” with “talons.” This hints strongly at some form of drug-induced psychosis.

In their search for the missing link, the BAU uncovers that all three killers were adopted around the age of 3 or 4. The suspect is likely someone in the adoption system with the skill of controlling minds and causing delusions.

#7. Zugzwang


Image source: IMDB

• Season: 8
• Episode: 12
• IMDb: 8.8/10

Part of the series also revolves around the personal hardships and tragedies of the main characters, to convey how their own troubles can affect their work.

In this episode, Ried meets his match. He discovers that his girlfriend has been kidnapped by her stalker, which leaves him broken and desperate. However, he needs to make an intelligent move, and quickly, in order to save her.

This episode is titled after the German chess term for “the compulsion to move” to accentuate Reid’s strife of having to make a move despite the odds being against him.

#8. True Genius

True Genius

Image source: IMDB

• Season: 7
• Episode: 11
• IMDb: 8.6/10

This episode was inspired by the real-life “Zodiac Killer,” the pseudonym of a northern California serial killer who operated during the ’60s and ’70s. No one knows the true body count of his victims because he was never caught or identified.

One day, a young couple, David and Nicole are found shot to death, with cryptic messages on the scene. The MO of the killer in this episode is so similar to the Zodiac Killer that the local police detective strongly believes it to be his continued work.

#9. Amplification

Amplification criminal minds

Image source: IMDB

• Season: 4
• Episode: 24
• IMDb: 8.6/10

This episode throws a serious oddball in the way of the BAU as it involves a biological weapon. One day, 12 people visiting the Quiet Hills Park mysteriously come back with anthrax poisoning. The anthrax virus is sophisticated enough that it seems to have been developed by someone with a virology background.

It is the work of the terrorist serial killer Chad Brown who seeks to demonstrate how vulnerable entire countries are to biological weapons being used for terrorist attacks. He manages to get close to Reid and infect him. Now Reid has to solve this case from quarantine before his time runs out.

#10. Revelations


Image source: IMDB

• Season: 2
• Episode: 15
• IMDb: 9/10

When Reid finds himself a victim of kidnapping, the only clues the BAU has to go on for a suspect profile are a house, a computer, and a live feed directly from the kidnapper.

The kidnapper Tobias Hankel is also a serial killer who suffers from split personality disorder. He is a religious fanatic who seeks to punish immoral people, and is a drug addict, so that’s quite a handful. Even for Reid, as he finds out.

A Few Parting Words

Criminal Minds is a lot of things. It not only explores the darkest recesses of the human mind but also the sheer number of ways that darkness can manifest when combined with power, logic, or even science.

The series is not for the faint of heart. These are only some of the best episodes of Criminal Minds, the entire series is a trove of many more.

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