Criminal Minds s10e13 Episode Script

Nelson's Sparrow

Are you sure? It's Gideon.
"The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.
" Harriet Beecher Stowe.
There are no fresh tire tracks, but keep the roadblocks going.
- He's got a three-hour head start.
- He's got a high-powered rifle.
He shouldn't be approached without backup.
Yeah, just tell them you're with us.
They'll let you through.
Is this how it's gonna go? All my friends dying off? First Erin, then Harrison, and now Jason.
Disease is one thing, but murder? I hadn't talked to him in years.
Me, neither.
How does that happen? Back in the day, I would have bet my life that we'd always be close.
But maybe we never were.
You know, it could be that after all these years, I just rewrote our history.
So you guys haven't seen Gideon in, like, eight years? He didn't say good-bye or anything? He left Spence a letter.
The way to love him was to let him be.
- Sounds intense.
- More like passionate.
He had that reputation.
Guess that's what it takes to be one of the godfathers of the BAU.
Yeah, he was a legend.
Yeah, I was excited he was teaching this class, and I signed up, but he only lectured twice.
Ah, because he found the Footpath Killer and came back to the unit.
I heard that's why he jumped ship.
There was always a method to his madness.
Maybe because he followed his heart.
So he retired and then got into these birds? Mm, yeah, birds have always been his thing.
Not sure why.
Graves Apple Farm is a mile from here.
They're his closest neighbors.
Called in the gunfire at 3:15.
Evidence of size ten boots, wide tread, likely rubber sole.
Between those and a high-powered rifle, it could be anyone from around here.
He didn't leave any casings.
There's not much evidence out here.
Then we'll just have to look at what he did.
He could have easily shot him from here.
It wasn't close enough he wanted to kill him in his own house.
Wounds him first because he's a coward, then doesn't have the guts to go inside until he's got the upper hand.
He'd only feel confident if he'd knew he'd weakened him.
Sounds like a hunter.
He wanted Gideon to know who he was.
He watched, waited and hunted him.
This is personal.
Who's that? Stephen.
Oh, my God.
He's not a kid anymore.
That's the slowest I've ever seen you type.
Snooping into Gideon's spending habits makes me feel like a creep.
Yeah, well, try looking through his bedroom.
- Oh.
You win.
- All right, so there was a newspaper, few days worth of clothes and hotel soaps.
Oh, he always did that.
He'd, uh, collect them and put, like, money and gum, and make these little bags, and keep them in his car, - give them to the homeless.
- Tells us he's been traveling.
A lot, according to his plastic, mainly down the East Coast.
But he came back home, so who knew that, and who would want him dead? We should start with recent releases.
Gideon's arrested a lot of people.
He's been a crime fighter since, what, 1975? Yup, 40-year sentence sounds pretty good until the 40 years are up.
Out of respect, I kept him covered.
Appreciate that.
Cause of death was hypovolemic shock due to ballistic trauma.
Three points of entry.
Left shoulder, right abdominal wall and right temporal.
- Did he suffer? - Not for long.
His brain stopped working before he was able to process his last breath.
After the final shot, he was gone within a fraction of a second.
Would you excuse us, please? Of course.
Thank you.
Did you hear any of that? He didn't suffer.
Listen to me.
Listen to me.
Sometimes you put up these walls and you block us out, and you can't do that, not right now.
We need you, kid.
Gideon needs you.
I'm gonna step right out there.
And when you're ready, let's go get this son of a bitch.
Who would want to kill my dad? That's what we're trying to figure out.
Did he say if anyone had contacted him recently? - You mean someone from his past or something? - Anything.
Well, after he left the BAU, he, uh, called to tell me about his list.
He never said it a bucket list, but that was the idea.
Anyway, uh, reconnecting with me was one of his things.
Which was ironic because most of my life, I felt like he was avoiding me.
He was gone so much of the time, I figured he regretted even having me.
That's not true.
I knew your dad pretty well.
And he had trouble with a lot of things.
Saying "I'm sorry" was one of them.
Okay, Gideon fueled up every 350 miles.
He probably stopped at some diners along the way, 'cause you know the man could, like, live off of milk shakes.
Definitely took his sweet time going down the coast, but booked it back from Jacksonville, and instead of coming here, home to his cabin, he stayed one night in Roanoke.
Why? That's only an hour away.
Spence? I just don't understand any of it anymore.
I guess I'm just looking for it again.
For the belief I had back in college.
The belief I had when I first met Sarah and it all seemed so right.
That's beautiful.
Who's Sarah? Gideon's first love.
You're remembering the letter Gideon left you.
I'm thinking maybe he rushed back and stayed in Roanoke because he was finally happy.
What if he found someone like Sarah again? How's the kid? Not great, but he'll get his head back in the game.
Rossi, this is crazy.
Gideon and I used to walk around scenes like this all the time.
He'd always say to me, "Morgan, I'm the UnSub.
How did I do it?" Well, first, I shoot my target from a distance, wounding him.
Then, I move in for the kill.
Gideon has the strength to shoot a few rounds into the door.
But he misses me because I've weakened his dominant hand.
Gideon didn't have the strength to hold his gun steady.
So, I stand over.
I get off on this.
My face is the last thing he'll see.
And then I finish him.
All right, most of the gunfire was from here to the door, right? So then why did Gideon shoot way over here into this wall? It's like this was done on purpose.
Shot's got to mean something.
The devil is in the detail.
I need to check something out.
Let's take a ride.
Um hi.
Do you need some help? Ah, pretty sure this thing is busted.
I've got a quarter.
Want me to try? It'll just eat it.
It already took three of my coins.
You have a phone I can borrow? Forget it.
Uh, no, maybe I can help.
What's wrong? Van won't turn over.
And my dog is sick.
- -Trying to call the vet 'cause they got a shuttle that'll come pick him up.
Here you go.
What's wrong with your dog? Oh, bum leg.
I thought a walk would help, but I think all that made his heart hurt.
You can pet him.
He won't bite.
He looks okay.
Yeah? That's good.
Maybe he just needs some water.
Good boy.
I just always thought I'd see him again.
I know.
I'd just really like to play one more game of chess with him.
I know I'm not being very rational, and I know I haven't seen him in a really long time, but I think about him all the time, and I knew he was always out there, and now it just feels empty.
But time will pass, and slowly you'll forget how much it hurts.
And maybe you'll find something else to fill that empty space.
I don't want to find something else.
I've never been in this building.
No need to.
This was the bomb shelter back in the day.
I'm sure we can find something dehydrated if you get hungry.
Damn if it doesn't smell the same.
We're back where it all started, my friend.
We were the Behavioral Science Unit back then.
This is awesome.
They called us the B.
We were pretty organized.
All right, I think this is it.
Salem, Virginia, Roanoke County, 1978.
Gideon was the lead on this one.
You know, we got enough material here for one hell of a book.
Don't you think? Huh? I said I'm gonna write a book someday, use all our hard work, take the credit for myself.
Make a million bucks.
That's nice.
What are you looking at anyway? Birds.
There's a third murder without motive in Salem.
A serial crime.
Let's get used to saying that.
For the past year, he's killed one woman every three months like clockwork.
So he's seasonal like Zodiac? Yeah, but he's not taunting us like Zodiac.
He's too obsessed with his own thing.
- What's his type? - 20-something, brunettes.
He strangles them, then leaves them in an open grave.
But here's the thing.
He puts dead birds in their hands.
- What kind? - Small, brown.
They look like every other bird I've ever seen.
But it's got to mean something to him.
Well, you got me hooked.
- Let's take a trip to Roanoke.
- You know, I want to talk to these victims' families.
Maybe there's a connection between them.
- Did you catch him? - No.
There was never a fourth body.
So he wasn't obsessed with the seasonal killing.
Maybe you forced him into hiding.
He was too fixated to stop cold turkey.
We thought maybe he was locked up or moved away.
And you never saw that signature again? No.
But Gideon must have seen something to make him leave Florida early and drive directly to Roanoke.
Go ahead, Dave.
Hotch, I think this is it, but I need to fill everyone else in.
The last thing Gideon did was to shoot a bird painting.
I think he was trying to tell us that his killer is the same one from a case we worked on in 1978.
So it was someone he locked up.
No, those murders went unsolved.
So this wasn't about revenge on Gideon if he didn't lock the guy up; then what was this? Maybe he went after Gideon because he was back on the case again.
The UnSub was strangling Garcia, were there any female bodies found in Roanoke County - in the past few days? - Let me check the crystal Web ball.
Uh Yes.
An unidentified woman in her 50s was found in a shallow grave just outside of Salem.
Was she strangled? That's the mystery.
There was no foul play.
Was there a dead bird in her hand? What? Ew.
None of that fowl play either.
What's the significance of the bird? Those little brown birds were the UnSub's obsession.
So how did Gideon get back on the case? He saw the story in a national paper, and it obviously piqued his interest.
What are the chances that the same woods and the same ritual make headlines again? But the signature was missing.
That's why he drove to Roanoke.
He needed to make sure - it wasn't just a coincidence.
- Well, clearly it wasn't.
And this woman would have been in her 20s back then.
Age-wise, that's his type.
Gideon must have thought the same thing.
If she was a victim, then she was held captive for 37 years.
Who knows what he did to her in all that time? What if he stopped killing because he found the victim he really wanted and held on to her? Her recent death could have sent the UnSub into a tailspin.
He's probably gonna want to find someone new.
And if it's anything like what he did before, he may hunt and kill until he finds the right one.
We'll meet you in Roanoke, Dave.
You need to stay here with Garcia.
- I know.
- Okay.
We need to retrace Gideon's steps.
- We know he arrived too late to see the body, which is probably why - he stayed overnight.
- Maybe he looked at the disposal site first and went to the M.
In the morning.
Would he have gone to the sheriff? Probably not, without evidence to back up his theory.
The Roanoke sheriff just sent me the report and a crime scene photo.
Gideon didn't have this photo, but he still had a hell of a hunch.
Wait a minute.
Gideon had a picture.
Search through his wallet.
There's a picture of a girl.
Sir, he has a lot of pictures in here.
Well, look at one of the older ones, like it was from a high school yearbook.
Tara Barnett, Roanoke High, class of '76.
That's her.
It's got to be.
We met her mother back then.
How long has Tara been missing? - Three days.
- You told the sheriff? He doesn't believe anyone kidnapped Tara.
Why is that? She isn't much of a looker.
Like they think no one would want her.
But you know this crazy man isn't taking the pretty ones.
When you told the sheriff your concerns, did he report Tara missing to other jurisdictions? No.
He told me to make a flyer.
That's it? Why? Because Tara ran away when she was in high school, a few times.
She wasn't a bad kid.
It's just her father's a real And sometimes the cops would come.
So they think she's run off again.
But Look, I might not be the best mother, but I love her.
And in my gut, I know something's really wrong.
Help me.
Ma'am, we have to work beside - the local law enforcement.
- But they don't believe me.
You have to convince them to file the proper paperwork.
Well, no one is listening to me.
- The FBI has no jurisdiction here.
- Please.
Can you just can you please This way I'm not the only one thinking about Tara.
Thank you.
You can't keep that.
You and your partner.
It's like seeing ghosts.
He still had Tara's picture, you know.
I know.
He was a good man.
What did you and Agent Gideon talk about? He wanted to know if she had a butterfly tattoo - on her ankle.
- Did she have that tattoo? Yes.
And now you're wanting to know, too.
So what's going on? That ink's pretty faded.
She must have got that - What was the C.
D? - Cancer.
- Cancer? - She was riddled with it.
No evidence of tissue damage from chemo or radiation.
At first I thought her severe muscle atrophy and bone loss was a side effect of the disease.
And she clearly lost her appetite, because her stomach shrunk to half its size.
You said at first you thought it was about the disease.
What changed your mind? Well, I hadn't finished the exam when I explained all of this to the other one.
What's his name? Gideon.
Yes, him.
Now that I've had time to fully examine the body, it tells a different story.
She's got ripped ligaments between her pelvic girdle and femur bone, like her legs had been dislocated multiple times.
She's got calluses like she was crawling around like a limp dog.
Have you ever seen that before? Yes.
On three young women many years ago.
He took the time to bring her all the way out here, but he didn't bury her.
Speaks to his remorse.
Yeah, he probably came here to visit.
And I'll bet this place has emotional value to him.
But leaving dead birds in his victim's hands was his signature, so why abandon it now? Maybe he outgrew it.
Keeping her for 40 years became his new obsession.
He's got to be comfortable here; it takes some time to gather all this.
Clearly not worried about getting busted.
Hotch? He put her on display.
It's a nest.
I'm waiting on the dead girl's case files from '78.
They didn't have any of them scanned yet, so it's gonna take at least an hour.
Found it in his freezer.
Mint chip.
That was his favorite.
Remember that birthday of his when he had the taste test? Yeah, you couldn't fool him.
It was the good stuff or nothing.
We haven't eaten since Last night.
This is too weird.
Yeah, it is.
For lots of reasons.
That was fast.
It was.
This is not then though.
This is now.
I set an alert for all things Roanoke, including the boring stuff.
This is not boring, this is bad.
There's a missing woman.
Her name's Josie Behdart.
Called on her cell to say she'd be five minutes late for her shift at the library, and she never showed up.
There she is.
He likes that age.
Hey, Hotch, there's another missing woman.
You need to get to the library on 3rd and Main right now.
Josie Behdart, 23, single.
She walked to work.
Local cops just found her cell phone in the trash can, and, surprise, no cameras.
And all the original reports confirm that each of the victims - was taken within a mile of this This guy's got a precise comfort zone it hasn't changed since '78.
My guess is there's another significance to this location.
A library could be his ideal hunting ground, a haven for the lonely.
I'm gonna check it out.
Gideon's plan in coming here was to prove his hunch, so he would've gathered enough to make a clean arrest and that's when he would've called us in.
Except he didn't get the chance.
The UnSub identified him first.
Where did he spot him? The places where the UnSub was hunting.
Local hangouts.
Where else would Gideon have gone? What can I get you? Did you see a white man in here yesterday early 60s? He was wearing a striped shirt, khakis, sneakers.
Oh, sure, yeah.
I usually only get regulars here, so it's easy to remember him.
Um, messed with his hands a lot.
I took his order, and he sat at this booth, breakfast to supper.
I gave him an extra piece of pie, he was here so long.
Speaking of which, let me get you gentlemen a slice.
- Uh, just coffee, please.
- Sure.
He knew this guy was a local and creature of habit.
And this place screams both.
Gideon stood out because he's neither.
That's how the UnSub knew who he was.
And you know he did something to make sure he got the UnSub's attention.
I'm gonna do that to you.
Takes a long time.
The librarian remembers Gideon.
He got a temporary card, checked out these books in the morning, left them in the drop box on his drive home last night.
He left the library and came here to read books.
It's classic Gideon, classic profiling.
He sat right here to let the UnSub know - he was watching.
- And it worked.
If Gideon was so sure he lured the right guy, why didn't he tell us? It's like the UnSub was his white whale.
He wanted to catch him on his own.
And his last move is when the UnSub targeted him.
The age of the victims has stayed the same as the UnSub has aged; it speaks to his arrested development.
So the question's what it's Why them, why now? Why them, why now? Why them, why now? It's called twitching in England.
I understand the appeal of it.
It's like hunting.
You hate hunting.
I hate it so much.
But bird watching it's kind of like what we do.
Everyone's got a name and a lineage, but it's the behavior that really distinguishes them.
Like this one here.
It builds courtship nests in evergreen hemlock trees.
The blue-headed vireo.
Is there a quiz later? And this one here.
A madly in love, overworked Italian who stops at every pay phone to call his wife and buys an incredible amount of postcards.
It's a David Rossi.
Not what you think.
See, you're collecting the kind of postcards you would collect if you had a kid.
But you don't have a kid.
Which means you and Carolyn are expecting.
We are.
- Mazel.
- And according to my mother and her Old World "hang the needle and thread over the belly" trick, it's a boy.
It's never been more important to catch a guy like this.
Everyone is someone's baby.
So, this book of yours what does it say about the kinds of birds he's leaving - in the victims' hands? - Nelson's sparrow.
See, they're secretive in nature.
They don't listen to their own instincts when they're in danger.
Instead of flying off, they scurry away by foot.
These victims their self-esteem is so low, they ignore their own instinct to fight or flight.
So they wouldn't trust their gut enough to scream or run away when danger's smack in front of them.
A person has to have enough self-worth to want to cause a scene.
Here you go.
And this unknown subject, he wants to claim his kill.
He makes it unique to him.
The bird in the hand is like A signature.
A signature, yeah.
I like that.
We should call it that.
This is it.
Nelson's sparrow.
It's what the UnSub left in their hands because its behavior matched that of the insecure victims.
So the UnSub really knew his birds and where to find them.
Was there some kind of bird lovers club in the area? Garcia, are there any nature centers or bird-watching chapters in the area? Uh, there's an old-timey bird-watching group called the Flappers, Median age of, like, 89.
They started in the '60s.
Most of the members have - gone extinct.
- And chances are the UnSub and his victims weren't a part of that group, so where would else would he meet them? Tara was his ideal.
What makes her so special? Tara's mother said she was broken.
And he knew that because he spent more time watching her - than the others.
- That's how he was able to study her and not just glance as she passed by the window.
She was a few years out of high school when she disappeared; maybe he knew her from there.
- She wasn't very social.
- Well, neither was he.
They were both in their 20s when she was taken.
If they weren't friends in high school, - maybe they worked together.
- Tara's mom said right out of school, she bagged groceries.
I've got Tara working at Joe's on Main, summer of '76 through '77.
Are there any employees at Joe's Supermarket who started in the '70s and are still there? Well, that's nearly 40 years ago in a galaxy far, far away that wasn't using my magic binary boxes, but, uh, the place is still family-owned and operated.
Give me a hot minute.
Okay, three of the people still working there are women.
That leaves two males.
- Here's a name I've heard before Mallick.
- Who? Gertie Mallick was one of the founding members of the bird group.
Died in 1974.
Her next of kin was her nephew Donnie Mallick, who inherited her farm and buys enough birdseed to let me know I should send you his address.
Do I crack it? I want to crack something.
Say I get to! You get to.
You or it? It.
You're so whispery right now.
Why so whispery? I'm scared.
You're scared.
That's funny.
Do I crack you or it? It.
It? Really? - It.
- Yeah? Crack it? - You sure? - Yes! It! It? Crack it?! I crack it? Okay, you say so.
What did that bird ever do to you? What did he do to you? Tell me.
He didn't hurt me.
Yeah? Babies having babies.
Zettie Mallick gave birth to Donald Allen Mallick in 1956, three months shy of her 14th birthday.
Father unknown.
When she was 18, she was sent to live in a mental health facility for schizophrenia, and four-year-old Donnie was sent to live with his only living kin, Aunt Gertrude.
I have no school records on him past 1971, and if I do the math from Aunt Gerty's death certificate, he's been on his own since he was 17.
The years of isolation in that house were his stressor.
That explains why he was obsessed with birds.
And when she died, he replaced her with Tara.
Hey! You can lock me up.
I still win.
I got my girls.
And I killed Jason Gideon.
You're right.
You'd be a big deal in prison for killing a federal agent.
A legend if you killed two.
This is wrong.
This is just plain wrong.
Pull over, Dave.
For God's sake, pull over! Look, the trail is dead.
The Bureau isn't letting us stay.
We can't just leave here.
We did the best we could, Jason.
That's not good enough, because he's still out there.
He's gonna do terrible things, and we won't find him, because there's so many of them and there's only three of us.
And we can't do it all.
We can't! Look at this.
We didn't find her.
This is someone's baby.
Do you get that? Of course I get that.
And you're right, we need more help.
- We need an army.
- Then let's get back and build our army.
But we aren't gonna get it with you screaming to the gods.
You know, if this writing thing works out, you can buy us a plane.
Oh, sure, yeah.
I can see it now.
You know, you've been pretty edgy.
What's really going on? You tell me, profiler.
I like that.
So, go ahead.
Tell me why I'm so edgy lately.
Simple, really.
Takes one to know one.
You're gonna be a father, too.
You're very good.
Not as good as me, but impressive, Agent.
What's your middle name? Stephen.
Why? He was brilliant at his job because of you.
He wanted your world to be as great as he knew you would be.
Thank you.
He always said you were his family.
I get it.
If you need anything, you know where to find me, Stephen.
He loved watching the seasons change from here.
Couldn't wait to get snowed in.
So, about ten years ago, we were sitting on the runway in Denver, and we're waiting for the wings to be de-iced.
And everybody's stressed out.
And suddenly, Gideon collapses in this fit of uncontrollable laughter.
You know, the crazy kind where he ends up in tears.
I know the one.
And he says that it reminds him of a case that you two worked in a blizzard in Upstate New York.
And there were no cars, so you had to take sleds.
The only time it isn't snowing is on the Fourth of July.
So, he says that there was a dare? A double dare.
To take a sled down Rattlesnake Hill.
There was this local kid must have been 12 he dares us to go down this incline that was legendary.
Well, you know Gideon.
He's not about to turn down a challenge.
- Not from a 12-year-old.
- Of course.
So, he takes this kid's sled and goes flying down this hill.
I mean, it was like lightning.
He jumps off right before it smacks into a headstone.
He said that was you.
Yeah, well, he never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Nope, he sure didn't.
Thanks for reminding me.
"When a good man is hurt, all who would be called good must suffer with him.
" Euripides.