Criminal Minds (2005–2020)
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True North 

Three victims are found tied to stakes in the Arizona desert.


Joe Mantegna


Jeff Davis (created by), Bruce Zimmerman | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Mantegna ... David Rossi
Matthew Gray Gubler ... Dr. Spencer Reid
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Damon Gupton ... Stephen Walker
Aisha Tyler ... Dr. Tara Lewis
Adam Rodriguez ... Luke Alvez
Paget Brewster ... Emily Prentiss
Blake Webb ... Ben Davis
Robert Torti ... Sheriff Scott Paseo
Bodhi Elfman ... Peter Lewis
Murphy Cross ... Virginia Davis
Nikki Crawford ... Marla Grace
Alfred Adderly ... Malcolm
Minerva García ... M.E. Elizabeth Padilla (as Minerva Garcia)


Even with the prison on lock-down due to Reid's actions which the prison officials don't yet know were his doing, Prentiss is able to get one of the team to visit with him. Lewis is chosen for a very specific reason, she who is to do another cognitive interview. The hope is that Reid will now be able to remember that Scratch was in the motel room when the murder happened, which if he is able to do, Walker and Prentiss may be able to get Scratch placed on the terrorist watch list if only because he was recently spotted in Latin America, making him now an international fugitive. While Lewis has prison duty and Prentiss is off to London to speak to her Interpol colleagues, the rest of the team head off on their next case, which takes them to the Saguaro Desert east of Tuscon, Arizona, where three dead bodies were found side-by-side, all three perched on poles. The team is able to determine that small boulders were purposefully moved to strategic locations within sight of the victims. The... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

5 April 2017 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Based on the name, Luke was able to discern that the bodies were positioned to point True North instead of magnetic north. Although magnetic north is about 500 kilometres away, (it is somewhat fluid because of the changes in lava mass under the earth's surface, which is what causes the magnetic pull) it is located in Ellesmere Island which is part of the Qikiqtaaluk Region in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, lying within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago which is considered part of the Queen Elizabeth Islands. Canada is directly north of the United States. A line going from Arizona to True North would run directly across Ellesmere Island making the line virtually the same and at least the difference would be imperceptible if it were not a key plot point. See more »


Luke Alvez: The victim is staged to face north, just like the others. Hmm
Jennifer Jareau: What's up?
Luke Alvez: It's true north
Sheriff Scott Paseo: Which means?
Luke Alvez: True north is geographical accurate, unlike magnetic north
See more »

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User Reviews

One good scene stops a lacklustre episode from being worse
12 June 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

In its prime (Seasons 1-5, with Season 4 to me being the best and most consistent season with a lot of classic episodes and even the weakest episodes being far from awful) 'Criminal Minds' was one of my favourite shows. From Season 6 it did become hit and miss, with the odd gem, but a lot of average episodes and some stinkers.

Although Season 12, although inconsistent (with no classics but no low-points either) has been better than expected, "True North" has been one of two of the weakest episodes of the season so far. The other being "The Anti-Terror Squad". As has been indicated a few sentences ago, not every episode has been average or less, "Elliot's Pond", "Mirror Image" and especially "Spencer" from personal opinion were very good.

Let's start with "True North's" good things. There is one good scene, a quite powerful one, that scene was the interview between Reid and Tara Lewis. That's one of the few times when a character that usually does nothing for me is not a problem in any way. Great chemistry and acting from Matthew Gray Gubler and Aisha Tyler.

Visually, the episode looks great as to be expected. Very well shot and lit and is overall stylish, gritty, classy and atmospheric. The music is moody in the haunting and melancholic sense and fits well, without either enhancing or distracting from it. The direction is alert, tense and accommodating.

The acting is very good, considering what the actors had to work with.

Unfortunately, the writing is some of the weakest of the season so far, it's very stilted and there is very little that provokes thought, entertains, moves or taut or smart. Basically it's a blah at best script and at other points pretty bad.

Despite being impressed by it in "Spencer", "Collision Course" and "Alpha Male", where it was harrowing and poignant, Reid's prison subplot is not particularly interesting anymore, apart from the surprise of the gender of the person responsible for the crimes Reid's in prison for, and really needs to be wrapped up before it runs out of more ideas. Although the team do show concern for Reid, Prentiss seems to be the only one concerned with catching Mr Scratch, another initially interesting but drawn out by now.

Generally the team are underused. The case itself is very plain and nothing special, with far too gratuitous and overly elaborate murders, a lot of questions left unanswered and a not particularly interesting unsub, who doesn't have enough menace to be scared of him, and not enough to make us feel sympathy for him, regardless of a nasty piece of work of a mother.

In summary, very lacklustre with one good scene and a few other good points. 4/10 Bethany Cox

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