Criminal Minds Wiki

"Ashes and Dust" is the nineteenth episode of Season Two and the 41st overall of Criminal Minds.


A serial arsonist who targets the homes of upper-middle-class families as they sleep is investigated. The BAU determines the arson victims are linked together via corporate development companies that have been accused of building on contaminated land, a possible motive for the unsub.

Guest Cast

Referenced Criminals


  • "Boadicea" by Enya
  • "Grey Room" by Damien Rice

Bookend Quotes

  • Aaron Hotchner: "The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul." – John Calvin
  • Aaron Hotchner: Gandhi said, "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."


  • The Earth Defense Force (EDF), which the episode's unsub and his killer were members of, was likely inspired by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a group of normally radical environmentalist known for committing arson as a tactic to punish and sabotage companies they deem anti-environment. Both groups share a non-violent philosophy, resulting in zero deaths from their arson, but are stilled viewed as dangerous because fires may spread. Both groups are said by the FBI to only have not killed someone out of pure luck, although the EDF is accused of this out of ignorance of their non-violent philosophy while the ELF is accused of this due to the unpredictability of fire.

Criminal Minds Episodes