Criminal Minds Wiki

"Compulsion" is the second episode of Season One of Criminal Minds, and the second of the two-part series premiere.


The BAU is called to Tempe, Arizona, to assess the mind of an escalating serial arsonist targeting a local university and figure out the unsub's true motive for setting the fires. Meanwhile, Gideon continues to recover from his near-death experience with a serial killer.

Guest Cast

  • Kristen Caldwell - Chemistry Student #2
  • Michael David Cheng - Fire Inspector Zhang
  • Evan Lee Dahl - Jeremy
  • J.J. Dashnaw - Matthew Rowland[1]
  • Lukas Haas - The Footpath Killer
  • Jennifer Hall - Clara Hayes
  • Bob Jesser - Professor Ralph Wallace
  • Erika T. Johnson - Agent Trainee #1
  • Sage Mears - Chemistry Student #1
  • Rolando Millet - Campus Security Guard
  • Nathanial Moon - Agent Trainee #2
  • Christopher Mowod - Campus Patrolman
  • J. Karen Thomas - Dean Ellen Turner

Referenced Criminals


  • "Every Day Is Exactly the Same" by Nine Inch Nails

Bookend Quotes

  • Jason Gideon: Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
  • Jason Gideon: Faulkner once said, "Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."



  1. Credited as "Matthew Cooke"
  2. Referred to by his birth-name of Peter Dinsdale

Criminal Minds Episodes