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"Derailed" is the ninth episode of Season One of Criminal Minds.


A paranoid psychiatric patient has a delusional episode on-board a passenger train and holds Elle and the other passengers in the car hostage.

Full Summary[]

At the BAU, JJ is going into Hotchner’s office to ask about Elle.  She’s currently on her way to Texas to do a custodial interview De Vries, a child murder.  We cut to a train, where a man is sleeping, and another man shifts to the window and opens a bottle.  We see a flashback of the same man crawling out of a car, obviously a drunk driving incident, and a voiceover of him calling his father, who tells him not to come home.  When we cut back another man is leaving the car, and a woman sits down to look out the window.  She holds her stomach and looks sad.  Her flashback reveals a pregnancy and a conversation where she insinuates that she’s going to Dallas to get an abortion.

A little further down a man dabs at his forehead and sits down.  Inside his briefcase is a gun.  He closes it, and another flashback is shown.  The man is packing a suitcase and we hear a voiceover of his wife saying she’s filing for divorce, going to Dallas, and asking him not to follow her.  When we come back to the train car, another woman is sifting through the paper.  Her flashback shows her at her desk with the voiceover argument of a man and woman.  The man feels nervous about her going to the conference, and she argues that ‘he’s proof of her work.’

Finally, we see Elle looking through a file of the case, before calling Gideon.  The call cuts out as she asks or advice on her first interview alone.  We see the first man, he opens his eyes as another man leans forward to whisper to him. He points out the file, an official FBI file to her.  The man looks at the woman who is sifting through the paper, and he gets nervous. The train comes grinding to a halt.

A security guard comes through to say that everything is fine, but lets Elle know that there’s a suicide when eh sees the FBI file.  When he passes by the first man, the second convinces him to make a grab for the gun.  He does so, shoots the guard, and launches towards Elle, punching her in the face. Then he takes her gun as well. 

Back at Quantico, the team is in the conference room, viewing live feed of the train.  Reid recognizes a severe facial tick from years of taking an anti-psychotic. Gideon recognizes Elle on the train’s feed.  Once in West Texas, JJ goes over what’s happening.  They have the train surrounded, but haven’t been able to negotiate. He claims to only be willing to speak with someone known as ‘the higher authority.’

The team makes a plan to come off as ‘the higher authority,’ for when they arrive. In the train, Elle is cuffed to her seat.  The unsub is watching from a window.  A woman calls out for him; the same woman who was reading the paper.  Teddy was supposed to be part of the conference; she was his proof that the anti-psychotics were working. 

Teddy is having a break and about to take the pregnant woman, but Elle tries to convince him to take her instead.  He drags her to the phone to speak for him.  Gideon plays it off that he’s the higher authority.  Teddy demands for ‘it to be removed.’  He gives them one hour or he’ll kill everyone on the train.

The team see the feed, and notice the scars on his arm.  His delusion is that he has a microchip in his arm.  Garcia calls about information on the hostages.  Terry Anderson is a papergood salesman with a wife and no children.  Josh Patel got expelled from school because he drove his car into the library under the influence.  The pregnant woman is Elaine Curtis, the doctor is Linda Deaton, a psychiatrist at a mental hospital, and the unsub is Theodore “Teddy” Bryor. 

The team then talks about how to remove a microchip that isn’t actually there. Reid comes up with the idea to use close-up magic.  Morgan tells Reid to teach it to him, and Gideon says that the close-up magic is their only option. 

Inside the train, Dr. Linda Deaton tries to convince him to let the hostages go.  He starts to have another delusion though, and he pulls the gun on her.  Elle threatens that if he hurts anyone she’ll make sure that the chip stays in him forever. Gideon calls, and Bryor says only one person can come in.  Hotchner comes in with a microchip, and Reid practices with it, only to fumble it a number of times, making the team nervous.  Reid is allowed to pretend to be a technician and enters the train. 

Teddy orders Reid to sit across from him and take the chip out.  He cuts down Teddy’s arm and uses his close-up magic to produce the chip, making him believe the delusions are real.  He goes to leave, but is stopped.  He demands that it’s turned on.  He says that it can’t be turned on because it only works when implanted in the skin. 

Patel, who is drunk starts to get Teddy riled up.  The doctor tries to calm down the situation, as does Elle, but his delusions are taking over and Teddy shoots.  It’s the doctor.  Teddy is in disbelief over what he just did, but answers the phone, only to admit that it ‘ends today.’

The phone rings again, and Bryor shoots the line.  He points a gun at him, and Reid catches on to the fact that he’s got voices in his head.  The man who’s been talking to him, Leo, is a hallucination.  While Reid is convincing him that he can see things others can’t, because his mind is more open to it, Elle overpowers him and pulls the second gun from his waistband.  Reid then wrestles the gun from Bryor, but not before another shot rings out, scaring the team.

Gideon, who was planning on ending it already rushes the train.  The paper salesman had pulled his gun and shot Teddy. He and the doctor are alright. They take them to the hospital. Gideon checks up on Elle.  She thanks Reid for saving her life.  

Guest Cast[]

Referenced Criminals[]


  • "Wrecking Ball" by Gillian Welch

Bookend Quotes[]

  • Jason Gideon: Robert Oxton Bolt wrote, "A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind."
  • Spencer Reid: Albert Einstein asked, "The question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or the others crazy?"

Criminal Minds Episodes