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"Elephant's Memory" is the sixteenth episode and the 61st overall of Season Three of Criminal Minds.


The BAU is called to West Bune, a small town located in Texas, to investigate what appears to be increasingly violent spree killings that involve a teenage boy. As the team continues investigating, Reid finds himself personally and emotionally involved in the case.

Guest Cast[]

Referenced Criminals[]


  • "The Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash
  • "Hurt" by Johnny Cash

Bookend Quotes[]

  • Spencer Reid: "A sad soul can kill you quicker – far quicker – than a germ." – John Steinbeck
  • Spencer Reid: "We cross our bridges when we come to them, and burn them behind us with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke and a presumption that once our eyes watered." – Tom Stoppard


  • Elephants have been cited by many to be the world's most intelligent species, with their brains being larger than those of any other land animal due to their mass. That said, it has been believed that elephants have an efficient and possibly even perfect memory of any past event.
    • This fact is referenced in a discussion in the episode, where Reid is talking about his high school experience, in which he was tormented by classmates, and then wishes he couldn't remember it. Morgan replies, "You don't need an eidetic memory for that. You know, we forget half of what they teach us in school, but when it comes to the torment and the people who inflicted it, we've all got an elephant's memory."
  • The title could also be a reference towards the film Elephant, which features a pair of teenage school shooters and is evidently based on the Columbine High School massacre.
  • Although the town West Bune is fictional, its location is somewhere along U.S. Route 67 in Texas, as is attested to the street sign visible during the standoff with Reid.

Criminal Minds Episodes