Criminal Minds Wiki

"Extreme Aggressor" is the first episode of Season One of Criminal Minds and the first of the two-part season and series premiere.


Jason Gideon is called back from a six-month leave from the Behavioral Analysis Unit to profile a killer. Meanwhile, the team flies across the country to Seattle when another young woman goes missing at the hands of "The Seattle Strangler," another serial killer.

Episode Summary

The team is called to Seattle to profile a killer in Seattle and rescue his latest victim after abducting her. This case will also be SSA Gideon's first case after a six-month absence; fellow SSA Aaron Hotch is asked to assess Gideon's mentality. Joining them are SSA Derek Morgan and Dr. Spencer Reid. Landing in Seattle, they investigate and interview people close to the last victim. After realizing what the unsub does to lure his victims, they deliver the profile. Gideon concludes by stating that the police have already investigated a suspect.

SSA Elle Greenaway joins in, eager to join the BAU to interrogate their suspect, Richard Slessman, to question him. After talking to him, the team discovers a dominant partner, while Richard is the submissive partner. Morgan and Reid look at Slessman's computer while Hotch, Elle, and Gideon interview the people Slessman was seemingly close to during his incarceration. They discover a prison guard is the Seattle Strangler, Tim Vogel, who protected Slessman during his time. Hotch gets Slessman to confess where Vogel's keeping the victims--a boatyard shipping.

Elle and Gideon arrive, and Gideon taunts Vogel to the point where Vogel grazes Gideon's arm. Elle shoots him dead, saving the victim. Hotch and Morgan agree Gideon saved a woman's life but will be keeping an eye on him; Gideon knows he's been watched by Hotch. In a flashback, Gideon pulls up to a gas station. The subheading reads “DUMFRIES, VIRGINIA.” The gas station attendant has photographs like those the Footpath Killer--who Gideon lectured about to FBI trainees--left on his victims, drives an American-made truck, and stutters. The man notices his gun and follows him when Gideon leaves the gas station. Gideon can see him cocking a shotgun in a mirror, and the episode ends.

Guest Cast



  • Leanne Adachi - College Student #1
  • Kirsten Alter - Brick Agent
  • Kwesi Ameyaw - SPD Police Officer #1
  • Trevor Beeby - SWAT Agent
  • Artine Tony Browne - SPD Detective Holmes
  • Joe Forbes - SPD Police Officer #2
  • G. Michael Gray - Imaginary Unsub
  • Jeff Hephner - Boy in Image
  • Natalina Maggio - College Student #2
  • Jamie Mayo - Sister
  • Alonso Oyarzun - FBI Student #1
  • David Pearl - SPD Police Officer #3
  • Malcolm Stewart - Warden
  • Lisa Anita Wegner - FBI Student #2
  • Joanne Whalley - Karen Donovan

Referenced Criminals


  • "Penitentiary" by Citizen Cope
  • "In The Air Tonight" by GodHeadSilo
  • "Enter Sandman" by Metallica
  • "Hold Back" by The Living Sisters
  • "Rock Music" by The Pixies

Bookend Quotes

  • Jason Gideon: Joseph Conrad said, "The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary. Men alone are quite capable of every wickedness."
  • Jason Gideon: Emerson said, "All is riddle, and the key to a riddle is another riddle."
  • Jason Gideon: Winston Churchill said, "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you will see."
  • Jason Gideon: Nietzsche once said, "When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks into you."


  • "Extreme Aggressor" is a term referring to a strategy type for Go, which Reid remarks is “considered to be the most difficult board game ever conceived”. This is because of the near-endless possibilities: there are more permutations in Go than there are atoms in the universe, and the game ends when both players agree it should, because it would take hours for players to exhaust all possible moves. Reid further notes that the "extreme aggressor" is smart, because this is a difficult strategy to use.
  • This episode marks the most times a different bookend quote was recited in a single episode, with a total of four, all recited by Gideon.
  • The Metallica CD found in the laptop of Richard Slessman is the soundtrack to Some Kind Of Monster, which does not include "Enter Sandman", the song that allowed Reid to solve the laptop's password.
  • First appearance by Jason Gideon, Elle Greenaway, Aaron Hotchner, Dr. Spencer Reid, Derek Morgan and Penelope Garcia.
  • Hotch introduces Morgan to the Seattle PD as an “expert on obsessional crimes”. Also in this episode, he introduces Reid as “Special Agent Reid”. After being corrected by Gideon, he refers to him in future episodes as “Dr. Reid”.
  • The book Gideon pulls off Slessman’s shelf is the fictitious “Journal of Applied Criminal Psychology”, which includes an article by Gideon himself.
  • Twice, the name “Gideon” is taken to mean “mighty warrior”. However, this is not attributed anywhere else: “גדעון” is a given name or surname which translates directly into “feller” or “hewer”, someone who cuts down wood or stone. This information appears to be a factual inaccuracy.
Criminal Minds Episodes