Criminal Minds -- Fatal Vision
It was a rerun, but it was new to me
I only started watching Criminal Minds, last season, halfway through the season. So when I started watching this week's episode, I was like, is this a rerun, when I heard them mention Seaver's name. She was the one brought on to replace JJ. I knew it was when I saw JJ was no longer in the opening credits.
Anyway, when Morgan was asked to profile Donald Sanderson, who was up parole after spending 20 years in prison for murdering his family. Considering Hotch's wife had been killed by a serial killer, who almost killed his child, I can see why Hotch was kept off-screen for this episode. Hotch recommending the parole for a man who was found guilty of killing his own family might have been too much.
So I'm watching Donald telling Morgan his story and I'm like, "Wait a minute!" Isn't this the story from Fatal Vision where Jeffrey McDonald killed his wife and children and then claimed intruders had broken in and done the crime right down to a self-inflicted wound, as the mini-series suggests. Even the names are similar: Donald Sanderson and Jeffrey McDonald.
Anyway, it was an interesting premise. The story was taking the viewpoint of what if Jeffrey McDonald was telling the truth and he spent the last twenty years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Morgan speaks up for Sanderson and he's released on parole. Morgan soon regrets his actions when Sanderson kills someone else. One of the people involved in the murder of his family.
The team starts re-investigating the crime and they track down the real killer, who is now about to run for office. They take him down and Donald is totally exonerated.
As I said, it was an interesting premise to take. But I can understand why Hotch was kept off-screen for the entire episode to spend time with his son, Jack. Having Hotch around for this case would have just hit too close to home. Although it would have given Thomas Gibson a chance to demonstrate his acting chops as Hotch would be dealing with how the whole thing made him feel. Of course, then Hotch might have become the focus of the episode instead of Donald. The episode would have needed to be longer to accommodate both Donald's story and Hotch having to deal with an old wound being ripped open, again.