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Guest Star Goodness

Guest Star Goodness: Criminal Minds’ 150th Episode, “Unknown Subject” 

Photo Credit: Cliff Lispon/CBS

The show’s 150th episode wasn’t a big, over-the-top hour of television, but it did feature a suspenseful case as well as an Emily Prentiss dealing with the fallout from events that culminated in her faked death. She had her final session with a job-mandated therapist, and it’s clear she’s not over what happened. But it’s also clear that she’s doing her best to move on from this chapter in her life. It’s probably easier said than done. But through a couple one-on-one conversations with Hotchner, she realizes sometimes she’s going to have to accept some help along the way. Hotch lets her know she can turn to him when she has a bad day. I really loved the case at the heart of “Unknown Subject.” It was, of course, dark, twisted and scary. What was great was it also kept me guessing as to who really was the Piano Man the whole time. Part of what made the case so creepy? The awesome use of cheesy 80s songs. Air Supply’s “Making Love out of Nothing at all,” Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration” were cleverly (and horrifyingly) used in various aspects during the episodes. Two of these triggered a devastating reaction out of the victims since the Piano Man used these tunes when he originally terrorized the women. Bringing this riveting investigation to life were some great guest stars:

Jay Karnes

Photo Credit: Greg St. Johns/CBS

The Role: Hamilton Bartholomew aka the Piano Man
Criminal Minds Assessment: Karnes played a seriously messed up dude. He was the Piano Man, a serial rapist who starts going after his victims a second time in what turns out to be some sort of weird competition with a copycat rapist. One of his victims gets the upper hand when she tasers him and strings him up in front of a piano at her home. Karnes does an incredible job keeping me off Hamilton’s scent, so to speak. Every time I was sure Bartholomew was really the Piano Man, he would do something to create doubt. Needless to say, his character really was the serial rapist turned murderer.
The Actor: Karnes is best known for his role as Dutch on FX’s late great cop series The Shield. He was just so damn good on that show. It was cool to see him on Criminal Minds even if he was the bad guy.

Dina Meyer

Photo Credit: Greg St. Johns/CBS

The Role: Regina Lampert
Criminal Minds Assessment: Regina was the Piano Man’s first victim. She turns the tables on her rapist after he shows up at her job. He’s at the piano when he starts playing “Total Eclipse.” She does everything she can to not fall apart while she gets him to stop playing that song. And then she quickly goes into the back and falls apart. Poor Regina was destroyed by the rape and it’s left her in a precarious situation mentally and emotionally. She’s on to Hamilton Bartholomew and after she tasers him and takes him back to her house, she shoots him in the hand.

One of the best sequences in the episode, is when Bartholomew tries to trick her into thinking he didn’t play “Total Eclipse” at the bar. That he was really playing that Air Supply song. It was written by the same guy, he says, so he gets why she’s confused. It’s a bit of a cat-and-mouse game the whole time and at one point, I really thought Regina had it wrong. But she was right the entire time and instead of getting to kill her rapist, Emily lies to her and tells her they got the wrong guy. But once they get Bartholomew away from Regina, they arrest him for being the Piano Man. Another good scene happens between Regina and Prentiss in interrogation. Lampert just can’t understand why Emily took her chance for justice away from her. It was intense and really threw Emily off. I feel like this is one of Dina Meyer’s best performances ever.
The Actress: Back in the day, Meyer started out as a recurring role on Beverly Hills 90210 and starred in the movie Starship Troopers. Most recently she’s done some guest star stints on tons of series including the new 90210, Castle and The Mentalist. She played the memorable madam Holly Snow on a couple episodes of NCIS and had roles in the short-lived series Point Pleasant and Birds of Prey.

Judith Hoag

Judith Hoag

The Role: Diana Mitchell
Criminal Minds Assessment: Judith also played one of the victims of the Piano Man — actually she was victimized twice. The copycat got her too. Things got pretty intense as she observed the interrogation of the guy suspected of being the serial rapist. When he uttered something about nobody believing “a slut who cries wolf,” a phrase she had used earlier when she was being questioned, she knew he was their guy. While she was right she was also wrong because her rapes were done by two different guys. This hospital orderly capitalized on some inside information he found out at work. This helped him prey on the Piano Man’s victims including Mitchell. The original and his copycat were basically each trying to set each other up. Disturbing, right?
The Actress: While I remember her best from her soap days on Loving, Hoag went on to star as Chick’s wife in Armageddon and has guest-starred in various television series such as Bones, The Pretender, The X-Files, Grey’s Anatomy and earlier this season, Castle.

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS

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