Criminal Minds (2005–2020)
1 user

The Sandman 

1:26 | Trailer
The team searches for an unknown subject who abducts children after visually impairing their parents while they sleep. Distracted father-to-be Morgan tries to find out who attacked him.


Joe Mantegna


Jeff Davis (created by), Bruce Zimmerman





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Mantegna ... David Rossi
Shemar Moore ... Derek Morgan
Matthew Gray Gubler ... Dr. Spencer Reid
A.J. Cook ... Jennifer Jareau
Kirsten Vangsness ... Penelope Garcia
Thomas Gibson ... Aaron Hotchner
Rochelle Aytes ... Savannah Hayes
Elizabeth Bogush ... Ellie Zumwalt
Cornell Womack ... M.E. Cranston
Aisha Tyler ... Dr. Tara Lewis
Reston Williams ... Patrick Sorenson
Lucy Walsh ... Sgt. Natalie Whitfield
Christa Beth Campbell ... Josie Zumwalt
Lauren Rubin ... Lyla Brewer
Kurt Meyer ... Luke Zumwalt


It's six months after Morgan's abduction and eventual rescue. He and Savannah have since gotten married and are awaiting the imminent birth of their first child. On what is his first day back at work, his welcome back is interrupted by a new case, which takes the team to Wichita, Kansas. A child named Ronnie Brewer is abducted from his rural farm home, with both his parents, Jim and Lyla Brewer, murdered on site. Both parents had their eyes filled with sand and glued shut. The team will learn that the ritual with Jim was done post-mortem, while Lyla was still alive. In addition, each parent was killed differently, Jim by having his throat slashed, Lyla by blunt force trauma to the head. By the time the team arrives in Wichita, Ronnie's dead body is discovered. However, a second victim family, the Zumwalts, is discovered. The early teen daughter Josie Zumwalt has been abducted from the home, father Luke Zumwalt dead on site with the ritual with the eyes and the throat slashed, but ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


It's occasionally mentioned that Rossi is friends with Ringo Starr. In 2008, Joe Walsh became Starr's brother-in-law when he married Marjorie Bach, the younger sister of Starr's wife Barbara. See more »


While delivering their profile, Dr. Lewis mentions that the unsub, which they profile as a family annihilator, kills in stages, with the child being last. But in Criminal Minds: Safe Haven, Reid says that family annihilators tend to kill the children first, because it causes the parents the most pain. See more »


Aaron Hotchner: We're looking for a family annihilator. We believe he's a white male in his early to mid thirties. He is intelligent, well-organized, and meticulous.
David Rossi: Family annihilators are often quick and ruthless, but this unsub prolongs the suffering of his victims.
Dr. Tara Lewis: He appears to kill in stages. First the father, then the mother, and finally the child.
Derek Morgan: The mother seems to be the primary target of the unsub's rage. She is forced to endure a sense of helplessness for up to an hour while her child is in danger.
Sgt. Natalie Whitfield: So...
See more »


References Criminal Minds: There's No Place Like Home (2011) See more »


Theme from Criminal Minds
Composed by Marc Fantini and Steffan Fantini
See more »

User Reviews

Nowhere near one of the worst of Season 11, but nowhere near among the show at its best
11 July 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Season 11 has generally been one of the weakest seasons of 'Criminal Minds', only three or four of the episodes are excellent, with "Entropy" a contender for the best of the season, while the rest range from average to poor.

"The Sandman" is nowhere near the worst of Season 11, in fact it's a middling episode, but it is also nowhere near one of the episodes that show 'Criminal Minds' at its best. For example "The Fox", "Riding the Lightning", "The Big Wheel", "100" and "Mr Scratch" among several others, and there are episodes that hold genuine surprises like "North Mammon" and "The Boogeyman".

When it comes to the story it was mixed, though at least it feels like a 'Criminal Minds' episode, unlike Season 9's "200" (one of the worst of the entire show) or the previous episode "Derek" (which to me wasn't that bad if still disappointing). The pathology is pretty unique, especially as far as Season 11 goes, there is a real disturbing eeriness with some genuinely shocking murders, while not going overboard with the brutality like an episode like "Awake" did, and the unsub is perhaps the most eerie and sadistic one of Season 11.

However, there are a few dull stretches, parts that could have been better explained, there is a general lack of creativity the aftermath with Morgan feels glossed over and both rushed and drawn out. The "shock" ending even for a cliff-hanger is abrupt and also jars, and once the promo is shown it's not a shock anymore to the audience.

Joe Mantegna's direction is solid in most parts, but lacks creativity and feels uninspired in other places, he's no Matthew Gray Gubler whose episodes are much creepier and much more emotionally affecting and complex. And sorry but Lewis still is not doing much for me, she doesn't feel as out of place or shoe-horned in as Kate, but she is a dull character and doesn't fit in, Aisha Tyler's acting doesn't make me feel any better.

On the other hand, "The Sandman" has typically high production values if occasionally going overboard with the darkness. Just a word of caution, see this episode on TV, not on Youtube which has Season 11's episodes sped up and is so dark it's hard to see, am aware it's for copyright issues but still. The music is haunting and atmospheric, even if the melancholia is occasionally over the top. The dialogue is thought-provoking and well-balanced, if lacking the delightful little character moments that make even episodes that are just decent or good enjoyable.

The acting is still very good from almost everybody apart from Tyler.

All in all, a middling episode. Much worse has come out of Season 11, but "The Sandman" has some lacking areas that stop it from being up there with the very good or brilliant episodes. 6/10 Bethany Cox

4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



USA | Canada



Release Date:

16 March 2016 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed