The BAU is called to Tempe, Arizona, to assess the mind of an escalating serial arsonist targeting a local university and figure out the unsub's true motive for setting the fires. Meanwhile, Gideon continues to recover from his near-death experience with a serial killer.
- Kristen Caldwell - Chemistry Student #2
- Michael David Cheng - Fire Inspector Zhang
- Evan Lee Dahl - Jeremy
- J.J. Dashnaw - Matthew Rowland
- Lukas Haas - The Footpath Killer
- Jennifer Hall - Clara Hayes
- Bob Jesser - Professor Ralph Wallace
- Erika T. Johnson - Agent Trainee #1
- Sage Mears - Chemistry Student #1
- Rolando Millet - Campus Security Guard
- Nathanial Moon - Agent Trainee #2
- Christopher Mowod - Campus Patrolman
- J. Karen Thomas - Dean Ellen Turner
- "Every Day Is Exactly the Same" by Nine Inch Nails
- Jason Gideon: Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
- Jason Gideon: Faulkner once said, "Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."
- Media liaison Jennifer Jareau, a.k.a. "JJ", is introduced for the first time in this episode.