When it comes to Criminal minds episodes, there are cases more disturbing than in almost any other weekly procedural crime show on the television network. While most of his contemporary shows seem much more upbeat, Criminal minds is a show that has the team face off against suspects who are as dark as coal and often leave viewers in shock.
What is even scarier about the suspects in Criminal minds is that many are based on real life serial killers. These are reasonably direct copies of real killers, as well as episodes that use real-life cases for reference.
Updated February 12, 2021 by Kristen Palamara: Criminal Minds has been on the air for 15 years and recently ended in 2020 with its 15th season. The main characters were investigators trying to solve some of the most heinous crimes, typically particularly gruesome serial killers, and unfortunately the show had plenty of real-life crimes to inspire its suspects throughout its run. Criminal Minds was inspired by various real-life cases, from kidnappings to serial killers to particularly heinous murders, and its characters investigated the crime with similar or completely different results for each case.
fifteen “Blood Hungry” (1.11) – Richard Trenton Chase
This episode of Criminal minds sees the team hunting down a murderer who eats the organs of his victims and was inspired by the real-life case of Richard Chase. Chase killed several people in a month in the 1970s in California, drank their blood and ate their remains. The episode doesn’t go into all the creepy details of the real-life case, but it draws inspiration from it.
14 “25 to life” (6.11) – Jeffrey MacDonald
In real life, Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted of killing his pregnant wife and two daughters in 1970, but maintains his innocence by claiming that four men broke into the house and murdered his family. The episode sees the team interviewing a man who has turned 25 for killing his wife and daughter, but claims he is innocent and the intruders murdered his family and can prove his innocence in the episode.
13 “Hostage” (11/14) – Ariel Castro
This episode is eerily similar to the real life case of Ariel Castro kidnapping various women and holding them prisoner, as there is even a quote referring to Castro by name in the episode. Castro held three women captive for almost ten years, severely beating and raping them several times while one woman gave birth and others suffered miscarriages. The episode portrays the gruesome details in much the same way as how it happened in real life.
12 “The Company” (7.20) – Cameron and Janice Hooker
“The Company” was based on the kidnapping of Colleen Stan by a couple with whom she got a ride after hitchhiking one day. The couple kept her locked up for 23 hours every day and was sexually abused during the hour they were allowed out. Stan agrees to be her slave after the couple convinces her that an evil organization called The Company would torture her and her family if she disagreed. Everything is more or less the same in the episode, except that The Company is presented as a real organization.
eleven “Alpha Male” (12.15) – Elliot Rodger
This episode is inspired by the real life Elliot Rodger case of a man who murdered six people in California and called it a “day of retribution” in a video posted online. He murdered several people and injured several before committing suicide. the Criminal minds The episode follows a suspect who perpetrates various misogynistic attacks by throwing acid at women because he is upset about not having a relationship.
10 “The Big Wheel” (4.22) – The lipstick killer
“The Big Wheel” featured a serial killer who sent a videotape to the BAU with a hidden message, begging them to help him stop him from killing more people. This was Vincent Rowlings, a man who saw his father murder his mother when he was a child, and now kills women who look like his mother. It was based on The Lipstick Killer, who appeared in the 1940s and killed three women before he was arrested.
9 “Omnivore” (4.18) – Zodiac Killer
One of the scariest killers in Criminal minds is George Foyet, who fans knew for his long-running history as the Boston Reaper. He was a serial killer who killed his parents and then embarked on a murder spree in the 80’s. This was one of Hotch’s first cases, and the first murders were based on the Zodiac Killer, which is still a cold case . In this case, the killer returned many years later to torment Hotch and even killed his wife.
8 “Riding the Lightning” (1.14) – Fred and Rose West
One of the best episodes of Criminal minds came with “Riding the Lightning” in season 1. This episode saw the BAU head to a prison to interview a husband and wife serial killer couple who are preparing for their execution. However, what made this episode come home was that the wife was not guilty and refused to admit this to protect her son, a rare heroic moment in Criminal minds by a suspect This couple loosely relied on Fred and Rose West. They were an English couple who killed dozens of young British women. Fred was found guilty and died in prison, but said he did it alone. Despite this, Rose was later indicted and found guilty, sentenced to life in prison.
7 “Born killer” (1.8) – Richard Kuklinski
“Natural Born Killer” was a season 1 episode that prompted the BAU to begin investigating a case of a mob attack on an Organized Crime Unit. The team later realizes that the suspect is a serial killer related to dozens of murders that were targeted by the OCU. The episode is based on the real life serial killer, Richard Kuklinski.
Kuklinski was the serial killer known as The Iceman. His signature was putting the bodies of his victims in freezers and he killed between seven and 250 people because he often exaggerated his criminal career after being arrested. He even claimed that he killed Jimmy Hoffa.
6 “To hell … and back” (4.25) – Robert Pickton
“To Hell” and “And Back” are the last two episodes of season 4 and feature the notorious serial killer who leads the BAU from Detroit to Canada. These assassins were the brothers Mason and Luvas and were part of one of the Criminal minds‘rarer cases, as they removed the bodies by feeding them to their pigs. These guys were based on the Canadian known as the Pig Farmer Killer: Robert Pickton. This serial killer was suspected of killing more than 30 people, although how and why he did so is unknown.
5 “Unfinished business” (1,15) – BTK
“Unfinished Business” was another episode of Season 1 and introduced the BAU to the Keystone Killer, a serial killer in Philadelphia who was out of action for 18 years and then returned to torment the retired FBI agent who worked on his case. While some compared it to the Zodiac Killer, the more fitting comparison is that it was based on the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader, who also killed in the ’80s and then returned years later.
4 “The Thirteenth Step” (6.13) – Charles Starkweather
“The Thirteenth Step” came out in season 6 and featured a pair of serial killers, a young couple who embarked on an interstate carnage. Adrianne Palicki starred in Criminal minds as Sydney, a girl who fell in love with a local boy named Ray and killed his girlfriend before hitting the road with him.
These Criminal Minds suspects were based on real-life serial killers Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate. In real life, Starkweather was the assailant at first, killing Caril’s family and the two of them launched a murder spree, with a total of 11 victims.
3 “Our darkest hour” (5.23) – Richard Ramirez
“Our Darkest Hour” was the season finale of Criminal minds’ fifth season. This episode saw the BAU called to Los Angeles to confront a serial killer who started chasing victims during continuous blackouts, making him even more dangerous. This twisted Criminal mindsThe suspect was Billy Flynn, the Prince of Darkness, it was Tim Curry portrayed him perfectly. The episode was based on Richard Ramirez, also known as Night Stalker, a serial killer with 20 victims in the 1980s.
two “Minimal loss” (4.3) – David Koresh
In season 4, Criminal minds He made the BAU head to take on a cult leader in Benjamin Cyrus, played by Luke Perry. A hostage situation resulted in the state police raid that brought everything down. This episode was based on David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and the 1993 Waco Siege, where the FBI attacked and 86 people were killed. Cyrus was so popular that the character was a plot device in a Reid-centric episode years later.
1 “The Tribe” (1.16) – The Manson Family
The sixteenth episode of season 1 was “The Tribe”. The BAU headed to New Mexico to investigate a group of college students who were found dead and tortured and found a cult that was working to turn people against Native Americans in the area. This cult was led by Jackson Cally, who wanted to start a race war. This was one of the best Criminal minds episodes and was based on the Charles Manson family, and specifically the Helter Skelter scheme, where the cult attempted to start a race war in the late 1960s.
NEXT: Criminal Minds: 5 Best Friendships (& 5 Worst)
The Big Bang Theory: 5 characters who were smarter than they looked (and 5 vice versa)
About the Author