While Criminal Minds
has had many criminals, several have really stood out
- Karl Arnold, aka The Fox, is the first "family annihilator" to appear in the show, and the only one to put in more than one appearance. Debuting in "The Fox", Arnold uses his position as a family psychiatrist to seek out families that he feels are dysfunctional (that is, where the father is not the dominant personality), stalks them, and then kidnaps them while the neighbours believe them to be on vacation, using his control over the children to keep the parents hostage. He keeps them separated from one another for days, then brings them together for one last supper, after which The Fox marches the entire family into the basement and kills them, starting with the children and ending with the father. Upon his capture, The Fox explains that he does this because his own family fell apart due to his obsessive-compulsive, controlling nature, and he wants to show how much worse things can get when the head of the household isn't "strong". At this point, it's still possible for the viewer to have sympathy for Arnold, due to the fact that the episode focuses on his OCD and the fact that he's having a mental breakdown. This does not hold true in season 5's "Outfoxed", his second appearance. Interviewed by the FBI for help with another family annihilator, Arnold comes off as calm and in control, repeatedly asking to see pictures of the crime scenes, coming onto Prentiss, taunting Hotch for his marital problems, and gloating about the fact that before he killed the families he took hostage, he would beat the male children, and rape the female ones. This revelation, coupled with The Fox's smug, superior demeanour, and the fact that he's become penpals with The Boston Reaper (laughing as he tells Hotch that The Reaper is coming for he and his family) wipes out any sympathy the viewer might once have held, and puts him firmly in this trope.
- Jackson Cally from "The Tribe" is a chilling example of what you get when you combine extreme sociopathy, charisma, and bigotry into one man. A cult leader native to Terra Mesa, a mostly-white New Mexico town known for tensions with a mostly-Apache town nearby, Cally preys on troubled teenagers interested in Native Americans, indoctrinating them into being willing to kill for him under the pretense of "helping" the Apache reclaim all their ancestral land, while keeping his true goal - attempting to foment a race war that would wipe the Apache out - a secret from them. He first sends his cult to massacre the residents of a college dormitory built on former Apache land in gruesome ways, such as decapitation and impalement, mimicking Native American war rituals, in hopes the Apache would be blamed and the whites would retaliate. When the FBI rule out the Apache as suspects, Cally has his men decapitate the leader of a local racist group, his wife, and his two young children and impale their heads on pikes for the FBI to find. His final and most wicked gambit, however, is to dress up his men as members of the racist group and send them on a wholesale massacre of the Apache town's school. When foiled and caught by the FBI, Cally's only justification for his actions is that he hoped to show the world what "savage animals" the Apache people "really" are.
- Charles Holcombe from "Legacy". He views homeless people as subhumans who should be exterminated, so he kidnaps them and brings them to his torture chamber, where he puts them through agonizing physical and mental torment before dissecting them alive...and he's been doing it for a very long time. He even gives them the opportunity to escape by telling them they can leave if they make it out in a certain amount of time (and if they manage to do it, he knocks them out with gas to avoid their escape). In the end, he is shot and killed by the BAU and one only wishes he had suffered more. Also, his last words? "Just let me do my job!" Irrepentant, smug, and cruel until the very end.
- As one of the show's few recurring villains, George Foyet, aka The Boston Reaper, had ample time to establish his monster credentials. Dissappearing after a long, unsolved killing spree, The Reaper comes out of retirement following the death of Tom Shaunessey, the lead investigator from the original case. Killing two couples, The Reaper baits the BAU into entering the case, then calls up Aaron Hotchner (for whom his original spree was That One Case), offering to stop the killings if Hotchner admits defeat and calls off the investigation—the same deal that The Reaper had cut with Shaunessey years ago. When Hotchner turns him down, The Reaper massacres an entire bus full of passengers. He later kidnaps a journalist who had written a book about him and demands the man correct the errors in it (most notably suggesting that The Reaper might have died rather than retired); when Hotchner captures him, The Reaper reveals that he's done it all in order to be "more famous than they'll ever realise." Breaking out of jail, The Reaper bides his time before ambushing Hotchner at home, where he tortures him, than drops him off at the hospital, along with clues that indicate he is going after Hotchner's ex-wife, Hayley, and son, Jack. Mutilating and mortally wounding the officer assigned to protect them, he tracks Hayley and Jack to their home, murders Hayley while forcing her to talk to Hotchner over the phone, and then gloats to the BAU Agent's face that after he's done with Hotchner, Jack will be next. Totally self-centred, driven by an obsessive desire for fame and control, and needing a nemesis in order to function properly, The Reaper is Aaron Hotchner's personal nightmare.
- "Mosley Lane" gives us Anita Roycewood, a serial kidnapper and child murderer, who forces her submissive husband, Roger, and first kidnap victim, Charlie Hillridge to help her abduct and imprison children. Keeping the children locked up in a hidden hallway, Anita renames them, dyes their hair, and is implied to sexually abuse them, using fear, beatings, and threats to the other children to keep them in line. When the children grow too old for her liking, or become uncontrollable, Anita knocks them out (in the case of Steven Shepherd beating him savagely beforehand), places them in a cardboard box, and burns them alive in a crematorium, whistling jauntily the entire time. When the police catch onto her, Anita abandons Roger, and takes the three remaining children, Aimee Lynch, Mae Hall, and Charlie to the crematorium, where she tries to force Charlie to help her burn the other two; she then intends to kill him. Guilty of some of the most callous crimes yet shown on the show, and viewing her victims as replaceable, Anita's reasons for doing what she does are never explored, leaving only an utterly hateful cipher for the cast and the audience to deal with.
- Deputy Ronald Boyd from "A Rite of Passage". Profiled as a "human predator", Boyd kills illegal immigrants because it allows him to assert a sense of power that he otherwise lacks. He lies in wait at border crossings, picks out a straggler, and then chases them through the desert on his ATV until they can no longer fight back, finishing them off with his machete. When the Hispanic sherriff (whom he loathes for being new to town) starts looking into the missing illegals he sends her progressively more aggressive "messages" - severed heads in boxes outside the sheriff's office, a severed head on a pole in her front yard - until he finally kills her for sticking her nose into his business, while ranting that the illegals aren't really missing because "they ain't supposed to be here in the first place." Dismembering her corpse in order to pin the blame on drug kingpin Omar Morales, Boyd proceeds to murder Morales and most of his gang to cover his tracks (also they're Hispanic too). When his partner objects, Boyd shoots him and places the gun in the hands of the dead Morales. Taking offense to the idea that he sees himself as weak, and viewing himself as a total badass, Boyd is an unrepentant SOB with no Freudian Excuse, who makes your average Dirty Cop look like an angel.
- Lucy from "Supply and Demand" is a rather different sort of monster from most of those on this list. The head of a human trafficking ring, Lucy has her gang kidnap young men and women and pimp them out to snuff film aficionados and other sexual deviants, staging live shows in which the victims are tortured, and even killed, by her men and/or clients. The victims are beaten, drugged, and otherwise mistreated to ensure compliance, and are kept caged in between visits from Lucy's clients. A psychological sadist, who derives gratification from being in control, Lucy frequently has her men lock in her in the cages, so that she can enjoy the victims' terror and win their trust while pretending to be a fellow victim; she takes unholy glee in revealing that she is, in fact, the one in charge. She's also the one who scouts the victims out in the first place, visiting college campuses, while posing as a student, and then staging her own abduction alongside any students she has befriended. When Lucy discovers that Renee Matlin, one of her victims is an undercover cop, she proceeds to play a game of Russian Roulette with her, then has the other woman savagely beaten, gloating the whole time. Interrupted by the police, Lucy manipulates Max, her right-hand man into being killed by them, planning to frame him for her crimes. Found out by David Rossi, Lucy's last act is to pull her revolver and try to blow him away.