When it comes to Criminal Minds, it is easy to see that there are so many disturbing cases, more than in almost any other procedural criminal program on television. It is, in fact, a TV show that sees the anti-crime team face unknown subjects who often leave viewers shaken.
What’s even scarier about Criminal Minds’ unsubs is that many are based on actual serial killers. These are both direct copies of real killers and episodes that use real life cases as a reference. Here are, in our opinion, the best 5:
- The Manson family: in the sixteenth episode of the first season, the BAU traveled to New Mexico to investigate a group of college students found dead and tortured and discovered a cult that was working to turn people against the Native Americans in the area. This cult was led by Jackson Cally, who wanted to start a real race war. This was one of the best episodes of Criminal Minds and was based on the family of Charles Manson and specifically the Helter Skelter scheme, where the cult tried to start a race war in the late 1960s.
- David Koresh: in the fourth season, Criminal Minds pushes the BAU to face a cult leader named Benjamin Cyrus, played by the late Luke Perry. A hostage case provoked the state police raid causing everything to collapse. This episode was based on David Koresh, the Branch Davidians and the 1993 Siege of Waco, where the FBI was forced to use weapons and 86 people died. Cyrus was so popular that the character was a plot gimmick in an episode focusing on Reid years later.
- Richard Ramirez: Criminal Minds season five season finale saw the BAU call to Los Angeles to confront a serial killer stalking victims during blackouts. The suspect in this twisted episode of Criminal Minds was Billy Flynn, the Prince of Darkness, and Tim Curry portrayed him perfectly. The episode was based on Richard Ramirez, also known as the Night Stalker, a serial killer with 20 total deaths who lived in the 1980s.
- Charles Starkweather: in season six we watched a young couple of serial killers carry out a series of interstate murders. Adrianne Palicki starred in Criminal Minds as Sydney, a girl who falls in love with a boy named Ray and who gets to kill his girlfriend before traveling with him. These unsubs in Criminal Minds were based on real-life serial killers Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate. In real life, Starkweather was the attacker in the beginning, he killed Caril’s family and the two did a string of murders, with a total of 11 casualties.
- BTK: appeared in an episode of the first season and on is introduced to BAU as the Keystone Killer, a Philadelphia serial killer who was out of action for 18 years and then showed up to harass the retired FBI agent who worked to his case. While some have compared him to the Zodiac Killer, the most fitting comparison is with BTK Killer, Dennis Rader, who also killed him in the 1980s and then returned to business years later.
We leave you to the most absurd theories on the ending of Criminal Minds. Here is also what happened to the cast of Criminal Minds.