VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb
WRITTEN BY: Cassondra Feltus
Gasp! For this list, we'll be looking at the times the long-running series surprised us with wild, scary, heartbreaking, and sometimes pleasant discoveries. Spoilers ahead for all 16 seasons of “Criminal Minds,” including “Criminal Minds: Evolution.” Our countdown includes moments from episodes "Memoriam", "It Takes a Village", "A Shade of Gray" and more!
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Shocking Reveals on Criminal Minds. For this list, we’ll be looking at the times the long-running series surprised us with wild, scary, heartbreaking, and sometimes pleasant discoveries. Spoilers ahead for all 16 seasons of “Criminal Minds,” including “Criminal Minds: Evolution.” What reveal shocked you the most? Let us know in the comments.
#10: Garcia’s Date Is a Serial Killer
“Lucky” & “Penelope”
When tech analyst Penelope Garcia sees an attractive guy having computer trouble in a coffee shop, she kindly lends him her expertise. He introduces himself as James Colby Baylor, they exchange numbers, and later, he asks her out to dinner. Garcia is taken aback but agrees to the date, unaware of his true motives. When the night ends, James shoots her and leaves assuming he killed her. His real name is Jason Clark Battle, a sheriff’s deputy who shot innocent people just so he’d be seen as a hero for attempting to save them even if he was unsuccessful. Since Garcia tagged some of the unsolved cases he was responsible for, he believed the FBI was on to him.
#9: Reid’s Parents Helped Cover Up a Murder
While on a missing child’s case in Spencer Reid’s hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, he experiences a recurring nightmare, of a deceased boy in a basement. When he finds out that it’s Riley Jenkins, a kid from his past, he’s determined to figure out who murdered him, and what his connection is to the case. Reid has flashbacks of his mother Diana, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and his estranged father William burning bloody clothes in their backyard. In pursuing his dad as a suspect, he uncovers his parents’ involvement in covering up the murder of Riley’s killer, Gary Brendan Michaels, at the hands of Riley’s father Lou. It was Diana’s clothes they destroyed after she stumbled upon the bloody crime scene.
#8: Rossi’s Daughter
The love life of David Rossi has been somewhat of a running joke on “Criminal Minds.” He earned a reputation as a womanizer with multiple marriages and divorces. He married the second Mrs. Rossi, Hayden Montgomery, in the 1980s and the couple lived in Paris for a time. However, things didn’t work out between the two, and the courtship ended soon after. Hayden gave birth to their daughter Joy and didn’t tell her ex-husband knowing he was too busy with the FBI to raise a child. Decades later, Rossi catches a young woman stalking him who drops the bombshell that she’s his daughter and that he has a grandson. Joy appeared a few more times in the show as their father-daughter bond grew.
#7: Emily Prentiss Is Alive
“Lauren” & “It Takes a Village”
Years before SSA Emily Prentiss joined the Behavioral Analysis Unit, she worked as a spy for Interpol. While under the alias of Lauren Reynolds, she cozied up to international arms dealer Ian Doyle, pretending to be his girlfriend. After he escapes from a prison camp, Doyle tracks down Emily and her former colleagues, and not everyone makes it out alive. During a face-to-face showdown, he stabs her and flees. At the hospital, Hotch and JJ break the news to the team that she didn’t survive her injuries. But in the final scene, JJ’s in Paris delivering an envelope to Emily in disguise. We’re relieved but the team doesn’t find out until the next season.
#6: Elias Voit Has a Family
With infamous serial killers like Dennis Rader and Ted Bundy who used their normalcy to get away with murder, an unsub having a family may not seem too surprising. But when it comes to Season 16’s main unsub Elias Voit, aka the “Sicarius Killer” whose lair is an underground shipping container, we don’t expect him to be a loving husband and father. By the time he’s on the BAU’s radar, he’s already buried “kill kits” around the country, established a network of serial killers, and wracked up his own high body count along the way. Voit can’t escape his traumatic upbringing by his murderous uncle, and though he may appear like a regular family man to some, he struggles to contain his urge to kill.
#5: A Woman Unknowingly Attends Therapy with Her Daughter’s Kidnapper
Almost seven years following the disappearance of her daughter, Monica Kingston goes missing after attending a victim support group meeting led by Penelope Garcia. She left with fellow group member Bill Rogers who confessed to taking Hope years before. With promises of reuniting them, Monica goes along. But the longer she’s with him the more she learns about her daughter’s life under her captor’s control. Bill finally tells her that he joined the support group after Hope took her own life when she was pregnant. Knowing that Monica regularly saw the man who abducted, severely mistreated, and killed her daughter is beyond devastating.
#4: A Young Unsub
“A Shade of Gray”
The tragic death of Kyle Murphy might be one of the BAU’s most disturbing cases due to the ages of the victim and the unsub. The team hits the ground running when they arrive in New Jersey searching for a missing boy. His parents are distraught and the media attention is overwhelming. And after his body is found in the woods, the BAU tracks down the likely culprit, registered sex offender Hugh Rollins. But the evidence doesn’t quite add up. Prentiss sits down with Kyle’s older brother Danny and witnesses the boy’s serious anger issues and lack of remorse. The parents and local investigator reveal the truth in a shocking conclusion – Danny killed his brother for breaking one of his toys.
#3: One Unsub, Three Personalities
“The Big Game” & “Revelations”
The BAU gets called to Atlanta, Georgia after a married couple is found violently murdered in their home. What’s unusual about the case is that the unsub called 911 before the victims were killed, naming the perpetrator as Raphael. The team is confused by the conflicting evidence which shows both an organized and disorganized killer. After Reid and JJ go to question Tobias Hankel, a potential witness who turns out to be the unsub… or rather unsubs. While we hear multiple voices speaking throughout the episode, we only see one person. They determine Hankel has a dissociative identity disorder and alternates between three personalities – himself, his father, and the archangel Raphael.
#2: Morgan’s Past Trauma
While visiting his hometown of Chicago, Derek Morgan is arrested as a suspect in the murder of Damien Walters. Of course, he’s innocent of the crime but a local detective believes he’s the culprit. When the team arrives to help Morgan, they dig into his past even though he adamantly tells them not to. But he later reveals his long-hidden secret that his former football coach and youth center operator Carl Buford physically mistreated him for years. Buford did the same unspeakable things to other boys including Damien Walters, whom he killed and framed Morgan for the crime.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
A Woman Abducted Her Niece, “Seven Seconds”
The Search for a Missing Girl Uncovers Dark Family Secrets
Münchausen by Proxy, “Risky Business”
A String of Seemingly Accidental Teen Deaths Trace Back to a Father Working as an EMT
JJ’s Feelings for Spencer, “Truth or Dare”
A Hostage Situation Leads JJ to Make a Confession
Under the Bed, “Saturday”
The Unsettling Discovery of a Stalker’s Hiding Place
JJ’s Miscarriage, “The Forever People”
A Mission That Led to a Devastating Loss
#1: George Foyet Is the Reaper
In the 1990s, a prolific serial killer dubbed the Reaper terrorized the city of Boston. This was Hotch’s first BAU case which abruptly ended when the murders stopped. After years of being dormant, the Reaper returns to kill again, prompting Hotch and the team to assist in the investigation. They speak to George Foyet, the only victim to survive the unsub, who now lives off the grid under different aliases. But as the body count rises, the BAU discovers that Foyet is the Reaper and purposefully wounded himself posing as a victim. This mastermind went on to become one of the most formidable unsubs in the series.