It’s always worse when a case involves kids. It’s downright terrifying when the UnSub is a kid. The BAU traveled to a small town to investigate the murders of children, only to find out the person responsible was a child himself. They just managed to intervene in time to save his next intended victim.
“North Mammon” (Season 2, Episode 7)
This has to be up there in terms of the most terrifying episodes of the series, considering the UnSub not only made three friends choose who among them would die, but also made them commit the murder.
“Revelations” (Season 2, Episode 15)
Every Criminal Minds fan knows the name Tobias Hankel (James Van Der Beek). The UnSub abducted and tortured — and almost killed — Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). The team could only watch the live video until Reid himself gave them clues to his location.
“Scared to Death” (Season 3, Episode 3)
Imagine being so scared of something, you turn to a psychiatrist for treatment, only for the therapist to use those fears against you? That was what the UnSub did in this episode.
“About Face” (Season 3, Episode 6)
“Have you seen me?” The UnSub put these “Missing” posters with his victims’ faces prior to abducting them.
“100” (Season 5, Episode 9)
While this episode might not have been as scary as others, there was something so horrifying about Hotch (Thomas Gibson) being unable to do anything as he had to listen to Foyet (C. Thomas Howell) terrorize his family and kill Haley (Meredith Monroe). Really, it’s hard to forget any episode with the Reaper.
“200” (Season 9, Episode 14)
It’s always worse when the victim is one of the BAU, as was the case in this milestone episode. JJ (A.J. Cook) was kidnapped and tortured, and flashbacks revealed a heartbreaking secret.
“Mr. Scratch” (Season 10, Episode 21)
Peter Lewis is one of the most chilling UnSubs in the whole series, but nothing is as disturbing as when he made Hotch think he’d just watched his entire team die at the end of this episode.
Some cases stay with you long after an episode ends.
Such is the case with some of the UnSubs throughout Criminal Minds' 14 seasons (so far), whether they've been responsible for inflicting pain on one of the members of the BAU or committed such horrifying acts against their victims, you can't help but shudder just thinking about it.
With Season 15 as the show's last, these are the characters we'd like to see back.
Ahead of the final season, we're looking back at some of the more memorable investigations of the CBS procedural drama over the years. Click through the gallery above to see TV Insider's picks for the most haunting cases.
Criminal Minds, 15th and Final Season, Coming Soon, CBS