Episode 1: The Janitor (Episode Start Date: November 3, 2015)
Power Nightclub, Hoboken, NJ
“Look at Rossi move,” exclaimed Emily Prentiss in admiration of her Behavioral Anaylsis Unit colleague, David Rossi, who was performing the special dance for PSY’s “Gangnam Style” while the song was playing. The move was simple- Rossi first opened his suit jacket and held his arms extended out towards his side, then arched his legs and folded his arms in front of him going up and down, simulating riding a horse. The final part of the move would see Rossi raise his right arm and twirl his hand as if to simulate a lasso about to be thrown, releasing it a second later.
Almost instinctively, a woman saw Rossi and added the suggestive part to the dance. She bent down and backed into him and his pelvis, pretending that she was one the Rossi lassoed. Rossi then pretended to “ride” her as she wiggled her bottom against his pelvis. When the song was finished, the two of them embraced, talked a little bit and Rossi let her on her way.
“Look at you,” said colleague Derek Morgan, also impressed. “Mr. Moves tonight.”
“I can do the Macarena too if you’d like,” quipped Rossi.
“What’s the Macarena?” asked colleague Spencer Reid.
“Trust me,” replied Morgan assuredly, “you don’t want to know.”
“So…Dave…did you get her number?” asked Prentiss.
“No,” replied Rossi, wistfully. “I didn’t want her to feel like she’s dating her grandpa.”
Morgan laughed, then heard his favourite song, Rick Ross’ “Push It”, and instinctively decided it was his time to dance.
Across at the bar were two other members of the BAU, Zoe Hawkes and Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, sharing a round of drinks.
“I can’t believe you don’t find him attractive!” said an amazed Hawkes.
“I’m just not into Brad Pitt,” replied Jareau. “He looks too much like your stereotypical jock jerk.”
“The blonde hair…it shimmers so well…the glistening in his eyes…that snark of his when he puts his tongue to the side of his cheek…” Hawkes paused with a sigh of infatuation.
Her mood then turned serious.
“JJ” started Hawkes, who started to fumble her words.
“Zoe, what is it?” responded a concerned Jareau.
“It’s Spence. I’ve been meaning…I mean I think…I don’t know…”
Jareau tried to reassure her. “It’s okay, you can tell me.”
Hawkes tried to respond, but Reid came over to the bar.
“I’ll have a dry martini,” said Reid to the bartender. “It doesn’t matter to me if you shake it or you stir it.”
“Oh, so you’re James Bond now, eh Spence?” cracked Jareau. “I guess you got over the whole ‘stirred’ part.”
“Actually,” said Reid, his voice speeding up because he was about to go on a rant, “there is no discernible difference in the taste buds regarding whether or not a drink is stirred or shaken. The quality of the drink depends more on the speed and the forcefulness of the action of blending the different molecules of the ingredients together, and studies have shown that this process is not faster or slower depending on whether or not you shake or stir the drink. Rather, what you use to stir or to shake affects the quality of the mixture- if you use a spoon, you can blend more of the two drinks together faster than if you were to use a conventional stir stick because it will cover more ground. The same thing also happens when you shake the mixer by holding it vertically and vigorously shaking it back and forth rather than shaking it diagonally and tilting it back and forth. Doing it from a diagonal means less coverage area by the liquids in some parts of the mixer, so not every part of the two drinks gets mixed in equally, whereas if you do it vertically then the drinks are more likely to interact.”
“Okay,” said Jareau, bored of Reid’s speech. “I need to call Will and see how he’s doing with Henry.” Hawkes remained glued to every word, hoping the genius could provide her with more knowledge from his expansive brain.
Jareau stepped outside, where he met BAU Unit Chief Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner enjoying a cigar. She called Will LaMontagne, her husband, and checked up on them, finding out that, even though Henry didn’t eat his spinach, the two of them were okay. Hotchner, however, didn’t hear the call and expected the worst.
“Don’t tell me,” said Hotchner, exasperated. “We’ve got a case.”
“We do have a case,” said Jareau, watching Hotchner breathe a sigh of frustration. She then paused before enthusiastically saying, “for more drinks!”
Hotchner let out a tiny smirk of a laugh, as is his trademark. “Henry doing okay?”
“Oh yeah,” replied Jareau. “He just has difficulty eating spinach. Says he learned in school that a cow eats grass and how he isn’t a cow.”
“Maybe you have to show him Popeye,” quipped Hotchner.
“Maybe,” said Jareau.
Inside, Hawkes and Reid were alone at the bar, pounding back drink and after drink. The two of them grew closer and closer with each passing drink, and both took a step outside where Reid and Hawkes started to passionately make out. They progressed to a room at a nearby hotel, where the passionate kissing turned into a night of passionate sex. Although Reid did catch a glimpse of a janitor acting a touch suspiciously, the two of them were largely oblivious that the hotel was being robbed that night.
The next day, the team departed Hoboken on its jet at noon.
“I hope we all enjoyed last night,” said Jareau with excitement.
“100 cases in a row solved,” replied Morgan with a cool celebration, “it doesn’t get any sweeter than that.”
Reid cleared his throat. “We...we had fun,” said Reid, who tried to hide his wide grin but failed. Unnoticed by the team- but not Reid- was Hawkes’ instinctive smile.
“Well somebody seemed to have a good night,” cracked Morgan with a smirk. Reid could only smile.
“I hope we got the partying out of our system because we’ve got to get back to work,” said Hotchner, with the rest of the team giving him their begrudging agreement.
Fortunately, it appeared to be a slow day. Nothing came across either Jareau’s desk or Hotchner’s desk for review, meaning the team got some much needed time to catch up on paperwork. For Morgan, it meant writing his psychological review of Jeremy Sayer, an Iowan who became a family annihilator at 13. His parole hearing was coming up and Morgan had to present his argument for keeping him in prison.
“Jeremy still isn’t passing his evaluations,” noted Morgan to himself. “He’s obviously not rehabilitated...plus he’s obsessed with getting back at his sister. You can see it in his evaluations...this is a no-brainer.”
“You know, they say that talking to yourself is the first sign of old age,” said Reid with a smile, walking in on Morgan.
“Well they should know that Derek Morgan never gets old,” chuckled Morgan smugly. Reid laughed.
“What’s up kid? Take a seat.” Morgan could tell something was on Reid’s mind.
“I guess I’m terrible at hiding it,” said Reid with a nervous smile. “It’s funny...when I play poker I can maintain my composure but when it comes to personal stuff I can’t hide it. Maybe it’s because when I’m playing-”
“Reid...slow down.” Morgan had to stop him from getting carried away and rambling needlessly.
“Okay.” Reid paused, took a deep breath and then continued. “Last night...I...I had a few drinks...and...” He then rushed the last part of the sentence, as if he were embarrassed. “IsleptwithZoe.”
“You what? I didn’t catch that.”
Reid spoke clearer, but still nervously. “I...I slept with Zoe.”
Morgan smiled. “I knew you left with someone, I just didn’t know it was Zoe.”
“I feel so ashamed...I’ve never done that before.”
Morgan, who has had more than his fair share of one-night stands, chuckled. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of. A lot of other men have done it too, and a lot of women.”
“Yeah...but it was my first time since JJ...five years ago...I would have liked it to be more special...and I don’t want to do that to Zoe.”
“Kid...I don’t know why you don’t want to go after Zoe. She’s totally your type. You’ve been longing to have someone that understands you on your level and you finally have it...yet you’re stuck on JJ.”
“I still love her.”
Morgan sighed briefly and then continued. “Reid...JJ cheated on you.”
“No...everything was fine until I met Tobias. She still blames me for not protecting her against the dogs. I had the greatest year of my life after we went to the Redskins game...and I screwed it up.”
“No Reid.” Morgan assumed a small air of sternness while keeping his comforting tone. “JJ screwed it up. Look, you can blame post-traumatic stress disorder or something else, but at the end of the day, JJ is in control of her actions. PTSD goes away...the fact that she didn’t come back afterward should say a lot.”
“You’re forgetting that the night she cheated on me with Will was the day she conceived Henry.”
“Yes, but she didn’t even try to reach out to you after it happened. She didn’t try to include you in Henry’s life- making you his godfather was just an afterthought to her. If she loved you, the minute she recovered from PTSD- and she recovered quickly- she should have come back to you.”
Reid resented the last statement. “JJ wouldn’t do that. No mother would want to leave her kid and why should she just toss away the kid’s dad just because she’s in love with someone else. They made their bed, they should sleep in it.”
Morgan grimaced slightly acknowledging Reid’s point but collected himself. “Yes, but you know her and Will are in a loveless marriage. The fact that she has that and isn’t seeking you out should be a sign. Furthermore, she didn’t need to be in a relationship with Will to continue having him play a role in Henry’s life- there are a lot of couples where an outside parent stays involved in their child’s life yet stays platonic to the committed parent. Bottom line is that JJ never apologized for what she did, and that should be enough for you to move on.”
Reid nodded slightly, while hanging his head.
“OK Reid?” Morgan gave him a hearty pat on his back.
“OK.” Reid still thought Morgan was wrong but realized there was no point to continuing the argument at the time. He then left to continue working on his treatise, The Lightbulb and the Human Mind.
“Now that I have that out of the way,” said Morgan, rubbing his hands together in excitement, “let’s put this puppy to bed.” Just as he was about to start typing Hotchner called him to the war room. Morgan hung his head in frustration, then left to go to join his teammates.
“Last night,” started Jareau authoritatively, “while we were in Hoboken, in the New Jersey province of the New Yorker Empire, the W Hotel was robbed. The night manager said that when he came back from doing his rounds in the hallway that his office and the front lobby had several items missing. He initially suspected the clerk had stolen the items.”
We were just in there, thought Reid and Hawkes.
“Three weeks ago,” continued Jareau, “the Fort Lee Window Company also reported a robbery within the plant in the glazing department during the night shift…and...like clockwork, three weeks before that the office for Brooklyn tech support company Nerd Patrol was also robbed at night. In Fort Lee, supervisors blamed a line captain but police ruled him out as a suspect. Security cameras couldn't catch the person's face since he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt. The Nerd Patrol office also suspected the lone worker working that night to be the thief but his statement to police also included a description of the hooded sweatshirt.”
“So how do we know it’s the same person committing the crimes and they’re not unrelated thefts?” asked Morgan.
“The intervals are like clockwork,” replied Rossi. “It’s too neat...unrelated thefts would be random. Same kind of clothing too.”
“Victimology is all over the place,” said Reid. “In one company, the target is an authority figure, while at the others it appears to be the workers themselves. Does the department robbed in Fort Lee have easy access to visitors?”
“Yes it does, it’s right by the cafeteria entrance,” replied Jareau.
“Did anyone see anyone or anything suspicious?” asked Prentiss.
“None of them reported seeing anything out of the ordinary before the robberies,” replied Jareau.
“Do the companies have visitor logs?” asked Reid.
“Only at the hotel,” replied Jareau. “At the other two locations, it’s not maintained at night.”
“Did the employees let anyone in?” asked Prentiss.
“Nobody we’ve talked to recalls anyone specific they let in that would commit the crimes,” replied Jareau, “either because of the time that has elapsed since the robbery or, in the hotel’s case, because the manager sees so many people come in.”
“So we know the UnSub blends in,” said Rossi, “but how. That’s how we’ll find him.”
“Do we even know it’s a ‘him’?” asked Prentiss, upset that the team always assumes they’re hunting males.
“There’d be a lot of heavy lifting,” chimed Hotchner, “it’s not likely that a woman would have had the capacity to take what the UnSub took.”
Prentiss wanted to reply to the absurdity of Hotchner’s statement but decided against it because she didn’t want to cause trouble in the war room.
“Do we know what was stolen?” asked Morgan.
“The items seemed to vary…what was common was that, in each case, the workers present during the robberies were blamed for them and were reprimanded. The police got involved when the New York Labour Board reported that the Fort Lee and Nerd Patrol worker grievances were too similar to be coincidental.”
“OK...well, I guess we’re going back to Hoboken,” said Hotchner.
“I just wish it was for a party,” replied Rossi, sardonically.
“Since the UnSub seems to strike in precise intervals we’ve got time before we have to head out,” said Hotchner, “so we’ll head out tomorrow. Everyone get a good night’s sleep- we’ve got some serious work to do tomorrow.”
Reid took the opportunity to go back to his home and, anticipating a long stay in Hoboken, decided he needed to do some packing. He also thought it’d be a great time to ask Jason Gideon, a retired former BAU member whom he worked with and now lives with, about the situation with Hawkes and JJ.
“Hey Spencer,” said Gideon. “Got a case I’m assuming?”
“Yeah Jason,” said Reid. “It’s a serial robber. He seems to strike companies pretty randomly, but I think we can connect them. It’s human nature to do the same things over and over again, even if they’re subtle.”
Gideon smiled. Reid seemed to be growing up before his eyes. “How was Hoboken last night?”
“I need to talk to you about that.”
“Uh oh...don’t tell me you kissed a guy thinking it was a girl.”
Reid shook his head and smiled. “That was four years ago...and he looked like a girl from afar.”
Gideon laughed a little, then allowed Reid to continue.
“No...I got drunk and I slept with Zoe.”
“I see. Does JJ know?”
“I don’t think she does...I talked to Morgan about the episode and he’s still convinced that JJ cheated on me and that I should go after Zoe. I still think I can salvage a relationship with JJ, because she didn’t cheat on me because she wanted to be mean...it was PTSD and she conceived, which complicated things. Besides, I don’t think someone makes you her kid’s godfather without having a small inkling for you.”
“Okay...but have you told JJ about how you feel?”
“No...I haven’t...I’m too afraid that I'll upset her.”
“I understand...it’s tricky. You still have to work with her. However, what if all this time she’s been waiting for you to make your move and you never did? Besides, you of all people know how bad it can be to bottle up your feelings.
“I do wish to understand, Spencer, what do you think of Zoe?” asked Gideon.
“I think Zoe is a great woman,” said Reid. “I think, after JJ, she was the only woman who understands me on a deeper level. Plus, I can talk like a genius and she can follow along...sometimes my conversations with JJ went over her head. Only thing is, Zoe isn’t as naturally caring as JJ is.”
“I think you’ve got to do some thinking. It sounds like you’ve let another thought battle the entrenched one and it’s making you think. I can’t tell you what option to take...that’s for you to decide...but I think whatever option you do take, you need to take it with a clear head.”
“OK. Thanks Jason. Have a good night.”
“Why are you drunk again Will?” said an exasperated Jareau to her husband, Will LaMontagne.
“Something’s got to keep me going after looking after Henry,” replied LaMontagne, his speech slurring because of the alcohol. “All he does is ask questions...‘Daddy, why do crickets chirp in the morning?’ ‘Daddy, why don’t sharks eat people?’ ‘Daddy, why can’t real life be like the movies?’ ‘Daddy, why did Bambi’s mother die?’”
“Will, he’s FIVE. Of course he’s going to be asking so many questions.”
“Oh and my personal favourite, ‘Daddy, why does Mommy go away so much?’ Yeah, why DOES Mommy go away so much? You have a kid to take care of, you can do your job from the office in Quantico.”
Jareau was livid. “We’ve been through this before...no, I can’t. I need to be in the field so that I can deal directly with law enforcement officials and with the media on a personal level. I can’t do that from Quantico. Besides, THIS IS MY JOB. Something you used to have.”
“Whatever.” LaMontagne took another swig of his beer, which Jareau snatched from his hand.
“I’m calling my mother. You are NOT taking care of Henry while I’m away.”
Jareau escaped to her bedroom. For years, her and LaMontagne had been sleeping apart from each other. They still have sex every now and then, but they never kiss anymore.
Jareau pulled out a locket that she brings with her to the crime scenes, away from Will. Inside is a picture of her and Reid, a gift from Reid on their first year anniversary as a couple.
Why did I give up on Spence? thought Jareau. No, JJ, stop that. She then thought of the time when they encountered Tobias Hankel five years ago, when Hankel kidnapped and tortured Reid for over a day. Reid was taken from the farm to another farm, while Jareau was left behind. He couldn’t save me from the dogs, and he was so weak with Tobias. I don’t need a boy in my life. I need a man. She took a deep breath and took Henry with her, dropping him off at her mother’s place before heading back to the office to sleep. She didn’t want to look at LaMontagne until she got back.
That morning, Hotchner- usually the first one to arrive at the office- found her asleep on her couch and woke her up.
“You know, you really should be sleeping in your own bed,” said Hotchner, sternly but concerned.
“I know,” replied Jareau, acknowledging it wasn’t the first time she’d done this. “Sometimes I think it’s easier just to stay here instead of going home...we have so many cases.”
Hotchner knew something was up but didn’t know what. He thought better than to press the issue. “The plane is leaving in an hour and a half. Go get some coffee and get on board.”
Upon landing back in Hoboken, the team assumed their roles. Morgan and Reid went to the freshest crime scene, the W Hotel. Prentiss and Hawkes were tasked with interviewing the W’s night manager and the clerk working the front desk that night. Hotchner and Rossi stayed with Jareau to deal with the police and see what they already knew about the crimes.
Morgan started the investigation with a role playing game, as is his custom.
“OK,” started Morgan with authority. “I’m the UnSub. I walk through the door, what’s the first thing I do?”
“Well, there’s no sign of forced entry,” noted Reid, “and the front desk is almost always staffed. Since the manager’s office was robbed, the UnSub had to have spoken to whoever was working behind the desk, because there’s no way he would have had time to rob what he did if he just managed to ‘sneak by’.”
“Right. So I speak a few words, gain the clerk’s trust, but how do I do that?”
“He couldn’t be just a regular guest…they’d never be allowed back there.”
“So either he’s a service worker or the clerk and/or the manager knew the person previously. That’s how he gains access.”
“Okay. So he’s gained the clerk’s trust. Then what?”
“He performs his ruse, waits for the night manager to do his nightly round of the hotel and then starts robbing his office. He then distracts the clerk in some way to steal items from the desk, but he doesn’t get much because the window of opportunity is low.”
"So is that why the other two management offices were not robbed? Because the opportunity wasn't there?"
"Exactly. The UnSub couldn't get access, and because he didn't target the other managers specifically, he didn't try to get into their offices...and, because some of the clerk's items were also missing, this is more about opportunity than being targeted at an individual."
“There’s something strange about the robberies, though. Usually serial robbers have drug problems and steal to gain the funds to continue their addictions…yet there’s no sign that anything of value was stolen.”
“Anything of monetary value. You’ll notice that the manager’s degrees are stolen off the wall. The thief took the chained pen used to sign the visitor's logbook but not the logbook itself. He didn’t open the safe but took the keys with which to open it. He didn’t take the passcard reader but he took the USB connector needed to process the reader to the computer. It’s very likely the manager came back to his office and didn’t notice anything was stolen- until he tried to use things.”
“That explains why the manager reprimanded the clerk. Only the clerk would have the knowledge of what the manager needs to perform his tasks- or so you’d think. Yet the clerk also had items missing...wouldn't that exonerate him?"
"Not necessarily...the manager might not trust him. It's common in these kinds of relationships."
"Another thing...why leave the logbook?"
"He probably used an alias, didn't think he'd get caught. What does this leave us?”
“These aren’t robberies for profit, as they normally are. The robber steals personal items indicating a personal connection to the crime, but the items stolen are opportunistic. Since the hotel itself isn’t vandalized and no company logos appear tarnished, it appears like we’ve got someone making a general statement about the workers.”
“Right. Once we know the statement, we find the UnSub.”
“So when did you first notice something was missing?” asked Prentiss.
“It was about 3:15AM,” replied the night manager at W, Robert Tyson. “I went to give a client a new passcard and the USB connector for the reader was gone. That’s when I knew something was amiss.”
“What lead you to the conclusion the clerk, Victor Meneizes, working with you two nights ago was the culprit?” asked Hawkes.
“I never trusted the guy,” replied Tyson. “I always wanted to get rid of him, but the general manager loves him. I always suspected him of stealing but I never did catch him…so I assumed my suspicions were correct. Only he would know what items I needed to do my job, and that was what was stolen.”
“So when he was cleared you were surprised,” said Hawkes. “Would he be the only one that knows what tools you need for the job?"
"Other than the GM, yes," replied Tyson. "They only give me one clerk at night, so unless it was someone I worked with previously, it has to be Victor."
"Was there anybody you recognized who popped by last night?" asked Prentiss.
"No, not at all," replied Tyson.
"Do you remember allowing anyone access to your room?" asked Hawkes.
"You know," started Tyson, "there was this guy...I believe he signed in at 1AM. He said he was with the 'Hotel Cleaners Association' and that we had a prior contract with them. I just assumed he was right and let him in...did a pretty good job too. Wait, are you saying that's our guy?"
"Possibly," replied Prentiss.
"Was he wearing a hoodie?" asked Hawkes.
"Yeah...yeah he was," responded Tyson. "It was cold outside so I didn't think much of it."
"Did you get a name?" asked Prentiss.
"It'll be in the logbook," said Tyson. "Funny thing about that is that he hesitated before writing his name, which I found odd."
"I see," said Prentiss. "Thank you for your time."
Back at the Hoboken Sheriff Department, the team reconvened to review what they found.
"Okay, so Morgan and I found that he only stole items at the crime scene that were personal, but the crimes were opportunistic," said Reid. "What this tells us that this is an attack against the workers of the hotel as a whole, not against any specific worker."
"The night manager, Robert Tyson, told us that he recalled letting in someone who claimed to be a cleaner,” stated Prentiss.
“No…it can’t be a cleaner,” said Hotchner.
“Hotch, she’s right,” said Morgan, coming to Prentiss’ aid. “Posing as a cleaner allows you access to the premises…nobody can turn down a guy that wants to do some cleaning.”
“Also allows him to blend in,” agreed Rossi. “Nobody thinks the cleaner is up to anything.”
“Our guy also seemed to hesitate before signing the logbook,” said Hawkes. “So he’s likely using an alias, and, if he to think it up on the spot, it’s likely a bad one.”
“One that he’s likely not to remember,” added Reid.
“Meshes with what we got from the other crime scenes,” said Rossi. “Fort Lee also reported a guy posing as a cleaner in a hooded sweatshirt. Entering through the cafeteria entrance to the plant meshes with the opportunistic approach he prefers. Stole boxes of rubber blocks meant to cushion the glass against the frame of the window, as well as scrapers and work gloves, but interestingly enough, no glass or scrap metal that he could actually make money off of- and presuming he had a car big enough to carry boxes he had to have had room for at least some materials of value from this company.”
“At the Nerd Patrol Office,” said Hotchner, “the worker present at the time, Bobby Maxwell, returned to find his computer equipment intact but did not have any flashdrives, his headset used to receive phone calls and, curiously enough, the button to turn on his monitor also went missing. Again, the guy posed as a cleaner.”
“Just finished some research on these companies,” said technical analyst Penelope Garcia, who joined the conversation via webcam from Quantico. “The companies do extensive business across North America. They have no history together, and they don’t have a single worker who has worked for all three companies or even two of them.”
“Strange because the companies are pretty close together,” noted Reid.
“They’re not exactly around the block,” responded Rossi, “and the businesses are profoundly different from each other.”
“So we know we’ve got a guy who steals personal items from workplaces, but only steals opportunistically,” said Hocthner. “He poses as a cleaner to gain access to the companies and as a way to gain the employees’ trust. He also struck at night in each case so as not to bump into ‘upper management types’ who’d be able to call him out on his ruse and know that he doesn’t actually work at the company. The companies he targets aren’t local businesses but continental ones.”
“The guy sounds like the textbook activist,” said Hawkes, with Reid nodding in agreement. “Sounds like he’s stealing to prove a point about the workers- maybe to say that big businesses steal from their workers so that’s why he stole from them. He's also young, and smart, and likely still in college or just finished college because that's when you develop your causes. A guy like this, new to the game, can't be all that seasoned- you see that in the opportunistic side of the crime. More seasoned activists better know their targets.”
"We can't just assume that because he just started that he's young. He may have just been waiting for the right time to do it, and there's nothing to suggest a college education," asserted Hotchner, with a touch of incredulousness.
“No, she's right.” defended Rossi. “Most activists are emotional...they're not the type to wait.”
“Furthermore it requires advanced intelligence to grasp the issues that an activist would rally for or against,” noted Hawkes. "Only place he can acquire that is in college."
“He’s very organized,” noted Morgan. “Doesn’t leave much of a trace behind at the crime scene- so much so that he’s not the one that gets blamed first, but a co-worker.”
“He’s also affable enough that he can talk his way past a manager,” said Prentiss.
"So we've got a smart, articulate man who is studying Economics and Worker Relations in some capacity in college," said Hotchner, "and is organized."
"Because of his suggestion that companies are stealing from their workers, he's likely been a victim of company action against him," said Hawkes, "and he probably feels taken advantage of. Since he believes so strongly in economic activism, he's likely from a class of people who are not favoured by the economy, so that makes him a minority...in this case, since he's articulate, African-American. It's also the only minority group of any size in the Hoboken area."
"We can't just assume he's a minority, Hawkes," bristled Hotchner.
"She's right," chimed Morgan, an African-American. "Since he's attacking big companies he must feel like the company he left marginalized him, and who else feels marginalized in the economy than a minority."
"All right. Good work," said Hotchner, impressed with his team. "We'll deliver the profile in five."
“Hey…JJ,” said Hawkes, sheepishly, to Jareau.
“Hey Zoe,” said Jareau with a hint of enthusiasm. “Good work in there with the activist stuff, you really did your homework.”
“Well, it was easy…I was an activist in college. You guys already know I’m a feminist and one of the reasons I took up this career is that I wanted to catch the men that prey on women and reduce them…there’s nothing more feminist than sticking up for the victims.”
Jareau smiled. “You’re right about that.”
Hawkes then gave a nervous smile, belying the real reason why she came in.
Jareau picked up that something was wrong right away. “What’s up?”
“It’s about the other night…at the bar.”
“About Spence, I remember.”
“I…I…uh…didn’t get a chance to finish what I was saying.”
“I know…Spence went on a diatribe about the effects of shaking versus stirring.” Jareau then continued with a hint of sarcasm. “Very compelling stuff.”
Hawkes chuckled a little. “Do you ever get the sense he just pulls things out of his ass?”
Jareau let out a laugh. “Oh yeah, ALLL the time…I think he does it just to play with us.”
Hawkes laughed as well, then hung her head low, as if she were ashamed.
“Zoe, it’s all right…you don’t need to be embarrassed. Did something happen?”
“Well…I know you and Spencer have a history together so I feel bad saying this…” Zoe’s voice trailed off.
“Zoe…we broke up five years ago. I’ve moved on in my life.”
“Why do you carry the locket Spencer gave you?”
Jareau smiled. “Zoe…Spence and I are still good friends. We just weren’t compatible as a couple. I have it to remind me that not all men are evil or self-absorbed players, that there is still a sweet guy out there for me. It just isn’t Spence…he’s more of a brother to me now.”
Hawkes was now relieved. “OK…that’s…that’s all I wanted to know.”
“You still have something else on your mind.”
“How’d you know?”
“A mother knows.”
Hawkes hung her head again. “JJ…Spencer and I…we…we…we left the club together.”
“Zoe, we all left the club with someone. It’s no big deal.”
“…and then we…we had sex.”
“Yeah, I know…um…”
“Zoe, like I said, Spence and I have broken up and have been broken up for a while now. You can go after him if you’d like.”
“Really?” Hawkes sounded excited.
Jareau responded without hesitation. “Yeah, really.”
“I really like him…I really do…I know, it’s weird to be wispy over Spencer, but I can’t help myself.”
Jareau was touched. “Aww…there’s nothing wrong with it. Spence is a sweet guy.”
“How do I get him to notice me?”
“You guys work together…how hard is it?”
“No…I mean get him to notice me so that he falls in love with me.”
Jareau wanted to say “get him drunk” but thought better of it. “As strange as it may sound, because Spence is SOO like this…don’t force yourself upon him. Don’t be too obvious, it’s intimidating to him. Do engage his mind, though. It was tough for me, but for you, it’s natural…you’re just as smart as he is. All his life he’s been looking for someone to connect with…you can do that. Take that chance.”
“OK.” Hawkes turned to leave when she brought up something else. “JJ…he’s got a pretty big mind, but we both know he’s got something else that’s bigger.”
Jareau giggled in agreement. “Why do you think I stayed so long?”
“OK, so we’re looking for a Black male, age 20-25,” started Morgan, delivering the profile to the Hoboken Police.
“He’s been marginalized by society,” said Rossi, “so he’s taken up the cause of activism to strike back.”
“He sees the companies that he robs as symbols of that marginalization,” said Reid, “and because he believes it so strongly, he was likely the victim of a company action against him at some point.”
“He poses as a cleaner to gain access to the premises,” said Prentiss, “and since he does such a great job at it, he likely works or has worked as a cleaner.”
“He also carries his cleaning materials with him,” said Hawkes, “so he likely drives a mid-level sedan or SUV. If it’s expensive, his parents likely bought it for him.”
“Since activists tend to be smart,” said Hotchner, “he has to be college educated and has either taken or is taking classes in economics and possibly political science. Since he only started striking he has to be new to the cause, so he’s likely still in college or he just got out.”
“Since he’s in college or a very recent grad we’ve got to look for people who either live with their parents or in very inexpensive housing,” said Rossi.
“Couldn’t he live in his car?” asked a police officer.
“No, it’s not likely,” answered Morgan. “He has to store the stuff that he stole, so he needs the space. He can’t get that in a car.”
“Since the robberies were within a 30 mile radius he likely lives around the area, so don’t waste your time looking for people beyond the radius,” said Hawkes.
“This man is very organized,” said Morgan, “and he’s affable and articulate. He will have a social life, it may even be extensive.”
“So start your search under those parameters and we’ll go from there,” concluded Hotchner. “Thank you.”
Hotchner turned his attention to Morgan, Reid and Hawkes as the officers left the room. “Morgan, speak with Garcia and see if you can get a list of names based on the profile. Reid and Hawkes, have a look at the logbook and see what you can come up with.”
“Hey Darling,” said Morgan, suavely, to Garcia.
“What took you so long?” playfully asked Garcia.
“It’s a strange case, we’ve never seen this before.”
“I’ll say…this is the first time we’ve ever been called for a robbery and nobody’s dead.”
“Mr. Lynch is fine…like your typical guy he doesn’t know how to clean or cook.”
Morgan laughed, figuring the two of them patched things up. He then continued. “Maybe you should have him see our guy. At least then he’ll clean.”
Garcia laughed. “Touche.” She continued. “What’s the proposition today?”
“We need you to get us a list of African-American males from the Hoboken area who are either recent college grads or are currently in college. They’ll at least have one course in Economics, maybe even Political Science. They’ve worked or are working as a cleaner, and have had a company action taken against them. Look also for people who live in relative poverty or are still at home. Find out what kind of car he drives- this is either a SUV or a mid-level sedan, something that can fit all his stolen items, and if he owns his vehicle, disregard anyone who spent more than $20,000 on it. Okay?”
Garcia winked. “Is anything ever a problem for me?”
“You are truly special. Thanks Garcia.”
“The manager said that the UnSub signed in around 1AM and worked for the ‘Hotel Cleaners Association,” started Reid.
“Yet the HCA is conspicuously absent from the logbook,” noted Hawkes.
“Sounds like he made it up on the spot.”
“Anything we see at 1AM?”
“Lots of guests.” Reid then chuckled. “Our names…”
Hawkes giggled pleasantly.
“Ah…here’s one. Harrison Im…just calls himself a ‘cleaner’.”
“…and from ‘Harrison Im’ you get ‘Aris Ronhim’.”
“Ronhim being a common last name in the Casaran Empire of Western Africa, the empire that kicked out the French in the 1950s. Aris, of course, is Greek.”
“No wonder he’s marginalized…he’s mixed. You can’t get any more isolated than not belonging to one of the two races that identify so strongly with their skin colour. He was likely isolated until he went to college, where he could meet similar outcasts.”
“…and organize them.”
“So we have a name- Aris Ronhim,” said Hawkes.
“Aris Ronhim…” said Morgan, cross-referencing the list given to him by Garcia. “Right there…third year student at Stevens University. President of the Interracial Students’ Association at SU. Doing a double major in Economics and Political Science…and…he was fired 12 weeks ago as the janitor at the Mustard Seed School because he failed to pay several parking tickets at the school.”
“I can hardly blame him,” chimed in Prentiss, “he was making $5 an hour.”
“Let’s go pay him a visit,” said Hotchner, authoritatively.
“You won’t have to,” said Ronhim, who just stepped through the doors of the Sheriff’s Office, already cuffed and searched. Prentiss then escorted him to the interrogation room.
“What brings you here?” asked Prentiss, inquisitively.
“Aren’t you going to yell at me and start accusing me of the crime?” asked Ronhim.
“As far as I know you’ve already confessed, and I think getting angry at you right off the bat wouldn’t do this any good- we need to have a conversation.”
“On TV they always yell and scream.”
“That’s TV. This is reality.”
“So Mr. Ronhim, what brings you to this part of town?”
Ronhim answered nonchalantly. “Oh I was visiting my brother and I was bored.”
“So you’re visiting your brother and then, because you’re bored, you decide to get arrested?” Prentiss found this odd, but thought she could run with it. “It’s an odd way to have fun, but hey, we’ve all done crazy things.”
Outside the interrogation room, Hotchner talked with both Reid and Hawkes.
"When we land back in Quantico, you're both suspended without pay pending a full review of your conduct," said Hotchner, tersely.
"Hey!" said Hawkes, about to hit back at Hotchner verbally.
"Don't you 'hey!' me," continued Hotchner, unyielding.
"Can...can you tell me what this is about?" asked Reid, nervously.
"You two were at the W and failed to tell us," said Hotchner tersely. "You both obstructed the investigation."
"Let it go, Aaron," said Rossi, jumping in. "They likely thought that if they said something, they'd be looked down upon. You're just confirming that."
"No, I'm not," sighed Hotchner.
"They didn't obstruct the investigation," said Rossi. "From what we saw on the tape, neither of them got a good look at him. Furthermore, neither of them has said or did anything trying to protect him, and neither of them knew him."
"They came to the anagram conclusion very quickly," said Hotchner, sternly.
"It was an easy anagram," said Reid, stupefied. "Even you could have done it."
"He's right," said Rossi.
"Okay," said Hotchner, changing his tone. "I'm sorry...neither of you will face any discipline."
"We're not going to judge you for what you did," comforted Rossi. "You guys are young and in love. There's nothing to be ashamed of."
Reid and Hawkes both smiled. Reid wanted to point out it was just a one night stand but thought better of it. A few minutes later, Morgan catched up with the two of them.
"What was that about?" asked Morgan, concerned.
"That jerk almost suspended us because we were at the W without saying anything," said Hawkes, angrily.
"It could have helped, but I understand why you didn't say anything," replied Morgan, "and it didn't negatively impact the investigation." Morgan then became pointed.
"I need to let you in on something," said Morgan. "I'm still up to run the Empire of New York's FBI head office. All I need to do is tell Lucius Black I want it and it's mine. After Hotch pulled that, I just may do it. I want you both to join me. Okay? Don’t say anything to anybody else." Hawkes and Reid both just nodded in agreement. “Is it finalized yet?” asked Reid.
“No, not yet,” answered Morgan, assuaging Reid’s fears. “I’m not leaving the team yet- but if I say the word, the next day I’m there.”
“Okay, so does any of this make sense to you?” asked Rossi. “A guy goes through all those lengths to hide himself to commit the crimes and then, all of a sudden turns around and just admits to everything?”
“The admission will stand up in court,” replied Hotchner. “This doesn’t sound forced, it adds details about the crimes we didn’t know…he’s really coming clean.”
“This is just too easy…there’s something we’re missing. Come on Emily…you can do it.”
Hotchner let out a sigh of frustration.
“Aaron…you gotta let it go, all this stuff with women. I know your mother wasn’t good to you, neither was Strauss and the Bureau took a bit of a feminist bent in the 1990s…but that’s no reason to look down upon all women. Emily interrogated Ian Doyle…you’ve had her on your team for almost seven years now…she’s proven herself. What more does she have to do? No wonder she feels isolated.”
“I know she’s proven herself. Attitudes are hard to change…I try to fight it but it’s subconscious. At least I let her do her thing now without interference.”
Rossi smiled. “That’s your pragmatist side showing. You need to let it shine more often.”
Inside the room, Prentiss was getting somewhere with Ronhim, who had begun to cry.
“Aris…it’s okay. Let me give you a hug.”
Ronhim gladly accepted the hug, and cried on Prentiss’ shoulder. “I’ve never felt so free…thank you Emily.”
“You’re welcome.” As the two of them ended the hug, Prentiss grabbed Ronhim by both of his shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes. “Aris, there’s something you gotta do for me…you gotta help me help you. Tell me who is coming after you.”
“He’s going to kill me.”
Prentiss became reassuringly adamant. “I’m not going to let that happen.”
“Okay…it’s Reza Khamid.”
As soon as Rossi heard that name a sense of urgency overcame him.
“Dave, what is it?” asked Hotchner, concerned.
“Lock down this building,” started Rossi, with deep resolve. “Evacuate EVERYONE. Tell them to get as far away from the police station as possible without making a scene. Get the bomb squad here and have Morgan check this building for a bomb. This is a trap.”
“What? I don’t get it.”
Rossi’s voice filled with intensity. “1992. The Virginia Capitol Massacre. Lawmakers got lured back into the Capitol by a phony letter writing campaign after a bombing outside a school, only for the lawmakers themselves to get trapped in their own building and all systematically shot to death. All that was preceded by ten random rapes in Washington.
“1997. The Dixie Disaster, the case I retired after. A little girl is kidnapped. We spend days finding her. She’s found at the Grand Ole Opry. Days later, Carolinian Emperor Spike Kipness is killed in the bombing of the ceremony commemorating her safe return to her parents. We tried finding the bomber but the BAU was too dysfunctional to be effective. That’s when we first connected that case and the Virginia case to Khamid.
“2005. Adrian Bale, the Boston Shrapnel Bomber. Lured FBI agents into a warehouse that he later blew up with a remote controlled bomb. Since the BAU was tasked to be Boston Emperor Bruce Wallace’s security detail at Boston Garden for Ray Bourque’s retirement ceremony, killing Wallace days before the ceremony was easy. Bale was never connected to Khamid because Gideon left the case before he could interrogate Bale about it, and by the time he came back, Khamid was already off Bale’s radar.
2008. The New York City Shooters. We worked that case…groups of killers in hooded sweatshirts randomly killed people to test emergency response times so they could bomb the emergency responders. When our profile stopped this, the terrorist medic took matters into his own hands and tried to get us to drive the bomb into the hospital where New York Emperor Paul Jubin was being treated, because we disrupted the distraction part of the plan. They already had a bomb at the hospital but the terrorist panicked, thinking that extra paramedics would find that bomb if they were close to the area. We wanted to get Khamid then but couldn’t because the terrorist medic was the only one able to tell us where he was.
Hotchner put it all together. “Khamid…the leader of the Blood Army, the terrorist organization that wants the West out of Iran and the Middle East. Since Jubin survived in 2008 they’ve come back to finish him off.”
Rossi let an air of relief get into his intensity. “Exactly.”
Hotchner relayed the information to Prentiss in the interrogation room.
“You lied to me Aris!” said Prentiss angrily. “You set us up.”
Ronhim was noticeably flabbergasted. “What? No! No I didn’t!”
“You can’t fool me.” Prentiss angrily grabbed the cuffed Ronhim, had him checked for explosives and dragged him outside, where the rest of the building had now been evacuated, with only Morgan and the bomb squad unit inside checking the facility for explosives.
“Do we have everyone?” said Hotchner, adopting a calm demeanour to keep control of the situation.
“Hotch…” said Reid, concerned. “We don’t know where JJ is.”
“Who was the last one to see her?” said Hotchner.
“She just stepped out to make a phone call about an hour ago,” said the Office’s receptionist. “I took my eyes away for five minutes and next thing I knew…she was gone. I didn’t think much of it since she said she was calling her mother.”
Prentiss was now incensed with Ronhim. “OK Aris, if you’re not a part of this, then tell me where JJ is right now. You have ten seconds. One…”
“OK, OK!” said Ronhim, panicking. “She’s at the Empire State Building…Khamid wanted to blow it up tonight and then he was going to get the rest of us to invade Governor’s Island and plant another bomb to kill the Emperor.”
“Thanks,” said Hotchner. “I’m going to inform the Emperor. Get Morgan out of the building…we’re going to have to storm the Empire State Building and defuse the bomb there.”
“Do I get another hug now?” asked Ronhim to Prentiss.
“No,” Prentiss snapped, before cuffing him to a bike post. “If you’re not lying you’ll get all the hugs you want when I get back. Before then, Officer Barton will be more than glad to oblige.” Barton, a portly but muscular man, wore a wide grin. Ronhim gulped.
Along the ride there, Rossi and Hotchner fought over control of the radio.
“We can’t do that,” said Hotchner sternly. “We have to have a clear head. If we get emotional we are going to screw this up.”
“I need to know if the Empire State Building is still there,” said Rossi worryingly. “This uncertainty is killing me.”
“We need to be strong. For JJ.”
Before the team entered, Morgan briefed the SWAT team about the assault.
“We gotta go in cold,” said Morgan fiercely. “If we go in hot, they’ll blow us all up, and I got a dear friend in there…I’m NOT going to lose her.”
“Hotch,” barked Morgan. “It’s going to take hours to defuse this building. I’m not sure we have that time.”
“…and do it discreetly,” agreed Hotchner. “We gotta take a chance…we have no choice.”
“You’re not going to get an argument from me,” said Morgan. “That’s our teammate…if she dies, we die together.”
Reid gulped, but agreed. The rest of the team followed suit.
“Let’s go,” said Hotchner. “Each of you pair up and take a third of the building and canvass from there. You’ll at least have the SWAT team to help you out.” Morgan and Reid went together, as did Hawkes and Prentiss and Rossi and Hotchner.
“This is like finding a needle in a bunch of needles,” said Morgan, who went with Reid to the top third. “Even with the SWAT team, there wasn’t the manpower to check every door and corner quickly.”
“I just thought of something,” said Reid. “Remember Chicu Reddy?”
“I remember Reddy, yes.”
“Rossi said Bale was associated with Khamid. Bale had a bomb strapped on to Reddy and tried to trick us into detonating it.”
“So you think JJ has a bomb strapped to her.”
“I don't think she has a bomb strapped to her, but part of the bomb. The Empire State Building is difficult to destroy with a bomb. It’s a steel reinforced structure, so JJ would be used as part of the bomb instead of being the bomb.”
“Reddy also went into histronics, making it as much about the spectacle as it was about the impact. Just like your average terrorist.”
“So he wants us to find him, so that we can all see, right before our eyes, the deaths of thousands of people and our fellow colleagues.”
“If he wants to be found, it would have to be a pretty conspicuous place.”
“Where does everyone else go when they go into the Empire State Building?”
“The Observation Deck.”
Reid called the others about his discovery, and soon everyone was making their way up the arduous stairs of the building to the 102nd floor, the Observation Deck. Reid stayed ahead of the pack.
“Why do we have to climb all these stairs?” whined Rossi through his cell phone to Reid, getting tired from the climbing. “Can’t he be on the ground or something?”
“These guys can’t make it easy can they?” smirked Reid.
“You little bugger…”
Reid was the first one to get to the observation deck. What he saw shocked him. The terrorist had dressed Jareau in a gray, silk, strapless dress, with her hands tied behind her back and her mouth gagged. She was suspended via a crane protruding out of an open window, left dangling above the ground below.
“Ann Darrow…” Reid said in shock, referring to the woman famously captured by King Kong in the original 1933 movie.
“So you’re the smart one,” mocked the terrorist, who was brandishing a pair of scissors, threatening to cut the rope holding Jareau.
“Don’t cut that rope!” threatened Reid, though his nervousness broke through his voice prominently.
“Or you’ll what?” answered the terrorist, mockingly, detecting the fear in Reid’s voice. “See, not only is this the rope holding up your dear friend, it’s also the trip wire that will blow up this entire building. I knew you guys wouldn’t have the time to defuse the building, so I hid over 1 million bombs all across the building. I’m the building janitor…I had plenty of time to do it.”
“You’re lying…I don’t see any bombs anywhere.”
“Look up, agent.”
Reid took a look at the ceiling and there they were- many specks across the ceiling, some hidden in light fixtures, which were all bombs.
“See, that’s the other thing I knew- everyone looks around, but they never look up; and it would take you forever to defuse every single one of these bombs anyway.”
Reid mustered up as much courage as he could, though he was still noticeably trembling. “How could you even think about doing this? To this country…to this city…to JJ.”
“Oh is that who she is? JJ?” The terrorist, having fun at Reid’s expense, put his hand underneath Jareau’s dress and began feeling and groping everywhere, much to Jareau’s squirms.
Meanwhile, a few floors down, Hawkes saw out of the corner of her eye a modem blinking. She then called Garcia.
“Zoe! You always brighten my day when you call!” beamed Garcia. “What’s up?”
“I saw a modem here in the Empire State Building,” replied Hawkes, noticing her curiosity. “It’s on the 70th floor, pointed towards the west. Can you trace it?”
“Oh no! It’s routed through one million proxy servers! I can’t trace it!”
Hawkes sighed. “Really?”
“Nah, just kidding. Should be a piece of cake, actually. You know, Criminal Minds needs to do a better job finding ways to outsmart me…they don’t seem to realize just how smart I am.”
“Thanks pumpkin!” Hawkes then reacted with a slight horror. Did I just give her a nickname? she thought. Am I becoming Morgan? She then gave her head a shake and kept going.
“You know what else is funny?” continued the terrorist in mocking tones. He then pointed out a small webcam located high on the interior wall. “Reza Khamid is here watching all this live. He’s going to love the show I’m going to put on.” The terrorist then reached down to cut the rope with his scissors.
“No! No!” Reid readied his gun to shoot the terrorist before he could snip. A shot was then heard.
Right behind Reid was Morgan, who hid behind the door to the Deck in case Reid was having trouble. He heard Reid’s trembles and saw the incident by opening the door a crack, and struck when he saw Reid was actually in trouble.
A shocked Reid needed a second to realize what had just happened. There lay the terrorist, dead from a gunshot wound right between the eyes. Jareau was still dangling from the rope, but Morgan couldn’t reel her in- he had to neutralize the trip wire first. A police helicopter was on its way pick Jareau up instead.
“I had the shot,” said the still shocked Reid.
“Kid, it’s okay,” said Morgan. “You were trembling. I had to take it.”
Reid was despondent. “JJ deserved better from me.”
Morgan reassured him. “You need to learn to accept your weaknesses. You’re never going to be ‘the badass’, and that’s okay. Just like how I’ll never be a smart as you. That’s why we’re a team- we cover each other’s weaknesses, because we’re better together.”
Morgan put his hand on Reid's shoulder and continued. “You tried kid. You did your best. If she can't appreciate that, then you know what you gotta do.”
A couple of hours later, on the plane ride back home, a news story caught Rossi's eye.
“Khamid...they caught him,” said an excited Rossi.
“Says here that he was found via cyber detective work,” noted Prentiss.
“Garcia!” said the team in unison.
“The terrorist told me there was a webcam, but I didn't get Garcia to track it,” said Reid.
“I did,” said Hawkes. “They did such a great job concealing the bombs but a horrible job concealing the modem.”
“Maybe they thought it wouldn't matter if we found it, because they wanted us all along to know we were the show,” said Prentiss.
“They probably thought their concealment tricks would be good enough,” said Reid.
“...but they didn't realize we have Garcia,” said Morgan, with a smile.
“Says here a joint operation between the British Special Forces and a Roman Special Legion picked him up in the British colony of Hadharamut, or the southern coast of Arabia,” said Rossi, reading the article. “Predictably, the Romans are accusing the British of harbouring a terrorist while the British are saying they had no idea he was there.”
“Just another day in politics,” said Hotchner with a smirk.
“It’s funny,” said Reid, “the British and the Romans are the world’s two preeminent superpowers and control over 85% of worldwide trade. They need each other, but they never seem to get along. There’s not a lot of trust in that relationship.”
“Can you blame them?” said Rossi pointedly. “No superpower has ever trusted another one…when a country gets that powerful everyone has their eyes on you…no one can be trusted, let alone your greatest rival.”
“We see it here all the time,” noted Prentiss. “North America and all its riches have been a prime battleground…it’s supposed to be a 50/50 split in influence between Rome and Britain but we all know they get involved in local politics just to increase their own influence.”
“We also know that Quebec, the Empires of Boston, New York and Carolina all play by their own rules,” said Morgan, “with the Romans getting influence in the Arctic, West Coast and the rest of the old Southern U.S. and the British influencing the rest of Canada, the old U.S. Midwest, Pennsylvania and Virgina. It’s a powder keg, and they’re all still trying to work things out.”
“Which is why we’re there to help,” said Rossi, pointedly.
Later that day, after he’d gone home for the night, Morgan received a phone call. It was Black.
“Director Black? How are you doing?” asked Morgan enthusiastically.
“I’m doing pretty good, Agent Morgan,” said the affable Black. “You did really good out on the field today. Your bomb skills really shone through today, and your SWAT team leadership was impeccable. Not a single person escaped from the Empire State Building. I’m impressed.”
“This is why I’m not going to offer you the New York position.”
Morgan was astounded. “Excuse me? I thought you said I did a good job.”
“You did an excellent job. No, a man of your skills can do something better. The Romans want to start their own profiling team for the Empire and they’ve tabbed you to lead it.”
“Me? I’m an African-American. I don’t speak a word of Latin. How could I succeed?”
“Remember Morgan, you can have whomever you want. Besides, English is used enough in the Empire that you’ll be able to get by. Finally, let’s not forget Septimus Severus, the man who conquered China for Rome, was also African. The Roman people will accept you if you do your job well and I have no doubt that you will.”
Morgan pondered the decision in his head a bit.
Black continued after the pause. “You don’t need me to tell you the perks of the job. You’ll have a much larger budget with the Roman Empire and access to all its resources. You’ll also have a much easier time convincing people to take your cases because, we’re Romans. Everybody listens to us.”
“You’ll get a much higher salary than you do now at the BAU, and we will provide you accommodation. You’ll be in the heart of the Empire in Rome, with your own team and your own rules.
You don’t need to decide anything now. This is still in the development stage. So whenever you want to make the transition, it’s yours. We would at least like to have you as a consultant.”
“Can I get Reid and Hawkes to help me out?”
“You can have whomever you like.”
“OK, I’ll be a consultant. I’ll put some thought into the leadership. It really sounds intriguing.”
“It was a pleasure talking to you.”
“Same to you Lucius.”
That same night, as Prentiss was packing up her stuff to go home, she heard a knock on her door. It was Ronhim.
“Hey Aris,” welcomed Prentiss.
“Hey,” said Ronhim, unassumingly.
“What brings you to Virginia?”
“I needed to personally thank you.”
“Anytime. That’s what we do.” Prentiss smiled.
“I met Reza five years ago. I came from a family having a difficult time paying its bills…told me that if I went with him, he’d take care of me, put me through college. So that’s when I moved into this house…that’s when it all started.”
Prentiss was intrigued and nodded her head for Ronhim to keep going.
“There were over 30 of us…we were all beaten, nightly. He let us go into the outside world but if we ever said anything about him, he’d kill us. I believed him.
“Do you remember that time, four years ago, when all those guys in hooded sweatshirts randomly shot people in New York?”
“I do remember. One of your guys shot Detective Cooper.”
“He was my friend, Jamal Tinsdale. I was going to shoot someone myself but when I heard the shot go off, I ran away. Found the job in Hoboken. They fired me…I suspect Reza had something to do with it because a day later, there he was, knocking on my door, telling me he can make things better for me. He told me to rob those companies- gave me the list, everything. Fed into my frustrations at the time…he was the perfect manipulator. I was supposed to do 12 companies but after the third, I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew you guys could help, so I phoned the police tip line. I wanted to be discreet, because I was worried if the police arrested me, Reza would find me. I knew you guys could find me discreetly.”
“So you were in a cult?
“Yes. I was. I felt safe in the police station…when I got led outside, I was afraid again. I’m glad it all worked out.”
“Reza can’t hurt you anymore.”
“Thank you for saving me.” Ronhim cried tears of happiness as Prentiss heartily embraced him. She started to cry herself.
“It’s what we do. Don’t ever forget that.”
Episode 2: Nice Guys Finish Last (Episode Start Date: November 25, 2015)
March 20, 2015
The Annex, Toronto
“I had a really good time tonight, Bryan,” said Vanessa Stargell to her friend, Bryan Hudson. The pair were walking Stargell home from the Dance Cave, a local club, after dancing the night away.
“Thanks,” replied Hudson. “I did too.”
“I really needed to get over Tyler,” said Stargell, referring to her boyfriend whom she caught cheating on her.
“No problem,” said Hudson with a hint of a smirk. By now the pair had walked Stargell to her home south of the club, in an old Victorian home where Stargell rented the basement.
Once inside, Hudson thought he could make his move. He sat down next to Stargell, who inched away from him though Hudson didn't notice. He then started to caress Stargell's cheek and right behind her ear, then tried to lean in for a kiss. Stargell shoved his face away and got up.
“Bryan...you're a nice guy,” started Stargell, trying to come down softly. Hudson rolled his eyes, having heard this speech before.
“Let me guess...” interrupted Hudson, whose voice now seethed with anger. “You're not interested in me.”
“I'm sorry.” Stargell teared a little bit. She'd been friends with Hudson for a few months now and got really close to him and didn't like to get him upset, but she couldn't ignore her feelings anymore.
“Oh, you think 'sorry' is going to cut it?” Hudson's anger and volume grew with each word. “I put up with your B.S. Let you cry on my shoulder many, many times. Listened to you as you rambled on and on about Tyler, and how you desperately wanted 'a good man'. One walks into your life and you don't even give me the time of day. You're just like all the other girls.”
Stargell started to get angry herself. “I owe you NOTHING Bryan. Just because you're a nice guy doesn't give you a free pass into my pants!”
“Oh yeah?” Hudson grabbed Stargell by the throat and bodyslammed her against the wall. He proceeded to rape her right there. When he was finished, he punched her and threw her against the wall, eventually giving her a severe beating. He finished her off by strangling her, enjoying with his depraved eyes seeing the life exit Stargell’s body. A sense of relief came over Hudson, who helped himself to some of Stargell’s valuables and cash before leaving, remembering to take Stargell’s house keys so he could lock the door behind him.
“Good morning Reid,” said Derek Morgan to his colleague on the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit (BAU), Dr. Spencer Reid. He was picking him up from the Quantico train station as he usually does to drive him to work.
“Good morning,” replied Reid in his usual cheery but sheepish tone.
“I don't know why you don't learn to drive,” said Morgan. “Doesn't your two hour commute get to you?”
“No,” replied Reid. “I can do a lot of work on the train. I actually find it relaxing. I think driving is way too stressful.”
Morgan nodded his head, not wanting to press the issue any further.
“How was your weekend, Derek?”
“Went to this club in Washington...met this girl...” Morgan continued with a smile. “Things got hot and heavy...took her back to my place...and well, you know, the rest is history.”
Reid nodded his head in appreciation. “Sounds like you had quite the weekend.”
“You could say that.” Morgan now had a tinge of regret in his voice. “I just wonder sometimes if it's all worth it...I'm 36, at some point I should settle down, stay with a girl for more than one night.”
“Maybe you can still go out with this girl.”
“Nah…I didn’t feel anything for her…it was just one night and that was it. We both knew it.”
“The first step in solving a problem is realizing you have one in the first place. So it’s an encouraging sign.” Reid felt slightly honoured that Morgan would go to him for dating advice, given Reid’s vastly inferior dating skills to Morgan’s.
Morgan smiled. “I know. I wonder how you do it…at least you had a girlfriend for more than three weeks.”
Reid smiled. “So the Casanova is jealous of the Loser’s relationship abilities.”
Morgan laughed. “Yeah, I’m aware of the irony.” He then got serious but tender, wagging his finger at Reid as is his custom. “Kid, don’t call yourself a loser. You’re not a loser. Don’t forget that.”
May 4, 2015
College Park Village, Toronto
“Jerks!” said Haley Summers to an inconsiderate man who bumped her as he passed by, knocking over her handheld cart full of groceries. The grocery store she was at was a small store with tight spaces, but she had to shop there since it was the only one open at night and she was in a bind.
“I know what you mean,” said Hudson, who happened to witness the incident. “Here, let me help you with that.” Hudson proceeded to help Summers pick up her fallen groceries, which she was genuinely appreciative for.
“Thanks,” replied Summers, giving Hudson the warmest smile. “People can be so inconsiderate in this city.”
“Everyone is so selfish in this city. Are we really so busy that we can’t even look around to see if there’s anyone in our way?”
“I know.” The two of them at this point had gotten past the checkout counter and were now walking together out of the store. Summers was uncomfortable with Hudson tagging along but she didn’t want to be rude so she went along with it. Hudson, however, was oblivious to Summers’ uncomfortableness.
“So…uh…what do you do?” asked Summers, trying to break the tension of Hudson walking with her.
“I just work at a call centre…I sell newspapers,” answered Hudson, sheepishly.
“Oh? Where is that?”
“TelCom…it’s at Yonge and Wellesley.”
“What do you do?” By this time the pair were deep into Allan Gardens, a park notorious for its homeless population.
“I think I'm going to continue walking from here. Listen, thank you for helping me with my groceries.”
“You're welcome. I think we should get dinner sometime.”
Summers winced and debated giving Hudson a fake phone number as was usually her custom, but thought he was too nice to be rude to. “I don't know who you are...it was a nice gesture...but, I have a boyfriend...I'm sorry.”
“That's okay. We can just be friends.”
“It was nice meeting you.”
Hudson wasn't going to let her walk away. In one swift move, he grabbed her neck from behind, spun her around and choked her. She got out a scream but they were common at the Gardens so no one paid much attention. Hudson, with rage in his eyes, choked the life out of Summers, telling her that he would be “the last person she sees.” He then left her limp body and her groceries behind, fleeing the scene. The homeless were grateful for the free food, none of them paying much attention to Summers, a woman they knew often scorned them as she walked by.
Agent Zoe Hawkes had been staring at the wallboard almost all morning, her arms folded as she examined the postings with intense scrutiny. Her colleague, David Rossi, walked by, handing her a coffee.
“Thanks Dave,” said Hawkes, appreciative. She wasn't expecting the gift.
“Figured you could use it,” replied Rossi. “Looks like you've had quite the morning. What are you working on?”
“It's this case in Toronto...several women have been murdered...nobody is connecting them but I can't get over the fact that they are.”
Rossi took a look at the board himself. “Let me see if I can help. How do you figure they're all connected?”
“Well, the M.O. is the same. They're all strangled and left at the scene...no attempt at covering them up.”
“Strangling...this is personal.”
“Exactly. It's in the same geographic area too, clustered mostly around downtown Toronto.”
“Mostly around the West End of downtown Toronto...he's got to have ties there. What about the one up here, around Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue? That's nowhere near the other murders.”
“Yes, but it's the same M.O.- strangling and just leaving the body there.”
“Leaving it there...it's like a warning for anyone who crosses this UnSub's path.”
“You're right...but what's he warning them about?”
“I don't know. Have you gone to the Toronto Police about your findings?”
“I've kept in touch. They don't believe me...I just know they're connected.”
“Says here there was an arrest in connection to the Haley Summers murder.”
“They got a homeless guy...fits the bill, except I don't think he has the physical strength to overpower Summers. Besides, none of his fingerprints are even close to Summers' neck.”
“Keep digging. If you find anything let us know.”
August 19, 2015
Bathurst and Finch, North York, Toronto
Hudson just stood over the body, frozen. He'd just strangled Yuki Misato, an exchange student from Japan. Misato, like many foreign exchange students, was overtly friendly and allowed Hudson to cross boundaries he wouldn't normally cross, such as hold her hand and hug her tightly for an extended period of time. To Misato, it was just an extension of her personality, but to Hudson it was a way in. When Misato pushed him out, he reacted the only way that he could and that was to kill her. However, whereas before he didn't think much about what he did, this murder struck a chord.
She was such a nice girl, thought Hudson. Does everyone who rejects me have to die? He then concluded that yes, they all had to. He was tired of being "the nice guy" that all the girls turned to when they had problems but would reject him whenever they wanted a relationship. Why? I'm a nice guy. Girls should *love* me. I won't mistreat them at all. I'm the perfect antidote to those jerky boyfriends they all get. I don't understand why they just can't see how great I am. He pondered for a moment. His life isn't where he liked it. At 34, he works at TelCom when he should be applying his degree in Geography. If only he had the motivation to get the grades needed to get into grad school...then he wouldn't have to hawk newspapers, despite his talent for it and the fact the job basically gives him whatever schedule he wanted. He liked living on his own, but he could never escape this feeling that he had that he could have so much more. A girlfriend, he concluded, would go a long way towards ending his misery...at least he wouldn't feel so alone.
Hudson heard footsteps in the distance, so he decided to start walking away from the body. He wasn't worried about being caught- it was nighttime, and the area was poorly lit anyway. His mind still continued. He thought back, six years ago, when his mother passed away, about how much he missed her affection. His father cared for him too, but he missed what only a mother could bring. That's what he hoped he could get with a girlfriend- an opportunity to reconnect with his mother.
He walked to the Subway restaurant and ordered a sub. All that strangling made him hungry.
“Hey,” said an African-Canadian man in line right behind Hudson.
“Hey?” replied Hudson, bemused that the stranger would strike a conversation with him.
“I just walked by this woman's dead body...it was so surreal.”
“Really? Where is it?”
“Oh just around the corner. It was pretty good work...she was strangled real good.”
“That's a shame. The poor lady.” Hudson faked his empathy really well.
“I mean, he really got in there good...the bruising around the neck indicates someone with real skill.” Unbeknownst to the man, a Subway employee called 911 from the manager's office, disturbed by what he heard.
“You know...you know too much...” Now Hudson was disturbed as well.
Literally seconds later, two Toronto Police officers came in and arrested the man for Misato's murder. Hudson smiled to himself, fortunate that he got away from the body just in time.
November 13, 2015
Trinity Bellwoods Park, Queen West, Toronto
Ahh, finally, thought Hudson to himself, a relationship that’s working! Four weeks ago he strangled Alison Stewart in an alleyway beside a nightclub in the Queen Street and Spadina Avenue area, just down the street from the park. The two of them just had a date, Hudson’s first in five years, but it ended with Stewart stating that she’d rather be friends with Hudson, leading to her death.
Tonight, at Trinity Bellwoods Park, was his second date with a woman named Kristen Lewis, whom he met on the subway after managing to hold her hand for most of the ride. The first date went extremely swimmingly, as Lewis- in her own words- “let herself go” for Hudson, with the two happily frolicking around downtown. They were supposed to go to a club to dance but they were too busy getting into each other’s pants, having sex numerous times. Lewis would remind Hudson that their subsequent dates wouldn’t follow the same script, with the second date being extremely slowed down. Hudson didn’t mind- he wanted a relationship, and if it meant he had to slow things down with Lewis, then so be it.
Things started off well. The two of the casually chatted about their day while walking through the park, and then the conversation veered into something about fried eggs. At one point, Lewis realized she just didn’t have feelings for Hudson, so she had to let the cat out of the bag.
“Bryan, I think you’re a very nice fellow,” started Lewis.
“Oh no…no no no…you’re NOT going there,” snapped Hudson. These moments were becoming frustratingly routine for him.
“Bryan…please…there’s no need to get upset.” Lewis tried to calm him down, but she also -started to inch away in fear.
Hudson went into histrionics, his voice yelling at Lewis as high as it could go. “NO NEED TO GET UPSET? NO NEED TO GET UPSET?!? I am sick of being so nice yet being kicked-” Hudson paused briefly to kick a nearby stone- “around, and-” he kicked some grass- “and downgraded because-” another kick- “I’m not exciting-” another kick- “to date.”
A man heard the screaming in the distance and decided to run over, concerned for Lewis..
“Hey man! Back off!” said the man, grabbing Hudson and throwing him away from Lewis. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“This,” said Hudson. With adrenaline still running through his veins, he grabbed the man and choked him to death. The man was slender, so Hudson liked his chances. However, Lewis still managed to escape, because of the time Hudson needed to choke the man. Hudson took the opportunity to flee, though police officers took their time arriving to check out the scene because they thought the yelling and screaming were just a few drunks having a simple argument.
“OK, thanks Chief Conan,” said Hawkes, hanging up the phone.
“Who was that?” asked Morgan.
“That was Toronto Police Chief Fred Conan,” said Hawkes. “Says he could use our help...he's gotten nowhere with the Vanessa Stargell case.”
“What about the homeless guy?”
“He's apparently going to trial...his lawyer is trying to stop it but, being a public defender, all he knows how to do is file injunctions and bury the case in red tape.”
“Then there's Alison Stewart and Yuki Misato.”
“Conan is adamant those cases aren't related. He's already apprehended Misato's killer, he says, but she fits our UnSub's M.O. better than the man he did catch. He won't tell me why Stewart isn't related, even though he has no one in that case either.”
“Toronto,” started Reid, joining in to the conversation, “hasn’t had a serial violent offender since Paul Bernardo was the Scarborough Rapist in 1988. They did actually have a serial attacker earlier this summer when a teen groped numerous women from behind in Christie Pits, roughly the same area as our UnSub operates, but his crimes weren’t violent.”
“He was an easy to pin the blame on,” said Morgan, with anger tinged in his voice. “Young, black, social outcast…the police then could say they have a serial attacker because he wasn’t ‘one of them.’”
“You don’t think the Christie Pits attacker is related to our UnSub?” asked Reid.
“No, he couldn’t be,” replied Hawkes. “Our guy got into the home of Stargell without forced entry, and he strangled all the women, getting personal with them. The Christie Pits guy lacks the confidence our guy has.”
“He also doesn’t have a convenient target,” said Morgan, visibly moved by the case. “That’s why the police went so easily with the homeless person…he’s a convenient target. You could believe he committed a murder just because of who he is.”
Walking in was Jennifer Jareau, the team’s media liaison, telling them that their leader, Aaron Hotchner, was calling them in to the war room. They were officially called in to the Stargell case in Toronto.
“So he gets into her room,” said Agent Emily Prentiss, “she says something and his reaction is to rape and strangle her? Talk about overkill.” Prentiss then mused for a second, then she continued. “Does anyone else find it weird that we’re being called in for a single murder? What about you, Morgan?”
“I believe we have a serial killer,” piped in Hawkes. “There are four murders I know about in Toronto with exactly the same modus operandi- he strangles them and leaves them behind. He gets to operate in seclusion because Toronto police have been too stupid to tie them together.”
Morgan smiled, liking that Hawkes was developing the passionate bite he was known for. “I have no doubt that we have to take this case,” said Morgan, with passionate calm. “The Toronto police are dropping the ball because they refuse to see the forest for the trees. Because the attacker isn’t a convenient target, like a transient or a minority, the police don’t want to admit they have a serial killer.”
Hotchner was intrigued by Morgan’s comment but was uncomfortable with him making a leap so early. “It’s an interesting observation but we don’t have any proof that it’s actually happening.
“I think he’s right,” said Rossi. “We have two victims with the same M.O. and the police have apprehended two suspects with very poor connections to the victims just because they’re not white. Toronto Police have also struggled with racial profiling for over a decade…so much so that they collect more than four times as much information on minorities than they do on whites. It’s likely happening again.”
“Okay,” said Hotchner, swayed by Rossi’s assessment. “Morgan and Reid, you guys go to the Dance Cave, the last place where Stargell was seen alive. Prentiss and Hawkes, you visit Alex Mortimer, the man arrested for the Misato murder and then Charles Mustaine, the main arrested for the Summers murder. Rossi and I will examine the Stewart case and see if there’s a connection with our UnSub. Wheels up in fifty.”
“Fifty minutes?” asked Reid, surprised.
“It needs refueling,” said Hotchner.
“I needed some coffee anyway,” said Reid.
The BAU Plane
“Toronto,” said Rossi to Hotchner, wistfully.
“Bringing back bad memories?” asked Hotchner.
“The police called us in to catch the Scarborough Rapist in 1988. We gave them our profile, canvassed the neighbourhood. We got a tip from an Alex Smirnis who said he was friends with the UnSub. We really felt like we were getting close.”
“Max Ryan spoke to Smirnis. Said he sounded funny. Then he spoke to Paul Bernardo, whom we all know now was the Rapist. Said Bernardo came off as congenial and affable, and Ryan concluded that he wasn’t the personality to commit the crimes.”
“You guys had Bernardo and you let him walk?”
Rossi grimaced with anger. “I called him out for it. Reamed him for days. Told him Bernardo fit the profile and that he could talk his way out of anything…and Ryan fell for it.”
“Because you let him walk he moved, continued to rape and eventually murdered three more women with the help of his wife, Karla Homolka.
“Exactly. If Ryan wasn’t so pigheaded we could have had him and saved all those lives.”
“…and now you’re seeing a repeat in the pattern.”
“Yeah. If the Toronto Police weren’t so pigheaded three other women would be alive today. It sickens you.”
“You told me once that we can’t save everyone. Made me realize that there are some things that we can’t do and there’s nothing we can do about it. The only thing we can do is learn from it and make sure it doesn’t get any worse.”
Toronto Police Headquarters, Downtown Toronto
“Glad you guys could make it,” said Chief Conan, greeting the BAU.
“Pleased to meet you,” said Hotchner, shaking his hand. “I’m Agent Hotchner, the team leader.” He then introduced his team, with each shaking Conan’s hand except Reid. “These are Agents Morgan, Rossi, Prentiss, Dr. Reid, Hawkes and Jareau.”
“Agent Hawkes,” said Conan. “We spoke on the phone.”
“Numerous times,” replied Hawkes. “Do we have any leads on the murders?”
“I don’t know why you keep on thinking we have more than one,” said Conan with a hint of derision.
“Chief Conan,” said Jareau, trying to calm Conan, “we’re not trying to impose, we’re just merely trying to cover all of our bases. It’s our belief that a few of the murders are actually connected to each other.”
“That’s preposterous,” said Conan, “Toronto is a nice, safe city. We don’t have serial killers.”
“Just because it’s a nice city doesn’t mean bad people don’t live in it,” said Jareau. “Serial killers can live anywhere and ignoring the problem only makes it worse.”
“We’re going to need to talk to Charles Mustaine and Alex Mortimer,” said Hotchner.
“They’re not part of this,” scoffed Conan. “I can tell you that right now.”
Morgan was seething with anger, but did his best to contain it. “Just let us do our jobs,” he said. “We know what we’re doing. Trust us.”
“I’m done talking!” said Mustaine, angered at the sight of Prentiss walking into his cell. He spoke with a heavy drawl, being a vagrant displaced from Oklahoma. He also got even more disheveled since getting incarcerated. “What’s this broad come here to do? Bury me some more?”
“Knock it off,” warned Prentiss in her most intimidating voice. She got right into Mustaine’s face, her eyes locked into his, filled with rage. “I’m here to unbury you if you treat me with some respect.”
“Okay…okay…” Mustaine had now backed off, knowing Prentiss wasn’t playing around.
“Let’s get to the point. You were present when Haley Summers was killed, right?”
“Says here that you had your fingerprints on Summers’ body. What were you doing?”
“I knew the girl,” said Mustaine. “Didn’t like her much. She always walked by with her high heels and her huffy attitude…couldn’t help but make a few remarks at our expense. Oh boy…did I really want to hurt her. She was so inconsiderate…like she thought I chose this life. A tornado leveled my home and I had to become a drifter. This ain’t fun…nobody would want to choose this.”
“I understand that, but right now it looks like you have the motive and the connection to kill Haley Summers. If you want me to get you out of here, you need to help me out.”
“I remember hearing Summers walking. She was with some guy. Didn’t pay too much attention…thought it was another one of her ‘boyfriends’ walking with her. Next thing I know I hear some bags drop in the distance. A couple of minutes later, someone yells ‘free food’ so I ran over. I picked up the dead body and it was Haley. That was when the cops got to me, noticing I was holding her body. They concluded right then and there that I was her killer.”
“This other guy…what did he look like?”
“I don’t remember.”
“Just think.” Prentiss adopted a relaxing voice and held Mustaine’s hand. “Close your eyes and think deeply. Try to remember every last detail.”
“Okay…he’s a white boy. Regular height, average build. Brown hair. Young, but definitely not a kid. His hair was all kind of messy and he looked like he hadn’t shaved in days, but he did appear to be in good hygiene. I think he said something about dinner to Haley and she said no…and then it all went silent. Then the bags fell.”
“That’s it.” Prentiss had a realization. “He was asking her for a date and when she said no…he strangled her.”
“What a coward…to take rejection like that?”
“That’s why we’re going to put him away for you.”
“Mr. Mortimer,” said Hawkes to Mortimer in his cell. They’d already begun their interview and got past the niceties. “It says here that police were called in to the Subway location closest to the Misato body because, and I quote, ‘you seemed to know too much about the crime when engaged in a conversation with someone in the lineup.’ Why did you know what you knew?”
“I was in the army,” replied Mortimer, a big man. “Joined the Ontario Army when it invaded Ohio and captured it for the newly created country. I had to kill a few people in hand to hand combat…I even strangled a guy. I was going to mention to the guy in line that we need to get prepared since an army man was on the loose. Then the darn 5-0 show up and ruin my day.”
“Why were you looking at Misato’s body?”
“I was in shock. I think anybody would when they saw a dead body. I knew we weren’t in a warzone, and Misato didn’t look like the type that would be involved in any kind of fight anyway. I merely wanted to investigate, because I was concerned. If Toronto needs to raise an army I would fight for it.”
“So you think this guy is an army guy?”
“Or just a guy on a mission. You don’t strangle a girl that hard without having that much anger.”
“Did you happen to catch the guy who did it?”
“It was dark…couldn’t see much…but I did see a guy walking away from Misato and I believe it was shortly after she died, but I’m not sure. Then I saw the guy in the lineup at Subway and thought it looked a lot like the guy I just saw. I thought maybe if I talked about how impressed I was at how the crime was executed he would have confessed to me…then I could have made a citizen’s arrest and figure out what army he works for.”
Hawkes smiled. “Thank you Mr. Mortimer. I think I have enough to do that for you.”
Toronto Police Headquarters
Investigation HQ for Alison Stewart
“So Alison Stewart and this unknown guy walk into The Annex Wreck Room nightclub,” said Rossi, examining his copy of the Stewart case file.
“That’s down the street from the Dance Cave,” said Hotchner, looking up the nightclub on Google Maps, “right within the geographic comfort zone.”
“Witnesses say they had a few drinks…they danced…they even kissed a few times. Said the guy seemed to get little overboard with it.”
“He sounds a little overeager. Do we know who paid for the drinks?”
“Let’s give Garcia a call.”
“Hello grizzled veterans!” beamed their technical analyst, Penelope Garcia, never at a loss for enthusiasm. “What’s the mission today?”
“She loves her job doesn’t she?” noted Rossi sardonically.
“Yes I do!” Garcia beamed.
“Garcia…on the night of Alison Stewart’s murder, we need to know if she purchased any drinks,” said Hotchner in a serious tone.
“Okay…” Garcia said, typing away. “The results are…negativo.”
“Thanks Garcia,” replied Hotchner, hanging up on Garcia.
“So the UnSub bought all of Stewart’s drinks,” said Rossi, going back to the report with Hotchner.
“There were also reports that he was acting very chivalrous around her,” noted Hotchner.
“…but not when she wasn’t there,” said Rossi. “He was rude to a bouncer when she had left to go to the bathroom, but adopted his nice guy routine when she came back.”
“So he’s pretending to be nice to curry her affections.”
“…and when she didn’t return them…he killed her.”
The Dance Cave, The Annex, Toronto
“Hey brother,” said Morgan walking up to the bouncer, a tall African-Canadian with dreads. It was nighttime, around the time the club opened. “I’m Agent Derek Morgan with the FBI. I’m here with my colleague, Dr. Spencer Reid. We’re here from the Behavioural Analysis Unit. We’d like to ask you a few questions about the Vanessa Stargell murder.
“Ask away,” said the bouncer. “It was a shame she died.”
“How many times did she come to the club?” asked Reid.
“I didn’t see her much,” said the bouncer. “She’d been to the Cave a few times with her boyfriend, a guy by the name of Tyler. He didn’t treat her very well…they often argued while they were in line together. I saw Tyler quite a bit here alone…I think he cheated on her a lot.”
“This Tyler person,” pried Morgan, “was he with Vanessa on the night of her murder?”
“No,” replied the bouncer assuredly. “He told me he was in Miami for the week. She showed up with some other guy, I never saw him before. Some white guy…average build and height. Seemed to be going out of his way to be nice to Vanessa…he gave her his coat despite her repeated refusal.”
“Did you get a name?” asked Reid.
“No,” said the bouncer. “I know I look at ID’s all the time, but I see so many…it’s hard to remember names.”
The bouncer then had to excuse himself to let a patron through the line. The patron, a man in a black stylized shirt and jeans, was let inside without the bouncer checking for his ID.
“Hey you didn’t ask for his ID,” noticed Reid.
“He’s a regular,” said the bouncer. “I don’t need to ask for it.”
“He’s a regular?” thought Morgan, out loud. “He probably knows something. Let’s go talk to him.”
Hudson stared into the sink. He’d just washed his face, so water was dripping profusely from his skin. He should pick up his towel and dry himself off, but he couldn’t help but think.
What did I do wrong? He thought to himself. Kristen was the perfect girl. We had so much fun together…if maybe I wasn’t so eager to take off my pants with her I’d still be with her. He stared at his phone. Lewis still messaged him from time to time, because she wanted to be friends with him. She bought his apology for the incident, but Hudson was tentative about the friendship since it’s becoming clear to him that Lewis didn’t want to progress from it. Hudson held out hope…faint hope that one day he and Lewis could lead a lifetime happy together.
He toweled himself off. Sat down on his couch and turned on the TV. Star Trek: First Contact was on. “Commander Data…oh how I wish I could be like you,” Hudson said to himself. “To be able to shut off my emotions whenever I felt like it. To not feel the isolation your crew puts you through because, if you could feel like a human feels, you’d know they only use you for your brain.” Hudson’s voice filled with anger. “Just like those women used me for my kindness!”
He turned on his computer to a dating site. He met some women through it but none progressed beyond the Emailing stage. He looked fortuitously at potential dates then walked away.
“No…” he said to himself, exasperated. “I don’t want to kill again.” He then thought to himself again. “I don’t have to kill. I can let the next woman that rejects me live…but then they won’t learn their lesson…no, stupid…if you kill again they’ll catch you. You can’t risk it.” He then breathed deeply and stared intensely at the screen, hoping to find another girl. “Still, I don’t want to be lonely…I want another girl.”
His phone then started to ring.
The Dance Cave
“Sir,” said Morgan, stopping the man in the black shirt. “I’m Agent Morgan, this is Dr. Reid. We’re with the FBI. Do you have a moment?”
“Sure,” replied the man.
“What’s your name?” asked Reid.
“My name is Daniel…Daniel Graco,” said Graco.
“Hello Mr. Graco,” said Morgan, shaking Graco’s hand firmly. Reid didn’t extend his hand, telling Graco about his germaphobia. Morgan continued. “I understand you’re a regular here at the club?”
“Yes I am,” replied Graco. “Am I in some kind of trouble?”
“No you’re not Mr. Graco,” replied Reid, assuredly. “We’re just investigating a murder that happened around this area several months ago and thought maybe you could help us out.”
“Okay,” said Graco. “Shoot.”
“Do you know Vanessa Stargell?” asked Morgan, holding up Stargell’s photo.
“Vanessa…how could I forget her?” said Graco, wistfully. “She was a sweet girl…when I heard she was killed I was devastated.”
“So you met her,” pressed Morgan. “Could you describe the nature of your conversations with her?”
“I met her the first time last year, with her boyfriend Tyler,” explained Graco. “I was sitting at the back, just enjoying a beer. I hadn’t met her at this point, so when she came by my seat to ask if she could leave some of her stuff there, I said it was fine and didn’t think too much about it. She was just another girl at the club. Then she came back and asked me if all I wanted to do was sit there, so I quipped to her, ‘are you inviting me to dance?’ She leapt at the opportunity to dance with me, and we were at it for almost an hour. I really enjoyed the experience. Then she said she had to go back to her boyfriend, which was Tyler. I got the feeling she wanted to do something with me but thought better of it.”
“Did Tyler exhibit any anger towards you for dancing with his girl?” asked Morgan.
“Not at all, which surprised me,” said Graco. “I decided to go about my night. Left the interaction at that. A couple of months later I met Vanessa again. This time we actually kissed…and I got her phone number. We agreed to meet up just as friends, but we certainly had a connection.
“Then came the last night I saw her alive. She’d come with this guy…some sheepish white guy. Had brown hair, didn’t shave at all. He was average looking, kind of like me.”
“You look kind of dapper,” replied Morgan, smiling. “Don’t sell yourself short, kid.” Graco smiled, thanking Morgan for the compliment.
“This guy that she was with, do you remember that much about him?” asked Reid.
“We talked for quite a while, actually,” replied Graco. “Assured me that Stargell was just his friend…but I felt like he felt scorned. We shared a few beers…he complained quite a bit about how mean girls are and all they want are ‘bad boys’…I said to him, ‘all that stuff is in your head…women don’t like to be mistreated.’”
“How did he handle your statement?” asked Reid. By now, both he and Morgan were listening intently to Graco.
“He scoffed at me, said I was wrong,” replied Graco, a tinge of anger coming through in his voice. “Said that I couldn’t have gone out much if I held such delusions, that he knew everything. I sat there thinking, ‘dude, why do you have to make this some kind of ‘us vs. them’ mission?’ It made no sense.”
“So he got confrontational,” asked Morgan.
“Not yet,” replied Graco, a statement that caught both Morgan’s and Reid’s ears. “I asked him if he was happy with himself. He replied ‘no’. That’s when I told him, ‘if you’re not happy with yourself how can you expect a girl to be happy with you?’ I told him that women don’t want a mope…they want a guy who is sure of themselves, and, more often than not, the ‘jerks’ are more confident than the ‘nice guys’. That’s the reason why they get the girls- because they’re not fixated on ‘being correct’ with one girl because they know there’s a million other ones they have a shot at still. I told him, not scoring has nothing to do with whether or not you’re nice- it has everything to do with how you handle yourself. Girls don’t want a guy who’s too afraid to make a move or ‘need’ them to feel happy, because those guys are basketcases- they want a guy who’s sure of themselves. Because, let’s face it- we’re all strangers until we’re given a reason to care, and nobody cares about a beggar. That holds true whether you’re nice or not.”
“Sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this,” said Reid. Graco’s words seemed to resonate with Reid, who grappled with the same conflict.
“What did this guy do after you told him all that?” asked Morgan.
“He snapped at me,” replied Graco. “Stormed away. Grabbed Vanessa and just marched with her out of the club. I never even got a chance to say goodbye…” Graco started to tear a little, but held his composure. Both Reid and Morgan looked at him with sorrow.
“I’m sorry,” said Reid.
“It’s okay,” said Graco. “Life goes on.”
“Did you get a name?” asked Morgan.
“All I know is that his name was Bryan,” replied Graco. “No last name, I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” said Reid. “I think we have enough.”
“Thank you Mr. Graco,” said Morgan, again shaking his hand firmly. “If you hear anything else, don’t hesitate to give either of us a call.” Morgan and Reid handed Graco their cards. Morgan then gestured to the bartender, “give this man a drink,” Morgan said, handing the bartender money. “It’s on me.”
Once outside, Morgan and Reid analyzed the interview.
“Do you think he’s right?” asked Reid.
“He’s got no reason to lie,” responded Morgan. “He showed actual remorse for Vanessa, and his description of Bryan matches exactly the description of the guy Vanessa was seen leaving the club with. Besides, he has no motive to want to kill her- Bryan, whomever he is, does.”
“Vanessa kind of scorned him though.”
“Yes, but he’s a regular. Just like Vanessa. If he left with her and news of Vanessa’s murder came out, he’d never show his face at the club again. The fact that he did speaks volumes.”
“Okay.” Reid was now thinking out loud. “Bryan…is quite the case. We’ve got your classic narcissist that has a hint of vigilantism and has a severe inferiority complex. We all know the saying about a woman scorned…but this is out there.”
Morgan laughed at Reid’s statement. “You got that right, this is out there.”
“Usually guys who martyr themselves as ‘nice guys’ lack the confidence to look a girl in the eyes and strangle her, but Bryan does…it’s very odd behavior.”
“That’s because Bryan only thinks he’s not confident. He actually is, he just drops this mopey look just to get attention.”
“He craves it…he’s probably not afraid to talk to people, it’s just that the only thing he can think of is how inferior he is to everyone else. He uses people for pity, though he might not realize this.”
“Once those women stopped pitying him, he turned on them. They made it personal for him.”
“Which is why he just leaves the women behind…because it’s a warning to any woman that crosses his path that if you scorn me, this is what will happen to you.”
“He can’t have more than three victims.”
“He’ll have a lot more. This likely won’t stop until we catch him.”
“He probably has victims we don’t know about…and he’s probably working on a girl right now. This guy is obsessive about being in a relationship…if he thinks a girl gives him even a sliver of hope he’ll continue to pursue her.”
“Maybe that’s why he hasn’t killed in a while…he’s actually found a relationship.”
“Doubt it, or if he has one, it’s a girl he doesn’t like. No girl would want to go for this mope.”
“We have to tell Hotch what we’ve found, because he could be with a girl right now and she could be in extreme danger.”
Morgan called Hotchner, told him about his findings. Hotchner told him to call Garcia and see if she can narrow down a list of suspects.
“I was beginning to wonder if you would call me,” cooed Garcia as she picked up the phone from Morgan.
“You know me, I’d never ignore you,” said Morgan, suavely.
“Sugar, what can I get you for?”
“I need you to help me find someone. His name is Bryan. Look for all variations of the name. Likely lives in the west end of downtown Toronto. Probably works a menial job and either lives with his parents or lives alone in an cheap apartment. Definitely single. May have even gone to therapy within the past year.”
“Okay…” Garcia typed away furiously, and in a few minutes, gave Morgan a list of names. “We’ve got a Bryan Hudson, he lives on his own in a bachelor along Yonge Street, still within the area but close to where he works, which is at TelCom as a telemarketer. He’s done lots of therapy over the past three years. Then there’s Brian Eastman, who lives with his parents a few blocks down from the Dance Cave, works seasonally with Toronto Parks and Recreation as a vendor, also has done therapy. Brian Collins…a hot dog vendor who lives on his own and operates a stand at a rival club, just down the street from where you are…ooh, massive amounts of therapy. I got 17 other names…do you want me to go through them all?”
“No, it’s okay. Message me everyone’s details. Thanks babydoll.”
“What’s the verdict?” asked Reid.
“20 Bryans that fit the bill,” replied Morgan.
“All in this area?” Reid was surprised at the high total.
“They don’t call Toronto ‘the Loneliest City’ for nothing.”
“Give me the list, I’ll help narrow it down.”
“It won’t matter. We don’t have probable cause. We can’t just barge in to any of their homes and arrest them- we have no proof on them. We gotta give Hotch the profile and tell JJ to release it tonight- he could be out with a girl right now.” Morgan called Hotchner, as well as organized a sketch artist to meet with the bouncer and Graco to get a detailed picture of the killer.
Toronto Police Headquarters
“Thank you for coming this late at night,” said Jareau in front of the podium, addressing a throng of reporters. The press conference was being aired live for the 11PM news, with every nightclub in the city getting a live feed as well.
“You’re all here tonight because we have a matter of public safety on our hands,” continued Jareau firmly. “Since there is no other way to put it lightly, we are just going to get to the point and declare that Toronto has a very serious serial killer in its midst. He targets women, and he could be out tonight with one and she could be in very grave danger.”
Jareau next pointed to a composite sketch given to her just minutes before the press conference. “This is a composite sketch of the offender. His name is ‘Bryan’. He’s 30-40 years old, with an average build and height. He is a white male with brown hair and is often unkempt in his appearance, but still practices good hygiene. He is a classic narcissist with an inferiority complex, who believes that women have mistreated him because he thinks he is ‘too nice’ to them. He doesn’t lack confidence with women, he just lacks the self belief in himself to act appropriately in those situations. He thus overcompensates on his generosity thinking this will compensate for his lack of social skills. He is constantly craving attention, because to him, the lack of acknowledgement of his needs is paramount to anything else, even, ironically, the needs of others. He seeks out women because he feels he needs a motherly nurturing and is obsessed with having a relationship because then that means he finally has someone who will take care of him. When the woman inevitably decides she’s had enough of taking care of her, he will snap, often with deadly consequences.
“We’ve connected him, so far, to three murders but we believe there are many more, and that there is a woman in danger as we speak. We urge any of you, if you have any information that can lead to an arrest, to please call our tip line or send us a message on the Toronto Police Board’s social networking sites. You can find our number at the bottom of your screen or you can go to your news agency’s web site or the Toronto Police Board’s web site to find more information on how you can leave a tip. Thank you.”
Almost instantaneously, Jareau received a call.
“Hello?” said Jareau, trying to pick up the caller. “This is Agent Jennifer Jareau of the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, how can I help you?”
“Hello, Jennifer?” said the caller, a female, nervously.
“Miss, are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine. I just heard you give the profile and I think I know the person you are describing.”
“What’s your name?”
“Kristen, Kristen Lewis. I live in Toronto. I met Bryan a couple of weeks ago…I thought he was really nice but now that I think of it, he was overcompensating his niceness for me. We went on two dates. On the first date we had a lot of sex because I like to have fun and I want to see if this guy is worth more than just a casual fling. It went according to plan on the first date, but afterwards I was leery about having a relationship with him because I just wasn’t feeling him. So I slowed things down in the second date to see if I could salvage something but I couldn’t…but when I tried to break up with him he got violently angry, and I ran away. I heard in the distance some guy confront him and I think they got into a fight but I was too far away to know what happened.”
Jareau’s eyes widened as she realized Lewis was talking about a murder of a man who fit Hudson’s M.O., a man by the name of Mark Davis, just a few weeks ago. “Kristen, has Bryan tried to contact you since the incident?”
“Yes, because I have. I thought he was nice enough to have as a friend.”
Jareau then realized that Lewis inadvertently kept herself alive by doing so. “Kristen, give me your address. I’m going to send you a squad car to pick you up and bring you to the station. We believe you can help us.” Jareau then took down Lewis’ information and directed a nearby squad car to pick her up.
In the meantime, Jareau spoke to Hotchner about the call.
“Hotch, we have a lady by the name of Kristen Lewis who says she met Bryan a few weeks ago and even went on a date with him,” said Jareau to Hotchner. “Says she still keeps in touch with him.
“Bring me Morgan,” said Hotchner. “This is up his alley.”
Morgan walked towards Hotchner. “You wanted to see me?” Morgan asked.
“Yes,” replied Hotchner firmly. “JJ just told me that we have a lady who went out on a date with Bryan and still keeps in touch with him. You’re our expert on obsessional crimes. What do you think we should do?”
“He’s fixated on her. We can set a trap. He’s kept her alive because she’s willingly kept in touch and gave him hope that there still could be a relationship…we know that if she calls him that he’ll come. We’ll just have to coach her on what to say…we’ll even have Hawkes come in and act as her friend.”
“Let’s do it.”
After briefing Lewis at the police station, Hawkes drove Lewis back to her apartment to set the plan in motion. Outside would be the rest of the BAU in unmarked vehicles, with Morgan and Prentiss pretending to be plumbers working on Lewis’ sink just so Hawkes could have some backup if she needed it.
As soon as he entered Lewis’ apartment- a small two-bedroom flat she shared with her brother, who was out of town- Morgan took off his shirt, revealing his toned and ripped torso underneath.
“Do you have to take off your shirt, Morgan?” quipped Prentiss.
“What?” asked Morgan, smiling and feigning incredulousness. “I gotta provide something for the ladies.” He really just took off his shirt for better mobility under the sink, explaining as much to the ladies in the room, but he couldn’t help provide a bit of fan service.
“I wish all our plumbers looked like that,” said Lewis, in awe of Morgan’s body.
Hawkes laughed. “Don’t we all.” Hawkes then got serious. “Morgan and Prentiss are going to pretend to be a husband and wife plumbing team.”
“Husband and wife?” said Prentiss, mockingly. “You think I’d marry this guy?” Morgan just laughed.
“It’s only for show, Emily,” replied Hawkes, trying to reassure her. “I also don’t want Bryan to look at Morgan and think he’s a threat.” She then turned to Lewis.
“Kristen,” said Hawkes diligently. “Do you remember what we discussed?”
“Yes,” replied Lewis, taking deep breaths. “Just act natural. Don’t be confrontational. Go as far as I feel comfortable doing and don’t accuse him of anything.”
“Good,” said Hawkes, reassured. “Now, make the call.”
Lewis diligently called Hudson, inviting him over because she thought they could “work things out”, though things would have to be slow. Hudson readily accepted the proposal. Within twenty minutes, Hudson arrived at the door.
“Hey,” said Hudson, giving Lewis a warm hug. Hawkes was uncomfortable seeing that, knowing that Lewis was wrapping her arms around a man who wouldn’t be afraid to wrap his hands around her neck. “I’m glad you invited me over.”
“Bryan,” said Lewis, introducing Hawkes to Hudson. “This is Zoe. We met at school.”
“Hi,” said Hawkes, shaking Hudson’s hand despite her best intentions. “We’re both in Business Administration at Humber College. We’re both a little worried about the test next week. I came over to help her study.”
“Yeah,” said Hudson, sheepishly. “Kristen told me about that. I told her not to worry.”
“So, you’re not asleep at this time of night?” asked Lewis, trying to make conversation.
“Oh,” said Hudson, getting a bit more comfortable. The three of them had made their way to Lewis’ couch. He then heard Morgan swear because he dropped a wrench. “What’s going on in the kitchen?”
“Oh that’s Morgan and Emily Prentiss,” said Hawkes, without skipping a beat. “They’re a husband and wife plumbing team…Kristen’s having some problems with the sink.”
“I see,” replied Hudson, reassured. “Anyway…I’m a bit of a night owl. I don’t really sleep. My job is in the afternoons mostly, so I tend to be awake at night mostly.”
Hawkes feigned looking at her phone. “I still can’t believe they don’t have a lead on the poor lady that got murdered in March,” she said, in mock horror.
“Vanessa Stargell,” replied Hudson, not realizing the trick Hawkes was playing. “I know, it’s unfortunate.”
“I really hope they find the guy soon,” said Hawkes, realizing Hudson had cracked.
“I hope so too,” said Hudson. “I was there, inside her house when it happened. Some robber broke in and attacked her and that was it. I couldn’t do anything…I feel so bad.”
“Really?” said Hawkes, knowing her plan worked perfectly. “I wonder…how do you know that? You know there wasn’t any sign of forced entry in to her apartment…and that’s the cross necklace she liked to wear around your neck, isn’t it Bryan?” By this point, Hawkes had gotten up from the couch and stood beside Lewis, looking right at Hudson.
“I…I…” said Hudson, stunned.
Hawkes pulled out her badge and her gun. “Zoe Hawkes, FBI. Bryan Hudson, you are under arrest. Get on the ground and put your hands where I can see them.” Prentiss had come from behind the sink and gotten behind Hudson, completing the arrest as Morgan and Hawkes had their guns drawn.
As Hudson was taken out of Lewis’ apartment into a waiting squad car, Lewis and Hawkes exchanged a few words.
“Hey,” said Lewis, giving Hawkes a, long warm hug. “Thanks for everything.”
“No problem,” replied Hawkes. “You did great. We couldn’t have done it without you.” By this point, both ladies were tearing, and were hugging again.
“Maybe we should actually be friends.”
“For sure.” Hawkes enthusiastically gave Lewis her card. “Whenever you need me or if you’re in the Virginia area, don’t hesitate to call. If I’m in Toronto I’ll give you a shout.”
A bit off into the distance, Reid was catching up with Morgan.
“I hear you doffed your shirt,” quipped Reid to Morgan, who laughed at his statement.
“Yeah,” said Morgan with a smile. “I needed to get underneath that sink. It was a real bugger.”
Reid responded with a bit of sarcasm. “Sure Morgan, that’s why you did it.”
The BAU Plane
Having successfully completed another case, everyone on the plane was asleep. Everyone except Morgan and Rossi, who were having a hearty conversation.
“I heard Toronto gave you some bad memories,” said Morgan, trying to make small talk.
“Yeah,” said Rossi. “We could have caught Paul Bernardo before he killed those girls. Oh well, that’s the past…at least today is a better memory.”
“Dave…I have a question for you.”
“Go ahead Derek.”
“Women came easy for you too, right?”
“Oh yeah. Too easy.”
“At what point were you able to say, ‘this is the one I’m not going to cheat on’?”
Rossi laughed. “I’m not quite sure I’m there yet.”
“Yeah, but you actually got married. I’m 36…I’ve only been in one committed relationship and I cheated on her frequently. Since you were able to settle down somewhat, I thought maybe you could help me out.”
“Derek…love is a funny thing. We’re told early on in life that there’s ‘the one’ out there for us and that when we find it, we’ll ‘know’. Yet, for some us, that search seems like it will never end, and then we wonder if this ‘one’ was something the greeting card companies made up just so us poor saps of men can be suckered into buying something for someone who they won’t have a hope will return their favour.” Rossi then got wistful. “It’s funny. People look at us and think we’re never lonely, because women throw themselves at us, but they never seem to realize that none of them stick. You get a false sense of companionship, so much so that it’s not really there, making you feel just as alone as all those people who are single.”
“So you’re telling me I need to come to terms with that.”
“One of the basic tenets is to be happy with what you have, because if you’re not happy with yourself then no woman can be happy with you. I’m sure you know that already.”
“Yes, I do.”
“What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t force yourself into something because you feel alone. Instead, use your womanizing skills to your advantage. You have no problems meeting new women. Eventually these women might feel like you’re getting lonely and will use that to their advantage. You have to turn it in your favour and make them ask if they’re going to be the ones lonely without Derek Morgan.”
Morgan nodded his head.
Rossi continued. “Most people would envy us. We have an abundance of riches. Use that to your advantage and scrutinize every woman and make them prove themselves to you because, if they don’t, there’s a million other ones right behind her. Don’t ever forget that.”
Morgan smiled and thanked Rossi, as he put his headphones back on to listen to his music before the plane touched down in Quantico.
Episode 3: Sticks and Stones (Episode Start Date: January 7. 2016)
“All throughout time humanity has looked to cure every disease imagineable. Unfortunately, their greatest disease is themselves.” -Pontus Silvius, 16th century Roman philosopher
Jack’s Steakhouse, Lorton, VA
“I’m glad you could see me today,” said Special Agent Derek Morgan of the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, sitting across a patio table from CIA Agent Gina Sanchez, whom Morgan met in May 2006 when he had to investigate a mole in the Central Intelligence Agency. It was an unseasonably warm day in Virginia, the climate very spring-like.
“It only took you six and a half years to call me,” deadpanned Sanchez with a snarky tone. The two were having lunch outdoors at the diner halfway between the CIA’s office in McLean, Virginia and Morgan’s workplace at Quantico.
Morgan chuckled then turned on his suave charm. “Better late than never, as they say. My mother used to tell me to never pass up on a good thing.”
“So how’d you know I was still single?” Sanchez continued with her snarky tone, as she knew Morgan was allured by it.
“Just took a guess. You work for the government, just like I do. We hardly have personal lives…we live for our work.”
Sanchez chuckled. “You got that right. I just have one thing to ask.” Sanchez gave Morgan an inquisitive look.
“Why would a guy like you, someone who could have a hundred women every night, decide to call someone they met and presumably discarded many years ago? You’re not one for pining, Derek.”
Morgan sensed she was looking for signs of vulnerability from him, and didn’t want to give Sanchez a sense that she could get the upper hand on him. He paused before responding, calmly but playfully. “If I gave away all of my secrets, what would there be to discover?”
Sanchez smiled smugly. “You forget Derek, that I know where you live and what your dog looks like.”
Morgan continued, playfully. “Are you trying to get into my head?”
Sanchez just smiled, giving off a playful vibe.
“You forget Gina, I know all the tricks.”
“Yes Derek…but we both know all the moves.” At this point, the two of them had moved closer, and began to kiss.
The Elevator at the FBI Headquarters Parking Garage, Quantico, VA
Dr. Spencer Reid stared at the ceiling, taking animated breaths to calm his nerves. He was going down from the main building to the parking garage to meet someone at their car, though he wondered why he couldn’t just meet them elsewhere.
As he stepped out of the elevator into the garage, he saw immediately the car he had to go to. It was a nice, black Fiat Coupe, with a license plate that strangely said “ILuvReid” on it. Thinking he was meeting a stalker, he drew out his gun.
“I’m not going any further!” shouted Reid at the vehicle. “If you try anything, I will shoot!” Reid stared with intense intent at the car, breathing heavily.
As if in slow motion, a blonde hair beauty stepped out of the car, her sultry blue eyes locking with Reid’s astonished ones. She was wearing a long, silky backless black dress that had a slit favourably right up both legs, complimented with diamond-studded black high heeled shoes.
“Lila?” exclaimed Reid, in shock. In front of him was Lila Archer, the famous TV actress whom Reid met when he became involved in a stalker case in Los Angeles in late 2005. Archer and Reid shared a special kiss inside Archer’s pool when Reid was at her house to protect her from her stalker, former manager Maggie Lowe, whom Reid later apprehended after successfully wrestling away Lowe’s gun without firing his own. He met Archer two weeks before he started going out with media liaison Jennifer Jareau, but the show Criminal Minds re-arranged the chronology thinking that story fit better for the February sweep period.
Reid stood there, with his mouth open, still in shock, slowly putting away his gun but fixated with Archer’s stare. Archer, for her part, kept seductively pacing towards him and, without skipping a beat, planted a passionate kiss into Reid’s open mouth, which Reid responded to in kind.
After a long sequence, Reid and Archer held each other in each other’s arms, needing a moment to catch their breaths.
“I…I wasn’t expecting you here,” stammered Reid, by now looking into Archer’s eyes while the two of them still held each other. “Why the license plate? You had me scared.”
Archer continued in her sultry voice. “I did that on purpose to get you going. You’re so cute when you’re nervous. Do you want to know when you’re even cuter?”
“When you’re my hero.” The two of them began another round of kissing. When it stopped, Reid spoke up again.
“So you drove all this way just to kiss me?”
Archer responded by grabbing Reid’s rear with conviction and pressing it against her groin, rubbing it slightly against Reid’s excited body. “I was also hoping I’d get to see your gun.”
Reid stammered again, speaking quickly as he was nervous. “I can’t pull it out again…I’ll need to write a report, in fact, I’ll probably need to-”
Archer put her finger on Reid’s mouth to silence him. “I’m not talking about that gun.” Archer then unlocked her car and took Reid by the hand into it.
As soon as the doors were closed, Archer undid Reid’s pants and slid them off, along with his undergarments, and pleasured him with her mouth. Reid gushed with joy, which ended with extreme euphoria. When Archer was finished, she licked her lips and swallowed, her thirst quenched. After Reid started to relax from his giddiness, a thought occurred to him.
“That was great,” said Reid, with joy, “but something tells me you didn’t come up to Virginia to have oral sex with me.”
Archer laughed. “I did miss you, and I wondered why you never called,” Archer replied, caressing Reid’s face with her left hand.
“I was scared. I thought you were some big time movie star and that you’d never fall for a guy like me…my friend Morgan always tells me not to beat myself up, but I can’t help it…I mean, you’re Lila Archer and I’m just…” Reid’s voice trailed off, depressingly. “I’m just Spencer Reid.”
“Spencer…” Archer continued to stroke Reid’s face, lovingly and looked right into his eyes. “That has nothing to do with that.” She shook her head softly then continued. “I know, you’re afraid of rejection…I’m an actress, I know how that feels; but I also know I’ll get nowhere if I didn’t just ‘hit and hope’.”
“I know…but…it just didn’t make sense…you’re you and I’m me…”
“I’m not like other actresses…you know that…you profiled me, remember?”
“Yeah, I knew you weren’t narcissistic and that you were genuinely caring and that you had a thing for oddballs…I guess I just let my insecurities get in the way.”
“Here’s your opportunity. I really wanted a second chance,” said Archer with a warm smile.
“So you waited seven years for me?”
“No, I dated a few in between, got married twice, but you know Hollywood marriages never last. Made me realize that of all the people I’ve met, you were the only one who was interested in me for me, not because ‘it would look great if you were dating Lila Archer’.”
Reid laughed, having read about instances like that all the time in the papers.
“Spencer, do you want to go for a ride? There was a great place down the road.”
“I should get back to work. I’m willing to give you a second chance, okay?” Reid kissed her on the lips softly and then grabbed the door handle before Archer stopped him.
“Spencer…I came here because a story I read disturbed me. A fan wrote to me that two of her best friends committed suicide because they were teased at school for having ‘shaved beaver disease.’ As soon as I heard it I knew you could help me.”
“How far is the diner?”
“About half a mile.”
“Okay, I’ll help you. Let me call Morgan and see if he can meet us there.”
Morgan's house, Chesapeake Beach, MD
“Reid...this better be good,” said Morgan on the phone to Reid. He was lying in bed with Sanchez after the pair had just finished having sex. “Okay...I'm on my way.”
“Where are you going mister?” said Sanchez, still lying in bed. Morgan was now putting on his clothes.
“Sorry Gina, gotta go...duty calls. I'll call ya.” Morgan then planted a kiss on Sanchez's lips.
Sanchez replied sarcastically. “When? Six years from now?”
“I'll call ya tonight once I figure out what this is all about. Reid's my best friend, I don't want to leave him hanging.”
Sanchez accepted Morgan's explanation and left Morgan's house and drove back home. Morgan drove to Quantico, finding Reid and Archer at a small cafe at the outskirts of town.
“Morgan, you remember Lila?” said Reid.
“Yes I do,” said Morgan, taking a seat and firmly shaking Archer's hand. “Let's get down to business. I understand you have two friends who committed suicide strangely?”
“They're not my friends,” replied Archer. “It's a fan of mine...she lost two friends to suicide after kids in her school taunted her for having a sexually transmitted disease.”
“Which one?” Morgan inquired.
“Shaved beaver disease...I don't think SBD exists except as an urban legend that's gained a lot of traction on the Internet...apparently boys use it to shun girls whom they feel wronged them,” responded Archer.
“How so?” Morgan asked with interest.
“Details are fuzzy,” piped in Reid, “but apparently if you have intercourse with someone with SBD, it can cause itching in the scrotum and may even cause the penis to atrophy, though no one has ever reported the latter happening.”
“Atrophy? You mean…” Morgan asked with a shocked look.
“Yep…fall off,” replied Reid without skipping a beat. Morgan winced at the thought.
“Reportedly a sign of SBD- but, again, not all sufferers display it- is hair loss,” continued Reid.
“Okay, okay, okay,” interrupted Morgan, trying to stop Reid from getting carried away. “What does SBD do in the first place? I know 'beaver' is slang for women's pubic hair…does this mean it causes women to lose their pubic hair?”
“As well as cause scarring,” stated Reid. “There's one picture floating around the Web that purports to be the result of the disease that's quite gruesome to look at.”
“Lila, you mentioned it was an ‘urban legend’…I’m guessing you found no credible sources on the disease?” asked Morgan.
“Yes,” replied Archer. “I looked it up on Google...couldn’t find a single credible source discussing the disease. In fact, most of what I did find are message board postings by guys warning other guys about girls who have the disease.”
“Okay, so we have a 'disease' that's primarily a function of malicious gossip, since no credible medical journal has documented it,” stated Morgan.
“Correct,” said Reid.
“So, Lila, what do you know about the fans?” Morgan asked.
“I haven't had much time to really dig,” said Archer. “I just read this really touching letter...broke my heart. I wrote back to her and she provided some more details...unfortunately my computer crashed so I don't have the letters.”
“It's okay,” said Morgan assuredly, “Garcia can restore them.”
“So you guys can help me?” asked a concerned Archer.
“We can help,” said Morgan, “when we have an answer we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.” Morgan and Reid got up to drive back to their headquarters in Quantico, and Archer got up to drive back to her hotel. They walked outside of the diner and got to the point where they were in between the cars and the diner’s exterior wall. Seeing no one else around, she then grabbed Reid’s face and stroked it.
“Call me tonight, okay?” said Archer, kissing Reid softly on the lips. The two went their separate ways.
Inside the car, Morgan couldn’t help but ask Reid about the kiss.
“So, should I start calling you ‘the Doctor of Love’?” teased Morgan affectionately.
Reid laughed. “I know…I’ve had more dates in the past year than I’ve had in the past few years…not even I can grasp it,” replied Reid.
“So where does this leave Hawkes and JJ?”
“I don’t know yet…I’ve never been in this situation before. I’d rather focus my attention on one girl and that’s it…I still have feelings for Zoe…and JJ.”
“Well, have you told any of them that you’ve ‘made it official’?”
“I told Lila I’d give her a second chance…that was it.”
“That’s different from saying you’ll jump into a relationship with her…which is smart. You hardly know them. I think you should play things cool and see which one bears fruit…and try not to tell one about the other, or you’ll just wind up losing both.”
“That will be hard with Lila.”
“Let’s hope that no one took a picture of you and Lila together…which makes me ask…why the diner? It’s out in the open.”
“Lila seeks validation…it’s why she got into acting. She would want the world to know that she found me again and that she’s happy, and, aside from the kiss, there was nothing really that conspicuous about our meeting…plus it happened in an area where no one could view it. So the most anyone could see was the three of us together.”
“Good point.” Morgan then shifted the conversation to the case. “So what do you make of this strange disease? It sounds like a hoax to me.”
“I think it is. I’ve never come across anything in any medical journal discussing a disease matching its description, plus you’d think that someone who lost their penis would have reported it…it’d be quite the news story.”
Morgan replied with a hint of sarcasm. “Of course, those propagating the myth would say that a government conspiracy would cover up all those reports.”
Reid chuckled, acknowledging as true Morgan’s statement, having read that too many times about a lot of urban legends.
“First thing we gotta do is explore this urban legend, see what could drive those women to suicide, as well as make sure this legend isn’t bigger than it already is, though I have a bad feeling about that.”
FBI Headquarters, Quantico, VA
Morgan’s and Reid’s next job was to brief the team on their case. They likely wouldn’t need the rest of them until much later in the process, but, given that they needed to submit a case report, they had to go back to the office. Reid was photocopying the submission report when he noticed teammate Zoe Hawkes passing by.
“Hey Zoe,” said Reid, cheerfully. Hawkes ignored him, zeroing in right to her desk.
Reid thought something was wrong, so he sat down in front of her. She didn’t even flinch.
“Are you okay?” asked Reid, concerned.
Hawkes didn’t lift her head.
Reid started to fumble his words, worried he set her off. “Did I…was it…uh…something I did?”
Hawkes got up, still refusing to acknowledge Reid, and stormed off to the photocopier.
Reid got up and followed her.
Hawkes turned around, wagged her finger at him and snapped. “Do not follow me.”
“Zoe…yesterday we were laughing and talking…you have me perplexed at your behavior.”
Hawkes replied coldly. “You need to sit your prying ass back down and get back to your case.”
“Okay…” Reid went away meekly, not wanting to cause a fight.
Their colleague, David Rossi, overheard the exchange and asked Hawkes about it.
“What was that all about?” asked Rossi.
“Oh it’s this case I’m working on,” replied Hawkes. “It’s really unnerving and Reid is the last person I want to deal with right now.”
“This doesn’t sound like it’s about a case. Can we talk in my office?” The two of them walked into Rossi’s office and closed the door.
Hawkes shook her head in disgust as Rossi sat on his chair, leaned back and rested his legs on the top of his desk.
“Do you really think that’s going to make me want to open up to you?” said Hawkes sardonically.
“No,” said Rossi, who expected Hawkes’ response, “but I do know that since you first met Reid, you’ve never called him ‘Reid’ except when you’re mad at him. So I know this is about him.” He was hoping to rattle her by appearing like he wasn’t taking things seriously when he was.
Hawkes continued to be defiant. “I know all your tricks…it won’t work with me. You’re hoping that by being casual it will relax me but I know it won’t work.”
Rossi put his feet back down on the floor, clasped his hands together, put his arms extended slightly onto his desk and leaned forward. “I’m not playing a trick, Zoe. I care about you, and I’m worried that something’s wrong, especially something that could affect this team. I don’t want Hotch to find out about this and reprimand the both of you…you’re both too valuable to this team to see anything happen to you.”
Hawkes read Rossi’s concern and sat down, her defiance having cooled off. “I saw a picture of Reid with Lila Archer at a diner just down the street. I know he was with Morgan as well but I can’t get it out of my head that Reid’s getting back together with this woman…someone who I don’t think he even fits with.”
“So you feel rejected. It happens, I understand. Do you know if Reid has actually gotten back together with Lila, though?”
“It’s hard to tell…I only caught one picture online and Reid and Archer didn’t seem to be doing anything…but…you know I like Reid. It’s hard for me to see him with anyone else.”
“Zoe…you guys had one night. I grant that it was a special night but it meant nothing. You guys aren’t yet in a relationship…he’s a free man, he can see other women, just like you can see other men. You know Reid…he’s not a player, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s in just as much shock about things as you are.” Rossi laughed a little and continued. “He doesn’t know how to date…he’s probably confused about how to deal with this situation…you and I…we both know better. I think you shouldn’t take it too personally and apologize to Mr. Reid…he sure didn’t mean to hurt you. Now all you have to do is get yourself into the dating game and, prove yourself to him.”
Hawkes chuckled, relieved. “Okay.”
She left Rossi’s office and zeroed in on Reid, walking purposefully towards him. She then leaned on to him, extended her arms around him and gave him a hug, resting her head on his shoulder. The surprised Reid didn’t move until he realized what was happening, and then slowly reciprocated the hug.
“I’m sorry Spencer,” said Hawkes, “I didn’t mean to flip out at you.”
“It’s okay,” said Reid, reassuringly. “I guess you know about Lila.”
“Yeah…I saw a picture…freaked out…then Dave told me I shouldn’t take it so personally, because you didn’t mean any harm.”
“Zoe, I’m just as confused as you are about all this…the truth is, Lila threw herself at me…it was kind of unsettling…you know me, I like to be in control.”
“So…does that mean I’m in the lead?”
“Zoe.” Reid leaned back slightly so he was face to face with Hawkes, though their bodies were still close to each other, and held her head and looked her in the eyes. “I don’t know what any of this means. I wish I could give you a clearer answer, but please…let’s not ruin our friendship over it.”
“Okay.” The two hugged again and then went their separate ways.
“What was that all about?” asked colleague Emily Prentiss, who caught the exchange from a distance with Rossi.
“Young love,” replied Rossi.
“Love,” replied Prentiss wistfully. “The one thing you can’t control.”
Rossi chuckled. “You got that right.”
“Okay…I think we have a case,” said team leader Agent Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner to Morgan, both of them sitting in Hotchner’s office. Morgan was in to brief Hotchner about the SBD case.
“Thanks Hotch,” said Morgan appreciatively. “Whoever did this was one sick puppy.”
“You do understand that this case isn’t time-sensitive and that if another one pops up that is more important you’ll be needed there.”
“I understand fully.”
“Good. I’m going to assign just you and Reid to the case for now…I don’t think we’ll need everyone for this.”
“I’d like to have Hawkes join me. We need a female perspective on this case.”
The road trip to Trenton, NJ
Hawkes slapped at Morgan's hand as he reached for the radio dial in her car. Hawkes, Morgan and Reid were on a road trip to discuss the case with Dr. Gregory House to meet with his acclaimed staff about the disease.
“Uh-uh...don't you ever touch a lady's radio tough guy,” said Hawkes playfully but firmly.
“Come on, man, I can't listen to this stuff,” said Morgan, irritated by the power pop song, The Veronicas' "Untouched", playing on the radio.
“I kind of like it,” said Reid, sitting in the back.
“Says the man who listens to Dream Theater,” replied Morgan huffily, referring to the progressive rock band.
“It's catchy,” replied Reid, defensively.
“I give up,” said Morgan, admitting defeat.
“We seem pretty convinced that this is not a real disease,” noted Hawkes, shifting the conversation, “just to play Devil’s Advocate, what if it’s not? Then what do we do?”
“If it’s a real disease,” said Morgan, “we’d have to hand it to the proper authorities. We have the investigation of the suicides of Lila Archer’s fans. Those are suspicious enough to merit our involvement regardless of how this turns out.”
“I would agree with that,” replied Hawkes. “We need to make sure this isn’t something bigger than it already is first.”
“I have a feeling it already is,” said Reid. “Lila Archer isn’t the first person to report knowing someone taunted with SBD…Jasmine Bryar, a blogger for the New York Islanders hockey team, has seen quite a few comments on her blog suggesting that she has the disease, mostly by men who are clearly perturbed by the sight of a woman providing insights on a male-dominated sport.”
“Okay,” said Morgan, taking charge, “we’re in the area. After we speak to Dr. House, we’ll see if we can meet with Ms. Bryar and see how far those comments have gone and how they started. We need to make sure we’re not dealing with just two suicides. Later today, Garcia should have the results of her research into the phenomenon…once we know where it started we can see how many more victims there are.”
“Even if we do catch this guy,” noted Reid, “it probably won’t stop the effects…stuff like this has a life of its own.”
“Yes, but even if we dispel this myth just slightly, it will at least stunt its forward progress,” said Morgan firmly. “As long as we’ve helped one person get out of this mess, we’ve done our job.”
Penelope Garcia's War Room, FBI Headquarters, Quantico, VA
The BAU's Technical Analyst, Penelope Garcia stared frustratingly at her computer screen. She'd been digging all morning for the source of SBD and had no luck. The letters were easy to restore but something about them struck her that she’d need Morgan for. Her boyfriend, Kevin Lynch, a Technical Analyst in another department, walked in with a coffee.
“Hey,” he said, leaning in to kiss the seated Garcia, “I thought you could use this.”
“Could I ever,” said Garcia, somewhat relieved by the coffee. She continued with playful animation. “This SBD thing is so annoying...just when you think you've found the beginning something else pops up.”
Lynch chuckled, then spoke calmly, hoping to be of help. “Well, what have you found so far?”
Garcia calmed down and adopted a serious tone. “Seems like there's five different names for it dating back to 2007, although there's a reference in 2004 for some reason. There's even a guy who claims to be a doctor and gave it some strange scientific name in an attempt to make it 'real'. He doesn't appear to be a real doctor, so I doubt how valid his claim is.”
Lynch took a seat in the chair next to Garcia. “I heard about in high school actually. Some strange rumblings about the cheerleader at our school...I believed it at the time but looking back, those claims were pretty dubious.”
“Was it just at your high school?”
“No, a couple of schools in the district knew it. In fact, my uncle from Santa Monica knew of it too, and he was on the other side of the country. We didn't call it 'SBD' though- we called it the Minx Disease, a reference to another slang term for female genitals.”
“Was the picture around back then?”
“Thankfully, no picture...but we knew of it.”
“So the picture is likely a new interpretation of an older urban legend. Now we just have to figure out where it started.”
“I'll leave you to it.”
Garcia got playful for a brief moment. “Where do you think you're going, Mister? If we work on this together, we'll have the answer in no time.”
“Let me see what my team needs...I was working on something. I promise I'll give you some time, okay sweetie?”
Garcia smiled and received the goodbye kiss from Lynch and got back to work.
Dr. House's Office, Princeton-Plansboro Teaching Hospital, Trenton, NJ
“Hello Dr. House,” started Morgan, greeting Dr. House with a firm handshake. “I'm sure you remember us, I'm Agent Morgan and my colleagues Dr. Reid and Agent Hawkes.”
“How could I not?” House replied with a smug smile. Morgan then introduced the team to House's gynecologist, Dr. Cynthia Moore. “Glad you guys caught the guy with CLF...that was annoying. So, Dr. Reid, I guess you've graduated multiplication.”
“Actually,” said Reid with a laugh, “I've graduated from advanced calculus to upper echelon combinatorics.” Morgan reacted with a confused look on his face, not knowing what combinatorics are.
“You're starting to sound a lot like that Charlie Epps guy,” noted House, before moving to the task at hand. “I understand you have something for us.”
“That's correct Drs House and Moore,” said Morgan. “We have this gruesome picture of what purports to be 'shaved beaver disease' and we need to know if you've come across anything like it.” He then handed the picture to Moore.
“This isn't a real disease,” said Moore convincingly. “There is no condition that would cause anything like this.”
“More to the point,” jumped in House, examining the picture, “these cuts were applied post-mortem.”
“We have a dead body?” Reid exclaimed with shock.
“Yes, that's what 'post-mortem' means,” replied House curtly. “In fact, it's not just one, but two.”
“Two?” Hawkes said with shock. “This is getting weirder by the minute.”
“Yes,” replied House. “You need an eagle eye to spot it, but it's clearly Photoshopped. I've never seen any discolouration of the skin resembling anything like this, and I've seen everything.”
“You can tell the difference between real cuts and fake ones?” Morgan asked.
“Unless the person has a Hollywood studio in their homes,” said House definitively, “and even then they can't catch the subtleties...the decomposition of the cuts appear the way they do only if they're real.”
“Any sign of rape?” asked Hawkes.
“Not from what I can tell,” replied Moore, “but we’d need the actual body. It’s possible that the injuries are internal and we can’t see them. Outwardly, it looks like there’s no sign of rape, but I qualify that cautiously.”
“Anything else unusual about the skin?” asked Morgan.
“The hair follicles were carefully removed,” said House, continuing with a dramatic flair. “Before death.” The agents grimaced at the thought of the poor torture the women suffered.
“What can you tell about the age of the victims?” Hawkes asked.
“The sexual organs, from what I can tell, appear functional,” said Moore, “but they're not that advanced. Also, the skin tone and muscle definition doesn't appear to be that old. So they're likely teens.”
“Thank you, Doctors,” said Hawkes.
“We gotta call Hotch,” said Morgan with a heightened sense of urgency. “This case has taken on a whole new level of importance.”
FBI Headquarters, Quantico, VA
“He was living in despair,” started Rossi, analyzing with conviction. “He was running, running for his life, metaphorically and, at the end, physically. There was no way out so he went to the only place that he knew. He found refuge at the bottom of a beer can and drowned in his sorrows.” Rossi paused and took another analytical look, fishing an empty beer can with a dead mouse inside of it from behind his file cabinet in his office. Rossi finished wistfully. “That's why Jerry died inside the beer can...because he was running from Tom.”
“I guess you're getting nowhere with that Calgary case,” said Hotchner, walking into his office.
“We have the worst janitor here,” said Rossi with a hint of anger. “I come in to my office after lunch to the most repugnant of smells...I get him to look after it and he just decides to fall asleep in my chair. So I got his supervisor to send him home. I had to look for it myself and...there it is. I'm getting forensics to look at it...I believe it's got his fingerprints on it but I'm not sure. As for the case at the University of Calgary...I've got nothing.”
“Keep at it. Anyhow, we're needed in the war room- the case Morgan is looking after is bigger than we thought.”
Gathered in the war room was the rest of the team: Hotchner, Rossi and Prentiss. Their media liaison, Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, briefed them on what Morgan, Reid, Garcia and Hawkes had found thus far.
“So far,” said Jareau, “all we know is that we have two dead bodies and a few suspicious suicides. We have no ID's just yet and while we don't know if other violent activity has occurred, we can't rule it out either.”
“We all suspected it was an urban legend,” said Rossi. “All we have to figure out is why someone would want to use it maliciously.”
“Our first order of business is understanding the suicides, and Garcia’s on that as we speak” said Hotchner. “Then we would need to profile the type of person who would create this disease and see if it helps guide the investigation.” He then called Garcia. “Garcia, what have you found about SBD and the suicide letters?”
“SBD,” replied Garcia through the office speaker, “Kevin and I are working on it now…there’s so many false leads. As for the letters…I found something curious about them. They’re all anonymous letters, and two of them appear to be written by the same person but their IP addresses resolve to Karakorum in Mongolia and Denver, Colorado, with timestamps being a mere hour apart. The process repeats itself several times, and with several different cities. This guy’s going to be hard to track down.”
“Garcia, can I have a look at those letters?” asked Prentiss.
“Sure,” replied Garcia. “I’ve already told Morgan about them…the three of them will help you when they get back.”
“Okay,” said Hotchner. “I think we should all have a look at the letters and see what we can draw off all of them. How’s the missing person report, Garcia?”
“It’s a very extensive list,” responded Garcia. “Aside from having two white teenaged girls, there’s not a lot to narrow it down.”
“Keep working on resolving that IP and tracking down the source of the picture,” said Hotchner. “That will give us a lead on who those missing girls are.”
The drive back to Quantico
“The guy who created the picture has to be an artist of some kind,” said Reid. Morgan, Reid and Hawkes were spending the car ride back to Quantico- having asked to come back by Hotchner- trying to come up with their own profile of the offender.
“We can’t say for sure that’s their job,” said Hawkes. “Although it does take skill to create the picture that we saw, it’s still just one picture and we don’t know how much time was spent crafting it.”
“We know the victims are female,” said Morgan, “two white, teenaged girls. Dr. Moore was pretty adamant about that. Now, who would want to murder and mutilate females?”
“It’s a sexual sadist, that’s for sure” replied Reid. “Particularly appalling too.”
“It’s still obvious the killer hated the girls,” said Hawkes. “Why else would the killer mangle their genitalia like they did? Plus, how many guys want a ‘shaved beaver’ in the first place? I think this is about message sending.”
“Could we be dealing with a female UnSub?” asked Morgan.
“I think it’s possible,” said Reid. “This picture was created because of jealousy, especially of a sexual kind, as each time SBD manifests itself is when a girl is described as overtly promiscuous.”
“It’s okay Spencer, you can say ‘slut’,” said Hawkes. “I won’t be offended.”
Morgan chuckled acknowledging the comment then continued at the task at hand. “It could still be a male,” he said. “Jealousy could have come from a rejection.”
“I agree,” said Hawkes, “but I don’t think another guy would be telling guys that something they like having really could hurt them…plus, emasculation is erroneously held to be a goal of feminism, so I think the female angle holds some weight.”
“OK,” said Morgan, now playing Devil’s Advocate to keep the profile building process going. “How do we know the UnSub wanted to send a message in the first place? How do we know this picture wasn’t just stolen off the UnSub’s computer?”
“Given the amount of work that went into this picture and its subsequent usage it’s hard for me to think that this isn’t about a message,” said Reid.
“I also think it’s an odd trophy to keep,” said Hawkes. “I agree with Reid…the UnSub spent too much time making this to not show it to someone.”
“Do we think this is personal?” asked Morgan, trying to build on themes.
“Personal to the attacker, yes,” said Reid. “That much we already know. What’s more difficult is knowing if the UnSub knew the victims. The cuts weren’t very deep and though the pubic hair removal was deliberate and painstaking, it doesn’t add much. Also we can’t tell what the UnSub did to the rest of their bodies…judging from the picture, the perpetrator was going for shock value and likely has some kind of negative history with women, but unless we know how the victims looked like we can’t tell if the UnSub knew their victims.”
“Stabbings are usually a metaphor for sexual penetration,” noted Hawkes, “and I can’t help but think the UnSub got off on this, given the area of the body we’re looking at. That tends to skewer to the male side of things but given the subsequent usage of the picture it sounds more like a girl’s message than a boy’s, and it had to have been against a specific target, though who that is we don’t know. Also, given the amount of planning that went into the cuts and then the picture, this UnSub had to have above average intelligence. The fact that- so far- we know of no bodies matching the girls indicates that the killer has been smart about covering their tracks.”
“So we go back to the artist,” said Morgan.
“Or at least an affinity for art,” said Reid.
“I think you’re missing something guys. How do we know it’s the same person?” asked Hawkes. “Given what we’ve reasoned so far it does sound like there’s more than one person involved.”
“It could be two, you’re right,” said Reid. “They’ll have to have a connection to each other, though, because there’s no evidence two separate pictures have surfaced, meaning the killers met, combined the picture and released it.”
Morgan sat pensively and still wasn’t sure of that assessment. “We still can’t make that assumption,” said Morgan. “I think we should assume there’s a single killer until we find proof that there’s two of them.”
“What if one committed the crime and the other released the message?” said Reid. “There’s elements of both male and female attackers in this crime…it’s doubtful that they’re the same person.”
“Good point,” said Morgan.
“Okay, so let’s recap,” said Hawkes. “Let’s assume we’ve got a boy and girl team of sexual sadists here. We’ve got two UnSubs, one male and one female, between the ages of 15 and 25, given the age of the victims. The male likely committed the actual killing and mutilation, and the female put the picture together and distributed it. They are either artists or have an affinity for art, and have a personal connection to the victims, though whether or not it’s just a general issue with women or a more specific issue with two specific women is undetermined. It’s likely the picture was created to send a message. Can’t yet say for sure that there are other victims but, with sexual sadists, that’s highly likely. How does that sound?”
“I think we have it,” said Morgan.
When the trio arrived in the offices at Quantico, they were greeted by the rest of the team who commended them on their work. They came in with the picture super-imposed on a large green screen, the team taking a break from reading the letters and deciding that Reid should finish reading them, since he was the speed reader. They had a few other points to add to the profile.
“I think it’s obvious,” said Prentiss. “When you spend this much time and effort to make this kind of picture, you’re targeting it against someone, or at least you have someone in mind.”
“Yes, but the targets weren’t the victims that were killed,” said Rossi. “The target was someone who was alive, because the perpetrators wanted to send a message about them- a deviant, sexual message.”
“OK,” said Hawkes, “so you guys definitely don’t think the ones who were killed were random victims then.”
“They still could be,” replied Prentiss, “It’s possible that the perpetrator was delusional, believing that the pain inflicted on the individual is pain inflicted on the target.”
“I also think they weren’t just any kind of artist,” said Rossi. “They’re photographers.”
“Photographers,” pondered Morgan, intrigued by the insight.
“The staging of the picture is done only in such a way that a photographer would know,” said Rossi, motioning his hand around the picture to illustrate his point.
“Since this UnSub ‘created’ a disease, do they have medical experience?” pressed Hotchner.
“I don’t think they do,” said Morgan with conviction. “Drs. House and Moore didn’t think this was anything close to any disease they knew of, so I doubt they know much about anatomy or diseases- this was just about shock value.”
“I think this skewers it towards high school students, don’t you think?” said Rossi. “College students, on top of being able to craft a disease better, know better than to be shocked by something like this, and high school provides a wider sample of the population than any other place- great for shock value.”
“Also, if we’re surmising that this is a picture aimed at the UnSub’s peers, it would make sense that they’re in high school where the people are more impressionable,” noted Reid.
“Now that we’ve figured out the UnSub, we should profile the victims,” said Hotchner.
“It sounds like a great idea,” said Reid with hesitation, “but I don’t think we’ve got much here. These guys could be targeting anyone.”
“We should still try to narrow down the search,” said Hotchner firmly. “It’ll help when we look at the missing persons list.”
“Okay,” said Morgan, contemplatively. “It’s likely the girls were taken close to each other…I don’t think someone wanting to make a gruesome picture would wait that long to get his second victim.”
“So the victims were grabbed at the same time,” said Prentiss with certainty. “So we won't be looking for missing girls with too much of a gap in disappearance time. Okay, so who’s the target?”
“We’re looking at a lot of people, still,” said Reid, cupping his mouth pensively before continuing by holding his hands apart and finishing by putting them together. “Aside from it being a girl who is being bullied, there’s not much else to go on- anyone can be the target of bullying. The only thing we know is that both the girl and the boy knew the target.”
“If this is a girl’s message,” said Prentiss with conviction, “then the girl is the ringleader. I don’t think the team are boyfriend/girlfriend- these are two friends.”
“I think the boy likes the girl,” said Hawkes, “I can’t imagine a boy doing something this lurid for a girl unless he’s attracted to her.”
“We go back to the ‘personal’ part of the crime,” said Rossi. “How do they lure their victims? These aren’t blitz attacks- somebody would have reported them if they were.”
“Meaning the girls that are killed are at least acquaintances of one of the members of the team,” said Reid.
“…and, likely, the girl is promising the other girls as ‘toys’ for the boy,” said Morgan.
Garcia interrupted the discussion with a phone call.
“I traced the letters sent to Lila Archer,” said Garcia. “They’re all sent by the same guy, a Jude Robeson. He lives in Atlanta, where, coincidentally, two ‘suicides’ were reported the same day he started Emailing Lila…he also operates an Archer fan site, including a video where he simulates sex with Ms. Archer.”
“Garcia,” said Morgan with a smile, “you are the best.”
“You’re welcome my Justice League of Superheroes,” beamed Garcia.
Hotchner smiled briefly then regained his composure. “I’m going to call Atlanta PD and tell them to survey Mr. Robeson until we get there.” Hotchner looked at his watch and saw that it was past dinner time. “It’s late…everyone get home and get some sleep. Wheels up at 9AM tomorrow.” The team departed for their homes, with Morgan calling Sanchez to arrange a date potentially when he got home from Atlanta.
Atlanta Police Headquarters, Atlanta, GA
When the team landed in Atlanta, they were greeted by Atlanta Police Chief Peter Wickman, who handed each team member a case file to look at. Wickman told the team that they caught Robeson the night before having seen him drunk and disorderly, punching out a store window while on his bender.
“We still don’t have him on the girls,” said Wickman with an endearing Southern drawl. He was a hardened veteran, a man of 52 years with an impressive build and a menacing handlebar moustache, not dulled at all by his white, stress-laden hair. “We looked into the suicides when they happened and ruled them to be homicides in disguise since there were drugs in each girl’s system that were injected just prior to them being shot. There was no DNA on the bodies so the killer wore gloves. We also don’t know where the syringe is.”
“Thanks Chief Wickman,” said Hotchner. “We’ve got this. Prentiss, are you going to need anyone for the interrogation?”
“Yes Hotch,” affirmed Prentiss. “I want Morgan and Reid in there, Morgan to play the ‘bad cop’ and Reid the ‘good cop’. He’s an imposing man and is very confrontational…we need him to feel pushed so hard that Reid is a ‘relief’ to him and thus will open up to him.”
“Okay,” said Hotchner. “The rest of us will look at the police reports of the victims.”
Robeson was indeed a big man. A former football linebacker, he stood a menacing 6’3”, 256lbs, and worked out to maintain his playing muscle. His head was shaved and he was decked in jeans and a T-Shirt. He also wore a monocle with a chain attached to his belt.
Morgan was the first one to greet him.
“I assume you’re aware of your rights,” snarled Morgan.
“...and I assume you know you’re a moron,” snarled Robeson back at Morgan.
Morgan took a seat in front of the table separating him from Robeson. Morgan leaned in, with a menacing scowl painted on his face. “Don’t play around with me tough guy. We have you Dead. To. Rights. Don’t try to cover up, you moron.”
Robeson leaned in, smugly. “Oh yeah? Do you have something the Atlanta PD doesn’t have?”
Morgan continued with his death glare, right into Robeson’s eyes. He didn’t reply.
Robeson leaned back and chuckled, satisfied. “I thought so. Now, let me use the bathroom…I gotta take a monster leak here.”
“Oh you’re not going anywhere. Not until you co-operate with me.”
“…and why would I want to co-operate with a degenerate black man like you? You’re nothing but scum, and I eat scums for breakfast.” Robeson was clearly in a fighting mood, reaching across the table to violently slap Morgan, before leaning back in his chair to gloat in his laugh.
Morgan got livid. “You think I’m playing punk? You think I’m playing?” He then violently tossed the table aside, got up from his chair, rolled up his sleeves and assumed a combat stance. “You wanna fight punk? Why don't you get up from your chair right now and we’ll go right here!” Robeson continued to be defiant and goaded Morgan into fighting him with his body language, but, seeing that Morgan was just as big as he was, he wasn’t sure if he liked his chances in a fight.
Reid saw the action as his cue to enter the room.
“Morgan, can I talk to you for a moment?” said Reid, armed with a file folder given to him by Hotchner. Morgan continued to look menacingly at Robeson. “Morgan, I know you’ve had a rough day but you can’t antagonize him. He has every right to be upset right now…he has a history with the police and you’re not helping.”
Morgan gave Robeson another stare. “I’m not finished with you,” he scowled as he left the room.
“I’m sorry Mr. Robeson,” said Reid, putting the table back down. “He’s had a long day…he doesn’t realize how long you’ve had it.”
“A lot of people don’t understand me,” said Robeson, who took a liking to Reid’s more soothing speech pattern. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Dr. Spencer Reid. I’m with the Behavioural Analysis Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. You already know why we’re here, which is why we need your help solving this case.”
“A lot of people are threatened by me, and for no reason…I couldn’t hurt anybody. I’m a protector, not a bruiser. I wished people would see that.”
“I do. I can see it in your posture.”
“Did you ever meet Lila Archer?”
Robeson changed his tone to one of derision, though not at Reid. “Lila…I hated her. I ran that fan site to please my wife, who knew nothing about computers, but I always wanted a chance to get back at her. When I heard about SBD, I had my chance.”
“Where did you hear about SBD?”
“Saw it on a Web Site, the Daily Pickle.”
“The shock site.”
Reid knew he’d have to get Garcia to verify Robeson’s story, so he pressed on with the interrogation. “Where do the two suicides factor in?”
“Rene Blackford and Jesse Crane?”
“Yes, those women.”
“I read about them in the news…it was tragic. I had nothing to do with that…I didn’t know them, but I decided to use that to scare Lila into knowing that her promiscuous life cost her the lives of two of her fans who repeated her lifestyle recklessly.”
Reid looked puzzled. “Rene and Jesse…you said you didn't know them…I read the letters and saw the pictures of the apartments before I got in here…the letters contained information only someone with an intimate knowledge of their apartment would know…Mr. Robeson, I’m trying to help you…lying isn’t going to do any good.”
“Okay.” Robeson admitted defeat. “I met them at a party. Saw them a few more times afterward. Things got a little hot and heavy, but I was ashamed…I’m a married man Dr. Reid. So I staged the killings as suicides, so my wife could never find out about my transgression.” Robeson then began to weep. Atlanta police came in to the room to lead Robeson back to his cell. Reid sat for a moment and swished his lips back and forth and cocked his eyebrows briefly, analyzing what he had just done, before getting up and leaving the room having done his job effectively.
“We’ve got enough to put him away for good,” said Hotchner to Reid as he exited the interrogation room. “Witness reports were conflicting, meaning we needed that confession. You did a great job.” In a rare moment, before he departed to join the rest of the team in an office break room, Hotchner patted Reid on the shoulder, which elicited a warm smile from the team’s resident genius. It took a lot for Reid, who never trusted himself to do interrogations correctly (even though he devised a whole technique to conduct one in his graduate program years at the California Institute of Technology) to muster the courage to get into the room, so hearing the appreciation from Hotchner really helped.
Reid then placed a call to Garcia.
“How can I help The Smartest Man In The World today?” beamed Garcia after picking up the phone.
Reid laughed, enjoying Garcia’s inherent happiness. “Garcia,” said Reid, “Jude Robeson said something about picking up the picture from the Daily Pickle…can you confirm that?”
“The Daily Pickle…ick.” Garcia typed away for a few moments and then answered. “Yes, Mr. Sicko did pick up the picture from the Pickle…he didn’t create it…which reminds me…I think I know where it started.”
“Oh do you?” Reid got excited at hearing that.
“Yes…the first time it ever shows up is as a comment on Kelly Shane’s MySpace page in 2003. It’s the most solid lead I have. Unfortunately, the person who posted the comment did so on a public library computer, and, to boot, made their account and its related E-Mail address at the same time without using them again…so he’ll be incredibly hard to trace.”
“Kelly Shane? We rescued her from Mason Turner’s pig farm three years ago.”
“That’s the one.”
“Okay…thanks!” Reid, giddy with excitement, accidentally hit the speaker button on his phone’s touch screen and placed it in his pocket without hanging up on Garcia, who decided to stay on the line for her amusement.
“Guys!” Reid said, practically jumping into the break room. “Garcia has a lead!”
“That’s right my loves!” beamed Garcia from Reid’s phone.
“Reid?” said Morgan, cracking a joke at Reid's expense. “You have Garcia in your pocket? I’m really impressed at your abilities.” The rest of the team had a loving laugh, knowing Reid was just excited.
Reid hung his head with embarrassment. “Oh, shoot,” said Reid, still redfaced. “Garcia, I gotta let you go,” he said quickly before hastily hanging up.
Morgan chuckled. “It’s okay kid. It’s been a long case,” said Morgan. “I hope we’re closer to finding this guy.”
“What did you find?” asked Hotchner, still composed.
“Garcia was able to successfully trace the origin of the picture to Kelly Shane’s MySpace account in 2003,” said Reid. “It came as a comment on her page…unfortunately, the person who created the comment posted it on a library computer, where he also created the account, and used it just the once.”
“So he goes to the library just to post one picture about a girl he hated, making sure to cover his tracks,” mused Rossi. “Smooth.”
“Dave,” said Hawkes, interjecting. “I think you mean ‘she’. It’s more likely a girl would harbor that kind of hatred against Shane, especially to go through all that trouble.”
“Now that we know the origin on the Internet, we need to start looking at who the possible victims may be,” said Hotchner. “I’ll get Garcia to look into that. For now, we’ll focus on Ms. Shane. Where does Ms. Shane live right now?”
“In Rockford, Illinois,” said Reid, “Garcia just texted me the information.”
“Let’s go,” said Hotchner.
Rick’s Auto Body Warehouse, Rockford, IL
Since being rescued by the BAU in May of 2009, Kelly Shane, 25, found a job as a forklift operator at a distribution warehouse, the lone female on the staff. She didn’t mind, though- since her days as a prostitute, she’d gotten used to dealing with men, so much so that she gained tomboyish tendencies. When she was rescued by the BAU, she decided against returning to her old life, calling up the only john who admired her- a man by the name of Rick Cartwright, who was a reluctant customer at the time. Cartwright owned an auto parts warehouse in Rockford, about 90 miles from Chicago and the main supplier of the local Fiat Auto plant, and took Shane into his home with his wife, which took some convincing. Shane got her start at the warehouse being an order picker, eventually learning to drive the forklift and, being the student that she was, becoming the staff’s best forklift driver.
Prentiss and Hawkes met up with her at work, and she was thrilled at the sight of seeing the agents that gave her new life.
“Hey,” said Shane warmly, shaking hands with Prentiss and Hawkes. She was covered in dust from moving so many boxes. “I owe you guys so much. I wish I was in a better state to see you but I'm happy you're here.”
“Thanks,” said Hawkes with a smile. “I'm happy we could have helped. Don't worry about your appearance...as my dad used to say,” Hawkes then briefly imitated her dad speaking, “'if you aren't gettin' dirty you're not working!'” Shane then had a cute laugh.
Prentiss smiled too before getting to business. “Ms. Shane,” said Prentiss, “we're here because we're investigating a picture posted on your MySpace page back in 2003...we believe it's the first iteration of 'shaved beaver disease'...what do you know about it?”
“Kelly...we know this is hard,” said Hawkes soothingly, “but we need your help. We're worried that you're not the only victim.”
Shane's mood soured thinking of the incident, but she kept her composure knowing she was doing a good thing. “I remember it well,” she started. “I was just having a normal day at high school...I was the head cheerleader at the school. I had a lot of friends, because I'm naturally bubbly and likeable. We'd just finished a practice when my mother confronted me with the post, which she printed out. I hadn't seen it all day...I checked MySpace maybe once or twice a week, if that, but I had a lot of friends and messages.” She teared up as she continued her story, but Hawkes was there to rub her arm in support. “She just looked at me with intense anger, like she suspected something about me all along and this was her confirmation. I had a confused look on my face...my mother had arrived...she had my things in the trunk.” She began to cry, “she was kicking me out.”
“It's okay,” said Hawkes, rubbing Shane's back as she was hunched over in sadness. “You're doing great.”
Shane regained her composure somewhat, but was still visibly shaken. “I tried to finish high school...went on welfare...but nothing worked. I had to become a prostitute just to make ends meet...I was 16...I should have been thinking about boys and homework...not hustling...you know I lost my virginity to a john...and he was so cold about it too...he just did his thing, slapped me, threw down the money and left in a huff. I cried afterward...it was so hard to muster the courage to move on, but I had to.”
“So this picture comes out of the blue,” said Prentiss, trying to understand what Shane had described, “and your mother used it against you for something you didn't know you did. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” said Shane with a nod.
“Have you always had problems with your mother?” Prentiss asked.
“Ever since I became a cheerleader,” said Shane. “She watched too many movies where cheerleaders are nothing but sex objects...funny how I had to become a slut because she called me one,” she finished, wistfully.
“Was there anyone else who might have something against you?” Hawkes asked. “A rival cheerleader, perhaps?”
“No,” said Shane convincingly. “Everyone loved me...okay, there were a few who I wasn't friends with, but there wasn't anyone I didn't get along with...I was very easy going.”
“Was it hard moving from Boston to Port Huron?” asked Hawkes, remembering the notes the team reviewed on their flight to Rockford. “I hate to bring up your father, but I know how you feel- I have issues with mine too.”
“I actually liked Port Huron better than Boston,” said Shane. “My mother hated my father…that’s why they divorced. I think she was hoping we’d develop some kind of ‘Gilmore Girls’ vibe or something because my mother really tried to bond with me after the move, but it just never worked…it’s why I picked up cheerleading, because I needed something to get away from my mother.”
“Why cheerleading?” asked Prentiss.
“Ever since I was a little girl I was into dancing,” reminisced Shane, “I remember Britney Spears’ first video and I thought it was so cool…of course, I didn’t know any better but for me that was enough to make the connection. I remember being always into sports, even in high school, and being the most vocal fan in the crowd…so a friend of mine told me about the cheerleading squad and the rest was history.”
“Did you tell your dad about the cheerleading?” asked Hawkes.
“It was hard…my mother didn’t let me talk to him very much,” said Shane, downtrodden. “She always said it was about long distance but, looking back, it was all about control.”
“It seems like she had to rub it in your face too,” noted Hawkes, doing her best to contain her disgust for Shane’s mother. “Were you and your dad close?”
“As close as a father and daughter could be,” said Shane with a reminiscing smile. “She thought he loved me more than he loved her, so she blamed me for the divorce...yet wanted to be close to me, for some reason.”
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, I guess,” said Hawkes with a wry smile, with Shane nodding in agreement.
“Did something happen that morning that set your mother off?” asked Prentiss.
“We fought every morning…it’s hard to tell,” said Shane.
“Something must have set her off,” said Hawkes, trying to probe. “She wanted to control you…something different had to have happened that morning that made her think she couldn’t control you anymore, which is why she kicked you out.”
“Well,” said Shane, who let out a contemplative breath, “I did sneak in a call to my father the night before…she never caught me before that point.”
“…and then, later on, you got that post and your stuff in the back of her truck,” said Prentiss.
“That’s correct,” said Shane.
“Has your mother tried contacting you since you moved out?” asked Prentiss.
“We haven’t spoken since she kicked me out,” said Shane.
“I can't believe how cold your mother was,” said Hawkes with disgust. “We're going to do everything we can to bring her to justice.”
“Thank you Kelly,” said Prentiss, who stepped outside to call Hotchner at the Rockford Police Headquarters.
“You did a great job,” said Hawkes, firmly but warmly squeezing Shane's hand before leaving with Prentiss.
“Hotch?” Prentiss asked, “Any leads on the missing girls? Kelly Shane's mother really seems to have had it in for her...I'm thinking the Port Huron link is going to be extremely fruitful.”
“We'll need to talk to Doris Shane,” said Hotchner, referring to Kelly Shane's mother. “Right now, she's our most viable suspect, since she fits the profile in many ways- she's a caretaker at Edison Public High School in Port Huron and did the same at Winslow Public High School in Boston, so she has access to kids.”
On the plane ride to Port Huron, Reid was consigned to his seat, appearing like all hope was lost.
“Morgan,” said Reid, tapping Morgan on the shoulder.
“Yes Reid,” replied Morgan, removing his headphones.
“I just can't help myself but think there's not much we can do,” mused Reid. “We're dealing with over 100 suicides connected to this 'disease' and hundreds more who are missing, many are unrelated...we'll be at this forever.”
“I know.” Morgan felt the same way. “Also, no matter what we do, there will always be more...stuff like this takes on a life of its own. However, if we at least get to the bottom of this we can at least tell everyone afflicted by this ailment that we brought justice to the ultimate source of their suffering...that's the least we can do.”
Port Huron, MI
Doris Shane’s House
Having picked up a search warrant for her premises (due to Hotchner successfully arguing before a Michigan judge that her abandonment of Shane constituted child abuse), Hotchner, Rossi, Morgan and Reid headed to her house to collect evidence and Hawkes and Prentiss departed for Edison High to interview Doris while she was at work.
While Morgan and Reid were collecting physical evidence, Rossi and Hotchner were seated at the dining room table and examined missing person cases in Port Huron that could be tied to Doris.
“We’ve got about ten people that went missing in Port Huron in the month of November 2003 alone,” said Hotchner.
“That’s an unusually high number,” said Rossi, visibly perplexed. He then continued in a Eureka moment. “I think we have our two though.”
“Let me see,” said Hotchner, grabbing the documents from Rossi and analyzing them, his steely gaze never leaving the paper. “Jane Summers and Ricki Kennedy, members of Kelly Shane’s cheerleading squad…last seen getting into a truck that matches the one Doris is driving, though no one caught the license plate number rendering the chase pointless.”
Rossi because pointed. “Because everyone in Michigan has a Dodge Ram.”
Hotchner continued to look at the file, his gaze undeterred.
“You know,” piped Rossi, “we never accounted for the fact that maybe this ringleader did act alone, and that maybe she’s a lesbian or bisexual.”
Hotchner shook his head dismissively and deadpanned. “Dave, women don’t do things like this. Statistically speaking only men are capable of this kind of sadism.”
“Aaron.” Rossi raised his voice slightly to underscore how strongly he felt for his position. “The first thing we learn about statistics is that they can be wrong, and, other than the fact that their genitals were painstakingly mutilated, we have nothing else that suggests male involvement. Everything suggests a female, so we have to factor in the possibility that a woman operated alone, and exhibited signs of sexual sadism herself; and Doris Shane is clearly controlling and manipulative and gets off on that…she’s almost a textbook sadist.”
“Okay,” deadpanned Hotchner, “I’ll give you that, but we still don’t know if she was a photographer…that’s a big part of the profile.”
In the basement, Reid and Morgan came upon a locked door.
“We’ll need a key for this,” said Reid.
Morgan chuckled. “Reid, I think you forgot something,” he said, backing up and forcing the door open with a strong kick.
Reid laughed. “Yeah I did forget that.” What lay before them was another underground basement, presumably renovated into the house. It was a makeshift darkroom, and in the corner was a closet sealed with a word lock.
“Kid,” said Morgan, inspecting the lock. “Do you see a bolt cutter?”
“No,” said Reid, looking around the room, “but I think I know what words she used.” Reid bent down and undid the lock.
“Dawg,” said Morgan, looking up and seeing a shelf with an Eric Crouch bobblehead from his time with the Cleveland Browns. “I thought you weren’t a football fan,” noted Morgan to Reid.
“I enjoy a game here and there, actually,” said Reid, “Anyway, I remember the game in Washington that I attended with JJ. They were playing the Browns and their travelling supporter section was called ‘The Dawg Pound’. I initially didn’t know what it was until JJ pointed it out to me.”
“Nice work,” said Morgan, patting Reid on the back before getting up. Reid opened the closet to reveal two skeletons.
“So much for skeletons in the closet,” said Reid, shaking his head at the discovery. “What do you have there?”
“The jackpot,” said Morgan, holding a printout of the SBD picture hidden underneath a scanner that Morgan had gotten up and noticed.
“Looks like we got our UnSub,” said Reid, somewhat relieved.
“We’ll need the coroner to confirm the identity of the bodies,” said Morgan, inspecting the skeletons a little more. “Formaldehyde. She washed these.”
“Explains why there’s no decomposition stench,” said Reid. Reid pulled out his phone and called Hotchner. “Hotch, Morgan and I have found something. You need to see this.”
Moments later, Rossi and Hotchner were in the cellar, briefed on what Morgan and Reid found. Rossi placed a call with Hawkes, who was still interviewing Doris.
Edison High School Break Room
“Thanks Dave,” said Hawkes, ending her call with Rossi. She then asked Prentiss to come outside, briefing her on what the team had just found.
“So all this time about how she got the picture in Boston was a lie,” said Prentiss, smirking knowing they caught Doris’ fib. “We’ve got to work this angle.” They returned to the interview.
“Sorry Doris, we just had some administrative matters to take care of,” said Prentiss.
“That’s okay,” said Doris, who looked a lot like an older version of Kelly though with her face littered with stress-induced wrinkles.
“I just want to recap your story,” said Hawkes, adjusting her glasses and her posture. “You said that Kelly went away with her dad for a week-long vacation due to a court order...and because of that, you got angry, you scanned the picture and posted it on Kelly's MySpace page, correct?”
“Yeah, you got me to admit all that,” said Doris, who had lied throughout the interview and was caught several times by Hawkes and Prentiss.
“Then you said they were visiting relatives in Marquette, Michigan, correct?” Hawkes inquired, whose usual soft voice gained a purposeful tone.
“Yes,” replied Doris, with conviction.
Hawkes laughed slightly at the incredulousness of Doris' statement. “See, that's where you're wrong,” said Hawkes smugly. “They didn't go to Marquette, you did. They went to Jacksonville.”
“We have the flight ticket of Kelly and Bob,” said Prentiss authoritatively, “and it's known that June Summers and Ricki Kennedy went missing in Marquette a day after Kelly left. They were seen entering a vehicle resembling one you owned...and we have skeletons in your closet.”
Doris laughed uncomfortably, not sure how she was going to wiggle out of this one.
“We're going to give you another chance to tell us the truth here,” said Hawkes, leaning forward. “Where did you get the picture?”
“Okay,” said Doris, cornered. “I killed those girls...I followed her team for a while, especially those two. They were in Marquette with the school band, so I had an opportunity. I knew the same week Kelly left they were going to visit Ricki's uncle who was a mutal friend of the girls and drove the same truck that I did, and he was going to pick them up that night to drive them to Detroit. They were alone outside behind their hotel and I was in the parking lot, away from the cameras. I had a rule about cell phones in my car, so I took them as soon as they entered, and the last thing either of them texted was that their ride was here, without specifying who it was. Thus, I could pick them up and no one would suspect me, since all the signs would point to Ricki's uncle and I was right. So I drove them back to my place and locked them up in my darkroom, which Kelly never knew I had because I never told anyone about my photography. I killed them that week, but I felt so bad afterward that I kept the bodies. So I scanned the picture, put it on Kelly's MySpace page and kicked her out of the house so she could never find out what I did. I always knew she was talking to Bob behind my back...that was just my ruse to get her to leave, fearful that she would discover me.” Doris began sobbing uncontrollably.
Hawkes and Prentiss were unmoved, knowing they needn't shed a single tear for a woman whose personal vendetta wrecked her daughter's life almost irreparably.
“The picture...I did pick up in Boston,” said Doris definitively.
“We'll look into that,” said Prentiss. “In the meantime, I gotta do this.” She pulled out her handcuffs and formally arrested Doris.
When it was completed, Prentiss waited with Doris for the police to take her into formal custody. Hawkes called Rossi.
“Dave,” said Hawkes into the phone, “we got Doris...she tried spinning her web of lies but we got her tangled in it in the end. It was pretty easy.”
“That's my girl,” said Rossi, proud that his protégé was making measurable progress. “I guess now we go home and recuperate.”
“Not quite...she was adamant she got the picture in Boston. We need to look into that.”
“This thing is never going to end, is it?”
“I think we're close though. Since we know the picture didn't appear anywhere before 2003 it shouldn't be that hard to trace...Doris was the first one to post the picture and she couldn't have had it lying around...someone had to have given it to her. We just need to figure out how she got it and we'll have our answer.”
Winslow High, Boston, MA
“Thank you for meeting with us,” said Hotchner to Winslow High Principal Steven Harper. He then introduced his team to the principal
“No problem,” said Harper, a burly but muscular man of African origin, whose toughness was underscored by his shaved head and goatee. “This 'shaved beaver' thing has been haunting me for almost twelve years now.”
“So you've never heard the term before you saw the picture,” said Morgan.
“Exactly,” said Harper. “Believe me, I'm a high school principal- I've seen everything and this appalled me beyond words. I knew of Minx Disease, but it never came in picture form until I saw it manifest itself as SBD. I'm glad you guys are here to help.”
“We'll be more than happy to resolve the issue,” said Hotchner, as Harper bid him adieu for now so that he could organize his troops.
“Prentiss and Hawkes,” said Hotchner, who started delegating. “Interview Mr. Harper, I need you to understand the lengths that the school administration went to resolve this thing. Morgan and Reid, talk to Harry Senate- he's the one who discovered the picture. Maybe he knows who could have put it up. Dave and I will pour over missing person and student files and see which ones match our profile.”
“Sure is cold and dark in here,” noted Morgan, seated on the front desk as he and Reid were waiting for Senate in his classroom. “No wonder it's called 'The Dungeon'.”
“Actual dungeons didn't have any light,” said Reid. “So I'm not sure what I would call it.”
“No matter what it is, it's still Hell teaching in it,” said Senate, walking in and setting lesson notes down on his desk.
“You must be Mr. Senate,” said Morgan.
“The ladies call me 'Dirty' but we don't need to go there,” said Senate, in his usual playfully sarcastic tone.
“So let me understand,” said Prentiss to Harper. “Mr. Senate reported seeing the picture on Patti Spector’s locker but didn't take it down.”
“That's correct,” said Harper. “He was following protocol…you have to remember, at that time there were no cell phone cameras, so in order to show me, I had to see it.”
“It’s out of character for him,” noted Hawkes, adjusting her glasses and reviewing her notes. “He doesn’t get involved in other people’s cases…Patti Spector was never in any of his classes…usually he would defend the perpetrators in some way, but this time it was different.”
“Patti became the most popular student at school,” Senate explained. “Even a crusty guy like myself took a liking to her…she always smiled, especially given what happened to her. She was an inspiration for a lot of us…of course, she wasn’t that much different than a lot of students, especially ones in my class…I’m the troubled one so I’m the one that gets the troubled ones, so I’ve seen more than my fair share of students trying to press on, and Patti was no different. She wasn’t exceptionally popular, but nobody hated her.” Senate then developed a pit in his stomach then braved his way forward.
“She was a cancer patient,” said Prentiss, gaping widely and letting out a heavy breath. She made no attempt to hide her horror that the target was Spector. “How could they?” Hawkes expressed similar disgust.
Harper leaned back in his chair and shared the same expression. “You should have seen how we took it,” said Harper. “Saying we were all crushed was an understatement…she tragically took her own life a month later after the students turned on her because of the picture.”
“Okay,” said Prentiss, trying to regain her composure. “Let’s backtrack for a second…Patti Spector was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2001…went through chemotherapy over the summer and thus couldn’t hide her condition any longer…when she came back she felt ashamed…cancer patients usually do, because it’s such a helpless disease.”
“So she got back to school, worried at what her fellow students would think only to find out that summer, they rallied around her,” said Morgan, summarizing what he had just heard from Senate.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Senate. “It was easy to see why…a girl like that, who went through so much yet didn’t let any of it get to her…you didn’t want her to go through anything else…you didn’t want it to get worse.”
“So you saw the picture on the locker,” said Reid. “Did you see anything else?”
“It’s hard to remember,” said Senate, trying to think. “It was so long ago…all I can recall was that it was an October day. It just came out of the blue. I normally passed by Patti’s locker every day- it’s right next to the Dungeon, and I’m the only teacher that passes by that area. I remember seeing Patti at her locker, crying, so I went in for a closer look just to understand what was going on. When I saw the picture, I had to go straight to Stephen, even though I’d be late for my class- usually I arrive ten minutes before class just to anger Vice-Principal Scott Guber and it held true that day because I’m just too used to doing it. In fact, Scotty was away that weekend and wouldn’t have been back until Monday…usually he does the rounds making sure everyone goes to class but he wouldn’t be there.”
“Talk about meticulousness,” said Reid. “The UnSub had to have known that Patti- and, by extension, the rest of the school- would see the picture before anyone of authority could come by to take it down.”
“You got that one right,” said Senate. “When I came back with Stephen, there were a crowd of students surrounding the locker…some were taking pictures. Others were laughing…only a few, sadly, seemed disgusted by it…though I guess I should have known, since teens are incredibly fickle.”
“Where was Patti?” asked Morgan.
“She had left,” said Senate. “Stephen went on a tour of the school trying to find her, eventually locating her in a corner on the top floor, still crying I’m told.” Morgan shook his head in disgust.
“Was there anything else strange about the locker’s appearance?” inquired Reid. “Couldn’t you just take the picture down and show it to Principal Harper?”
“Now I remember,” said Senate, “there were a few blood stains on the locker, including on the printout of the picture. Police at the time said it wasn’t even real blood.”
“So Doris Shane was called in to clean up Patti’s locker,” said Morgan, re-examining the picture and seeing that the lower half of the printout looked like it was cut off with scissors, “and cut out the bloodstains.”
“Some of that picture is missing, actually,” said Senate, pointing to the printout. “On the abdomen, right above the genitals, it said ‘Patti Cakes’ and it looked to be carved in blood, and below the picture was a message written in pen…‘shaved beaver disease- proof Patti is a whore’. That was the first time any of us had heard the term being used.”
“This was planned right to the very end,” said Morgan, with disgust at the attacker.
“I didn’t study it in much detail,” said Harper. “I just glanced at it, got disgusted and ordered Doris to clean it up.”
“When did she get to taking down the picture?” Hawkes asked.
“Came down right before the second bell,” Harper said. “I saw her take it down. She did seem like she took her time taking down the picture.”
“Something must have clicked for her,” said Hawkes, “so she must have fished it out of her garbage can just to use later on her own daughter…this is one sordid tale.”
“Do you think Doris was in on the plan?” asked Prentiss.
“She reacted like she never saw the picture before,” said Harper. “As I shook my head in disgust at the picture I could overhear her muttering about how great the artwork was.”
“I didn’t think she thought you could hear her,” said Hawkes. “She tried hiding it but didn’t do a good job of it, so I think she’s telling the truth about how she liked the artwork.”
Harper had a bit of a laugh. “I should have known you guys would have picked up on her lying tendencies…and I don’t think I need to tell you I thought she was crazy,” he said.
“We deal with so many crazy people it all just blurs in,” said Hawkes. “I do want to know what took her so long to get to the picture. Where does she start her daily rounds?”
“She usually starts at the top floor,” said Harper. “She doesn’t get to the Dungeon until after the second bell…this is a big school, so I didn’t think too much about it.”
“The UnSub had to have known that,” said Hawkes, who paused and then let out a heavy sigh. “This whole case hits home for me, though, because of its message- it’s disgusting to denigrate women like this. Now all we need to do is figure out who would want to send that kind of message.”
“We profiled the UnSubs as a team of sexual sadists,” said Morgan, “led by a girl who harboured resentment towards Patti. The girl likely recruited the boy to help her out to perform the ‘dirty work’, perhaps as a way for the boy to gain ‘access’ to the ringleader, and the boy may have used the girls he killed as sexual playthings. They’d also be into photography because of the staging of the picture and the obvious skills with Photoshop.”
“This wasn’t Photoshop,” said Senate, taking the picture from Morgan. “This is IrfanView…I taught the kids in the Dungeon the program…the feathering techniques are unique to the program. I brought it in because I liked the program and it was freeware, meaning most of my students could afford it. I was the only one in school using it.”
“So at least one of the UnSubs came from this class,” said Reid, “or, perhaps, 'the' UnSub since this could be the act of a bisexual or homosexual female, although I'm doubtful that someone jealous of Patti's popularity would be in a remedial class.”
“No, she didn't,” said Senate definitively. “I know who Patti's rival was- it was a lady by the name of Kate Sanders.”
“Ms. Sanders was the student council president in her senior year,” said Hawkes. “She was as popular as she could get.”
“I remember when Patti had her groundswell of support I suggested to Kate to have a fundraiser for her family,” said Harper. “She was in total support of it- I never knew she could be involved in this.”
“You never suspected it at all?” Prentiss asked, finding the statement curious.
“Okay, Mr. Senate came to me and asked me to investigate, which we did,” said Harper. “I only heard it from Patti and her friends, and Kate never actually did or say anything specific to Patti- so I had nothing to go on, all I had were rumours. ‘He said she said’ isn't something you can convict someone on, so my hands were tied.”
“When was the fundraiser?” Prentiss asked.
“The Friday before three weeks before the picture went up,” said Harper.
“So it was September 21, 2001,” said Hawkes, checking against her notes.
“Yes,” said Harper. “The whole school went to the fundraiser…it was phenomenal. They didn’t have to…the students did this because they all loved Patti and wanted to chip in whatever they could.”
“So that’s when the boy met the girl,” said Reid, analytically.
“I presume so,” said Senate. “I never saw Kate come close to the Dungeon until the week after the fundraiser, although she was hardly around so I was the only one who actually thought they were together.”
“So she just made some brief cameos,” said Reid, stroking his chin pensively at Senate’s last statement.
“Yeah,” said Senate. “They never did anything except walk and talk, you would never suspect a thing if you saw them together…but for me, knowing that I’d never seen Kate by the Dungeon before, I knew something was up, and it began at the fundraiser.”
“What happened at the fundraiser?” asked Morgan.
“It was a school dance,” said Senate. “I had to chaperone.”
“So you saw who Kate danced with,” said Morgan.
“She got freaky with an old student of mine, James Irving,” said Senate. “Thankfully Harper wasn’t there or else he would have pulled them apart…I decided against doing anything since I think it’s just harmless fun, and I think kids are going to do what they do anyway…Harper was very pragmatic about a lot of things, except sex…he had this preconceived notion that teens shouldn’t be having sex, which is why we didn’t have sex ed until Ronnie Cook came around a year later. I always held that we needed it, being in the Dungeon I’ve seen more than my fair share of students whose lives have been ruined because of irresponsibility towards sex. I tried to teach what I could myself because I believe it’s better to teach responsibility, but those nosy bureaucrats got in the way.”
“That explains why Kate could produce the picture that she did,” said Reid. “Most of the school really didn’t know any better, and I think she knew that.”
“James Irving was the first person I suspected about the picture,” said Harper. “Harry gave me that lead…I never noticed him with Kate until it was pointed out to me…I see so many students, everything can be a blur.”
“We understand,” said Prentiss. “Did you interview James first?”
“We talked to his classmates and his friends first,” said Harper. “We needed to understand what they knew first so that when we talked to James we could balance out the stories. No one we talked to saw James put the picture up…so all we were left with were suspicions. So when we talked to James and Kate, they were easily able to deny it. In fact, Kate simply called James a friend, and, seeing how I never saw Kate do anything with James except talk to him, it was another reason not to suspect she had much of an involvement in any of this.”
“What about the teachers?” asked Hawkes. “Certainly someone had to have let the two of them in, even if no one passed by Patti’s locker.”
“Kate actually has a key to the school,” explained Harper. “Since she’s student council president and one of the most trusted students in the school, no one batted an eye at the idea.”
“So she snuck in and did this,” said Prentiss, “does Doris work on the weekends?”
“No, she doesn’t,” said Harper, “That weekend, nobody did. In fact, Vice-Principal Guber was at a 9/11 Memorial that weekend and wasn’t going to come back until the Tuesday so the school was empty.” Harper paused, then continued. “So you think that because this happened on a Monday morning Kate came in on the weekend?”
“Looks to be what happened,” said Hawkes, “especially if Doris never saw the picture before.”
Meanwhile, as the interviews were happening, Rossi and Hotchner were receiving tips from texts from the team.
“Here’s something,” said Rossi to Hotchner, handing over a case file.
“Two girls reported missing five days after the fundraiser,” said Hotchner, examining each file.
“They’re the best fits,” said Rossi with conviction. “We don’t have anyone reported missing earlier…plus, their truancy records and poor grades meant no one would notice their absence that quickly.”
“They also come from broken homes,” said Hotchner. “Police reports indicate that their parents never knew where the girls were most of the time, so they never noticed them missing.”
“It’s incredible, isn’t it?” said Rossi, visibly angry. “Parents can be this neglectful about their own children…it’s disgusting.”
“We have to be sure they were the victims,” said Hotchner. “So far we have nothing that ties them to our UnSubs.”
“Kate Sanders is a meticulous planner,” said Rossi with purpose. “She would find targets with the least likeliest chance of being reported missing and these fit the best.”
“I agree with you on that,” said Hotchner, “however that alone isn’t enough to separate them from the other missings.” Hotchner handed Rossi two more files.
“These weren’t even reported until January,” said Rossi, who didn’t try to hide his incredulousness. “They can’t be connected to the case!”
“Dave, Kate was meticulous,” said Hotchner, calmly. “We have to be just as meticulous to catch her.”
“Mr. Senate,” asked Morgan, receiving the text from Rossi. “What do you know about Julia Metcalf, Tayna Reddick and Maria and Jessenia Marquez?”
“I saw them leaving the fundraiser with James,” said Senate in a Eureka moment. “They were all friends of James…not very good friends, though. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but given what we know…” A look of horror came upon Senate’s face, realizing what this meant.
“Are you going to be okay?” asked Morgan.
“Yeah,” said Senate, trying to fight back his tears.
“We can finish this another time,” said Reid.
“No, no,” said Senate, regaining his composure. “I had them in my class the year before…they ‘graduated’ out of remedial classes at the end of the 2000-01 school year …but the girls slipped back into their old ways…many of their teachers told me they were still cutting classes and it got to the point where they stopped coming…we just assumed they ran away. I know I’m not supposed to be attached to my students, but it’s hard not to feel for your students, especially my students.” Senate’s voice gained an angry tone. “You need to catch these guys.”
“These four women,” said Prentiss with urgency, “were all reported missing at different times…how come nobody noticed they were missing? How come you didn’t know they were missing?”
“They were truants,” said Harper, his gruff voice belying his level of concern for the victims. “They were constantly missing school…nobody noticed they weren’t there. Protocol told us to call the parents every day that they miss school but with those students…the parents always made stuff up, because they didn’t even care. They still made stuff up even after they’d actually gone missing…I reported it to the police because it was getting too strange…they told me they couldn’t actually investigate until they actually were reported missing, of which only their parents could do and they weren’t about to do it. Plus, they were frequent runaways…the police thought they’d be wasting their time ‘chasing after ghosts’. The Marquez sisters were reported missing only because their grandmother came to visit and couldn’t find them…the other two…” Harper let out a heavy sigh. “I’m told their parents took them that long to know they were missing.”
“Child services were never called on these kids,” said Rossi, examining their files again. “Don’t you find that odd, Aaron?”
“Maybe these kids were actually treated well at home,” said Hotchner.
“So their parents were just ‘free spirits’ with a rather cavalier attitude towards discipline, it seems,” said Rossi. “No wonder none of them could ever hold on to a job.”
“They live in the Empire of Boston,” deadpanned Hotchner, “with their generous welfare laws, who needed one?”
Rossi laughed sarcastically. “You got that one right. What I do find interesting is that, although they were suspended multiple times, they seemed to avoid major infractions…they were surprisingly able to avoid expulsion.”
“Probably because they respected Principal Harper,” said Hotchner. “Look at him, I think I would too.”
“James was actually investigated in their disappearances but not Kate,” noted Rossi. “Which figures…James was the only one seen with the girls, Kate was never around them so she never drew suspicion.”
“James said the girls ran off after being with him the night of the fundraiser,” said Hotchner. “He said they went to hitchhike, didn’t know where they were going…the police believed him since he didn’t have the bodies, and even searched his house…and they found nothing.”
“Of course they were going to find nothing,” said Rossi, as if what Hotchner said was obvious. “He didn’t kill them at his house- he killed them at Kate’s house.”
“Kate’s parents were on vacation,” said Hotchner, “so the both of them had the perfect opportunity.”
“…and Kate made sure that she wouldn’t be seen anywhere near the potential victims or even James’ car, allowing her to get away, unscathed…and since James likes the girl…he wasn’t about to ‘fess up’.”
“Thank you Mr. Harper,” said Prentiss, shaking Harper’s hand, as did Hawkes. “When we have something we’ll let you know.”
“Thank you,” said Harper with a sense of relief. “I’m glad that this is finally going to get resolved.”
“We won’t let you down,” said Hawkes with an encouraging smile.
In a break room, the team gathered to figure out what they knew.
“Kate Sanders wasn’t even investigated at all,” said Hotchner. “She planned this right to the very end and didn’t think she could get caught.”
“Do you blame her?” said Morgan. “She planned this very well…which she had to if she was going to get away with this for almost twelve years.”
“She made sure that James was the fall guy,” said Rossi. “They were his friends, after all, and he was the last one seen with any of the missing girls.”
“Kate never came up in that investigation?” inquired Prentiss, thinking that Hotchner and Rossi would have come up with something in the police files.
“No, she didn’t,” said Rossi, “so Aaron and I suspected she had to have planned her moves so as not to arouse suspicion and make people think that she and James were merely friends.”
“Harry Senate was the only one who believed the two of them were a couple,” said Morgan, definitively.
“He based this observation on the mere sight of Kate around the Dungeon,” said Reid, jumping in. “Usually it’s not enough to assume something but in this case, it’s rather telling…a lady of Kate’s stature wouldn’t be caught dead in the Dungeon, yet she didn’t even try to hide her appearances there.”
“‘Lady’, Spencer?” said Hawkes, bemoaning Reid’s choice of words. “She’s so disgusting…she hardly qualifies as anything other than a scumbag.”
Rossi smiled upon hearing Hawkes refer to Reid by his first name, indicating they’d patched things up.
“We should dig into the profile of Kate a little more,” said Prentiss. “We don’t have any physical evidence tying her to these crimes.”
Morgan paced around the room a bit, then raised his hand as if a thought came to him and stopped, slumping over a chair. “We can arrest her, but she’s going to invoke her right to a lawyer,” he said, sighing. “She’s too smart not to think about that.”
“Doris didn’t invoke as I understand,” said Reid.
“We still informed her of her rights at the beginning of the interview,” said Hawkes. “Of course, we didn’t think she’d invoke anyway because she’s the type who thinks she can outsmart policewomen, when she was way out of her depth. Kate could be that narcissistic, but she’s played it extremely safe to this point…it’d be out of character for her not to play it safe this time.”
“You didn’t have to inform her, though,” said Hotchner, “although I appreciate the thought. Since Doris wasn’t in formal custody she could be questioned without needing a lawyer, and her statements can be used against her in court. As long as we don’t arrest her then she can provide us an incriminating statement in questioning.”
“I’m thinking that’s how we should go,” said Hawkes. “If we’re casual with her and don’t specifically mention the details of the crime to her she won’t be able to suspect that we’re actually on to her…she’s planned it this well because she’s afraid of being found out, so we have to reassure her that we ‘haven’t’ found her.”
“Let her dig her own hole,” said Morgan. “I like it. More to the point, we shouldn’t even mention what crime we’re investigating, to throw her scent off even more. Furthermore...she's gotten away with it for this long...I think she might even indirectly brag about committing the crime, since she can't think anyone caught on now when they didn't back then.”
“Catch her on a lie,” said Hotchner. “That will work. We need to review how we got to her because therein lies the secret.”
“We found her based on the profile,” said Rossi, “so there has to be part of her plan that she messed up on…she thinks she created the perfect crime but if we can find her then she’s made a mistake somewhere…and we have to find it.”
“Welcome to Penelope Garcia’s Wonderful World of Useful and Useless Information!” beamed Garcia, picking up the phone from Morgan.
“Hello My Fair Lady,” said Morgan. “I need you to dig into the depths of the Princess’ Lair and come up with everything you can on Kate Sanders.”
“Yes, yes, My Fair Prince.” Garcia typed away and in a few moments, had what Morgan was looking for. “Okay…Kate Sanders still lives in Boston…in fact, she eloped with James Irving right out of high school, and he adopted her last name…she had rich parents and was a spoiled brat in high school, it seems. James, from what I can tell, never seemed to get a job, and the two of them never had kids…James seemed rooted to the house, he hardly used his credit card and didn’t have a cell phone, and Kate worked long hours as the President of Stranger Than Fiction Inc., a market research company.”
“When did they get married, Princess Penelope?”
“Right out of high school, it seems…I’m not sure what attracted her to him because he’s ugly, and she’s a drop dead blonde bombshell, but I guess appearances aren’t everything.”
“Is that it?”
“There’s quite a bit, I’m going to send them to your phones.”
“You’re welcome, Derek.”
“So you’re King Arthur now,” said Hotchner with a dry wit.
“Spur of the moment thing,” said Morgan, with a smile.
“Okay, so…” said Reid, staring at the information given to him on his phone, “Kate was a straight A student, allowing her to get into college virtually for free and her parents helped her with living costs.”
“James was still no looker,” said Prentiss, seeing an updated picture of James, “and they got married?!”
“Talk about your marriage of convenience,” cracked Rossi, dryly.
“Didn’t come into contact with any of his friends after high school,” said Hawkes, “meaning James likely viewed Kate as a way out of his troubled life…he spent four years in remedial classes before being able to graduate with Kate, his sixth year of high school.”
“That’s an awful long time to be in high school,” said Reid, “but Harry did mention something about James wanting to stay in his class because Harry was the only teacher who really spoke to him.”
“Okay,” said Morgan, analyzing. “James gets married with Kate…they elope because, likely, Kate’s parents wouldn’t approve of such a marriage…and then he drops his life and lives with Kate in her new home.”
“I don’t think it’s Kate’s parents James would be worried about,” said Reid, “it’s his friends…it’s likely Kate’s parents knew about the relationship with Kate considering it wasn’t Kate doing the disappearing but James…Kate likely told him to get rid of his friends, which he was more than willing to do because he was smitten…the best way to punctuate that is by eloping, so they wouldn’t even have a chance to crash the wedding and likely ruin it.”
“That’s the hitch in Katie’s plan,” said Morgan, getting up from his slouch and definitively wagging his finger. “James could squeal her out at any moment…we find James, we get Katie.”
Kate Sanders’ house, Rockport, MA
“Out of all these years, I never knew Kevin Federline could act,” said Kate Sanders, watching CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on TV. Being interested in police forensic techniques, she became a huge fan of CSI and its countless spinoffs (including the ill-fated Antarctic experiment).
Outside of her house, Reid was across the street with Morgan in an unmarked vehicle trying to peer in, holding binoculars to catch a glimpse of what she was doing.
“She’s watching CSI,” said Reid in his earpiece to Hotchner who was in another unmarked vehicle parked several feet down from where they were. “No sign of James, though, but the car is still in the driveway. Rossi and I can’t go in there…if she’s a fan of that kind of stuff she’ll know who we are. I don’t think she’ll know the rest of us, though.”
“Okay,” said Hotchner. “Morgan, since you also have a grasp of legal matters, you go in with Hawkes. We’ll all feed you tips into your earpieces. Make sure your wires are on.”
“Mrs. Sanders,” said Morgan to Sanders after she opened the door to greet him. “I’m Derek Morgan and this is Agent Zoe Hawkes. We’re with the FBI. We’re here because there’s a potential serial killer on the loose in Boston. Can we come in?”
“Sure,” said Sanders, turning on her charm as the three of them walked into her kitchen. “Boston sure can’t catch a break, huh? We get the Boston Strangler, then that Reaper guy…this sure isn’t the squeaky clean town of the 19th century, is it?”
“Ma’am,” said Morgan, sitting down on a counter, “for us that ship has long since sailed.”
“Mrs. Sanders,” said Hawkes, “we’re investigating an obscene Internet post that could be related in some way to your husband.”
“Is this about SBD?” said Sanders.
“How’d you know?” asked Hawkes.
“Everyone keeps asking me about it whenever they see the picture,” said Sanders, as she started washing some dishes. “I’m quite frankly surprised it’s even blown up like it has.”
“It’s a wonderful piece of art,” said Morgan. Both he and Hawkes were hoping that by buttering her up she’d reveal a bit more.
“Thank you,” said Sanders with an acknowledging smile, which didn’t go unnoticed by Morgan and Hawkes. “I prefer the ‘Patti Cakes’ version better though.”
“The ‘Patti Cakes’ version,” said Morgan, whose ears were piqued by the revelation.
“That version of the picture never made it online,” said Hawkes, whose voice got a hint of excitement. She was about to continue before Morgan pulled her aside.
“Zoe,” whispered Morgan, putting his hands on Hawkes' shoulders. “It's too early for that...I know you want to bury her but we need to do this right.”
“We have her,” whispered Hawkes, somewhat defiant. “She said she saw the 'Patti Cakes' version...there is no other version Morgan.”
“Yes there is,” whispered Morgan. “Originally the picture had 'Patti Cakes' carved in the girl's abdomen...that was the picture that went up on Patti Spector's locker...Kate can still claim that she saw the picture then and get away with it. We can still work with this but we need you, okay?”
Hawkes nodded 'yes'.
“OK,” said Morgan, with an appreciative pat on her shoulder.
“I'm sorry,” said Morgan, apologizing for interrupting. Kate wondered if something was up, then realized that they still didn't have anything on her so she stopped worrying. “We just had to tell our boss how we're doing...he's a real micromanager,” finished Morgan.
Kate laughed. “I know how that feels...I hate people like that...can’t even trust that you can do your own job,” she said.
Morgan chuckled. “I tell my boss that all the time,” he said with a smile, “but he hardly listens.” Morgan regained his composure and continued the interview. “So you saw it when it first went up.” Sanders nodded before Morgan continued further. “When did you see the picture?”
“I saw it at the end of the day,” Sanders said. “I was real busy that day but my friends told me about it so I checked it out...apparently Doris let someone in on the weekend who put it up.”
“Did you see who put it up?” Morgan asked.
“No,” replied Sanders. “I wasn't in that weekend, so I didn't get a chance to catch who it was. Rumour has it that it was those four girls as their parting gift to the school.”
“Four girls?” Hawkes asked, sounding curious.
“Yeah...James' friends, the ones that ran away,” said Sanders. “I spoke to one of them that Monday...one of the Spanish chicks...told me she really hated that Patti slut...I couldn't believe what I was hearing.”
“I know!” agreed Hawkes with awe. “The nerve…and who knows if they’ll ever get caught. This really was the perfect crime…they got away with it for twelve years.”
“I know,” said Sanders, loving the unexpected compliments. “You know.” Sanders sounded like she thought of something. “Those four girls...if somebody wanted to kill them no one would find out...they were just runaways after all.”
“It was very planned out, I agree,” said Morgan. “It's probably the best crime I've seen and with my experience, that says something. I helped catch The Reaper, did you know that?”
“I didn't know that, no,” said Sanders, in awe. “His fatal flaw was his inflated ego...me...I wouldn't do that...I know better than to bring attention to myself.”
“You've really been thinking about this for a while, haven't you?” Hawkes asked, intrigued by Sanders' words.
“I watch a lot of cop shows and documentaries,” replied Sanders, really enjoying the conversation. “How could I not think about creating the perfect crime? I don't think I could do better than SBD though, so I don't bother trying.”
“Where is James, by the way?” Hawkes asked.
“He's at the Rockport Country Club, visiting a friend,” replied Sanders.
“She mentioned the country club by name,” said Rossi to Hotchner, listening to the conversation in their truck. “It doesn't fit James' profile at all...why would he have friends at a country club? He was into every violent sport you could name...he wouldn't ditch his interests that quickly, could he?
“He would have immersed himself into her life, because of his transformation,” said Hotchner, “so I think it’s possible. Still, she didn’t say simply ‘the Country Club’, she mentioned it by name, so it must mean something to her. I'll inform Rockport PD. I'll tell them to bring dental records. If she mentioned it casually it had to have some meaning to her.”
“So you're into golf?” Hawkes asked.
“Big time,” said Sanders. “My family have been members for generations.”
“James goes often too?” Morgan asked.
“When he could,” said Sanders. “He didn’t have time to join or really participate…but we did get married at the club. They have a nice pond towards the back of the golf course that made for a wonderful setting. Most of my family and friends were there…it was nice.”
“OK, so…” said Rossi, reviewing the files. “Even though they eloped, records show they had another ceremony reaffirming their vows four years ago…but what is…the pond…the pond…”
“It’s the main water hazard,” said Hotchner.
“That’s where she’s hid the bodies,” realized Rossi. Hotchner directed the search team to the water hazard in question.
“Thanks,” said Hotchner, getting off the phone. “They found the bodies, five in total, dug up from the water hazard she mentioned.”
“Five?” Rossi asked, astonished.
“James was in there too,” said Hotchner.
“Well I'll be...” Rossi said, shaking his head.
“Kate Sanders,” said Morgan authoritatively, “you're under arrest.” Morgan uttered her Miranda Rights as Sanders slowly backed herself into a corner in the kitchen, bemused.
“This will not hold up in court!” Sanders said, defiant and forgetting her right to silence. “I was not informed of my rights from the outset of this interrogation.”
“It will hold up,” said Morgan, watching her fortuitously and wondering what she was doing but not sensing any danger. “At any moment during our questioning you could have politely asked us to leave and you didn't. You were not confined to an interrogation room nor were we positioned in such a way that you were confined. You spoke, and confessed, voluntarily and willingly.”
“I didn't confess!” Sanders said, defiantly.
“Your lies revealed everything,” said Hawkes, her voice filled with purpose, pulling out her handcuffs and starting to walk over to her. “The picture wasn't up at the end of the day, yet you could identify the only part of it that didn't come online. You mentioned that it went up on the weekend and that Doris let the perpetrator put it up on the weekend and Doris doesn't work weekends. You mentioned that James had a membership and he didn't...in fact, he wouldn't go near that Country Club, his interests are the furthest thing from that. Oh, and since you mentioned the Club by name...we knew it had significance to you and you helped us locate the bodies, bodies no one else could find. Only the person who committed the murder would have known that. The real kicker? James is dead...his body was found at the same site. Quite strange his own wife didn't even know that.”
Sanders, cornered, filled with anger and unsheathed a kitchen knife to attack Morgan and Hawkes, leading both to draw out their guns.
“Don’t do it!” hollered Morgan, drawing his gun while getting off the table. “If you even flinch with that knife I’m putting a bullet right through your brain.” Meanwhile Hawkes stood by, doing her best to maintain her composure despite her obvious nerves.
Sanders started to breathe heavily, trying to figure out her next move knowing Morgan wasn’t playing around. She picked up on Hawkes’ nerves though. “What’s the matter, Zoe? You got caught up in the excitement…and now you’re afraid of screwing up so badly that you will screw up.”
Hawkes stared at her with intent, doing her best not to fall into Sanders’ trap by shooting her.
“Go on,” mocked Sanders. “Shoot me. I’m evil, remember? My plan worked so well and you hate me for it.”
“I gotta go in there,” said Prentiss, sitting in the car with Hotchner.
“No!” said Hotchner. “If you go in there Kate will snap and you will put in our agents in danger.”
“Hotch, we’re losing them. She’s playing with Hawkes’ mind and I can’t just sit here and let her have her way with her.”
“She’s with Morgan, she’ll be fine.”
“No…Hawkes is cracking, I can tell.”
“Prentiss, if you go in there you will be kicked off this team. That’s an order.”
Rossi tried to restore order, speaking firmly but softly. “Emily,” he said, “if they get distracted it could blow this whole thing up and give Kate the time she needs to kill our agents. You don’t want to do that. Just sit tight…I know this is tough but this isn’t their first crime scene.”
“So if I put the knife down, you’ll put your guns away, right?” said Sanders. “OK then.” She then slowly put the knife down in the sink and extended her arms out to let the two of them know she didn’t have any more weapons. “Just put them on my head, right?”
“Don’t say it,” said Morgan forcefully. “Do it!”
“OK, okay,” said Sanders, who started putting her hands behind her head when, suddenly, she swiftly kicked out Hawkes’ feet from under her, knocking her to the ground. Morgan, however, didn’t miss a beat, grabbing Sanders and twisting her so that her face was pressed against the kitchen wall, forcefully pinning her there.
“Do you want to know what your fatal flaw is?” scowled Morgan, getting into her pressed face. “You never picked on anyone your own size.” He then formally arrested her right there and called for paramedics for Hawkes, who was dazed considerably by the hit.
“Are you okay?” said Reid, tending to Hawkes while she was sitting in the ambulance.
Hawkes was still disoriented. “Tell me we caught her,” said Hawkes.
“We did. From the tapes, Morgan acted bravely and quickly. It’s really a fitting end…her whole life she preyed on those who were weaker than her…when she met her match, she crumpled.”
“Spencer,” said Hawkes, slouching. “I cracked in there…I was very weak.”
“No you weren’t Zoe,” said Reid. “You outsmarted her…if it wasn’t for you then we wouldn’t have caught her. You were the one who pointed out this was a woman’s message, and you were right…and now, five families can have closure, if not countless more.”
“Hawkes,” said Morgan, approaching the ambulance. “Are you okay?”
“Thank you,” said Hawkes. “I wished you didn’t have to do that.”
“Hawkes,” replied Morgan poignantly. “I’ve already told Reid this…we’re a team. We complement each other. We can’t do everything on our own. Don’t beat yourself up over it…I’ll always be here to help.”
“I wish my emotions didn’t get the best of me,” said Hawkes, sniffling.
“Hawkes.” Morgan crouched down so he could be eye level with her and softly grabbing her hands. “We can’t be cool and controlled all the time…use your flaw to your advantage. If you didn’t get this emotionally involved in the crimes, would you invest as much energy as you do in solving them?”
Beachfront, Chesapeake Beach, MD
Hawkes sat at the beach, alone, pondering as she liked to do, especially given what happened to her yesterday. She enjoyed the calm ocean breeze against her face, and noticed the beauty of the twinkle of the stars on this night. It was peaceful and serene, the kind of feeling that allowed her to clear her head and just relax.
Walking up to her was Reid, who joined her on this trip and had a pensive walk of his own.
“Spencer?” Hawkes said, acknowledging Reid's presence. “Can you believe Kate? The lengths she went...and the fact she almost got away?”
“It's an interesting paradigm,” replied Reid, taking a seat next to her in the sand. “It manifests itself in that Kate seemed to view everybody as merely her playthings...she was charming enough to melt hearts and get people to play along...and when they didn't she knew what strings to pull until they did.”
Hawkes let out a warm chuckle and rested her head on Reid's shoulder. Reid responded by moving right behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist and cradling her as she leaned against him.
“Do you want to know what else is funny, Zoe? They found the original pictures in James' pocket, damaged because of time and water but they still told enough of the story.”
“He was going to rat on her and he got caught...wow...but wouldn't he have had printouts?”
“Tucked away in his coat pocket...the water could hardly get to them.”
“What's the saying? If you're good, you're lucky. Seems like her luck ran out.” Hawkes got reflective. “Spencer?”
“I don't want my luck to run out...you're the nicest, sweetest guy I've ever met. Let's always be friends no matter what. My mother always said to me to hold on to the ones who care and I never want to let go of you.”
Reid kissed the back of Hawkes' head. “Zoe, I understand what happened the other day...it's no big deal. These things happen.”
“How is Lila? I hope she's doing well, at least knowing the truth.”
“She's doing good...happy we caught the guy. Her and I, though...I told her I'm not sure where it's going...she smothers me, I told her that I need to breathe if this will work.”
“She's a go-getter...I understand where she's coming from. She's a nice girl though.”
“She's nice, and caring...just overwhelming sometimes. I sense that she's rather needy, and I don't like that.”
“Love’s a funny thing, isn’t it? We keep on looking for ‘the perfect match’ so we discard anyone that has the slightest imperfections.”
“Morgan once told me that there are some things not even my little brain can control…love is one of them.”
“Little brain, Spencer? I think your brain is hardly little.”
“I think it was a turn of phrase…I think he knows that too.”
“Speaking of Morgan…what’s he up to tonight?”
South Beach, Miami, earlier that day
“This,” said Morgan, lying on a beach lounge chair enjoying the tropical heat. “This is paradise.”
“You’re right about that,” said Tina Lopez, the fiery detective that helped the team capture Stephen Fitzgerald back in 2008, lying right next to him. “I’m glad you decided to take me up on my offer and come down.”
“As much as I enjoy Maryland…nothing could ever compare to South Beach.”
Lopez stroked Morgan’s chest with her forefinger. “Do you really think you can get away with playing all us women?”
Morgan chuckled. “I told Gina the same thing I’m telling you…right now, I’m weighing my options…I want to see which woman is right for me…just how you are seeing which man is right for you. If you aren’t dating someone else, that’s your prerogative, and I know the pratfalls of what I am doing…however, I’m at the stage of my life where I need to make some tough choices and if I play it safe, I might not get any reward. At least for now…can we enjoy the day?”
“Okay…but don’t you ever forget you have to prove yourself to me, mister.”
Morgan warmly chuckled, then rested his head back on his lounge chair and enjoyed the Sun.
“Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.” -Benjamin Disraeli