Celebrities Who Played Unsubs On 'Criminal Minds'
Criminal Minds ran on CBS for 15 seasons between 2005 and 2020. It differentiated itself from other primetime police procedurals by offering up more intense scares and more ruthless criminals. The show followed the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, a group of agents who specialize in profiling serial killers and other violent lawbreakers whom they call “unsubs,” or unknown subjects.
This meant that most episodes featured a villain of the week whom the BAU needed to catch. These roles were sometimes played by celebrities known for other TV shows and movies. Often, celebrity guest stars on Criminal Minds were able to go against type and portray a character different from their typical fare.
Here are 12 famous people who played unsubs on Criminal Minds. Vote up the famous faces that made a menacing transformation.
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Tim Curry was a multi-episode guest star on Criminal Minds, appearing in both the Season 5 finale, “Our Darkest Hour,” and the Season 6 premiere, “The Longest Night.”
His character, Billy Flynn, was a serial killer whose M.O. was breaking into people's homes at night, tying them up, then assaulting and killing them. These methods are similar to those of real-life serial killer Richard Ramirez, and some of Flynn's fictional crimes coincide with those of the infamous criminal.
Flynn operated for more than two decades before the BAU apprehended him. He traveled around the country in an RV, putting plenty of distance between himself and his victims. Once Agent Morgan finally cornered Flynn, he refused to surrender, prompting Morgan to shoot him.
- 2434 VOTES
Soul Man's C. Thomas Howell played one of the more twisted unsubs in Criminal Minds's run: George Foyet. Appearing in Seasons 4 and 5, Foyet's M.O. was donning a mask and hood before mercilessly killing his victims, earning him the nickname “The Reaper.” The character seems to be a reference to the Zodiac Killer, who terrorized Northern California in the late '60s using similar methods.
The BAU first encounters Foyet while investigating a series of murders in Boston. They capture him, but he quickly escapes from prison and continues tormenting them during the ensuing seasons.
In the Season 4 finale, he attacks Agent Hotchner in the latter's home and stabs him nine times, though Foyet makes sure to only strike in non-fatal areas. Their rivalry escalates until the Season 5 episode “100,” in which Hotchner beats the serial killer to death after Foyet murders Haley, Hotchner's ex-wife.
- 3433 VOTES
Keith Carradine - 'No Way Out' (S2E13)
Keith Carradine's Frank Breitkopf was the big bad of Criminal Minds Season 2, appearing in both the mid-season and season finales.
Breitkopf is a highly intelligent serial killer who travels around the country to commit his crimes, and the BAU traces him to Nevada. There, he begins an unsettling relationship with a local woman, Jane Hanratty, who showed no fear when he tried to kill her.
During the BAU's investigation, Breitkopf becomes obsessed with Agent Jason Gideon and murders his girlfriend, Sarah Jacobs. When the BAU corners him and Hanratty in Manhattan, Breitkopf grabs Hanratty and the two jump in front of a subway train.
This story culminates in Gideon resigning from the BAU the following season.
- 4420 VOTES
For anyone who's familiar with Mark Hamill's voiceover work as the Joker, it should be no surprise that the Star Wars icon can also play a great villain. His unsub, John Curtis, hits particularly close to home for the members of the BAU.
Curtis was originally an FBI agent with a high IQ, but his career took a downward turn when his team arrested the wrong suspect during the Amerithrax investigation. Chief Strauss was also part of that team, and Curtis blamed her for ruining his career. He spends much of Season 8 taunting the BAU by performing copycat murders of the ones they're already investigating.
James Van Der Beek of Dawson's Creek fame played one of the more challenging unsubs in Criminal Minds's canon. His character, Tobias Hankel, suffers from a disorder that convinces him he's also his father, Charles Hankel, as well as the angel Raphael.
Tobias's father used to abuse him, often quoting Christian scripture during his violent episodes. As Raphael, Tobias believes it's his mission to enact vigilante justice against people who have “sinned.”
The episode aired in 2006 directly after the Super Bowl, which made Van Der Beek nervous. He told TV Insider:
I immediately felt a little bit afraid because I was like, “This is a very big stage and a very tricky thing to pull off.” And then I got really excited and I thought, “Alright, here we go. Let’s jump in and do it.”
Not all child actors had to wait until adulthood to play an unsub on Criminal Minds. Shameless and Gotham star Cameron Monaghan played a youthful serial killer during Criminal Minds's second season.
His character, Jeffrey Charles, is the son of a school guidance counselor, and he becomes jealous of the other children his father spends time with. He begins luring his fellow students into the woods and killing them with a baseball bat.
When the BAU arrives to investigate, they initially think the killings are the work of a local recluse. Then, Jeffrey's father finds one of the victims' hats in his son's possession, prompting him to alert the team.