Police procedural shows like Criminal Minds love to broadcast that their episodes are “ripped from today's headlines." To this end, countless episodes are often based on real-world crimes, with the particulars changed both to keep the audience guessing and to protect the rights of victims - not to mention occasionally making the story more dramatic.
Sometimes, the crimes that inspire episodes of shows like these are recent and topical, things the general public is talking about even as the show is being produced. Other times, they draw from older crimes, either shedding fresh light upon them or simply trading on the audience's familiarity to amp up the show's tension. Whatever the case may be, these 13 episodes of Criminal Minds detail crimes and perpetrators that bear uncanny and unsettling similarities to real-life cases that make you want to dig deeper.
'To Hell...And Back' (S4E25-26) - Likely Inspired By The Crimes Of Canadian Pig Farmer Robert Pickton
'Doubt' (S3E1) - Based On Notorious Serial Killers Ted Bundy And Ed Kemper
'Risky Business' (S5E13) - Centers On A Very Real, Very Dangerous Internet Challenge
'There's No Place Like Home' (S7E7) - Resembles The Crimes Of Jeffrey Dahmer
'The Thirteenth Step' (S6E13) - Likely Based On The Crimes Of Charles Starkweather And Caril Ann Fugate