9 Episode Of "Criminal Minds" Based On Real Life Psychos

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9 Episode Of "Criminal Minds" Based On Real Life Psychos


Watching Criminal Minds is something I don't think I'll ever get tired of. It's so incredibly fascinating to watch how these killers think, even if it's just on TV. The cast is great, the plot is captivating, and as long as they keep making new episodes, I'll be watching.

That being said, some of the episodes seem a little familiar, but that's not because I've seen them. Many of the killers and crimes the show looks at are actually based off of real life situations, which makes it even more terrifying.

This are some of the best episodes based off of true events.

1. "Minimal Loss"

Luke Perry played a cult leader on this episode of "Criminal Minds"CBS

Fans will remember this episode as the one where Reid and Prentiss go undercover to a religious compound, after they received a call from a 15-year-old girl who claimed she was being sexually abused by an older man.

Reid and Prentiss end up getting caught in a hostage situation after state police try to raid the compound and things go south.

The compound where 79 people lost their lives, and leader David KoreshAP/EPA

This episode is based off the events in 1993, when a compound of Branch Davidians locked in their home by leader David Koresh, who believed himself to have the gift of prophecy. The cult was bombarded with gun fire and harassment by officials in an attempt to get them to come out. After 51 days, the ATF tear-gassed the house. However, a fire started and 79 members of the cult were killed, including Koresh and 25 children.

2. "Blood Hungry"


In one of the more disturbing episodes, the BAU encounters a serial killer who kills his victims and removes some of their organs. It is later revealed that the killer is eating the organs he harvests from victims.

Grossly enough, this is based off of Richard Trenton Chase, a killer from 1978, who killed seven people in one month, drinking their blood and eating their body parts. Chase was a paranoid schizophrenic.

Rebel Circus

3. "The Big Wheel"

Alex O'Laughlin plays a serial killer who begs to be stoppedCBS

In this episode, a man with an obsessive compulsive disorder sends a video to the police department, admitting that he is killing people. The BAU also discovers that the man has been writing "Help Me" at the crime scenes as his way of saying "stop me." Because of his compulsions, he cannot stop killing but wants to.

William HeirensAssociated Press

William Heirens, who killed three people, used lipstick to write "For heaven's sake catch me before I kill more. I cannot control myself." at his crime scenes. Heirens confessed to three murders when he was 17 years old and spent 65 years in prison, where he died of "multiple health problems."

4. "Natural Born Killer"

Aaron Hotchner almost fell victim to the suspectCBS

Season one of Criminal Minds saw the team investigating the brutal murder of an older couple, when they realize their nephew was also killed. He was a low-level mobster, which leads the team to believe the victims were that of a mob hit.

The BAU then realizes that the serial killer they're dealing with is the leader of the local mafia and has killed more than 100 people.


This story is based off of Richard Kuklinski, who had mob ties and was a contract killer. He claims to have murdered more than 100 people before being caught, despite only being convicted of five murders. Kuklinski killed some of his victims as loyalty to the mob, and others for his own pleasure.

5. "Riding the Lightning"

A couple is facing the death penalty because of their murders, when it turns out that the wife didn't do as much as she let onCBS

I don't know about you, but this episode had me re-thinking the death penalty. The team is investigating a couple on death row, who were convicted of abusing and killing scores of women. The wife claims she killed her own son as a way to protect him from her horrific life, but Gideon later finds out this is not the case.

Daily Mail

While the part about the son deviates from reality, the rest of the story lines up with Fred and Rose West, who murdered 12 young women in England over a span of 20 years. The couple tortured and killed their victims, then dismembered their bodies and buried them in their garden.

6. "The Thirteenth Step"

Syd and Ray go on a killing spree after getting marriedCBS

One of the more replayed episodes on TV, "The Thirteenth Step" follows Ray Donovan and Sydney Manning as they go on a killing spree for some type of deranged honeymoon. Syd then kills Ray's allegedly abusive father, which causes an issue between them.


This story is based off of 19-year-old Charles Raymond Starkweather and his 14-year-old girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate. Starkweather killed Fugate's step-father and mother, and then kiled her baby sister in front of her, which is when the killing spree started.

Starkweather was executed by way of the electric chair 17 months after he was caught. Fugate was sentenced to life in prison.

7. "25 To Life"

Derek has a feeling that Dr. Sandereson didn't kill his familyCBS

Working of a hunch, Derek Morgan investigates the case of Dr. Don Sanderson, who served 25 years in prison for killing his wife and daughter. Sanderson maintained his innocence, saying he was asleep on the couch when the real murderers came in and killed his family. Eventually, the team realizes Sanderson is innocent and he is released.

Sadly, in real life, the ending isn't to justice-based. Army surgeon Jeffrey MacDonald was found guilty of murdering his wife Colette, who was pregnant at the time, and their two daughters Kimberly and Kristen.

MacDonald vehemently denied killing his family, claiming four intruders broke in and killed his family. He says he tried to fight them off, which is why he had several injuries. However, MacDonald was still convicted of the murder as police claimed forensic evidence didn't support his story. MacDonald was sentenced to prison in 1979 and is still behind bars.

8. "Hostage"

Two girls listen to the radio while being held hostage on this episode of "Criminal Minds"CBS

In season 11, an 18-year-old girl enters the police station and claims to have been held captive for 10 years and was just escaping now. She says there are other women held with her, and the BAU begins to investigate. They find one woman who is suffering from miscarriage complications, and another who had already given birth twice.


This story was based off the tragic real-life events of the Cleveland Kidnappings, where Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus were held prisoner by Ariel Castro. The women were held captive for 10 years, and Berry have birth to a daughter six years before they were freed.

9. "To Hell...And Back"


One of Canada's most prolific serial killers was Robert Pickton, and his crimes were so terrible, he was the inspiration for an episode of Criminal Minds. Pickton killed between 6 and 49 women, He fed the victims to his pigs on the farm, proving it to be a little difficult to narrow down an exact number.

There was even speculation that the serial killer ground up human flesh and added it to the pork he would sell to the public. A province wide health recall was issued.

Robert PicktonMurderpedia

Criminal Minds made their story a little more intense, with one of the killers being quadriplegic and ordering his brother, who has a cognitive disability, to murder these women. Because the brother is developmentally delayed, he doesn't understand the crimes he's committing.

They kept the aspect of Pickton choosing women he assumed no one would miss, like prostitutes and homeless women, and also how he fed his victims to pigs.

Do you remember watching these episodes?

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Meagan has an intense love for Netflix, napping, and carbs.