Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Tobias' Multiple Personalities From Criminal Minds Explained

Criminal Minds has been on television for 15 seasons. During that long haul on CBS, many characters have come and gone, but only a few have been truly memorable. In season 2, serial killer Tobias Hankel, played by Dawson's Creek alum James Van Der Beek, is a particularly vicious serial killer that ultimately sets his sights on one of the FBI's own, Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). But Tobias' character isn't so cut and dry like some villains on the show. During a two-part episode, it's discovered that he has multiple personalities, leading to one of the most memorable storylines of the season and the series.

Tobias' story reminds viewers that Criminal Minds can be unforgiving and can go to some dark places. Van Der Beek's acting skills also boost the character and remind viewers how talented he is. If you're having trouble wrapping your head around the many faces of Tobias Hankel and what they're all about, here's a bit of an explainer.

Tobias Hankel is the primary persona and remains the most innocent

After Tobias' mother left his father, Charles (Don Swayze), Charles became abusive towards Tobias and often read Bible scriptures as a torture guide. Eventually, Charles asked Tobias to kill him — a request and act that would upset and scar anyone. But Tobias complied, and was so riddled with guilt after killing his father that he began abusing drugs to numb the pain. The result? His mind "split" into three personalities.

Tobias Hankel's actual diagnosis is Dissociative Identity Disorder, which results in his multiple personas. This means that Tobias experiences severe and sudden changes in his personality, and in turn, the personas show up as different "people." Because DID disrupts different parts of his identity, he has no say or control over what his other personas do. The real Tobias is tormented by his other personalities, which push him to commit religious killings.

Raphael is the tormenter and lead villain

In the episode called "The Big Game," Raphael — one of Tobias' personalities — is introduced as a ruthless Archangel sent to play out God's will. Tobias is tasked to carry out his bidding when he arrives at a wealthy couple's home. Raphael's primary mission is to hurt anyone who commits a sin, which the wife did, in his eyes, when she committed adultery. In the episode, Tobias and Raphael grapple a lot for control. This is especially evident after they kidnap Dr. Spencer Reid in the cornfield, and Reid gets to see a battle between Tobias' personalities play out.

Even though there are three personalities, Raphael seems to have the most control because he selects the victims and handles most of the killings the way he sees fit. He's full of wrath and uses Tobias to get what he wants. When Tobias brings Reid to a shack in a cemetery, it's the Raphael side who plays Russian Roulette with Reid, pointing a gun at him and firing a blank. This shows how truly despicable Raphael can really be.

Persona 2 is Tobias' abusive father, Charles

Because his moral compass shatters after he kills his father, Charles, Tobias takes on Charles' personality as a way to keep him alive. At the end of "The Big Game," Spencer Reid witnesses Tobias struggling with himself and even sees him slapping his own face; this is the external struggle between Tobias and Charles. Charles was abusive toward Tobias while alive, and the Charles personality Tobias carries with him keeps that going.

Speaking with TV Insider, James Van Der Beek spoke about his time as the Charles personality on the show. "What I always forget when I play characters that are really dark and evil is that there's a lot of pain underneath that," he said. "All of that power and all of that dominance is fueled by pain and sadness and their own grief and their own torment. I realized playing the father really wasn't any more fun because the reason he was so aggressive and terrible was that he was miserable."