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

What Really Drove Criminal Minds Serial Killer Oleg Antakov To A Life Of Crime

There are quite a few horrendous serial killers introduced in the world of "Criminal Minds," but easily one of the worst is Oleg Antakov (William Forsythe). Also known as "The Ripper of Riga" or simply "The Ripper," Antakov was once a KGB torturer and interrogator in Soviet Latvia who went on to use his skills to become a serial murderer in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union

Appearing in the "Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders" Season 2 episode "The Ripper of Riga," Antakov proved to be an old enemy of IRT team lead Jack Garrett (Gary Sinise), who had aided the investigation into Antakov's killings and his subsequent arrest. Antakov is locked away in a top-secret prison, but it's never thoroughly explained how Antakov turned from a government operative into a ruthless serial killer? A killer with such a rich political backstory probably has some kind of complex motivation behind his murders, right?

Actually, in Antakov's case, that's not exactly true. This former torturer kills just because he likes the way it feels.

Antakov is a sadistic predator

Antakov served as the head interrogator and torturer at a secret facility in Riga, Latvia. His signature technique was to mutilate his victims with a metal biting device called "The Metal Fang." This earned him the nickname "The Ripper of Riga," but his world came crashing down when the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991. Upon his return to Russia, Antakov began abducting and murdering people entirely for his own amusement. Oleg wasn't torturing in the name of the Soviet Union; the Soviet Union just gave him an outlet for his natural proclivities.

Oleg would abduct his victims, beat them, then tear bits of their flesh with his metal fang before killing them. He was also charismatic, turning one of his prison guards, a man named Ivan Kozar (Sergey Nagorny), into his proxy. Antakov gets Kozar to kill for him as part of an elaborate bid to lure Garrett into a trap. Antakov uses Kozar to kidnap Garrett's son Ryan (Matt Cohen), and then kills Kozar when he's no longer useful. He attempts to have Ryan shoot Garrett, but the young man shoots his father non-fatally in the shoulder, and provides a distraction that allows Garrett to kill Antakov, putting an end to the Ripper.

The embodiment of Occam's Razor

Oleg Antakov's motivations are not as complex as some of the serial killers to be found in the world of "Criminal Minds." While he's certainly intelligent and more than capable of crafting an elaborate scheme to enable his revenge, he's not especially deep when it comes to his motivations: He enjoys pain and misery, and he savors the thrill that comes with power over his victims. His motivations are so simple, Garrett even argues that he's little more than a glorified thug with delusions of grandeur. The combination of simplicity, cleverness, and pride work together to make him an especially dangerous foe. It's that pride, however, that also lays the groundwork for his eventual downfall. As the maxim goes, all Soviet torturers have feet of clay.

Antakov is a reminder that sometimes evil isn't ambiguous or hard to decipher. Sometimes evil doesn't require a root cause or a motivation. Sometimes evil is just evil for its own sake.