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The Criminal Minds Unsub Cliffhanger Fans Can't Get Over

"Criminal Minds" does a great job of threading compelling killers through multiple episodes. Some of them recur only once or twice, while others have entire arcs that leave our beloved BAU team members in everything from a state of befuddlement to mortal danger.

As a general rule, the criminals the team encounters are pretty complicated to pin down. We've seen unsubs with multiple personalities (think of Tobias Hankel, who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder) and unsubs who first appear to be victims (think of the notorious Reaper, George Foyet, who kills his girlfriend and injures himself to manipulate police into thinking he's a victim) or even friends (like Cat Adams, the serial killer hit woman who fulfills every "Criminal Minds" fan's dream of going on a date with Spencer Reid ... before she tries multiple times, in multiple seasons, to ruin his life).

Still, for every mystery or challenge an unsub presents, the BAU is usually able to get to the bottom of it. Some resolutions are more satisfactory than others. Some are just plain sad. In general, though, we get some semblance of closure for the storyline of each criminal who appears on the show. The loose ends are (for the most part, anyway) just juicy callbacks that will terrify us later. 

But in contrast to the norm, one "Criminal Minds" unsub is established as a loose end and then leaves audiences on a cliffhanger: the Skull Tattoo Man.

Do you know the Skull Tattoo Man?

If you ask the authorities in the world of "Criminal Minds," the Skull Tattoo Man never existed in the first place: He was a hallucination of the sleep-deprived William Taylor. At a rest stop, a man with a skull tattoo on his hand briefly wakes Taylor from his nap to tell him a tail light on his car is out. When he awakes again, Taylor's daughter Tatiana is missing. Authorities maintain that Tatiana had simply wandered off, but she's later found dead. This event triggers Taylor's psychotic break. He begins hunting the Skull Tattoo Man, believing Tatiana is still alive and he can rescue her, and killing his targets in the process. 

It's easy to assume Taylor had simply broken from reality and there truly was no Skull Tattoo Man. But at the end of the Season 11 episode "Awake," we see a man approach a mother and daughter in their car to tell them their tail light is out, then step back to watch them creepily.

Unfortunately, this reveal — that the Skull Tattoo Man was really out there acting with the same M.O. — ended up being pointless: We never hear about this unsub again. It's possible the "Criminal Minds" writers didn't have time to come back to his story, but for the sake of that poor girl and any other victims, fans wish they would have.

"I think Season 11 had a lot of long running plots but they could have brought back this man in a later season. That would have been an interesting episode," Reddit user u/lily_lemon_25 wrote in a post on the "Criminal Minds" subreddit. "Old unsubs reappear in other episodes, so it's not like they never do that kind of thing."