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The Plot Twist Criminal Minds Fans Enjoyed Seeing The Most

With over 300 episodes, the crime procedural "Criminal Minds" has to put its fair share of tricks and twists into its murder mysteries to keep them interesting. Sure, the lovable characters and their endearingly close relationships carry a lot of the series through its 15 seasons, but of course, there would be no show without the resident creep of the week. Yet any sharp, avid TV-watcher can sniff out a straightforward mystery after so many episodes.

So to keep things fresh, the writers get awfully creative with their episodic unknown subjects — "unsubs" — by giving them the most grotesque, absurdly intricate killing methods, basing them off of real-life killers, or by delivering surprising fake-outs that hide the unsub's identity until the very end. "Criminal Minds" will sometimes reveal the killer's identity to the audience, but keep it hidden from the characters, while at other times keep it a secret from everyone until the big reveal. The unexpected unsubs often end up just as memorable as the superbly gross ones.

Reddit user u/CMStan1313 asked the community of fans at r/criminalminds what their favorite plot twist trope is, giving them six different options, including "when the unsub is actually a woman" — female serial killers do exist — and "when the unsub is never caught." Here's what they picked as the best.

Killer children make for a delicious plot twist

Just over 700 people voted in the Reddit poll, with "when the unsub is actually a kid" taking the lead by snagging 205 of the votes. These episodes, according to fans, prove to be both emotional and terrifying. User u/marshmallowpals wrote, "The cases of parents covering for their kids [are] always sad especially when the parents are covering it because they really care about their kid not just to avoid [losing] social status." To user u/LauraLand27, however, killer children are nightmare fuel.

Pointing out the kid unsub episodes actually spoils the twist, so — spoiler alert! The prime examples of this trope in "Criminal Minds" are the Season 2 episode "The Boogeyman," in which the titular killer lures other kids into the woods, and the Season 4 episode "A Shade of Gray," which uses a pedophile to fake out the true killer, a young sociopath. On top of these, there are a handful of episodes that have teenage unsubs, including Season 6's "Safe Haven."

After the child unsub plot twist, the second-most preferred is "when the person they initially suspected turns out to be a later victim of the real unsub." Finding that body forces the team back to square one, which is disappointing for the characters, but often thrilling for the audience. User u/cyninnyc gave an example of this twist with the Season 1 episode "L.D.S.K." saying they weren't expecting it at all when the true unsub snipes the falsely presumed unsub while the latter is in police custody. It's a classic, but hey, it works.

Still, it isn't merely the element of surprise that makes for a great episode. If you're looking for some excellent "Criminal Minds" fodder for rewatching, check out the best 30 episodes, according to IMDB.