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What Really Drove Criminal Minds Serial Killer Cat Adams To A Life Of Crime

Over the course of 15 seasons, the FBI team at the center of CBS' crime procedural, "Criminal Minds," have flown near and far to identify and bring down some of the most disturbing murderers and kidnappers in the history of primetime television. Week after week, the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) examined brutal crime scenes and forensic evidence, building a profile to lead them to the episode's unsub.

For most of the long-running series, the weekly person of interest either died during the investigation or was apprehended. However, as fans know, some of the most intriguing criminals on the show were those who survived or escaped and began targeting the BAU directly. Heck, the infamous Mr. Scratch made an art of tormenting the team across 15 episodes. Another unsub with a taste for the BAU's pain was Cat Adams (Aubrey Plaza), who appeared in four episodes. One of the most prolific killers in the show's history, Adams initially sought vengeance for childhood trauma, but as her motivations changed, so too did her targets.

Cat Adams turned revenge into a profession

First appearing in Season 11, Episode 11, "Entropy," Cat Adams is introduced as a member of a mysterious assassin-for-hire group operating in the dark recesses of the internet. In time, viewers learn that when Adams was a child, she suffered abuse at the hands of her father, Daniel. After her father was imprisoned for the death of her mother, Adams was placed into the foster system, where she again was abused, this time by her foster father, who she eventually killed.

When her biological father was released from prison, Adams searched the world for him, intent on delivering her own sense of justice for his crimes. As her hunt continued to prove unfruitful, Adams began targeting other men she felt deserved punishment. Eventually, she became a contract killer, who, unlike her "colleagues," preferred to kill her targets face to face. Her work and modus operandi, which earned her the nickname "Miss .45," brought her to the attention of the FBI.

In "Entropy," the BAU set a trap for Adams, with Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) posing as a potential new client for the assassin. After an intricate game of cat-and-mouse, Reid tricked Adams into believing he had found her father and arranged for her to meet him. The ruse worked, and Adams was arrested. Unfortunately for Reid, Adams' obsession with punishing men narrowed to one man in particular: him.

Cat Adams' obsession led to her execution

Cat Adams returned to the spotlight in Season 12's two-part finale, "Green Light" and "Red Light." While in prison after experiencing a psychotic break, Adams conspired with Lindsey Vaughn, a Season 3 unsub, to abduct Reid's mother. Adams' plan falls apart, though, when Vaughn betrays her.

In Season 15, Episode 6, "Date Night," Adams makes her final appearance. With the date of her execution looming, she once again works from behind bars to ruin Reid's life. With help from a former cellmate, Adams arranges for the kidnapping of two relatives of Maxine Brenner, whom Reid dated at the time. Despite her best manipulations and lies, Adams' scheme fails to achieve its intended result. Brenner's family is rescued, and Adams' execution is eventually carried out.

Though initially driven by revenge against the two men who had abused her, Adams' focus expanded. This led her to kill over 200 people before she zeroed in on Reid. Vengeance was at the heart of Adams' crimes, but her justifications became significantly less righteous as time went on.