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What Really Drove Criminal Minds Assassin Maggie Lowe To A Life Of Crime

For 15 seasons (and a 16th on the way), the wonderfully devilish minds behind CBS crime procedural "Criminal Minds" created a host of monstrous murderers, cruel kidnappers, and sadistic serial killers. And, week after week, the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) went "wheels up," jetting off to crime scenes that they'd use to build profiles and catch the unsub du jour.

The profiles the BAU put together rely on the smallest clues to help them hypothesize various details about an unsub, including their likely age, ethnicity, gender, background, and career. As pieces of the puzzle come together, the BAU's investigation leads them to determine the unsub's motivation. As crime show watchers know, murder has three main motivators: greed, love, and revenge. For Maggie Lowe (Katheryn Winnick), the killer in Season 1, Episode 18, "Somebody's Watching," the motivation for the stalker-turned-killer is most rooted in "love," but that love leads to fatal acts of revenge.

One weekend changed everything for Maggie Lowe

Unlike many of the unsubs featured on the series, Maggie Lowe's early background is never revealed. For her, the path to committing multiple homicides began during her college years when she first met fellow Juilliard student Lila Archer (Amber Heard). The two became friends, even sharing a dorm room for a weekend when the heat in Archer's place went out. While never stated explicitly, it's heavily implied in the episode that the two friends engaged in some sexual experimentation during that weekend, an experience which is later revealed to have meant much more to Lowe than to Archer. After college, the two remained friends as Archer pursued her acting dreams with Lowe in tow as her production assistant.

Prior to the events depicted in the episode, an obsessed Lowe had begun stalking Archer, watching and tracking her movements. Lowe's "love" for Archer grew, leading her to take fatal revenge against a producer who passed Archer over in favor of another actress, Natalie Ryan. That first murder soon led to a second, this time an actress Lowe viewed as a threat to Archer. Less than a month later, Lowe again murdered out of love-tinged revenge. She killed Ryan, as well as the actress' fiancé, who stumbled upon the gruesome murder scene. It's at this point that the members of the BAU are called in.

Maggie Lowe's 'love' led her to revenge and self-preservation

During the FBI's investigation, the BAU stumbled upon a fifth murder victim, Lila Archer's manager, who'd been encouraging her to go into hiding until the suspect was caught. As the BAU quickly surmised, the manager was murdered because he posed a threat to the stalker-killer's plans. Later, Maggie Lowe's unsuccessful attempt to kill the case's lead police investigator in a drive-by shooting was also motivated by her flailing efforts to keep her dream of a life with Archer alive. Lowe is eventually caught after trying to kidnap Archer from her home at gunpoint.

Though she started as a stalker, Lowe evolved into a serial killer and spree killer. As the lines between her criminal classifications blurred so too did her motivations. Her twisted version of "love" led her to murder two people out of revenge, another for the potential threat they posed to Archer's career, and two others because they threatened Lowe's plans.