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The Creepiest Unsub In Criminal Minds Season 1

Given the caliber of the actors and the creative team, it's not at all surprising that CBS' crime drama "Criminal Minds" ran for 15 seasons (with a 16th in the works). What is surprising, however, is the series ever being green-lit in the first place — at least for network television. When the series premiered in 2005, it was easily the darkest fare available on cable. While the CBS primetime lineup at the time included "Without a Trace" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," neither explored the dark recesses of humanity's evil quite as thoroughly or as starkly as "Criminal Minds."

Over the seasons, the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI brings to justice hundreds of unknown subjects in a weekly parade of the vile and demented. Each season has at least one "unsub" whose demeanor or modus operandi keeps many viewers from restful sleep. For the inaugural season of "Criminal Minds," the series opts to save the best — or creepiest — for last. In the Season 1 finale, viewers meet the Fisher King, a fledgling serial killer whose impact on the BAU and the series cannot be underestimated.

Randall Garner was an ordinary man until tragedy struck his family

Prior to the Fisher King, the BAU spends their days jetting off to various cities in the US, helping local law enforcement identify and apprehend various unsubs. The Fisher King, however, brings the case right to the BAU, targeting the agents directly and pulling them into his twisted fantasy.

Born Randall Garner (Charles Haid/Charley Rossman), the Fisher King is initially an average fellow, married with four kids. Tragedy strikes the idyllic family when a fire in their home claims the lives of all but one daughter, Rebecca (Amanda Bernero), and Garner, who is left with disfiguring scars from the severe burns to his body and face. The loss of his wife and three children, coupled with his extreme injuries, eventually find Garner committed to a mental hospital. 

While institutionalized, Garner encounters Dr. Spencer Reid's (Matthew Gray Gubler) mother Diana (Jane Lynch), whose stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table lead him to believe himself to be the Fisher King, a figure in Arthurian legend who protects the Holy Grail.

The Fisher King forever changed the BAU and the series

Praise for The Fisher King, both the character and the episode, is abundant. On Reddit, one user declared it "the best episode of all time," while a reviewer on IMDb noted that although Garner is not clearly seen in much of the episode, he "still evokes chills from his voice alone." Outlets such as GizmoStory, Variety, and Screen Rant all include "The Fisher King" in their respective lists of best "Criminal Minds" episodes.

Not only does the Fisher King's sinister delusions mark him as the creepiest unsub of the season, but the fact that he targets the BAU directly places him amongst the creepiest unsubs of the entire series. The BAU never before faces an adversary with such extensive and personal knowledge of the team. Garner stalks them for months prior to sending the clues — learning their habits, their interests, and their personalities. He hacks Penelope Garcia's (Kirsten Vangsness) computer and learns the team's phone numbers and home addresses. He gains access to Elle Greenaway's (Lola Glaudini) home and waits for her to return.

The Fisher King's direct targeting of the BAU ends any kind of peace the team believes they have in their personal lives. The character of Garner forever changes the show, laying the foundation for unsubs like The Reaper and Mr. Scratch to target the team in even more complex and deadly personal games.