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Criminal Minds is one of the longest running shows on television, and the disturbing crimes the BAU investigates is pushing 300 episodes. The show takes us inside the FBI, where we follow a group of elite criminal profilers throughout their professional and personal lives. Since they deal with serial killers and other heinous crimes, the show is not short on disturbing moments. The BAU profiles serial killers in hopes of anticipating their next move, and getting inside the criminal mind is a major factor behind the shows success.
However, maybe you're new to the show and don't have time to watch a decades worth of episodes—you just want to see the moments that left the most impact. With all that material and hundreds of tv serial killers profiled and caught, what are the most disturbing episodes of Criminal Minds ever?
Our Darkest Hour (Season 5, Episode 23)
The super creepy thing about this episode is the the rolling blackouts in the city of Los Angeles, as well as Tim Curry's (the original Pennywise) performance as the serial killer. Creepier still, one of the detectives on the case was one of the killer's earliest victims; all elements that make it one of the most disturbing episodes of Criminal Minds.
With the city completely blacked out and a killer on the loose, it reminded people of the "Night Stalker," otherwise known as Richie Ramirez, who was one of the most famous American Serial Killers.
Omnivore (Season 4, Episode 18)
When Hotchner was a young FBI agent, he was after a serial killer known as "The Reaper." He never caught him because, out of the blue, The Reaper stopped killing for ten years and went into hiding. Until now, that is.
With a sadistic special guest appearance by C. Thomas Howell (who plays The Reaper), "Omnivore" is one of the most disturbing episodes of Criminal Minds ever. The control The Reaper likes to wield over society and his affinity for toying with the police is especially eerie.
Mosley Lane (Season 5, Episode 16)
Episodes that center on the abduction and murder of children always strike a nerve with audiences, and that's what makes "Mosley Lane" one of the most disturbing Criminal Minds episodes of all time.
A seemingly normal family adopts many kids over the course of a decade. However, the Roycewoods are actually abducting these children, and when they act up or get too old, they are murdered. The creepiest visuals come from the crematorium the sick family uses to dispose of the unwanted children.
Amplification (Season 4, Episode 24)
This episode is scary because it has real world significance; the anthrax attack that occurs in "Amplification" is something that is entirely plausible. In one of the most disturbing episodes of Criminal Minds ever, the BAU works alongside the Army as they race against time to find out where the attack will come from next.
They are dealing with a sophisticated strain of anthrax developed by somebody with a science background, and the parallels to our world are hard to ignore.
Ride the Lightning (Season 1, Episode 14)
After interviewing two suspects on death row, one of the members of the BAU becomes convinced that one of the accused killers is innocent. It's a husband and wife team of serial killers, responsible for the deaths of over a dozen young girls.
The more Supervisory Special Agent Gideon talks with the wife, the more sure he is that she's been a pawn of her psychotic husband. It's one of the most disturbing episodes of Criminal Minds ever because it shows the flaws in our system; a system that has reliably executed innocent people since its inception.
Lo-Fi (Season 3, Episode 20)
In "Lo-Fi," people around New York City are seemingly being shot at random, and the BAU investigates to determine whether it's the work of single person or a team. The city goes into a panic not seen since the days of the Son of Sam.
The truly scary thing about this, and what makes it one of the most disturbing episodes of Criminal Minds, is the randomness of the murders. It strips away all the nonsense and leaves the audience with the feeling that sometimes things just happen—a seriously scary notion.
To Hell...And Back (Season 4, Episode 25)
The BAU heads to Canada to investigate the disappearances of a number of homeless people, which some believe is the work of something sinister. Most who went missing were either junkies or prostitutes, so nobody really took notice until it was too late.
Once in Canada, they stumble upon something horrible that looks to be the work of a deranged serial killer. Although jurisdiction is a major problem, they stumble upon a scene they can't believe—the suspected killer is paraplegic. What is going on? Check out one of the most disturbing episodes of Criminal Minds for the answer.
100 (Season 5, Episode 9)
"100" brings back one of the shows most notorious villains—The Reaper. In one of the more disturbing episodes of Criminal Minds, the killer has kidnapped Supervisory Special Agent Hotchner's wife and son, and it's a race against time before he kills them.
The episode is a series of interviews with the rest of the team, and we slowly figure out that The Reaper found the family in protective custody, and what happened next. If you want to know the conclusion to this edge-of-your-seat episode, you'll have to queue it up. Luckily, the whole series is available on Netflix.
Into the Woods (Season 6, Episode 9)
Obviously, episodes that are about children are particularly disturbing, and "Into the Woods" is another such episode. After a boy is found murdered on the Appalachian Trail, the team heads there to find a killer who is preying on children.
The targeting of young children, as well as the sexual element, makes it one of the most disturbing episodes of Criminal Minds ever, and at times it can be difficult to watch.
Lucky (Season 3, Episode 8)
Lastly, when a sadistic killer is abducting women and forcing them to eat fingers before killing them, the BAU is forced to come in and investigate the ritual elements of the killings. This episode is extremely dark, and it's filmed more like a gritty movie with hauntingly atmospheric music.
The hunt for a cannibalistic serial killer makes for some seriously tense moments, all of which place this episode among the most disturbing episodes of Criminal Minds ever.