01x02 - Compulsion

Previously on Criminal Minds...

Anyone recognize these faces?

Victims of the footpath killer.

That's what Virginia newspapers are calling him.

We refer to him as the "unknown subject" or "unsub."

I told Virginia P. D., they're looking for a white male in his 20's, who owns an american-made truck, works a menial job.

I told 'em when you find him, don't be surprised to hear him speak with a severe stutter.

Have a n-i- n- nice day.

The gun.

Ta- take out the gun.

Th- throw it. - Any particular direction?

Who- who are y-

who are you?

Who are you?!


T- t- t-

take out your w- your w- wallet.

Wh- what- what do you kn-

what do you know?

About you?

Or about the people who you've murdered?

I know a lot about you.

I know how you do it.

I know you can't stop.

And I know something that no one's ever been able to tell you.

I know why you stutter.

Weren't you a little bit worried he might just shoot you?

I was a lot worried.

But how did you find him?

I was just stopping for gas.

I walked into that store, and I saw pieces of a profile that I'd given to Virginia P. D. almost a year ago.

Truck in disrepair, a disheveled young man, severe stutter.

James Reese once said, "there are certain clues at a crime scene which, by their very nature, do not lend themselves to being collected or examined.

How does one collect love, rage, hatred, fear?"

These are things that we're trained to look for.

So anyone else would have just seen a guy who stutters, but you saw the footpath killer.

Right. But sometimes these guys are still found by just dumb luck.

Berkowitz was caught because of a parking ticket.

Except the cop who caught him wasn't staring down a shotgun like you were.

This is true. This is also a good time to stop.

Thank you, sir.

Thank you.

Okay, I'm curious. Why'd he stutter?

You're on your way to becoming part of the behavior analysis team now, Elle. You tell me.

Check. Checkmate 3 moves.


You know you'll beat him when you start learning.

Learning what?

To think outside the box.

Question for you.


The footpath killer, why did he stutter?

Come on, Elle, we've all asked him, and he won't say.

He wants us to figure it out.

Okay. I'm up for a challenge.

Good, because these go to you.

Special agent Jennifer Jareau, JJ if you like.

Elle. -


highest number of solved cases in Seattle 3 years running, specialty in s*x offender cases.

Not bad.

Well, I'm the unit liaison.

My specialty is untangling bureaucratic knots.

You'll probably be talking to me a lot. My door's always open, mostly because I'm never in my office, so just call me on my cell, okay? We'll talk.

Did you watch it?

Yeah. Think everybody should see it.

BAU team, can you meet me in the conference room, please?

I need to show you something.

This is from the Phoenix office, Bradshaw College in Tempe, 6 fires in 7 months.

Who recorded it?

A student with a digital camcorder.

He was watching a fire in the building across from their dorm.

The other person you'll see is his roommate, 20-year-old Matthew Rowland.

This is crazy. Hey, Mac, get over here. You gotta see this.

The building's on fire.

Bro, you getting this?

Is that the kid?

Yeah, that's him.

Relax, man. There's always fires during rush week.

Yeah, but that's pretty big. What building is that?

Dude, over here. Check this out. What is it?

I don't know, but it's coming underneath the door.

Is someone in the hallway?

Hey, someone's trying to get in.

Hey, man, you should get away from there.

Oh, my god! It smells like gas.

Oh, god! God! Oh, my god! Oh, my god!

Put me out! Oh, my god! Oh, god! Help!

Einstein once said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Knowledge is limited.

Imagination encircles the world."

There are 2 common stressors for a serial arsonist.

Loss of job, loss of love.

When was the first fire set?

March. Uh, the next one was in may, and the third one wasn't till september, then 2 weeks later there were 3 in one night.

He's speeding up. Fire's are closer together.

Hey, Reid, you got a statistic on arsonists?

82% are white males between 17 and 27.

Female arsonists are far less likely, their motive typically being revenge.

Sounds like our boy's a student.

Don't be so sure.

You rely too much on precedent, you never allow for the unexpected.

If he went from setting one fire to 3 in 2 weeks' time...

Rapid escalation.

He's gone from the power to damage a building to something far more satisfying.

The power over life and death.

Who we talking to first?

Dean of students, Ellen Turner.

No badges. I don't want to satisfy the unsub's need for attention by letting him know he got the FBI here. Try not to look official.

Try to look less official.

Obviously, I'd rather be meeting you under different circumstances.

This is fire inspector Zhang.

This morning the chemistry department reported several bottles of highly flammable chemicals missing.

I'm prepared to evacuate this campus. Thank you.

That brings with it its own problems.

You might evacuate the arsonist as well.

Then the case goes unsolved, the campus is reopened, but the fires start up again.

Hotch, Gideon, hold on a second.

You said the chemicals were missing today.

It says here that one of the previous fires was set with diesel fuel that disappeared from the grounds keeping facility.

How long after it disappeared was the fire set?

One day.

If he's holding to a pattern...

Who's to say the next fire won't be today?

Door was locked.

Matthew Rowland and his roommate watched as the doorknob turned against the lock.

But the unsub couldn't get in.

So he pours the accelerant into the room from the hallway.

Which means he couldn't see the fire.

But he could hear Matthew Rowland screaming.

Yeah, but not for long.

He would have left quickly.

Yeah, to avoid being spotted.

It doesn't make sense.

Pyromania as a mental disorder may just be a simple myth, but we do know from precedent that serial arsonists derive pleasure from pathological fire-setting.

s*x and power.

But a serial arsonist wouldn't just set a fire and walk away.

He needs to experience it.

So why would he set a fire he couldn't watch?

He turned the water off just before the fire.

The last 3 were set with these.

2 devices, simultaneous ignition.

There was no device used on Matthew Rowland.

Unsub set that one manually?

He wanted to be there to enjoy the kid's death.

Not necessarily.

Well, if the target was Matthew Rowland, then why set the other 2 fires?

The motives for arson are relatively simple.

There's vandalism, crime concealment, political statement...

Profit and revenge.

We interviewed Matthew Rowland's roommate.

He said Matthew was very well-liked.

No reason for revenge.

What about vandalism?

No. The fires are too sophisticated, and if he's trying to make a political statement, he's not being too clear about it.

There's an underlying strategy in this case.

Matthew, firefighters, injured victims.

To the unsub, they're not people. They're...

They're objects.

More like, Uh... chess pieces.


All right... I want to set a dormitory fire.

Where would I start?

In the basement. The upper levels would be fuel.

Then why did I start on the third floor?

Oh, god!

Because it wasn't the building I wanted to set on fire.

The timer sets the road flare, which then lights the chemical mixture inside the canister. Simple.

Yet sophisticated in its simplicity.

I mean, there's a meticulous construction to it.

Chemical accelerant could mean chemistry student.

Could also mean chemistry professor.

Mmm, I say student. You need self-confidence to lecture in front of a classroom full of 30 college kids.

Arsonists are socially incompetent.

This guy doesn't go on dates.

He doesn't go to parties. He doesn't feel comfortable in front of groups.

And, of course, he's a total psychopath.


Think we'll get a lead from the hotline?


If you don't mind my asking, why then did you set up the number?

Well, serial arsonists enjoy manipulating authorities.

They like to communicate, explain themselves.

I'm not waiting to hear from a tipster or witness.

You're waiting to hear from him.


All right, office hours. I have my own homework to do.

Thank you, professor Wallace.

No problem.

We don't want a stampede on our hands because the exits out of the campus block so quickly.

Now, we have staging areas, and we must utilize every possible... agent Gideon?

Agent Gideon. Agent Gideon?

Everybody out of the building! Go!

What is it?

Look out! Clear the whole building! Clear it! Now!

Come on! Help me! Help me!

Get off of me! There was a teacher!

Let it go! He's already dead. Let it go.

He might be here watching.

Yeah. Take pictures- as many as you can.

You got it.

The professor's name was Wallace?

It's a terrible loss. He was one of those teachers...

Um... he knew how to make a difference.

Gideon, we've got police and security interviewing everyone in that building.

How long will it take to finish evacuating the campus?

This is a college of 10,000 students and faculty.

Well, there's another problem with evacuating.

You mean, we might accelerate the unsub's timeline.

Let's round everybody up.

Dean Turner? Hi, I'm Jeremy.

I'm one of the research assistants at the science department.

We were talking, and, uh, we'd like to help.

The best thing you can do right now is just stay-

we know how he did it.

We've been at this all night, and we've got nothin'.

Look at these expressions.

We got fear, a touch of horror, even a little bit of panic.

Where's the guy gettin' off?

When asked about his motives, Peter Dinsdale said, "I am devoted to fire.

Fire is my master."

Okay, so who was our boy's master?

10,000 plus students...

And one has a serious fascination with fire.

Fire starting is one third of the homicidal triad...

An early predictor of adult disassociative criminal behavior.

If we looked in his childhood, we'd probably find all three.

Bedwetting... and cruelty to animals.

Absent or abusive father, trouble with the opposite s*x, chronic low self-esteem-

M. O. would be dynamic.

Evolvings, fire setting escalates, they thrive on panic, fear.

It's just the standard profile of a serial arsonist.

Based on hundreds of interviews.

Based on precedent.

Everything the unsub should be, according to research.

We're off the mark.

Because of the 2 missing elements.

s*x and power- the 2 motives that drive a serial arsonist.

And without 'em, we do not have a profile.

Whoa! Hey! Uh, sorry. I didn't mean to scare you.

I'm just, um, I'm campus patrol.

I'm supposed to ask for your I. D.

Sure, sure.

You're one of those FBI guys.

Um, like a profiler, right?

Like, one look at a crime scene, you can tell what kind of shampoo a killer uses?

You sound skeptical.

Uh, maybe a little.

Your girlfriend thinks you're gonna break up with her.

You're kidding, right?

Well, you keep adjusting your necklace.

That tells me you're not used to wearing one or somebody else probably bought it for you, bought it recently, and the chinese symbol on it means "forever yours."

Take care of yourself, all right?

Reid. Since you're more their age, why don't you do the talking?

Ahem. Hi- hi, guys. Uh, my name's, uh, Dr. Spencer Reid. I'm a, uh, agent with the- the BAU, the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI, which, um, it used to be called the BSU, the Behavioral Science Unit, but not anymore. They changed it to the BAU.

Um, it's part of the NCAVC, the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime which is also part of this thing called the CIRG, the Critical Incident Response Group, and-

what he's trying to say is we'd love to know how you can help us.

May I, please? Thank you.

See this? Drill a hole in the side, fill it with gasoline or whatever's good and flammable.

Turn the light on. Boom.

That is what went down, didn't it?

The stuff's all over the net.

Wanna know how to make a molotov cocktail that sets itself on fire?

Potassium, sulfur... and normal sugar.

Sugar- sugar, which is-

not exactly plutonium.

You could get this stuff anywhere.

Sugar from the supermarket.

But you don't need to be a chem major to know that.

Do you think it's a chem student?

You wanna know what I think?

I think... it would be a good time to take the semester off.

Hold on.

You need a key to get it movin' after 10:00 P. M.

So what are you still doin' here?

I can't leave. We got projects.

You know hot to solve the 3 body problem?

Computing the mutual gravitational interaction between the earth, sun and moon?

Do you have any idea how many people called me today with absolute certainty that our arsonist is a firefighter?

Like, yeah, I saw Backdraft.

Uh, let me call you right back.

This came into the hotline about 5 minutes ago.

You've reached the FBI tip hotline for the Bradshaw College fires.

"Karen. I do this for Karen."

"Karen. I do this for Karen." Play it again.

The call came from the office right next to Wallace's 5 minutes before the fire was started.

Play it again.

"Karen. I do this for Karen." Again, louder.

"Karen. I do this for Karen."

What is it?

I'm not sure. Somethin' about it.

Is this tape clean?

I can put it through some audio filters.

Look, we need as close to the real voice as you can get, and anything that might be in the background. Can you do it?

Ok, you know how on Star Trek when Captain Kirk asks McCoy to do something totally impossible, and McCoy says, "damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a miracle worker?"

Hey, what are you tellin'

me, not to expect a miracle?

No, I'm saying I'm not a doctor.

That's my girl.

These are all the women on campus with the first name Karen.

A lot of Karens. Hmm.

What if the unsub is one of the students leaving?

No, he's not done yet.

He's not goin' anywhere.

Keep thinkin'.

You mean, out- outside the box?

That's what Morgan's always telling me.

He says that's why I can never beat you at chess.

Well, he's probably right.

But, I mean, in this situation, what exactly is the box?

The standard profile of a serial arsonist.

If everything you know goes in the box, what's left?

What you don't know. The unknown.

Sometimes you have to get creative.

Even if you think it's utterly unlikely, you have to think of things nobody else thought of.

Like a stutter.

Yeah, exactly.

Thank you, Karen.

Karen number 7.

You know, there's gotta be a faster way to do this.

How 'bout we just change the first question to "have you recently dated a homicidal pyromaniac?"

Speaking of questions, you figured out yet why the footpath killer stuttered?

Nope. You?

I know that embarrassment makes a stutter worse, and that when you're flustered, it's more difficult to control the articulatory musculature of the face.

You sound like Reid.

You did not just say that.

Obviously, somebody's been doin' their homework.

I still have no idea what causes a stutter.

Karen. Number 8.

Hey. I didn't scare you again, did I?

Um, sorry. This is one of the buildings on my patrol.

Just lookin' at the board.

The 3 body problem.

You know what it means?

Uh, no. No idea.

It's physics. It's one of the great mathematical mysteries.

You broke up with her. No more necklace.

Yeah, I kinda wanna date someone else.

What's her name?


Oh. Well, that's, uh...

That's a pretty good reason.

Did she take it all right?


Yeah, other than telling me that homosexuality's a sin, and that I'm going to incur the wrath of God.

The wrath of god.

Okay, gorgeous, I've put this thing through every audio filter I've got. There's only one thing I can tell you for sure.

This guy isn't saying "Karen."

It's more like "Ka-rown."

Garcia, what the hell is Ka-rown?

If I figure it out, does it earn me a night of passionate lovemaking?

Most definitely, sweetness... with Reid.

Bye. Hey, Reid.

Garcia says it's not "Karen."

It's actually somethin'

more like- - Charown.



"I do it because of Charown."

That's hebrew.

It's god's word in anger.


The motive is now religious?

Well, you know, in a lot of religions, god is related to fire.

Well, brahman is fire in hinduism, and the jews see God as a pillar of fire, and christians worship god as a consuming fire.

Okay, so we're lookin'

for a theology major.

Maybe he's punishing the other students for their sins.

I don't want this.

What- what's the most sinful place on campus?

Come on, Elle. When I was in college, that was everywhere.

A fraternity?

A campus bar?

No, 'cause that's not consistent with the previous targets.

What about the idea of baptism by fire?

Aren't we all supposed to be tested through fire in revelations?

Look, it's good, it's good, but let's please do not jump to conclusions.

Religion might be a part of it, but it's not necessarily the prime compulsion.

Gideon, rush to conclusions, jump to conclusions.

Who cares? We are running out of time.


This is crazy. Hey, Mac, get over here. You gotta see this.

The building's on fire.

Bro, you getting this?

Get out of the way! We should call campus security Relax, man. There's always fires during rush week.

Yeah, but that's pretty big. What building is that?

Dude, over here. Check this out. What is it?

I don't know, but it's coming underneath the door.

Is someone in the hallway?

Hey, someone's trying to get in.

Hey, man, you should get away from there.

Oh, my god. It smells like gas.

Help! Oh, my god! Oh, my god!

Hold on, man!

Outside the box.

Keep thinkin'. It's like chess.

Don't look at just the next move. Try to look 3 moves ahead.

This is crazy. Hey, Mac, get over here.

You gotta see this the building's on fire.

Bro, you getting this?

Get out of the way!

Should call campus security.

Relax, man.

There's always fires during rush week.

Yeah, but that's pretty big. What building is that?

Dude, over here. Check this out. What is it?

Dude, over here. Check this out. What is it?

There's always fires during rush week.

Yeah, but that's pretty big.

Dude, over here. Check this out.

3 times.

"Professor Wallace. Tuesday, 3:00."

I know why the profiles never fit.

You were right to tell Morgan not to rely on precedent.

The fires thus far have been completely task oriented.

So once they're set, the unsub is done?

Exactly. The unsub is not a classical serial arsonist.

He's someone who uses fire because of a completely different disorder.

Which is?

An extreme manifestation of OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder.

He does everything in 3's, and if I'm right, he'll have to kill again.

There's a form of OCD called scrupulosity.

Religious obsession and compulsion.

An obsessive fear of committing sin, which creates so much anxiety that he's compelled to do something to ease that anxiety.

Like setting fires.

Where's the behavioral evidence?

Right here.

All right. Remember the night of the 3 fires?

We saw the doorknob turning against the lock.

But he's not trying to get in. He's compelled to turn the doorknob 3 times.

Well, what about the fires?

The first ones were single fires.

If the unsub was OCD, shouldn't they have all been in 3's?

They were in 3's. A trinity of 3's.

The first fire occurred on march third.

3:00 P. M., third day, third month.

It's that convergence of 3's that causes the overwhelming anxiety.

Obsessive compulsives ease the anxiety by performing the compulsion.

What about the other fires? Professor Wallace?

Office number 3.

I checked for more patterns of 3's. His class was on tuesdays.

Third day of the week.

Matthew Rowland was in that class.

It was his third class of the day.

If we looked into each of the fires we'd find a lot of patterns having to do with 3's because our minds are incredibly adept at seeking out patterns. But to the unsub, once that pattern hits, bam- he sets a fire.

But if the target was always people, why did no one die in the first few fires?

They were failures.

Up until Matthew Rowland.

What is it?

I think I know who it might be.

And it's not a he. It's a she.

Clara Hayes.

A chemistry student.

I'll get you her records now.

First get campus security out and find her.

She could set her next fire within hours.

Okay, got it. Her apartment's off campus.

But how is he sure it's this girl?

When I was talking to her and her classmates, I noticed something- a ring on her finger. And she kept turning it.

At intervals?

Of 3.

And she counted off the ingredients of a light bulb bomb.

Potassium, sulfur, and normal sugar.


And the word "sugar."

Yeah. And she kept repeating it.

Once she started, she couldn't stop.

Yeah, it's palilalia. It's the involuntary repetition of words.

Howard Hughes had it when his OCD worsened.

Clara and her classmates were working on a project about gravitational pull.

The 3 body problem.

No one in here.

Oh, you gotta be kidding me. OCD?

I'm thinking more like OMG.


Oh, my god.

"A fire is kindled in my anger, and shall burn into the lowest hell."


"And again the fire of heaven came down and killed them all."

"I do this for Charon." That's Charon.

That's the greek mythological ferryman of the dead.

It's also the name of Pluto's only moon.

Paradise lost.

"Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood of human sacrifice and parents' tears."

Moloch was the demon sun God of the Canaanites.

In order to keep from incurring his wrath, the people would sacrifice their children to him by burning them alive.

16-year-old survives inferno. The mother Ellen Hayes called it a miracle.

"My daughter was tested by God. He tested my child and she came through blessed."

Look at the house number.


Hey, Morgan, you know what magical thinking is?

Obsessive thoughts.

It's like a superstition.

It controls them.

Kinda like step on a crack, break your mother's back.

Except she actually believes it.

God tested her with fire, and now when three 3's-

three 3's show up around another person...

God tells her to test them.

Security's checking the science building.

Well, where else would she be?

We need to find the next pattern of 3's.

Hey, Hotch... we're lookin', man.

I don't think she would have left behind a day planner that says "set next fire here" written in it.

I under- wait till you see this place.

Uh, Morgan?

I'll call you back.

There must be 30 homemade bombs in here.

Morgan, seal the building get everybody out of there and walk away.

We need to send our people into every building and have them start pulling fire alarms. Please, go.

Mead, a map of the campus. We need to find anything and everything having to do with the number 3. Where's the blueprint?

Hell no, I'm not leaving.

I have too much to do. All right.

I bought one of those mini halon fire extinguishers.

They started selling them at the bookstore. It's pretty morbid, right?

Hey, I'm about to get into an elevator, so I'll probably lose you.

All right, bye-bye.

You got the science building?

All the corridors and stairwells are clear.

The elevator closet's checked.

No elevators are in service.

It's not gonna start.

Don't you have the key?

I put it back on the hook in the office.

Aren't you supposed to be able to hear the emergency call button?

Maybe it's broken.

Or turned off.

I say we pry open the doors.

You can't pry 'em all the way open. It's a safety precaution.

Maybe we can try yelling for help.

That's the fire alarm.

Jason, wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait.

Clara Hayes is very likely a good person.

Someone who never wanted to do anyone any harm, like any other rational person.

But there's nothing rational about obsessive compulsive disorder.

Research suggests OCD involves problems in communication between the frontal of the brain and the orbital cortex.

Plus deeper structures.

The basal ganglia.

You can't reason with her because you can't reason with a physiological problem.

She's not setting these fires because she wants to, but because she has to.

What are you trying to say?

Don't try to convince her to stop, because you won't be able to.

That's it? It won't go any further?

I told you, it's a built-in safety precaution.

Help! Somebody help us!

Hello? Somebody help us!

Please, somebody, we're trapped down here. Somebody help us!


Clara, thank god.

It's all right.

Clara, go back to the office and get the elevator key.

It's okay. I'm here to save you.

Go- go get the key, Clara. The elevator key.

Clara! Clara, wait!

Clara! Get the key!

Is this building on fire?


Not yet.

It's clear up here. Anything?


No girl, no smoke, no fire.

Where did she go?

Maybe she's getting the key.

I don't know.

What is she doing?

Someone coming to help?

I'm here to help. I'm here to save you.

God chose you. Chose you... chose you...


Father, son...

Oh, my god!

Holy ghost.

Clara, listen!

It's gasoline!

Stop it, Clara! Listen!

Security's sure that they've cleared the science building.

The guards made sure all floors are empty and no elevators are in service. Hold on.

You need a key to get it moving after 10:00 P. M.


Put it down, Clara!

I'm still looking.

Focus on the girl.

She's failing out. This was gonna be her last semester.

That's the stressor. What else?

She was a researcher in the science building.

We know that. They've already cleared the science building.

The third floor of the science building is under construction.

I'm on my way.


I have to do this.

You know it's not rational, Clara.

You were trying to tell me.

God chose me to be tested, and now he's chosen them. If I don't do this, something terrible will happen.

What's gonna happen, Clara?

A flood? An earthquake? You know this isn't rational.

I know. I know. I know.

Then resist.

I can't.

Clara? Clara, listen to me.

Clara, don't.

They must be tested. God's wrath...

Clara, you told me it was a chemistry student.

You left the message about Charon.

You want to stop.

Father, son...


Holy ghost.

Clara, stop!

God chose them.

I thought you said not to reason with her.

Get us out of here.

You know, I figured it out. The stutter.

You know why the footpath killer stuttered?

When you and Hotch were talking earlier, that's when I got it.

He said he was just trying to stall Clara.


Well, that's it, isn't it? The footpath killer.

You were just trying to stall him.

You said, "I know why you stutter" because you were buying time.

You were stalling.

But you don't really know why he stuttered.

I don't?

I looked it up. No one does.

There are some theories about a neurological basis.

But they're just theories.

What really happened in the convenience store?

I'll tell you what I do know about a stutter.

I know how to provoke one.

The key.


We only found 6.

Are you impressed?


I didn't know you could count.

Our profile said you'd be too stupid.

We also said you'd be a chronic bed-wetter.

You- y- yo-


Th- th- the cam-

I don't know what you're trying to say.

You take the cam-

the cam- the c- the cam-

I'm sorry, I have no idea what you're trying to say.

You take- you take the cam- the cam- the cam-

Say it.

The ca-

Say it.

The ca-

Just spit it out. Just...

The cam-

Come on!

Faulkner once said, "don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.

Try to be better than yourself."

Check in 3.

Not bad.


Don't worry, you're gettin' there.