Each episode of “Criminal Minds” deals with the team pursuing an unsub, but also brings the human side of one of the agents into the storyline as well. “Magnum Opus”, which aired on CBS Wednesday night, Jan. 23, is no exception as we saw how Dr. Spencer Reid dealt with (or rather, didn’t deal with), the death of “telephone girl”, the girlfriend he finally met when it was too late. It took some time to get past his grief, but Reid came through with insight critical to the case just in time in “Magnum Opus”.
The case centered around seemingly unrelated bodies that have been drained of blood being found in San Francisco’s Mission District wrapped in plastic, with eyelids of later victims having been cut off. With nothing noticeable to connect the victims, the BAU focused on the killer’s signature to solve the crimes and capture the murderer.
Testing revealed that the victims had been drugged so it was deduced that the unsub wasn’t drinking the blood, since he would have ingested the drugs from it as well. Spencer shows up in San Francisco and realizes that the bodies of the victims were placed in areas that do have a common theme – all were near buildings filled with graffiti art, and the last was beneath a statue of St. Luke, the patron saint of artists. These clues lead the team to believe that the killer is an artist or somehow otherwise connected to the art world.
The unsub is trying to make his name known as an artist, but after being repeatedly told that his work wasn’t personal, had nothing to separate him from the rest, he started exsanguinating people and painting with their blood, something that definitely created a personal signature for him.
Questioning art galleries and related businesses in the Mission District, the BAU team found a shop owner who remembered a man trying to sell his artwork that was painted with blood, and gave them the name of a man who had purchased one of them. Following that trail led them to the painting that looked just like one of the victims, so they knew they had the right man.
Further investigation reveals that the unsub was separating the blood, a major clue that pointed toward the killer being a hemophiliac and using the plasma to clot his own blood after injury. Profiling pointed towards the unsub being a young white male who worked in an industry where he didn’t have to deal with people, so Garcia worked her geeky magic with the clues available and narrowed the field to a few, then settled on the man who was ultimately proved to be the killer. The man had been in an accident where another woman died, but he escaped major injury. That was ultimately the trigger; why was he -- a hemophiliac -- spared, and another woman allowed to bleed to death at the scene? The BAU knew they had their man.
The unsub kills a coworker to paint with his blood, thinking that would give it the personal connection that he was told was lacking in his work. One more attempt at selling the painting to an upscale shop ended yet again in rejection and dismissal, with the owner finally coming out and telling him that his work was no good. Enraged, his final effort was to kidnap her and use her blood in his next piece.
The BAU team locates him just as he’s ready to drain her blood, and the scene quickly turns into suicide by cop. His name and artwork will now get the exposure he sought, but unlikely in the manner that he had hoped.
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