In our last poll, we asked fans to choose the show’s creepiest UnSub. In this slideshow, I count down my picks for the ten most disturbing episodes from the series so far.

#10 “Hopeless” (season 5, episode 4)

Criminal Minds Disturbing Episodes "Hopeless"

The brutal violence in this episode was incredibly disturbing and the pack mentality of the UnSubs was seriously unnerving. Not to mention the fact that they hid a body in the wall of a home they helped build and the poor family had no idea it was there. But the reason this episode made the list is because the UnSubs beat their victims to death simply for the pleasure of it — they thought it was genuinely fun.  

#9 “Legacy” (season 2, episode 22)

Criminal Minds Disturbing Episodes "Legacy"

This second season episode makes the cut thanks to the maze of torture the UnSub put his victims through before ultimately killing them. The episode was made all the more upsetting because so many people were kidnapped and killed before anyone even noticed they were missing. As Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) said in the episode, that is just sad.  

#8 “Heathridge Manor” (season 7, episode 19)

Criminal Minds Disturbing Episodes "Heathridge Manor"

This episode was disturbing because it dealt with hallucinations and a deranged state of mind being passed down through the bloodline of one family. The UnSub carried on his deceased mother’s delusional mission and once he was killed, his sister began having similar delusions. The episode was also disturbing thanks to the relationship between the UnSub and his sister.  

#7 “North Mammon” (season 2, episode 7)

Criminal Minds Disturbing Episodes "North Mammon"

The UnSub in this episode kidnapped three teenage girls and held them hostage as revenge against the girls’ parents. The UnSub agreed to let the girls go, but only if two of them killed the third and he forced the girls to pick who would die and do the unbearable deed. This psychological torture was horrible and would haunt the two surviving girls for the rest of their lives.  

#6 “Epilogue” (season 7, episode 6)

Criminal Minds Disturbing Episodes "Epilogue"

Between the scenes of abuse the UnSub suffered at his father’s hands and the torture he put his victims through, this episode was difficult to watch. Add to that Carolyn’s death in the final scene and this was an extremely dark and unsettling episode.  

#5 “Mosley Lane” (season 5, episode 16)

Criminal Minds Disturbing Episodes "Mosley Lane"

Episodes dealing with the abduction and murder of children are always disturbing, but this one makes the list thanks to the terrifying UnSubs, the Roycewoods. The people behind the show made an excellent decision with their casting choices and the episode was made more unsettling because the Roycewoods disposed of their victims using the crematorium in their funeral home.  

#4 “Our Darkest Hour” (season 5, episode 23)

Criminal Minds Disturbing Episodes "Our Darkest Hour"

Rolling blackouts helped to increase the creep factor in this episode, as did Tim Curry’s performance as the UnSub. Add in the UnSub’s obsession with a detective who was one of his victims and this episode had plenty of disturbing elements. But what put it over the top were the final moments of the episode — the UnSub attacked Morgan, killed the detective, and kidnapped the detective’s daughter.  

#3 “Into the Woods” (season 6, episode 9)

Criminal Minds Disturbing Episodes "Into the Woods"

As was said earlier in the list, episodes involving the capture of children are always disturbing. This episode was made more so because the sexual abuse the young boys suffered, as well as the terrifying demeanor of the UnSub, who had isolated himself from society in order to continue his lifestyle. It was also deeply unsettling that the UnSub managed to evade capture and escape back into the woods at the episode’s conclusion.  

#2 “Lucky” (season 3, episode 8)

Criminal Minds Disturbing Episodes "Lucky"

Jamie Kennedy’s creepy performance as a cannibalistic UnSub would have been enough to land this episode on the list, but the UnSub’s need to make his fellow community members complicit in his crimes by having them unknowingly consume one of his victims pushed this episode to the top. And that is without the shocker of an ending featuring Garcia’s shooting, one of the show’s best cliffhangers.  

#1 “To Hell… And Back” (season 4, episodes 24 and 25)

Criminal Minds Disturbing Episodes "To Hell... And Back"

These episodes were disturbing thanks to the scenes at the pig farm and the revelation of what the UnSubs were doing to the victims. That, combined with Garret Dillahunt’s performance as Mason Tuner and the Reaper’s reappearance in the final scene, is what landed the season 4 finale in the number one spot.  


Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV