This is the Friday Fiction I've been wanting to write, in the immortal words of Squints, for-ev-er. For some reason I freaking love Criminal Minds (just kidding I know the reason: 'cause it's awesome!). I love Rossi's Cigar Afficianado personality, Morgan's extreme need to nurture and play saviour, the friendship between the gals, the quotes at the beginning and end of each episode (fun drinking game: guess the quotee!), Mandy Patinkin (I'll never stop missing you, Gideon!), the amazing guest stars they get to play super creepy unsubs (Keith Carradine – be still my heart – and Tim Curry and Number Six/Caprica), the excessive use of the word 'unsub'... Aaldf;jdslf;kdjfl;j it's so good!
There was one episode where they encountered a killer who used the 1963 John Fowles novel The Collector to give the BAU team clues. Obviously Reid was the first to crack the code and place the excerpts which led them to, yep, a young woman being held captive in a basement. Art imitating art! But why, Criminal Minds writers, why stop there? Literature is just dripping with stories ripe for a good old 'Crim' (don't judge me) adaptation. Here are some examples:
The Sailor who Fell From Grace With the Sky by Yukio Mishima – A group of boys hang out at their club house and torture small animals before turning their wrath on one of their mother's boyfriends. Kids, amirite? Lots of stuff for the gang to unpack here, including a kid who likes to watch his mum undress. The very mother that Morgan would just love to comfort/protect/be the instigating force for him to take the case waaaaay too personally.
The Violent Bear it Away by Flannery O'Connor – Criminal Minds loves a religious unsub almost as much as they (it?) loves creating sympathy for their backstory, so many have never stood a chance in the face of their own childhood victimization. O'Connor's 1960 novel is the perfect marriage of the two. A fanatical, evangelical (redundant?) Christian teenager who was kidnapped as a baby and subsequently indoctrinated by his great-uncle. Upon the great-uncle's death he seeks out his uncle and terrible shit goes down. Oh, he also thinks he's possessed by the devil. Prentiss would be all over that shit. (I'm pretending for the sake of this post and for my own heart that Paget Brewster is not leaving the show.)
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson – I don't think there's anyone who took high school English in the US or Canada who hasn't read this story. And for good reason: it is so wickedly (all the kids are still saying wicked, right? Ok, good), skin-crawly good. A town that practices population control by possibly one of the most gruesome ways imaginable? I think you all should go read it right now. I'll wait. Here's a link to it. Go on. So good right? Now imagine our favourite behaviour analysts hearing rumours of mysterious, annual deaths in a small town. They get in their sweet ride (private jet, whaaaaat) and check it out because maybe the thousands of serial killers regularly keeping shop in the States are taking a personal day, but no one is talking. Not Mr Summers who seemed to act as defacto spokesperson for the townspeople. Not Bill Hutchinson who's wife is just... Gone. Maybe there is some old legend about ancient practices akin to the lottery that has led to this town's macabre tradition, if so you know Reid is gonna know about it. And you know the quote is going to be from Heart of Darkness.
Eva's Man by Gayl Jones – A woman murders her lover, is taken into custody but will not say a single word. BAU: Challenge accepted. Strauss wouldn't want them working the case but JJ and Prentiss would know there was more to this case than what met the eye and of course, Hotch would have their back. Garcia would dig around a bit and find out about her childhood and teenage years, she'd get that sad look on her face and say "oh guys..." before launching in about the horror of rape and abuse. They'd go to the hotel room that where Eva stayed, and stabbed, her lover, they'd ask around about the relationship. Pretty soon the picture would form and Prentiss, with stories of her own, would be able to break through to Eva and help her tell her story and save herself from a life in prison. Ta-da happy ending! I think I just wrote fan-fiction?
Great weekend, everyone! Avoid the thousands of incredibly wiley and sadistic serial killers out there! (Poor taste, Alex, poor taste.)
Alex Snider is a Toronto-based writer. This post originally appeared on her blog. Follow her on Twitter.