“Criminal Minds” has been exploring some interesting themes lately – it’s pretty standard for the show to offer a more unique angle on some things in life, but sometimes the writers decide to take a little more creative freedom and include certain more disturbing, unusual elements that truly get people talking. Recently, we saw an episode about murderers being mind-controlled and manipulated into killing their victims.
And now, the latest episode of the show had the characters chasing after a vigilante who had taken the law in their own hands. The episode “Protection” started off on a somewhat standard note – the team discovered one body after another, but they soon realized there might be a deeper connection between the “victims” than they realized. Apparently, they had all been linked to criminal activity in the past.
Soon enough, the crew starts to suspect that they’re dealing with a vigilante, and it turns out that they’re right. The actual villain of this episode was Danny Lee Stokes, a paranoid schizophrenic who spiraled down into a deteriorating mental state after his mother was murdered in a brutal way. He then stopped taking his medication and slipped into a life based entirely on delusion, where he felt compelled to avenge the murder of his mother.
This caused him to take up the role of a vigilante who hunts down criminals and brings “justice” to them – but of course, his definition of justice had no place in a civilized society, so the team had to take him down. The episode touched on various topics of mental instability, and there were various hints that the characters helping out the murderer were actually products of his imagination, which turned out to be true in the end.
The character also suffered from severe headaches, something he’s been self-medicating with alcohol, which only served to make his condition worse overall. He had various issues with his life that all added up to making him a very dangerous person, out of touch with reality and not in control of his own life.
According to critics and fans though, the character was also written in an exceptionally good way in the sense that he wasn’t portrayed as a “default” villain. In other words, the writers didn’t immediately jump to the “he is a monster” trope, but instead portrayed a very humane part of his character which drew a lot of sympathy to him. It was one of the more emotional episodes of the show we’ve seen recently, and that says a lot, considering that the writers have been stepping up the dramatic developments significantly lately. There’s not much to go until the end of this season, and it’s shaping up to be the best one the show has had yet.