Criminal Minds

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Alex O’Loughlin played serial killer  “Vincent Rowlings” in Season 4, Episode 22  The Big Wheel”  (Aired on 04/29/09) 

The son of Sid and Kim Rowlings, Vincent’s parents’ marriage appeared to be an unhappy one, with Kim cheating on Sid with another man. On June 5, 1983, when Vincent was nine years old, Sid returned home early one day, and caught Kim and her lover together, forcing the latter out. Watching from a closet with a camera as his parents argued, Vincent witnessed his father kill his mother in a fit of rage after Kim began screaming about how much she hated Sid, and her life. After his father fled the scene, Vincent approached his mother’s body, dropping the camera, and sat by her side for almost an entire day before they were found, which likely left him permanently psychologically damaged. Vincent hid the tape showing his mother’s murder from the police, and kept it to himself, watching it over and over again over the course of his life to such an extent that the video began degrading over time.

Later in his life, Vincent became a videographer, and developedobsessive-compulsive disorder. Some of his rituals, which border on the extreme, were:


  • Must open (and sometimes close) doors two-to-three times.
  • Wears different slippers in every room.
  • Obsessive about color coordination.
  • Brushes teeth in front of mirror covered in plastic.
  • Sandwiches must be crustless and cut exactly diagonally.
  • Steering wheel wrapped in plastic.
  • Cannot step on cracks in the sidewalk.
  • Must touch foreign objects with a napkin in his hand.
  • Must wash or sanitize hands after touching any foreign object without a napkin.
  • Will use a bar of soap only once, after which he disposes of the bar of soap.
  • Must circle items twice 
  • Repeats certain sentences to himself.

Starting in June 1998, Vincent began killing women similar to his mother in appearance once a year during the months of spring, stabbing them repeatedly and recording the deaths via cameras that he had installed in his glasses. On April 18, 2007, Vincent killed a woman named Joyce Wolcott in her yard, in front of her young, blind son Stan. Vincent let Stan live, and after he was placed in foster care, he befriended him through a mentoring program, believing the boy (who was unaware of who Vincent really was) helped him “to see”. Presumably due to the influence Stan had on him, Vincent did not kill anyone in 2008, and he also developed a new ritual of imitating Stan’s echolocation technique. In March 2009, Vincent was told by Stan’s foster mother Kate Charlotte that they would be moving away soon to California, much to his distress. This distress is what triggered Vincent to begin killing again, but due to his relationship ties to Stan remaining strong, Vincent felt remorse and thus, was less violent with his new victims, only stabbing them once instead of multiple times.

Vincent is then seen approaching and talking to Stan, who, after using his echolocation technique, tells him that nothing will happen if he steps on cracks. Rossi and Morgan later interview Stan, who offers to help catch his mother’s killer. Stan describes the night his mother was killed: he had gone outside, finding her by following her moans, and sensed someone near her; Stan knows the killer saw him. Later, as Vincent walks down a street, he is approached by two punks, one blocking him from behind and one confronting him face-to-face. The second punk threatens him with a handgun, but Vincent stabs him. As he dies, the gunman shoots right through the side of Vincent’s waist; Vincent recovers quickly, only grunting slightly from the pain, and merely turns to the other, now-frightened punk, expressionless. Returning home without killing the other punk, he changes his clothes before grabbing the leftover half of a sandwich and tears a small piece of bread off, which he stuffs into his gunshot wounds. He then wraps the wound in plastic wrap to stop the bleeding for a short time before watching the video of his mother’s death, remorse in his eyes.

Morgan, Hotch, and Rossi later interview the first punk, apprehended at the scene of his compatriot’s death, who describes the unsub, including the clicking noises that he made. The team races to Stan’s house to find him missing. Vincent and Stan are then seen riding in Vincent’s car. Stan tells him that the FBI was at his house earlier. Vincent says that on the night Stan’s mother was killed, the unsub may have saw something in Stan, and knew that he couldn’t hurt him. Stan confesses that he wishes the killer had gotten him, too. Meanwhile, Stan’s foster mother reveals the identity of the man who mentored her foster son as Vincent Rowlings to the BAU. The team is then able to track him down at a local fair after looking through Stan’s room and discovering the miniature of a Ferris wheel, displayed dominantly amongst the other miniatures. Meanwhile, Vincent and Stan approach a Ferris wheel, getting into one of the baskets. Vincent asks the attendant to stop the Ferris wheel when they reach the top. Stan then asks Vincent if he can see the stars. He promptly asks Stan if he remembers saying that he wished the killer had killed him too. He explains that he saw his own mother die too, and that Stan should never wish to die. Vincent then tells Stan that he is special because he helped him to “see”. Vincent then asks Stan for forgiveness before bleeding to death on the way down, closing his eyes before lying still, still clinging to Stanley. By the time the wheel gets back down, Morgan is there to greet Stan, his gun drawn and upon realizing that Vincent is dead, takes Stan away. After reuniting Stan with his foster mother, Stan asks Morgan if Vincent had killed his mom. Morgan doesn’t answer, but Stan figures it out and begins grieving for his dead mother.


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