The team investigates a group of bodies discovered buried in various states of decomposition in Portland, Oregon. The mode of death varies dramatically, which is unusual since most killers have one MO. Soon a new disappearance comes to their attention, and it becomes clear that they are working against time.
The killer is a therapist with his own set of psychoses, brought on by his on childhood abuse at the hands of his mother. He's torturing his victims by using their fears against them, while at his home, he is trying to appear normal to his wife and child. He lures his "clients" by offering cash to participate in an anxiety study, and Garcia discovers that he has set up a bogus website to make his business appear legitimate.
When 12 more bodies are discovered, the desperation to find the doctor becomes even more acute. After the team creates a profile, Garcia comes up with the name of a disgraced therapist who fits all the angles. Just as he is burying yet another victim alive, the FBI storms his building. Though the doctor kills himself before he is caught, they rescue the final victim from a terrifying fate.
As the team flies home, Morgan asks Hotch about his recent distraction. Hotch confesses that it's not Gideon's departure from the unit bothering him, but rather that Hotch's wife has left home.