Criminal Minds Finale Asks: Are You Afraid of the Dark?


Bad things happen in Los Angeles when the lights go out.


That was the idea Criminal Minds co-executive producer Erica Messer and the rest of the writers kept in mind when crafting Wednesday's season finale (9/8c on CBS).


"The mandate given to me by [executive producer] Ed Bernero for the finale was just to make it the scariest one we've ever done, which is an interesting assignment," Messer tells TVGuide.com. "I started thinking, 'OK we've done 114 episodes: What is the scariest episode we've ever done?' What I realized is, I needed to know what scares me. If I wrote my fear then there will be a truth to it."


So Messer added to that basic fear of the dark some elements of the serial killer Richard Ramirez, known as the "Night Stalker," who terrorized the Los Angeles area in the 1980s. "He attacked people in their homes, and that's where you're supposed to be safe," Messer says. "That's the one thing in this world you can trust, that you're safe in your home, and he took that away from everyone."


The end product is Minds' Billy Flynn, a serial killer who has for years preyed on victims during blackouts. Guest star Tim Curry brings the menace to life, and his casting naturally helped shape the role and the story.


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