|“||They [Hitchcock Pharmaceuticals] took everything from me; fruits of my labor, best years of my life. They took my family. And when there was nothing left to take, they took two-thirds of my salary and my health insurance.||”|
Edward worked as a chemist for Palmay Cosmetics, a cosmetics company in New Jersey. His work resulted in his family breaking up. At some point prior to "Poison", he developed a groundbreaking anti-aging technology, which he applied a patent at First New Jersey Federal Bank. However, his patent application was rejected by the bank because Palmay Cosmetics had been bought by the larger Hitchcock Pharmaceuticals, which had already applied for the same patent. Hitchcock Pharmaceuticals took over the patent, demoted him, cut his salary by two-thirds, and took away his health insurance. Over time, his rage grew increasingly over this and he plotted revenge. He got romantically involved with Lynn Dempsey, a female Hitchcock Pharmaceuticals executive assistant with low self-esteem, and manipulated her into aiding him. He had her plant candies and envelopes, both laced with poison, at the New Jersey Federal Bank as a trial run for his real attack. After the test run was successful, though it had only one casualty, Edward poisoned Lynn with botulinum toxin and Rohypnol to remove loose ends.
The BAU are called in to assist local investigators after being contacted by the Center for Disease Control. They figure that what had happened was a mere test run for a bigger attack. They go to a café where four of the seven known victims were all seen the same day they reported showing symptoms and are led to Danny Wallace, a busboy there who had called in sick. Elle goes to talk to his girlfriend Samantha who had also been affected. She suspects that Danny had drugged and raped her as she has some bruises and memory loss. When Elle catches Danny, he explains that they'd had consensual sex after which she'd had a frenzy and attacked him, forcing him to hold her down. Realizing that he is telling the truth, the team determines that Danny isn't the unsub, the café was just a coincidence, and Samantha was merely another victim. The team then deduces that a mass poisoner of the Avenger type is the unsub. After giving the profile, the BAU learn that the story has been leaked to a news channel, which didn't name the affected restaurant and created a city-wide panic as a result.
Reid and JJ check local hospitals for similar poisonings and find a hospitalized Lynn Dempsey who was suffering from symptoms of nausea, memory loss, and labored breathing. Before she dies she mutters "the en-...". Meanwhile, one of the poisoning victims remembers going to First New Jersey Federal Bank the day he was poisoned, Elle and Morgan begin looking over the banks security tapes from that day and discover every victim visited the bank on the day they were poisoned. Going through the surveillance footage, they see Lynn dropping candies in a large candy jar among normal ones and figure out that was the source of the poison. After looking into her background, they learn that the company she worked for, Hitchcock Pharmaceuticals, had recently fired or demoted several of its employees. They track down Edward and arrest him. When they interrogate him, he explains his motive for the attack and refuses to help them, no longer having any concern for the lives of his targets. Hotch, as a lawyer, eventually talks him into fighting Hitchcock Pharmaceuticals in court and give up his next target. He reveals that he had poisoned the punch bowl at the company party. The authorities stop the party and treat those who had been poisoned.
At the interrogation room, Hotch becomes suspicious over the fact that Edward had targeted the Hitchcock Pharmaceuticals employees instead of the management, as they were responsible for his demotion. Reid then points out that one of the trial run victims was a severe diabetic and couldn't therefore have ingested the poison from the candy. Going through the bank's surveillance footage of Lynn again, they notice that she also applied poison to a stack of envelopes, which is what she had tried to tell them before she died. Realizing that Edward's motive for the trial was to test delivery systems, not the actual poison, and both the punch bowl and the candies were both decoys. They turn around and notice that he is choking to death after ingesting his own poison earlier. Following Edward's death they learn that most of the company's management staff is away on a corporate retreat which Lynn Dempsey had organized. A bonding exercise the managers are performing on the retreat involves selecting a leader by voting and placing the votes in envelopes, envelopes which Lynn replaced with Edward's poisoned ones. The team and the state police begin searching camp sites for the managers and find them only after they licked the envelopes and ingested the poison. Fortunately, the team arrives before anyone dies and paramedics begin giving everyone doses of antitoxin.
Edward's first poison blend, which was made primarily to test possible delivery methods, consisted of LSD (to create hallucinations) and Rohypnol (to make the victims forget how they could have been poisoned). He then mixed the blend with candies and placed it on the glue strips of envelopes. He then had Lynn place them in the candy bowl and envelope stack in the First New Jersey Federal Bank, respectively.
When he killed Lynn, he used Rohypnol and botulinum toxin, though it was never specified how. When he attacked the employees and upper management of Hitchcock Pharmaceuticals, he only used botulinum toxin, placing it in a punch bowl and on the glue strips of the envelopes used by the upper management during their team-building exercise.
There are at least four types of offenders who commit murder with poison: True Believers, Extortionists, Pranksters, and Avengers. The unsub belongs in the Avenger category, being motivated by revenge, using poison as his weapon. The randomness of the victimology, average people in an average city, means that the unsub is a local resident. He typically acts alone, although he may have manipulated someone close to him to assist him. Avengers typically dispose their accomplices when he or she is of no further use to him. The unsub is a cautious, deliberate, and highly functioning 35-to 50-year-old male who, while not having a criminal record, may have filed criminal charges or civil suits against his perceived adversaries. He had lost his empathy and his moral compass due to the perceived injustice and rage.
He chose LSD, a perception-altering drug, because he seeks to alter the (in his opinion) wrongful perception of him by the community he lives in or, at least, a subset of it. He believes that the attack will alter the reality that he lives in and perceives as unjust. He is so self-centered that he believes his victims will know who attacked them and why. He no longer has any concern for human life and will kill whomever necessary to proceed with his plan. He is savvy enough to use Rohypnol to obstruct the investigation and make the victims forget how they were dosed because the first attack wasn't his primary objective. They are simply a trial run for his true plan. The Avenger tests his weapons first, so it would not be the first time he had aired his grievances. To measure the results of his attacks, he'll be watching the results and, since they, in this case, were successful, unleash all of his bottled-up rage in the form of a larger attack, where a lot of people could die. If he realizes that he's about to get caught before he can set his real plan into motion, he will most likely kill himself. If he is caught alive, however, he will want to brag about his brilliant plan and recount every detail of it.
- January 13: Eight people poisoned by the first blend of LSD and Rohypnol. They are:
- Jack Fisher (had a frenzy and beat his son to near-death with a tire iron)
- Gail Norman (ran out in the middle of a road and was killed by an oncoming car)
- Britney Cannon (fell out of a tree house and fractured her skull, leaving her comatose; it is unknown if she survived)
- Samantha DiFornio (had a frenzy shortly after having sex with her boyfriend)
- Four other unnamed people
- January 16: Lynn Dempsey (accomplice; poisoned with Rohypnol and botulinum toxin; died later in a hospital)
- January 17:
- About a dozen unnamed attendants of the Hichcock Pharmaceutical party (all were poisoned with botulinum toxin, but later cured)
- Poisoned the entire Hichcock Pharmaceutical management with botulinum toxin, but all were cured. Named victims are:
- Brian Devons
- January 13: Eight people poisoned by the first blend of LSD and Rohypnol. They are:
Victims by Proxy
- January 13-14, 2006:
- Eric Fisher (Jack Fisher's son; attempted, but barely survived; was beaten to near-death with a tire iron by his father during a frenzy)
- Danny Wallace (Samantha DiFornio's boyfriend; assaulted and attempted to kill through his frenzied girlfriend)