A Hitman is a professional killer who is either employed by organized crime syndicates or works as a mercenary on a contractual basis, either short or long-term. In the case of a long-term contractor, the hitman is usually known as an Enforcer. In organized crime, he or she may be known as a soldier or simply muscle.
It is difficult to categorize hitmen, as there is usually no psychopathy. A hitman's motive may simply be money, underworld fame or notoriety, or a combination of the three. In rare cases, a hitman (such as Vincent Perotta) may display psychopathic behavior or pleasure when killing. Such hitmen are less likely to demand large sums of money for their "work", seeing the act as a reward in itself. Along with black widows, bluebeards, and con artists (or fraudsters) prone to murdering their marks, hitmen could be categorized as "comfort" serial killers.
There are at least ten subcategories for criminal-enterprise homicide, as described by the FBI:
- Contract or third-party murder
- Gang-motivated murder
- Criminal-competition murder, which is a criminal-enterprise murder similar to gang-related murder
- Kidnap murder, in which a hitman assumes some sort of demand in exchange for the victim's return
- Product-tampering homicide, which may or may not include a financial-extortion demand
- Drug murder, which is typically related to organized drug-related gang activity
- Insurance/inheritance-related death, in which a majority of those kill successive relatives and spouses in anticipation of some financial insurance or inheritance
- Individual-profit, where the murderer hopes to profit financially, such as through a life-insurance payment
- Commercial-profit murder, where his or her desire is to achieve controlling interest in an active business concern, and the profits from same
- Felony murder, which refers to the murders that occur during commission of some other crime, such as robbery or burglary
- Indiscriminate felony murder, which refers to a homicide planned in advance but without any specific victims in mind
- Situational-felony murder, which involves a murder spawned by panic, confusion, or impulse
On Criminal Minds
- Vincent Perotta ("Natural Born Killer") - A serial killer specializing in torture-murder, who was a part-time freelance hitman.
- Jack Vaughn ("3rd Life") - A former hitman, currently in witness protection, who once worked as an enforcer for an Irish mob known as the McCrellan Corporation.
- Tony Mecacci ("Reckoner") - A freelance hitman hired by Judge Boyd Schuller, who had him act as a pseudo-vigilante.
- Colin Bramwell ("Final Shot") - A former South African special forces sniper hired by Eric Carcani to kill his wife Maya, as well as people closely involved with her case when she left Carcani.
- Hitman Network ("The Job", "Target Rich", "Entropy") - A network of professional hitmen that appeared in Season Eleven. Their membership comprises of:
- John Bradley ("Derek") - A professional hitman hired by crime lord Chazz Montolo to torture SSA Derek Morgan alongside Bradley's teammates.
- Lindsey Vaughn ("3rd Life", "Unforgettable", "Green Light", "Red Light") - A cartel hitwoman and the daughter of Jack Vaughan, whose footsteps she was following in.
- Gabriel Merza ("Blue Angel") - A hitman who worked for the Chaldean Mafia prior to being incarcerated for manslaughter.