|Alias||The Couple Killer|
|Family||Mary-Ann Thomas (wife)|
|Pathology|| Serial Killer (originally)|
Spree Killer (later)
|Modus Operandi|| Shooting (husbands and one wife)|
|Portrayed By||Craig Sheffer|
|First Appearance||Compromising Positions|
"Now it's my turn..."
James and his wife, Mary-Ann, were regular swingers. He would usually select husbands for Mary-Ann, let them have sex with her and then step in himself. He worked as a freelancing locksmith. In 2009, he suffered from a condition called prostatic hyperplasia. He went in for a routine surgery which went bad, forcing the doctors to remove the whole prostate, rendering him impotent in the process. He and Mary-Ann still kept attending swingers' parties, even though he couldn't take part in the activities. One day, his wife became pregnant with another man. This loss of control drove James to murder the man who impregnated Mary-Ann, then start serial killing, targeting couples whose husbands were alpha males that he met previously.
In the beginning of the episode, James, having claimed the lives of the Kepplers days ago, has just completed his ritual again, forcing the Hartways to have sex in a car and killing them. The two double homicides lead to the BAU being called in. During his attack on the Wilsons, the husband puts up too much of a fight, completely destroying the fantasy. After a long struggle, James is able to reach his gun and shoot the husband to death. He then turns to the wife, forcing her to say she wants him. In an attempt to survive, she plays along, even taking off her robe, only to be shot and killed as well. James later attends another swingers' party. The host lets him in, knowing him but asks why Mary-Ann isn't with him; James claims that she is on her way and is trusted. On the dance floor, he sees a dancing couple being approached by another man, which is his usual fantasy. As the trio make out in a couch, James watches them and grows increasingly frustrated until he snaps, pulls out a pair of handguns, and shoots the two men and any other man in sight. He then begins moving around the house, shooting any men he can find, and escapes.
When investigating the scene of the mass shooting, Reid and Rossi discover that James unlocked a door by successfully picking it rather than shooting it open (even though it was a deadbolt lock that could be easily shot through), an act which only a professional could do. Garcia narrows down the list of potential suspects to James. The BAU and local police raid his home and find Mary-Ann, who, surprisingly, is pregnant. They question her, trying to learn who the father is, but she keeps claiming that James is the father, even though his impotence predates her impregnation and there is no record of her being inseminated in some other way. Reid shows her crime scene photos of men who have been killed by the same type of weapon that James uses. When she sees one of them, she breaks down and admits that he is the father, not James. They ask her about their prior sexual habits, since James is most likely revisiting old patterns. She tells them that they used to do pickup roleplays at a local bar. The BAU go to the bar and find James there. Since he is highly unstable and there would be a lot of collateral damage if he is provoked, Prentiss goes in pretending to be a fellow swinger who met him years earlier when together with a boyfriend. She begins chatting him up in order to distract him while the others approach him. Realizing that she is lying when she gets his pattern wrong (he always chose husbands for Mary-Ann, never boyfriends), James grabs a gun within his jacket. While SWAT enters, Prentiss reaches into her handbag and shoots James through it. As he lies, dying, he asks Prentiss to tell Mary-Ann that he loves her.
James targeted couples, the husbands of which he came across in his line of work and were always alpha males. He obtained their personal information by using his skills as a locksmith to open their gym lockers. He would bind them with handcuffs, make the men ingest Viagra, and force them to have sex in front of him, even setting up a romantic scenery with candles and soft music (depending on what the scene of the act permitted) and make the husbands wear a condom to make things as comfortable as possible. Once the couple were done, he would kill the husbands by shooting them with a suppressed 9mm handgun and stab the wives to death. The shots were usually not immediately fatal, so as to assure that the husbands would live long enough to see James kill their wives. During the massacre at the party, he used an unsuppressed pair of his usual handguns and targeted only the men.
The unsub is an emasculated alpha male with a near obsessive-compulsive need for control. The repeated details of the murders show that his ritual is essential to him. He is a troilist, someone who gets off on staging scenes and participating in them. He almost definitely has some woman in his life, most likely a wife, as he wouldn't be allowed to enter a swingers' party alone. The fact that his fantasy is two men with one woman suggests that his fantasy is sharing his wife with an unmarried man and then stepping in to prove his masculinity. He practiced this fantasy in his ordinary life, but, when he became impotent for some reason, he could no longer complete it and began killing to gain release. Because of his last murder, which went very wrong and disrupted his ritual, he will begin a process called "decompensating." This means that, since his pattern has failed, it will affect his future ones. And since his first loss of control was most likely his wife, he will start pursuing new patterns. At the end of a decompensation, the unsub will go into a temporary psychotic break and start revisiting old patterns to see if they still work. When he finds that they don't, he will be compelled to destroy them and anyone involved in them.
- 2009-2010: The unnamed man who impregnated Mary-Ann (shot)
- Robert and Allison Keppler
- Scott and Kathy Hartway
- Paul and Debra Wilson (both were shot)
- Killed eight men and presumably injured several others in the swingers' party massacre. Known casualties are:
- The two unnamed men shot first
- An unnamed man having sex with the party's host (the last fatality in the shooting)
- Numerous unnamed bar employees and customers (intended)
- Emily Prentiss (attempted to shoot; she shot him before he can pull the trigger)