"I don't want you, I want my family."
Dolan was born sometime around 1974. On March 23, 1998, he married a woman named Jenna Moxon, with whom he had a daughter, Ally, in 2002. He had military training in Quantico, joined the U.S. Navy, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant, soon becoming the second-in-command and explosives specialist of a Navy SEAL team led by Adam Werner. He served thirteen years, some of that time in South Africa. During that time in South Africa, he was involved in a covert operation near Cape Town code-named Operation Dorado Falls, which was about intercepting a boat owned by a South African diplomat who was selling nuclear secrets to Iran. On June 10-11, 2000, Dolan and his team succeeded in intercepting the boat, but unfortunately, there were two children aboard who were witnesses, forcing Dolan to shoot and kill them under orders from his superiors. The children's deaths were considered collateral damage and the mission was likely carried out without further incident. The grief from killing the children lasted in Dolan's mind.
After being discharged from the Navy, Dolan returned to the U.S. to begin a normal life with his family, but his relationship with them was strained. On August 21, 2010, Jenna separated from him, citing that he seemed to be more committed to the Navy than to his family. On September 30, 2011, he got into a car accident, which triggered a psychotic break that then provoked Capgras syndrome, which caused him to believe that his wife and daughter had been abducted and everyone close to him were impostors, all of whom were part of a big conspiracy against him, likely for his involvement in Operation Dorado Falls. Coupled with his military experience and ability to kill efficiently as parts of missions, the Capgras syndrome (whose sufferers usually don't resort to killing) rendered him willing to kill the "impostors" without a second thought.
Three days after the car accident, Dolan is awakened by a rainstorm, a bleeding cut from the accident still on his forehead. Going outside to water his lawn, he begins hallucinating, and comes to believe that his neighbors and the deliverymen are watching him. Dolan calls someone on the phone, apparently his team leader Adam Werner, to alert him that there are eyes on them. He then goes to an office belonging to an Internet security company called Synalock, in order to meet up with Werner, who is the company's CEO. Upon seeing him, he repeatedly shoots Werner with a .45 handgun in front of several employees. He then proceeds to kill all six employees present in the office. As he leaves, he encounters another employee, Nathan Munz, whose throat he slashes. While the BAU is being briefed of his massacre, Dolan packs several weapons, including automatic firearms and knives, into a duffel bag and leaves.
Later arriving at his parents' house, Dolan meets up with his father, only to assume that he is an impostor and captures him and his mother, putting them in a closet and intimidating them with music from a radio with the volume all the way up. He then interrogates them, believing they have information about Dorado Falls, and psychologically tortures them by playing loud music near them using a radio. When his father tries to appeal to him, Dolan shuts the closet door on them and then shoots through it repeatedly with an MP5K submachine gun, killing both of them. Later, following the discovery of his parents' bodies, the BAU immediately deduce Dolan to be the unsub and his motivations. Meanwhile, Dolan arrives at Jenna's house, only to find them being taken into custody by police at the BAU's orders. A police officer, not recognizing him, spots him and tells him to leave, which he does, just as a wanted alert with Dolan's picture appears on a police van computer.
Changing his appearance, Dolan then breaks into the house of his former commanding officer (and the one who gave the order to kill the two children during Dorado Falls), General Boyd Milgram. When inside, he holds Milgram's wife Wendy at gunpoint, forcing him to surrender. Dolan then assaults him and interrogates him, demanding to know where Jenna and Ally are, as he believes they are being held captive as bargaining chips. He then takes Milgram with him, leaving Wendy alive, and tells him of his plan to trade him for Jenna and Ally. All the while, Milgram remains defiant and berates Dolan for his actions. Later, Rossi calls Dolan and uses his status as a former Marine in order to gain his trust while Garcia triangulates Dolan's location. Rossi continues to talk with Dolan while Hotch and Morgan lead several local officers to a warehouse Garcia manages to track down. There, they find the general, but no sign of Dolan.
Meanwhile, Dolan, now at Quantico, manages to kill an FBI police officer for his uniform and security pass, the latter of which he uses to gain access to the BAU headquarters. Finding his way to the BAU offices and confronting Rossi, Morgan, JJ, Reid, and several employees, Dolan holds them all at gunpoint with the MP5K and threatens to blow himself and the others up with homemade bombs unless Jenna and Ally are handed over to him within three minutes. Jenna and Ally communicate with him from another room, convincing him to disarm himself. When Dolan finally does so after Jenna reminds him of their honeymoon, he is told to close his eyes to prevent his delusions from taking over again upon seeing Jenna and Ally. Dolan closes his eyes, and Jenna hugs him as he is arrested. However, Ally starts screaming out for her dad, causing him to open his eyes and begins struggling against his bonds as Morgan takes him away.
During the massacre at the Synalock office, Dolan killed the first five victims by shooting them repeatedly with a .45-caliber Springfield Armory TRP handgun (Adam Werner took four rounds to the chest and one to the head, while the four others were all shot twice, usually in the torso). He then killed the last three by stabbing them in the stomach or torso and slashing their throats with a knife after running out of ammunition. When he killed his parents, he shot them repeatedly using an MP5K submachine gun after locking them in a closet. When he infiltrated the FBI headquarters, he threatened to remotely detonate explosives on a bandoleer he presumably constructed himself, and also threatened them with the MP5K. When he held General Boyd Milgram and his wife hostage, he used a .45-caliber Sig Sauer P220 Sport handgun, also using it to assault the former. In addition, he tortured his parents and Boyd Milgram with some sort of loud music as a scare tactic for his "interrogations".
The unsub is a physically-fit male in his 30s to 40s, who is possibly a veteran. He does not appear threatening and is able to blend in very easily. Until the abduction of Boyd Milgram, it was assumed that the unsub was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, specifically a pathological dissociation in which he believed that he is in a combat situation; as a result, in his eyes, everyone is a potential enemy. Despite his mental state, he is armed and considered extremely dangerous due to his high experience in survival skills and combat from his time as a Navy SEAL. He believes he is on a mission, and if he feels threatened, he will kill everyone standing in his way.
As further understanding of the case was acquired, it is revealed that the unsub instead suffers from Capgras syndrome, which causes him to believe that his loved ones, including his family members, have been replaced by identical-looking impostors. However, his condition only truly affects his sense of vision, so if he recognizes someone's voice without seeing them, the delusion does not kick in. It was triggered by his car accident, and since then, he believes he is on a mission to save his family from the "impostors". His imaginary conspiracy is centered around Operation Dorado Falls, during which he shot and killed two children under orders to eliminate witnesses. During the office massacre, the unsub was highly organized and completely able to control his emotions, unlike a typical spree killer or workplace shooter. He targeted Adam Werner, then killed everyone else in the office to eliminate witnesses.
- Presumably killed numerous unnamed enemy soldiers prior to his discharge
- June 10-11, 2000, South Africa: Two unnamed children (shot and killed under orders during Operation Dorado Falls)
- 2011, Virginia, U.S.:
- October 3, Charlottesville:
- Eight killed in the Synalock office massacre. The victims are:
- Adam Werner (his former team leader; shot four times in the chest and once in the head with a handgun)
- Jamie (Werner's secretary; shot twice with a handgun)
- Three unnamed office workers (all shot twice with a handgun)
- Vinia Dev (stabbed and her throat was slashed)
- Jane Burney (stabbed in the stomach and her throat was slashed)
- Nathan Munz (incidental; stabbed and his throat was slashed)
- Mark and Mary Dolan (his parents; both tied up, forced into a closet, psychologically tortured with loud music, and shot repeatedly with a submachine gun):
- Mark Dolan (held at knifepoint)
- Mary Dolan
- Boyd and Wendy Milgram:
- General Boyd Milgram (his former commanding officer; abducted, pistol-whipped, and psychologically tortured with loud music; was rescued)
- Wendy Milgram (held at gunpoint and tied up; was released when Milgram surrendered himself)
- Eight killed in the Synalock office massacre. The victims are:
- October 3-4, Quantico: The shooting and standoff at the BAU headquarters:
- October 3, Charlottesville:
- Dolan shares some similarities with Roy Woodridge, a criminal the BAU apprehended late in Season Two. Both were former U.S. soldiers who became traumatized by the missions they fought in, particularly when they killed children as part of said missions, events that eventually caused them to become spree killers, murdering random victims under the influence of their PTSDs (although Dolan targeted some of his victims due to their involvement in Operation Dorado Falls).
- Dolan is the second of three unsubs who have successfully breached the BAU headquarters, the first being serial killer Jason Clark Battle, who appeared in Season Three, and serial killer John Curtis, who appeared in the following season.