|“||...I mean, it gets to the point where where you can't even look at yourself in the mirror, like it's your fault. Sometimes you have to move on, but sometimes you can't move on, and that's no way to live. Unless there's the easy way out [suicide]. But...who wants to take that when you have responsibilities! What I'm trying to say, Gus, is I understand. I do. You will no longer have to suffer.||”|
Not much about Michael's personal life is revealed, other than that he was once married to a woman named Andrea Wright. Their relationship was apparently not a happy one, since she cheated on him with Michael's best friend, Doug Summers, with whom he worked together at a scrap yard. The affair resulted in a son, Hunter, who grew up not knowing that Doug was his biological father. On December 15, 2011, Michael learned the truth about Hunter and was also served divorce papers when Andrea officially left him for Doug, who moved into the house she and Michael had once shared. Michael eventually became a bartender and moved into the loft of the bar he worked at. Heavily resentful at both Andrea and Doug, Michael started serial killing shortly after the New Year, murdering and castrating (post-mortem) bar patrons he befriended after listening in on stories about their recently-rough lives, all of which involved relationships that ended as a result of infidelity. Afterwards, he would hide the bodies in a closed-down lifeguard tower and dispose of their cars using the scrap yard. By the time the events of "Closing Time" began, he claimed three lives. The bodies were later discovered by a teenage couple.
Just as the BAU are briefed on Michael's case, he is first seen standing before the body of Joseph Kraus, having finished castrating him. Learning that his dump site has been discovered, Michael abandons the corpse at a different lifeguard tower before visiting Hunter and asking him to stay at his house, to which he agrees. The following night, Michael goes to the scrap yard, having destroyed Joseph's car, and encounters Doug, who attempts to apologize to him, but is rebuffed by Michael, who coldly replies, "You can kill yourself." Michael later ties up another bar patron, Gus Harrington, and tells him that he will end his suffering. Gus tries calling out for help, but Michael replies that no one can hear him before killing him. To avoid detection, he leaves the body under a pier instead of a lifeguard tower. He then visits Andrea and has an argument with her over visiting Hunter before Doug arrives on the scene, forcing Michael to leave. He attends to his job as a bartender and chats up a male patron before spotting Kelsey Ashwood and listens in on her story in which she cheated on her husband. Michael gives Kelsey another drink and tells her that "it's on the house". He then gets her drunk and, instead of shooting her execution-style, he stabs and dismembers her to death, leaving her in a dumpster.
As he disposes of Kelsey's car at the scrap yard, Michael is confronted by Doug, who reminds him that he doesn't work at the yard anymore. When Doug tells Michael to get over what has happened to him and to "do the right thing", they get into an argument which results in Michael pushing Doug over a railing and into a car compactor, breaking his back. Michael seizes his chance to place Kelsey's car over Doug to prevent escape before crushing both with the compactor, killing Doug. Knowing that he will be suspected for Doug's murder and desperate to not get caught, Michael picks up Hunter from school and drives him to the bar he works at, where he holds him at gunpoint. When Hunter finds out that Michael killed Doug (whom he recently learned was his biological father), he yells at him, only to be incapacitated and taken to the basement where Michael killed most of his victims. JJ arrives just as Michael is finished tying Hunter up and tells Hunter to tell Michael he is his real dad. Michael orders JJ to put down her gun; she complies, then attacks Michael in hand-to-hand combat to allow Hunter to escape. After initially having the upper hand, JJ attempts to grab her weapon. Michael recovers and is able to pin her briefly before she kicks him in the genitals, incapacitating him. Hunter grabs Michael's fallen gun and is about to shoot him for killing Doug, but is talked down by JJ, who takes the weapon from him. Michael is arrested and Hunter reunites with Andrea.
"...Wanna talk about it?"
Michael targeted businessmen of various races and sexual orientations. They all visited the South Bay, came to his bar, and had suffered some sort of bad luck, such as a divorce or loss of money. Another thing that they had in common was that their relationships had ended due to infidelity. After approaching and befriending them (using the story of how his marriage ended to get close to them), he would get them drunk with alcohol from his bar (without charging them to stop them from being electronically traced), take them to the bar's basement, bind them to a chair, and kill them with a single gunshot to the forehead. His signature was cutting off their genitals post-mortem with a large, sharp blade of some sort as a reference to his own emasculation. The bodies were initially then left in lifeguard houses, but as the authorities closed in on him, he started leaving them at other locations, although these locations would still be close to the beach for reasons never specified. If the victims weren't the ones who had cheated on their lovers, they would be wrapped in plastic as an act of remorse. If otherwise, they would just be left exposed. To cover his tracks, he would remove the GPS devices from the victims' cars and crush the cars themselves with a car compactor at the scrap yard.
As his murders started to become more personal, Michael began targeting other victims, killing them through other means. His sixth victim, a woman (who was a surrogate for Andrea), wasn't shot and was instead killed by being savagely stabbed and dismembered with the same blade he used to cut off his victims' genitals and her body then disposed of in a dumpster. His seventh victim, Doug Summers, was killed more sadistically than the others, dropping Kelsey Ashwood's car on him using a scrap yard claw and being slowly crushed in a car compactor after accidentally knocking him inside and breaking his back in the process.
"I am your father!"
The unsub is a white male aged in his 30s or 40s who is targeting emotionally distraught men. Because he is able to select, befriend, and kill them all in one night, he probably appears ordinary, unimposing, and is easy to talk to. Because he can get them to open up about themselves and their personal information, he is able to project a sense of familiarity towards them, meaning he probably has suffered some kind of loss himself. He is targeting businessmen who are struggling in their everyday lives, believing that by killing them, he is being merciful and putting them out of their misery. Because he removes their genitals post-mortem, he might be feeling emasculated by his own loss. Most of the victims are from out of town or new to the area, so he may be someone who offers advice to visiting professionals. He probably has enough working knowledge about cars or the resources to remove a GPS system. His comfort zone appears to be in the South Bay district, so he either lives or works there. He is making an effort to cover his tracks, suggesting that he has something to lose, and if he notices an increased police presence, he will move on to another area and start killing there.
The covering of the men who were cheated on suggests sympathy, while showing disgust for cheaters like Shawn Taylor, leaving his body exposed. The savagery of Kelsey Ashwood's murder suggested that either she was the source of his rage or represented it.
Michael partially resembles and was compared by Reid to Randy Kraft, one of the "Freeway Killers" and also called "The Score-Card Killer". Both worked as bartenders and targeted men, incapacitating them by getting them drunk and cutting their genitals off post-mortem. The initial assumption that Michael was homosexual and specifically targeted other gay men as a result seems to be an allusion to Kraft's homosexuality and resultant choice of victims.
Michael is partially similar to John Wayne Gacy, a.k.a. "The Killer Clown". Both were serial killers whose wives left them prior to their killings. Both also targeted men and incapacitated their victims by getting them drunk before killing them. While Michael wasn't homosexual, the BAU initially assumed he was, which is a reference to Gacy's own sexuality.
- February 11 (found): Three bodies found in the lifeguard tower. They are:
- Wayne Keller (killed on January 2; wrapped in plastic)
- Hank Mitchell (killed on January 23; wrapped in plastic like the previous victim)
- Sean Taylor (killed on February 2; left exposed)
- February 12: Joseph "Joe" Kraus (left exposed; put his body in a different lifeguard tower)
- February 13:
- Gus Harrington (wrapped in plastic; put his body under a pier)
- Unnamed bar patron (intended; gave up when he spotted Kelsey Ashwood)
- February 13-14: Kelsey Ashwood (was stabbed and dismembered while alive and conscious instead of being shot; put her body in a dumpster)
- February 14:
- Doug Summers (pushed him over a railing, breaking his back, then trapped him under Kelsey Ashwood's car and crushed him in a car compactor)
- Hunter Wright (his stepson; non-fatally struck his head with a handgun, tied up, and held at gunpoint)
- Jennifer Jareau (assaulted and attempted to stab)
- February 11 (found): Three bodies found in the lifeguard tower. They are: