|“||They have no authority. My orders come from God.||”|
— Fr. Silvano
Not much is revealed about Silvano's early years, other than he was a Catholic priest who was sanctioned by the Vatican to perform exorcisms. He and his colleague, Father Del Toro, both attended Seminary together in Galicia, Spain. Four months before the murders started, Del Toro died of a heart attack, but there were rumors that he was actually murdered. Later, Silvano was contacted by an unknown person whose child was in Galicia when Del Toro died and believed that their "real child" never returned from Galicia. Silvano assured them that he could "rid their child of evil" through an exorcism. Sometime before performing the exorcism, Silvano lobbied the Vatican for diplomatic immunity, but they turned down his request. Instead, he took a mission from the Italian government to help end world hunger, which included him receiving diplomatic immunity. Also, before the first exorcism, Silvano took a sabbatical from the church for "personal reasons". Silvano then began a crusade of exorcisms against the people he held responsible for Del Toro's death.
In the episode, Silvano is first seen performing an exorcism on an unknown man who is thrashing and screaming wildly. It is then learned that Prentiss' childhood friend, Matthew Benton, had died of a heart attack during an earlier exorcism. He and two others had been in Galicia, Spain at the same time as Father Silvano. Later, in a small, dark room, with a single bed, one small window, and a sink, Silvano sits on the bed and stares at the photograph of a young man. After a moment, he holds the photo to the candle's flame and watches as it burns, remembering the screams. After investigating the previous murders, the BAU is able to get the name of the exorcist, Silvano, and discover that he is staying at a local hospital. This conclusion was drawn from Father James' statement that an exorcist would seek medical care after performing so many exorcisms because the procedure is very taxing on the mind and body.
Later, Silvano is seen confronting Patrick Cavanaugh, insisting that he is possessed and in need of an exorcism. The priest rises to confront Patrick, the man from the photograph, holding the crucifix firmly before him. Patrick demands that he leave his house as Silvano intones that he is casting out an unclean spirit. Then, two young priests and another man drag Patrick, screaming, from the room. Silvano is later confronted at the hospital. While dressing, he tells Prentiss to look in the top drawer of the end table in Italian; according to the paperwork Reid found, Silvano has diplomatic immunity, meaning the FBI cannot touch him. Later, John Cooley opens the door of his home and is confronted by Silvano. Cooley tells him that the authorities are going to stop him, but the priest calmly responds that they cannot, as he has been ordained by God. John continues to argue, telling the priest to leave his home, but he is grabbed by Silvano's accomplices. The BAU finally catch up with Silvano just before he can kill Cooley. Hotch had spoken to the Italian Consulate in an attempt to revoke Silvano's immunity, and the Consulate agreed, allowing the agents to arrest him. Silvano has walked away in cuffs and is presumably extradited back to Italy, possibly to Vatican authorities.
Silvano appears to be performing fatal exorcisms as revenge for the death of another priest. The priest was seemingly killed with a powerful drug that induced a heart attack. Silvano believes that Valentine, Cooley, Benton, and Cavanaugh had killed him to suppress a series of pilgrimages. He is also using the same drug in his Holy Water during the exorcisms.
Silvano targeted people that he thought were responsible for the death of Father Del Toro. All of his victims were in Galicia when Silvano's friend died and a part of an online support group for people who had lost their faith set up by Benton. He used a powerful drug during his exorcisms that induced a heart attack on the victim. The unnamed drug is invariably fatal. Silvano would then blame the deaths on the person's own dark soul. He told the families of his victims that the subject was in the hands of God and was safe from damnation to convince the families that they had made the right choice. The local police never considered any of the deaths murders as all of the victims appeared to have died of natural causes and there was no evidence of foul play.
While Silvano does not appear to be inspired by any real-life criminals, his M.O. may be based on the 2005 story of a Portuguese nun who died while undergoing an exorcism by a priest.
- February 24: Thomas Valentine (succumbed to dehydration)
- March 8-9: Matthew Benton (succumbed to a heart attack)
- March 10: Patrick Cavanaugh (succumbed to a brain aneurysm)
- March 11: