|“||One hour, you have one hour to remove it, or I swear to God I'll kill every agent on this train.||”|
— Dr. Bryar
Ted presumably suffered from paranoid schizophrenia from a young age. As a result of the voices inside his head, he spent his childhood and adolescent years isolated from his peers, studying. He later became one of the world's top physicists, studying in particular the M-theory and writing hundreds of essays about it. He also worked for the U.S. government for several years in an unspecified position(s) during the 1980s. He was placed in the Stokes Mental Health Center in El Paso in 1996, presumably due to his schizophrenia growing more pronounced. His mental illness was treated by Linda Deaton, a psychiatrist.
Deaton planned to bring Ted to Dallas, Texas, for a conference, as an example of the progress being made to relieve severe psychosis. During the train ride on the way there, someone jumps in front of the train to commit suicide, forcing the train to stop. This, coupled with him noticing Elle, who was reading FBI files, in a nearby seat, causes Ted to have a mental breakdown. Spurred by his imaginary friend Leo, he takes a gun from a train security guard, fatally shoots him, handcuffs Elle to her seat, takes her gun as well, and holds the passengers, including Elle and Deaton, hostage. After two hours of trying to reason with him, the local authorities manage to convince Ted to let them place a telephone inside the train car. However, Ted refuses to speak to anyone but an operative of "The Higher Authority", a part of his schizophrenic delusions. Gideon calls him and pretends to be as such. Ted then gives him an hour to send in a technician to remove "it", which the BAU later deduce to be an imaginary microchip that Ted believed caused the voices in his head.
Reid suggests that he would do a sleight of hand, hiding a regular chip in his hand, making a small cut in Ted's arm, and pretending to remove the chip. Boarding the train car, he is ordered by Ted to remove his bulletproof vest first before removing the chip. When Reid follows his orders and tricks him into believing he actually removed the chip, however, Ted ordered him to "turn it on". Improvising, Reid and Elle claim that the chip was powered by tiny electric impulses fired between neurons and had to be implanted to work. Since Ted's voices, logically, didn't go away, he continue to hold Reid on the train. Reid soon recognizes Ted's behavior, having a schizophrenic mother, and manages to distract him long enough for Elle to drop-kick him, after which another passenger who had a concealed M1911A1 handgun shoots him in the stomach. He is then taken away by paramedics, repeating, "I'm sorry." He presumably survived his gunshot wound, and was put into a mental institution.
The BAU instantly realized Ted was a psychotic, due to the fact that he appeared to suffer from tardive dyskinesia, a condition that causes uncontrollable facial tics, and which stems from years of anti-psychotic usage. Extremely paranoid, Ted believed that the government or some other clandestine group was monitoring him, and as delusions are often shaped by personal experience, his years of work for the government were presumably what caused his fantasies. Ted's delusions manifested in the form of hallucinations, voices, burning and buzzing sensations, which he believed were caused by chips implanted in his body, as his rants and the scars present on his arms indicated. Though he was suffering from a psychotic break, Ted's speech was still lucid, and showed no signs of neologisms, word salads, or loosening of associations, meaning his thinking was still relatively organized. Ted's delusion were an important factor in diffusing the situation, and had to be played too, which the BAU did through several means, such as denying him information about who they were, making themselves appear more mysterious, and thus higher in authority to him.
Ted was presumably loosely based on Ralph Tortorici, a paranoid schizophrenic who held a university classroom hostage for several hours, claiming to have done so due to his belief that the government was monitoring him via implants under his skin.
- November 23, 2005: The train standoff:
- Unnamed security guard (stole his gun and shot him twice in the chest)
- Held five people hostage on the passenger train and intended to kill them. They are:
- Elle Greenaway (assaulted and stole her gun)
- Josh Patel (later assaulted)
- Elaine Curtis (constantly forced her at gunpoint)
- Harry Anderson
- Doctor Linda Deaton (his doctor; later unintentionally shot in the stomach, but she survived)
- Spencer Reid (held hostage after he willingly walked onto the train; later intended to shoot)
- Ted is the first unsub in the Criminal Minds franchise whose identity is already revealed to the audience during the episode's cold open.
- Season One
- Season Four
- Season Eleven
- "Entropy" (indirectly referenced)