|“||Try not to flinch.||”|
— Phillips while drugged
Little is known about Phillips' early life, other than he landed in a foster home. There, he was abused by his foster parents. Among other things, they would break bottles on his body and cut him with the glass, which scarred him both physically and mentally. He sought comfort in two of his foster sisters, Eliza and Angelica, who would always tell him, "No one is gonna hurt you like that ever again." He was later adopted by Bob and Gail Phillips of Tempe, Arizona, but Eliza and Angelica's influence stayed with him for the rest of his childhood. As a way to cope with his problems, he developed dissociative identity disorder in which his alternate personalities were Eliza and Angelica. Because of his condition, Phillips attended a support group at Arizona State University that catered to other DID-afflicted patients. His last episode occurred when he was just twelve, and he had since moved on with his life. In 2016, Phillips was attacked by Peter Lewis, an escaped convict who drugged him and convinced him to take on the identity of another escapee, a serial killer named Daniel Cullen.
The Crimson King
After brainwashing him, Phillips is made to attack another DID patient, Chelsea Carter, and is releases into the Sonora Desert with his arms tied up on an arm-stretcher, an emulation of Cullen's M.O. After being found by a trucker, Phillips is taken to the hospital, where it is found out that he has the initials "BAU" carved into his stomach. Because of this, the team is called in to investigate, as they are involved in an ongoing manhunt of Peter Lewis, Cullen, and three other escapees. During the investigation, Lewis interrogates Phillips about his captivity, believing that he is another victim of Cullen's following the latter's escape from prison. Later, Hotch and Lewis find Chelsea Carter at her house; she is in a psychotic state and has "Hotch" carved into her forehead. Afterwards, Lewis interrogates Phillips about his condition, the support group he attended, as well as his alternate personalities. At first, Phillips refuses to talk about it out of embarrassment, but changes his mind after he makes Lewis promise not to laugh. Later, the team realizes that he is the one copying Cullen and not Peter as they believe at that point.
When Officer Chet Dewey asks him about the other people who attended the same DID support group, another psychotic episode is triggered in Phillips, as Peter gave him specific instructions that he has to enact once he remembers the names. He tells Dewey that he needs a moment alone in the bathroom. As Dewey gets a call from the BAU trying to warn him that Brian is the unsub, Phillips strangles the officer from behind, eventually kills him, and carves "Bye" into his forehead with a utility knife taken from Dewey's body. Afterwards, Phillips escapes from the hospital and makes his way to a house where Peter has stationed himself. When Phillips arrives, Peter asks him if he turned off his GPS, and he shows the device to him as proof. Then, Phillips steps inside, lies down on a surgery table, and allows Peter to drug him again. Afterwards, Peter tells him that he has to go, but not before he shows him Cullen, whom Peter had abducted and drugged recently. Phillips asks him who he is, and Peter replies that Cullen thinks he is the Crimson King. Peter asks Philip "What will you do about it?" and then leaves.
Moments later, Phillips has almost carved the word "Impostor" into Cullen's stomach when the BAU arrive. While Philips holds Daniel at knifepoint, Reid reminds him that the Crimson King doesn't kill and doesn't have to. Alvez then tells Phillips that if he kills Cullen, it is over, but that if he lets him go, Cullen will live the rest of his life as a failure. Phillips replies that it is not good enough. Lewis and JJ enter the house, guns aimed at Phillips, but he tells the agents to back off. They tell Phillips that no one is going to hurt him again and that someone told him to commit the crimes, not himself. Lewis and JJ then remind Phillips about his abuse and what Eliza and Angelica would tell him in order to calm him down. The drug's effect wears off, and Phillips makes Lewis promise that no one is going to hurt him again. When she replies that she will, he surrenders, and Lewis handcuffs Phillips for his protection and safety. Phillips realizes what he has done, but Lewis tells him that she is going to be with him and she is not leaving his side. As Lewis takes Phillips out of the house, all of the police officers glare at Brian hatefully while he is being taken to the police car. He was most likely put into a mental health institution due to his experience.
Acting under Peter's influence, Phillips attacked another DID patient who attended to Arizona State University support group, a woman named Chelsea Carter. He emulated aspects of Cullen's M.O., torturing Chelsea and carving a message on her forehead. He then left her alive in her house to be found by the BAU later. Later, he strangled Officer Chet Dewey to death using a ligature, and then carved a message into Dewey's forehead like he did with Chelsea. With Cullen himself, Phillips mimicked Cullen's M.O. exactly, carving a message into his stomach, though he was unable to complete the message since the BAU intervened.
No official profile of Phillips was made by the BAU, as they believed him to be a victim of Peter's at the time and not his proxy.
- Late September-Early October 2016:
- Chelsea Carter (tortured and carved "Hotch" into her forehead, but left alive)
- Officer Chet Dewey (strangled; carved "Bye" into his forehead post-mortem)
- Daniel Cullen (tortured and attempted to carve "Impostor" into his stomach)
- Phillips seems to have been inspired by Adam Jackson ("Conflicted") - Both are killers who were abused by parental figures, have DID and a split female personality as a result, tortured their victims somehow, and went after one of their tormentors and intended to kill them, before being talked down by a BAU member.