— Adams in "Entropy"
Catherine "Cat" Adams, a.k.a. "Miss .45" and "The Black Widow Killer", was a misandristic, psychopathic, narcissistic, international, and prolific serial killer, hitwoman, and later proxy killer who first appears in Season Eleven of Criminal Minds. She later reappears in Season Twelve as the mastermind in a vendetta against Spencer Reid. She returns again in Season Fifteen for a final confrontation with Reid and the BAU.
"They all deserve it."
As a child, Cat was abused by her father Daniel, who later went away for manslaughter related to the death of her mother, his wife Laila. She was sent to a foster home, but she was abused by the foster father, whom she eventually killed. In 1987, Daniel was released and left the U.S. shortly afterward. As a result, Cat traveled around the world in search of him, hoping to kill him as punishment for his actions. However, when she couldn't, she channeled her rage towards other men.
Cat eventually became a member of an online network of hitmen (though Garcia would later say that connection was "loose") that cropped up after the dismantlement of the Silk Road by the FBI in 2013, and became known as "Miss .45". Having developed psychopathic tendencies, Cat was the only member of the network who preferred to kill her targets up-close and personal, in contrast to the long-distance kills carried out by her colleagues. Though she was faithful to a vast majority of her contract kills, she actually double-crossed three of her clients when they wanted her to kill their wives, as said clients reminded her of Daniel, who she was still searching for.
Cat is first seen meeting an undercover Reid at the Harry & Glenn's Grill and Bar. As they sit down, Cat asks about Reid's wife and asks how long he has been married, and he replies that it has been four years. Then, Cat asks Reid to show her his ring, which he does. Rossi and JJ are in the restaurant as well, watching the both of them. Cat looks at the ring, and tells Reid that a four-year-old ring would have scratches while his is clearly new. She then says that she knows Reid isn't married and that she knows that Garcia is overhearing her through the microphone hidden on Reid's tie, going on to greet Garcia. Next, Cat pulls out a gun, points it at Reid under the table, and says to him that she didn't walk into the BAU's trap; they walked into hers. She discreetly takes Reid's gun as the waiter comes by. She innocently tells the waiter that she and Reid are having so much fun getting to know one another and that they will let him know when they're ready. Once the waiter leaves, Cat tells Reid that she knows JJ is in the restaurant and orders him to have her walk out. As soon as JJ leaves, Cat expresses her knowledge that the BAU's plan is to have her walk out the door where the police are waiting. Reid confirms this.
Reid profiles Cat, and she asks him if he likes games; he replies by saying that he does. Cat sets a timer on Reid's phone, and tells him that he has thirty minutes to answer every question she asks him and that if he lies, she will know. Then, Cat sets up the rules of the victor: if Reid wins, then he will drag her out in handcuffs; but if she wins, then Reid will escort her out like a gentleman, making sure she exits safely. Reid tells Cat that she is going to have to shoot him in the face before she walks out. She replies "Game on", then she starts the timer. First, Cat asks him about the time he was out of work and Reid tells her how the BAU used the flash-drive retrieved from NSA Director Brian Cochran to show the other members of the network. Zac Rubenis and Barry Plyman were taken care of and Barry Winslow, the group's captive technical analyst, was rescued. Cat asks Reid about why he took time off from work, but he tells her that she can ask him the same question as many times as she wants, but he will not answer, adding that she is not the first woman to point a gun at him. When Rossi gets up from his seat and approaches their booth, Cat sits towards Reid, turns off the microphone on his tie, and tells him that she will kill Rossi. Reid finally tells Cat why he took time off from work: his mother's new medication for her schizophrenia seemed to agitate her, so he went to the treatment center to help her.
However, Cat doesn't believe his story and thinks Reid is holding something back. She adds another ten minutes and tells Reid that she flushed out the other agents in the restaurant, but unbeknownst to her, Lewis and Morgan are in the restaurant as well. The timer runs out and Cat tells Reid that he forgot to ask her why she would make him sit in the booth for thirty minutes. Reid replies that she is stalling, but Cat says that he doesn't know her at all. She then reveals that she came to the restaurant with a partner who planted bombs in the building that are connected through the city's gas lines, which can blow up the whole block. Cat taunts Reid about her victory, which is to remove all backup away from the building because if she walks out and sees one cop, she will incinerate all of them. She then threatens into the microphone that the FBI will be responsible for the disaster. As a result, Lewis tells the employees about the situation, tells them to not rush and overreact, and orders them to give every customer their check and tell them that they will have to leave due to a situation in the kitchen. Meanwhile, Cat walks up and is about to leave, but Reid tells her that he found her father.
According to him, Reid found a homeless Daniel in Washington, D.C. The alcoholism had shredded his brain, rendering him unable to remember Cat. Reid apologizes, but Cat doesn't accept it. She asks Reid more about his mother, and he reveals that he found out she has dementia, most likely Alzheimer's. Cat thinks that Reid came to show up to help her, but she tells him how many men told Cat that they wanted to help her, but in the end, she wound up killing them. Meanwhile, her partner arms the bombs and prepares to detonate them, but Morgan and Lewis stop her before she can do so, which causes Cat to hold Reid at gunpoint.
Morgan manages to talk Cat down from shooting Reid by telling her that they have her father outside in an armored van. She drops the gun and has Reid escort her out. However, when they step outside and approach the van, Cat realizes that he lied to her. As Reid cuffs her and puts her in the truck, Cat becomes devastated. Reid confesses that he did look for Daniel, but he couldn't find him and he made up the story about him being found as a homeless drunk. However, Cat taunts that she still won because she will be out in twenty years, but Reid replies that will only happen if she is lucky. Cat then adds that in twenty years, she will remember Reid's name, but he will not remember hers, referencing the fact that dementia could be a genetic disorder.
Green Light (Part 1)
"Ta-da. Didn't expect me, did you?"
It was revealed that sometime after being imprisoned in Mount Pleasant Women's Correctional Facility, Cat had to be put in solitary confinement for six months, which left her mentally unhinged. A year later, Cat somehow got into contact with Lindsey Vaughn and they, along with a prison guard named Lionel Wilkins, put together a plan to frame Reid, apparently as retribution for his involvement in both of their lives. They found out about Peter Lewis, an escaped serial killer by proxy, and his connection with the BAU, and decided to use his M.O. for the plan as a temporary red herring. When Lindsey abducted Reid's mother Diana, the BAU raid a house where a couple who resemble Peter and Lindsey show the team a video message on a live iPad recording of Cat, who taunts them and then demands that Reid visit her in prison, since he was the one who arrested her and they therefore have unfinished business. At the end of the episode, Reid and JJ go to the prison and find Cat waiting in the interrogation room. As they both enter the room, Cat smiles and greets Reid, calling him "Spencie".
Red Light (Part 2)
Reid immediately demands Cat to tell him where his mother is, but she stops him and tells him that he doesn't get to treat her like a criminal, and that they are going to play her game her way. Then, she kicks a chair towards Reid and tells him to sit down. When he does, Cat asks him if he liked prison, and he replies that he didn't, adding that he didn't deserve to be there, unlike her. She then asks how he stayed sane, and when she isn't satisfied by his answers, she tells him that he would have had to go somewhere in his mind to prevent himself from going crazy. Cat instructs Reid to close his eyes, and when he opens them, he is to look at her like she is the first woman he saw after being in prison for three months. When Reid does open his eyes, he and Cat are both projecting a fantasy world in Cat's mind. Afterwards, she asks him if he would kill her if she lets his mother die, but Reid replies that he is not that kind of person. Then, Cat has JJ leave the interrogation room and sets rules for another game: Reid asks her questions, since she knows a secret about Reid, and he can ask her as many questions as he likes to figure out what kind of secret it is. However, he gets one guess about what that secret is; if he guesses correctly, she will take his phone and order Lindsey to release Diana. If he guesses wrong, she will have Lindsey kill Diana. She then hints that the secret is the one Reid will never admit to.
Later, Reid tells Cat that he knows what the secret is: he is going to have Cat walk through a scenario, and her facial expressions will tell him how close he is. He then explains that, from the moment he arrested her, Cat watched and waited for the right time to get her revenge, and seized her chance when she learned about his trip to Mexico. Finally, Reid concludes that Cat did all of this so he would know how it felt to have a parent used as a chess piece, and that she wanted to prove that they are the same. However, Cat shoots down the theory and has Reid think about all of the pain he suffered in his life. First, Cat asks about his late mentor, Jason Gideon, but Reid replies that he and his team caught the man who killed him. Then, she asks about Morgan and the guilt about not visiting Morgan's son, who is also Reid's godson. As he explains his reasons for not doing so, Reid intentionally calls Morgan's son, Hank, by another name, which Cat doesn't react to; this proves that she somehow got access to Reid's personnel file, which would not divulge the name of someone like Morgan's son. Next, Reid concludes that the last thing he didn't want to admit to is love, and realizes that Cat wants him to admit that he is in love with her. Then, Cat reveals that she had Lindsey leave a clue for him in his scrapbook at Reid's residence, which he remembers from earlier.
After mulling over the clue (an 'XY' sign), Reid realizes that Cat is pregnant, and she tauntingly tells him "We're pregnant", implying the child is his, but he steadfastly denies that. Afterwards, she has Reid ask her how she got herself pregnant. When Reid does so, she tells him that she had Lindsey dose Reid in Mexico and then pretend to be his late girlfriend, Maeve Donovan, so Reid could hallucinate her in Lindsey's place and therefore allow her to have sex with him. Later, Reid tells Cat that she is distracting him by keeping him in the room and playing her game, and assumes that his mother was already dead when he walked in. When he tries to leave, Cat angrily tells him that she will allow him to talk to her. Then, she calls Lindsey and has her put Diana on the phone. While doing so, Lindsey shoots at the gasoline, igniting it and burning her car and the corpse of a man she was forced to kill, then steals the man's truck with Diana inside. Reid hears the gunshot, but assumes his mother is now dead and asks if it was a prearranged signal to kill her. When Cat denies it, he yells at her, prompting Cat to insult Diana. Reid furiously pushes the table away, physically shoves Cat against the wall, and starts strangling her in an attempt to kill her. However, JJ stops Reid by reminding him that Cat is pregnant. Enraged, Reid releases Cat and leaves the interrogation room.
Reid returns after being consoled by JJ, and tells Cat to dance with him because he doesn't want anyone to hear what he will say next. As they dance, Cat learns that the BAU found Wilkins' cabin, where Diana is being held. She tells Reid that his team is walking into a trap, as Lindsey rigged the cabin with bombs, and explains that the team can only avoid it if Reid makes his guess now. Acquiescing, Reid admits to having liked it when he poisoned several inmates in prison. Then, he reveals that he knows Cat was lying about him indirectly fathering her baby so he could be put in as compromised of a position as possible, and identifies Wilkins as the real father. However, Reid proclaims that he wishes he fathered the child, because he and Cat deserve each other, and that was the real secret. A teary-eyed Cat calls Lindsey and abruptly orders her to kill Diana. To her shock, Lindsey refuses and asks about her being pregnant. Cat immediately finds out she is being watched by the BAU through a hacked security camera, which relayed her conversation with Reid to Lindsey. Attempting to save face, Cat tries to justify herself, but Lindsey surrenders and Diana is rescued. Afterwards, as he and JJ are about to leave, Cat tells Reid that they do deserve each other and that he guessed right. However, Reid tells Cat that she lied about sparing Diana. Then, Cat taunts Reid about poisoning the inmates, saying that "once [he] cross[es] that line, [he] can't ever go back". Reid replies "Watch me," takes back his wristwatch, and leaves a defeated Cat behind.
Shortly before her execution, Cat Adams executed one last plan to ruin Reid's life and to get revenge on him for outsmarting her. Under her instructions, her former cellmate, Juliette Weaver, kidnapped the father and sister of Reid's date, Maxine Brenner. In exchange, she would get revenge on her ex-boyfriend. Her last wish is to go on a date with him. Afterward, she and Reid kissed outside his apartment, in which Maxine sees them. Cat attempts to drive a wedge between Reid and Max by telling Max about Reid's actions towards her, including him being falsely responsible for her miscarriage before asking Max if anyone has hurt her. After Max tells them about her abusive ex, she leaves with Prentiss and they save her father and sister. It is later revealed that Max was working with the team into arresting Juliette and saving her father and sister; in which Max admits she made up the part about her ex being abusive to gain Cat's trust. It is also revealed Reid was not responsible for her miscarriage as she miscarried months after the last visit.
Cat targeted various people through her capacity as a hitwoman, though her favorite target was married fathers who actually hired her to kill their own wives, because they reminded her of her father. Once she had her victims in a highly compromised position, she would kill them by shooting them with a .45-caliber handgun, hence her nickname. She briefly mentioned that she would be so good at manipulating that she could get her targets to kill themselves, though it is unknown if that is indeed the case. During the standoff at Harry & Glenn's Grill and Bar, she held Reid at gunpoint with a .40-caliber Springfield Armory XDM handgun (presumably the same gun she used to kill her victims) and coordinated her actions with Sharon Mayford. Throughout the latter half of Season Twelve, she coordinated her actions with Lindsey Vaughn and Lionel Wilkins.
According to Reid, Cat is a "black widow"-type hitwoman who specializes in seduction and is extremely patient. She learns everything physical, psychological, and emotional about the men she is hired to kill because she wants them to be in as compromised a position as possible so they do not see it coming when she pulls the trigger. She sometimes double-crossed her own clients and killed them because they wanted their wives, making those kills personal. In all of her contract kills, she is up-close and personal, much unlike her colleagues, and she knows that she has to be more careful because she actually wants to kill her targets.
A file on Cat seen in "Red Light" stated that she is a genius at planning and problem solving. Her lack of empathy and self-aggrandizement are indicators of her being a narcissistic psychopath. It is also stated that aspects of her life, such as her childhood, suggest that she also has borderline personality disorder.
- Aubrey Plaza, the actress who portrays Cat, previously costarred in Life After Beth with Matthew Gray Gubler, the actor who portrays Reid. Because of their friendship and connections, she landed the role of Cat after Gubler sent her the episode script and asked her to guest-star in the episode.
- Cat is currently the only unsub in the show's history to be a member of two separate, distinct criminal organizations with different aims: the hitman network in Season Eleven and her own group in Season Twelve.
- With her total body count of over 200 people (an exact number unspecified), Cat Adams is the seventh of only nine unsubs in the show's history who are confirmed to have claimed the lives of hundreds. The others are:
- Season One
- Season Two
- Season Five
- Season Seven
- Season Ten
- Season Eleven
- Season Thirteen
- Jake Logan ("Killer App") - A mass murderer, serial bomber, workplace shooter, one-time cop killer, one-time abductor, and serial-turned-spree killer who killed at least 379 people.
- Benjamin David Merva ("Believer" and "300") - A prolific serial killer and cult leader who killed 299 people. Merva also appeared in Season Fourteen.
- Cat seems to have been inspired by at least four unsubs from the show's past:
- Season Four
- Chloe Kelcher ("The Angel Maker") - Both were serial killers who seduced prison guards who served as a means to an end (in Chloe's case, it was Sid Rutledge to acquire Cortland Bryce Ryan's semen; and in Cat's case, it was Lionel Wilkins to get herself impregnated, to plant a spy inside Millburn Correctional Facility who could track Reid's activities, and to provide a place for Lindsey to stash Diana in). Both guards were, at some point, eventually shot and killed in an act of betrayal (although Chloe killed Rutledge personally while Wilkins was killed by Lindsey Vaughan). The scenario in which Cat claimed to have impregnated herself with Reid's child, using semen acquired by a third party, also mirrors how Chloe got herself pregnant with the child of Ryan. However, Cat was lying in her case, whereas Chloe actually did impregnate herself using the acquired semen.
- Henry Grace ("Masterpiece") - Both are psychopathic, organized serial killers who had a male relative who committed murder (Cat's father murdered her mother; Henry's brother was a serial killer), created revenge plans against a member of the BAU for something they did involving said relatives (Reid lied to Cat about knowing where her father was located; Rossi profiled and arrested Henry's brother, which led to the latter being executed while incarcerated), and killed victims who were surrogates for someone they hated (Cat killed several men who represented her father; Henry killed women who resembled his ex-fiancée). In both cases, their revenge plans involved abducting at least one person (although in Cat's case, she had Lindsey abduct Diana, while Henry abducted his victims personally), taking them to a house, and luring other members of the BAU there where they were expected to be killed, only for these plans to be foiled when the objects of their rage outsmarted their strategies.
- Season Seven
- Chloe Donaghy ("It Takes a Village") - Both were international criminals and gangsters who later became leaders of a three-person group that was on a revenge mission against an individual, with an abduction playing a key role in the plan (in Chloe's case, it was the abduction of Declan, her son with Ian Doyle; while in Cat's case, it was the abduction of Diana). Eventually, both women's plans were foiled by Reid in some way during a standoff with the BAU. In Chloe's case, it was Reid's idea to exchange Doyle for Declan, which led to Lachlan McDermott double-crossing her and he later shot and killed Chloe when she opened fire on the BAU. In Cat's case, Reid got her to confess the truth about who truly fathered her baby, which led to Lindsey's surrender and subsequent arrest.
- Izzy Rogers ("Hit" and "Run") - Both are prolific and psychopathic international serial killers who targeted victims all over the world, have great manipulation skills, were members of a ragtag criminal group, engaged in standoffs against the BAU and other authorities in Washington, D.C., with accomplices; both standoffs involved dozens of hostages, including a member of the team, and the use of explosives..
- Season Four
- Season Eleven
- Season Twelve"
- "Spencer" (indirectly referenced)
- "Collision Course" (indirectly referenced)
- "Alpha Male" (indirectly referenced)
- "Assistance Is Futile" (indirectly referenced)
- "In the Dark" (indirectly referenced)
- "Hell's Kitchen" (indirectly referenced)
- "True North" (indirectly referenced)
- "Unforgettable" (indirectly referenced)
- "Green Light"
- "Red Light"
- Season Thirteen
- Season Fourteen
- "Truth or Dare" (referenced)
- Season Fifteen
- Cat was described as the member of the network with the highest body count, and Mayford was responsible for 173 deaths in one event