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Just let me do my job!
Holcombe before being shot by the BAU

Charles Holcombe was a "house cleaner"-type serial killer who appeared in the Season Two episode of Criminal Minds, "Legacy".


"But you will beg, whore. They all do."

When Holcombe' father died last year, he inherited the family's meat-packing plant and a substantial amount of money. In 2006, Holcombe took up serial killing for an unknown reason. It's implied that he had always been violent and anti-social, but his father was the only one able to control him. He had a submissive accomplice, Steven Foster, whom he personally knew because the Foster family worked for the Holcombes, and Holcombe treated him extremely poorly. Foster would pick up potential victims for Holcombe and bring them to him, to which he would then place them in the meat-packing plant, torture them by allowing them to run around the plant and fall into his traps, and then kill them. His murders went mostly unnoticed and none of his victims were reported missing as most were drug addicts, homeless people, runaways, prostitutes, etc. Holcombe later became enraged when he read a newspaper article announcing Detective Cal McGee's receiving an award for his work since McGee was assigned to supervise the areas where Holcombe's victims disappeared in. As a result, he sent a letter to McGee, saying, "There are two types of people in the world, those that do work and those that take the credit, you should be ashamed."



Holcombe in full attire.

After killing at least 64 victims, Holcombe has Foster bring him a prostitute named Maggie, whom he tortures like the rest of the victims. Maggie is nearly able to escape the warehouse, but fails at the last minute and is knocked unconscious by gas. Holcombe takes her to an operating room where he tries to kill her but is interrupted when Hotch, Prentiss, Morgan, and a SWAT team burst into the room, having deduced him as the unsub after apprehending Foster, who identified him. When he raises his butcher's knife, shouting "Just let me do my job!", he is shot and mortally wounded by Hotch, Prentiss, and Morgan. Maggie demands to see his face, which prompts Morgan to remove Holcombe's surgical mask, revealing his bloody visage. She then looks at his face and says "I won" just before he slowly bleeds out from his wounds and dies.

Modus Operandi[]

"I assure you, I'm not without compassion. You're in the center of a 130,000-square-foot facility. You have until sunrise to find your way out of here. If you don't, your sentence will be carried out. You only have a few hours, Maggie. Go."

Holcombe targeted random homeless people, prostitutes, vagrants, and junkies. After being given his victims by Foster, who picked them up with a van using some simple ruse such as pretending to be a Social Services employee, Holcombe would torture them indirectly both mentally and physically by placing them inside the basement of his meat packing plant and giving them a few hours to find their way out, all the while watching them attempt to escape on a TV connected to the surveillance cameras inside the plant.

The dungeon would be filled with traps (such as crushed glass scattered across the floor and dead ends), gas, and a Doberman dog was used to keep the captives going. If they didn't make it out in time (and it appears no one did), Holcombe would sedate them by releasing gas using the plant's ventilation system, strap them to a stainless steel table, butcher them alive with an electric saw, all the while recording the murder, and then use the tape to torment future victims with. Holcombe kept the dismembered limbs (and presumably other body parts) in his "Kill Room" and the shoes of his victims, presumably as trophies, in a room near the meat plant's exit. When Holcombe killed his victims, he always wore goggles, a germ mask, rubber gloves, and a protective coverall.


"What did you do? Hmm. What is the legacy of a whore, Maggie? How 'bout AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis, disease, and filth. What did you do? You... were... you."

The unsub is a "house cleaner", a mission-oriented killer who fixes perceived wrongs in the world. He has deeply rationalized his behavior and while he knows his killings are wrong, he believes he is doing the world a service by doing so. This type of killer devolves rapidly and is usually a loner since not many people could tolerate him. He leaves a long-lasting and negative impression on everyone he meets, and even if he has someone who is close to him, that person will not be an equal, but more of a servant of sorts. He would be very fastidious, tending towards obsessive-compulsive disorder, and would have an overwhelming sense of indignation towards the things he perceives as wrong, not even considering the reasons why someone might disagree. It is unlikely that he will have an actual job, based on the number of victims as well as the fact that it would prevent him from his murdering. The killings were most likely set off by the death of a family member or someone who had control over the unsub.

Real-Life Comparisons[]

Holcombe seems to be inspired by Robert Hansen - Both were serial killers and abductors who targeted female prostitutes (though Holcombe also targeted other high-risk victims) out of hatred, lured them into vans to abduct them (though Holcombe made Steven Foster commit the abductions), tortured their victims while holding them captive in isolated locations and allowed them to leave if they fully complied with the torture (Hansen let his victims live if they complied with his sexual fantasies, while Holcombe gave his victims a chance to escape his meat packing plant), took trophies from them (jewelry in Hansen's case, shoes and dismembered limbs in Holcombe's), and had at least one surviving victim who was a prostitute.

Holcombe seems to have been inspired by Gilles de Rais - Both were serial killers who committed their killings after someone connected to them died (Holcombe's father and Joan of Arc, respectively), had accomplices who abducted and brought their victims to them, tortured and killed their victims by dismembering them (though this was only one of Rais's kill methods), and killed dozens (possibly hundreds in Rais' case) of victims.

He is also similar to H.H. Holmes - Both were serial killers who owned a complex with gas-emitting vents, random dead ends, and a furnace (presumably for disposing of bodies), which they used to torture and murder their victims.

Holcombe also seems to have been inspired by Yevgeny Chuplinsky - Both were "house cleaner"-type serial killers who targeted the 'unwanted' of society (prostitutes in both cases, and additionally homeless vagrants in Holcombe's) and dismembered their victim's bodies (though Holcombe dismembered his while they were still alive).

Known Victims[]

  • Unspecified dates from 2006 to 2007: At least 63 victims killed by him. Named ones include:
    • Victor Arkwright
    • Roger B. (full surname unrevealed)
    • Margo Blackwood
    • Miles Cye
    • Jane Daughterly
    • Daryl Espenson
    • Doreen Gorbold
    • Rachel Green
    • Marcy Hackett (a prostitute)
    • Kimberly Harmond
    • Dillion Jeffers
    • Naomi Keegen
    • Clint Lesser
    • Bailey Mathews
    • Dean Maxby (a drug addict)
    • Oriah Odell
    • Jonathan O'Neil
    • Carl Padmore
    • Travis Phung (a homeless person)
    • Henry Quincy
    • Tina Radley
    • Shirley Sangster
    • Mindy Spano (a prostitute)
    • Todd Starks
    • Jorge Suárez
    • Dwight Thurban
    • Tad Underhill
    • Ross Valenta
    • Robin Waller
    • Ben Wolcott (a homeless person and drug addict)
    • Kevin Zanetti
  • 2007:
    • May 7-8: Nate (apparently a homeless person)
    • May 8-9: Maggie (a prostitute; attempted)


  • Charles Holcombe is the second of only eleven serial killers in the show's history to have killed at least a dozen victims, yet not be a prolific killer because the span of their crimes was less than three years. The others are:
  • Holcombe's M.O. has some similarities to that of the Jigsaw Killer from the Saw franchise, as they both place their victims in some kind of compound filled with elaborate traps and force them to undergo severe pain as a form of redemption.
  • In the opening credits, Holcombe whistles "Joanna" from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Both Sweeney Todd and Holcombe kill to clean up the "vermin of the world", as Todd puts it, though Todd's main target is elsewhere.
  • Holcombe's surname is coincidentally the name of the small town in Kansas where Dick Hickock and Perry Smith killed the Clutter family. Whether this was a coincidence or an intentional reference is unknown.