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Nothing was going to take us apart, not even death.

Cheryl Kaline is a delusional serial killer and one-time abductor who appears in the Season Thirteen episode of Criminal Minds, "The Dance of Love".


In 2008, Cheryl married radio disc jockey Craig Kaline, who hosted a live Internet call-in show that played romantic songs from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. It was around this time that Craig began having affairs with women who were unhappy in their relationships, wrote him love letters, or mailed pictures and articles of their clothing to his workplace. When Cheryl and Craig decided to renew their vows, Craig gave her a bracelet. Cheryl became upset when she had lost the bracelet, but in reality, Craig gave it to one of his lovers. Sometime prior to the episode, Cheryl had gone to the radio station and discovered a box containing the letters. When she realized Craig had been cheating on her, she snapped and decided to kill her husband's lovers and any other woman who wrote him a love letter. First, Cheryl killed Amanda Corliss, then she killed Muriel Gourse. Muriel's body was discovered by her husband Steve when he came home, prompting the BAU to be called in.

The Dance of Love[]

"Calm down. It'll be over soon."
- Cheryl to Janice Fox when abducting her

Cheryl is first seen preparing a drink mixed together with rum, coca-cola and a lemon wedge, which she splashes on Rita Frazee's barely-conscious face before dropping a red rose on her. Later, she viciously dunks Dee Stockton's head in the fountain. Cheryl forces a rose in her mouth before pushing her head in the water again, drawing blood. Later, a woman named Janice Fox is complaining to Craig, begging him to give them a chance, but Craig says he has changed. Cheryl calls, causing Craig to walk away, much to Janice's fury. Inside his radio station, Craig meets his wife. She says she has to go to her mother's for a doctor's visit. Cheryl announces she is nervous about renewing their vows. Craig asks her if she isn't having second thoughts. She denies it, but says she has noticed that he has been different - it means everything for her. He tells Cheryl the same. As she leaves, she asks him to play her song, which he accepts.

In the morning, she cuts a bunch of rose stems down with her signature shears to prepare for her next attack. Craig, angered when Janice called the station to request a song, shows up at Janice's house, telling her he made a big mistake. It is assumed that Cheryl followed him or traced either one of them to Janice's house, where she tortures and kills him. The BAU, believing Craig to be the unsub is on his way to kill Janice, find him dead on the bed, covered with roses and turning their attention to Janice as the true unsub. However, it is Cheryl who is the unsub, who by that time is armed with a gun, and is holding Janice hostage in a car. She takes her to a park, to the place where they were supposed to renew their vows. Cheryl tells Janice they took out the "'til death do us apart" phrase from their vows - nothing, not even death, can tear them apart. Everything and everyone couldn't leave them out. But then, Prentiss, JJ, and Simmons arrive. Janice runs away as Cheryl holds the gun up to her head, threatening to commit suicide. Cheryl says she is going to join Craig. She rants that his music, his voice went out to everyone. No matter where she was, she felt the air around her, dedicated to another woman and what she wanted to hear. Simmons lowers his gun and tells her if she commits suicide, she is going to miss it - "Craig's final show". He tells her he recorded her favorite songs to play to her last week. She wants to hear it, but Simmons says it is in the air around her. Cheryl, feeling the air around her, exclaims she can hear it. Smiling in delight, she lowers her gun as she is arrested. Behind her, Cheryl and Craig's banner announcing their ten-year-and-counting marriage falls, echoing their current state. She is likely either incarcerated or institutionalized afterwards.

Modus Operandi[]

Cheryl targeted women who had affairs with Craig, as well as women who wrote and mailed love letters to her husband at his workplace, having seen them as potential threats to her marriage. She would kill each of her victims in their homes by stabbing each of them once in the back (likely as a reference to her husband betraying their marriage) with a pair of sheep shears she owned and used for gardening, after presumably forcing her way in at gunpoint. She also left or took an item at each crime scene referencing the title of a song from the 1930s to 50s that they requested to be played at the radio station where Craig worked. In the cases of Muriel Gourse and Dee Stockton, she forced their heads into an oven and a fountain, respectively, to further reference their requested songs. When she killed her husband, she tortured him and placed roses and the bracelet he gave her when they renewed their vows and then gave to Janice all over his corpse.


The unsub was initially profiled as a brazen and confident male in his 40s or 50s who may be romantically involved with the women he killed. Given the diversity in age, type, and ethnicity, he is not zeroing in on a specific surrogate. Much like Ted Bundy, he is handsome, charming, and personable. He is the type of man you would probably be drawn to in a social setting. He may have a Casanova complex, which causes men to move from lover to lover and discard them the moment they have been conquered. Music is supremely important to this unsub's ritual, particularly popular music from the 1930s to 1950s, and it may, in fact, be part of the ruse he uses to lure his victims in.

Known Victims[]

  • 2018: Chicago, Illinois
    • March 25: Amanda Corliss (one of Craig's lovers; asked for "String of Pearls" to be played; strangled post-mortem with a necklace left at the crime scene)
    • March 26: Muriel Gourse (asked for "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" to be played; forced head into oven ante-mortem; also left a box of cigarettes at crime scene)
    • March 27:
      • Rita Frazee (asked for "Rum and Coca-Cola" to be played; doused in rum and coca-cola post-mortem)
      • Dee Stockton (asked for "Three Coins in the Fountain" to be played; stabbed and drowned in a fountain; also left three coins at crime scene)
    • March 28:
      • Craig Kaline (her husband; tortured by cutting before being killed)
      • Janice Fox (one of Craig's lovers; abducted, held at gunpoint and intended to shoot; was rescued)


  • Cheryl is similar to James Thomas ("Compromising Positions") - Both were psychotic serial killers who were triggered to kill after discovering something about their spouses (Cheryl found out her husband cheated on her with several women; James learned his wife was pregnant with another man's baby), killed the person who had sex with their spouses, killed their victims in their homes at night (although James killed one couple in their car), and killed their victims by stabbing them (although James also killed by shooting).
  • Cheryl is also similar to Claire Dunbar ("If the Shoe Fits") - Both were psychotic female serial killers who killed victims connected to their delusions (Cheryl targeted women whom she beleived were hitting on her husband; Claire targeted men who failed to live up to the role of Prince Charming), had both ante-mortem and post-mortem rituals that they performed on their victims, and killed their victims using gardening shears (although Claire also killed using a stilletto heel).