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David Smith is a serial killer, copycat of his father, and one-time abductor. He first appeared in the Season Three episode of Criminal Minds, "In Name and Blood". He later reappeared in the Season Fourteen episode of the series, "Flesh and Blood".


Born on an uncertain date to Joe Smith and his unnamed wife, the Smith family was torn apart in January of 2007 after Joe was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. This caused David's mother to leave both him and his father, which caused Joe to begin abusing David and ultimately triggered his serial killings six months later. Joe would lure women to secluded areas using David and threatened them into compliance by threatening either them or David. He would then have them act motherly towards David before killing them and dumped them in alleys near highways he would travel on while taking David to school. The abductions and disposals would also occur around David's school hours.

In Name and Blood

David is first seen when Joe has him lure the last murder victim, Claire Thompson, from a shopping mall. He lures her to a secluded part of the mall before Joe appears and threatens Claire into compliance by threatening to kill David with a box cutter. He takes her home and repeats the pattern (having Claire act motherly towards David before killing her, despite David's protest earlier on the day of Claire's murder). However, he dumps her in a different location after the BAU discovered his original dump site.

David later brings home Lisa Phillips (a school nurse) and Joe takes her to his workshop to kill her. However, David also lets Prentiss in while Joe is busy. Joe becomes aware of this and ambushes her when she enters the garage. He disarms her and gives David her gun before ordering him to shoot her. Before this can happen a swarm of agents burst in (Prentiss alerted them without Joe's knowledge using a cellphone) and Joe is apprehended. As he is taken away he remarks how he didn't even order David to bring Lisa to him.

Flesh and Blood

After his father's arrest, social services were able to locate his mother but she didn't want him. After that, David is put into foster care and raised by the Addison family (who give him the name "Edward"). At some point prior to his next appearance, he met a psychologist named Elizabeth Rhodes (who he presumably visited in regards to the trauma of his childhood). Elizabeth herself lost her daughter in an incident that was ultimately ruled "accidental". Seeing the opportunity to get revenge on the men she believed were responsible for her daughter's death, Elizabeth manipulated David into believing the men were responsible for Joe's death and that he "couldn't help but be the person his father raised him to be." Thus she set David's killings in motion, targeting the men and having women lure them to him so he could kill them using his father's M.O. Also Joe died in prison, presumably from his brain tumor.

David became a serial killer by kidnapping people who he thought "were responsible for his father's death" and that "he couldn't help but be the person his father raised him to be." The BAU team realized he was the unsub they were looking for and tried to draw him out by having an undercover agent meet him when he put up an ad for "looking for an attractive woman to play a prank at." Unfortunately, he is spotted by SSA Matthew Simmons and SSA Luke Alvez and ran away in a vehicle which he later abandoned. He then kidnapped Elizabeth Rhodes and tried to kill her but Emily Prentiss was able to talk him down and he was either arrested or institutionalized for his crimes.

Modus Operandi

His modus operandi was to pay prostitutes from Baltimore and Rockville to take the business men that he targeted to an abandoned medical facility owned by Dr. Elizabeth Rhodes, beat them, drug them or simply faint them long enough to tie them in a straitjacket, put a black bag over their heads and hanging them.

He would hit his victims with a baseball bat the moment they woke up. Hitting the victims was to weaken them and thus tear out their hearts with a hammer and a chisel (just as his father did). And he would leave the victims in alleys visible for people to see.

His method changed at the time it was for his leader, Elizabeth Rhodes, who told him that he forced him to kill not because of the abuse of his murderous genetic, but because he believed that his victims were responsible for the death of her daughter and about to kill her, but Prentiss arrived and convinced him that killing is not his genetic.


The unknown subject, also known as "Eddie" is a male Caucasian between the ages of 18 and 25, standing between 5'10" and 6'2" in height with dark blonde hair. He is what is known as a grief-induced killer. In his heartbreak, he is lashing out at the men that he thinks are responsible for covering up what he believes to be the murder of Robin Rhodes. He may have a genuine reason to feel that evidence was overlooked or, as seems more likely, he tends toward a paranoid personality.

While the sketch and description provided do not match any known associates, friends, or family of Ms. Rhodes, the key to the case will lie in re-examining the circumstances of her disappearance and death.

Known Victims

  • June 29, 2007: Emily Prentiss (attempted; his father ordered him to kill her)
  • 2018, December:
    • Shaun Tate, 30 (attorney)
    • Anthony Nakamura, 39 (attorney)
    • Dennis Kirkwood, 47 (financial manager)
    • James Baxter, 36 (risk manager)
    • Elizabeth Rhodes (his psychologist and accomplice, attempted to kill)
    • Emily Prentiss (attempted)


  • David is the third unsub on the show to have appeared in an earlier season as an incidental character before reappearing as a criminal; the first was Rodney Harris in seasons Two and Eight, and the second was Lindsey Vaughn in seasons Three and Twelve.
  • David currently holds the record for the longest gap between appearances for a recurring character, with a total of 262 episodes between "In Name and Blood" and "Flesh and Blood."