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You know what you have to do.
Edith in Billy's delusion

Edith Lynch was the murderous grandmother of serial killer William Lynch, who appeared in the Season Thirteen episode of Criminal Minds, "To A Better Place".


Little is revealed about Edith's life other than that, by 1971, she had married a man named Joseph Lynch and had a daughter with him, Ruth. Not long after they married, Joseph became ill and was admitted to a hospital for treatment. In May 1972, he filed for divorce and left Edith for the nurse who treated him. This left Edith to raise Ruth alone and she became an alcoholic, which, in turn, made her extremely bitter and a critical and overbearing mother, likely subjecting Ruth to relentless verbal abuse. In response to her hostile home environment, Ruth developed her own issues as she grew older, becoming addicted to drugs. Ruth later had a son, William, or "Billy" in 1991 and, despite her addictions, Ruth tried to be the mother Edith never was and began going to rehab.

In 1997, Ruth decided to leave her mother's home with Billy and move in with a friend named Susan Aldrete. Having sent several of their belongings to Susan's already, Ruth started packing the last of her things into a suitcase when she and Edith got into an argument, in which Edith mocked Ruth's concern for Billy. When Ruth tried to leave, an enraged Edith struck her in the back of the head with the vodka bottle she was drinking, shattering it and killing her instantly. A distraught Edith tried to revive Ruth but when that failed, she buried her body in her backyard and told Billy that his mother had left him behind. This embedded a deep distrust of women in Billy, which led to a series of psychiatric issues and Billy attempted suicide at the age of eight. As Billy became an adult, Edith kept her grandson's destructive behavior at bay but when she was diagnosed with emphysema in 2010, Billy went into a deep depression. On August 27, 2017, Edith died of her emphysema, causing Billy to snap and begin killing, murdering Patricia "Patty" Dunlop, a caterer hired for Edith's memorial service, and then Ann Baker, a registered nurse who treated her in the final weeks of her life. All the while he began to experience a hallucination of Edith (presumably caused by his Schizophrenia), who encouraged his killing spree.

To A Better Place[]

Edith is first seen when Billy enters her home after being at the coffee shop on his day off to see Helen. She asks where he was and he replies that he "met someone". He reminds her of who Helen is as he had mentioned her before. He goes on to say that "she's not like the others" as Helen lost her father when she was nine, and also understands his feelings of abandonment by a parent. Edith points out that Helen's father died while Billy's mother left and before Billy can retort, Edith calls Helen a whore and claims she will leave Billy just as Ruth did. This angers Billy to the point that he rips off Edith's oxygen tank and throws it aside in a rage. He turns around to find Edith is gone and breaks down as it becomes apparent that Edith is a delusion. Later, Billy looks up to see Edith sitting in her chair again and sadly apologizes as he reconnects her oxygen tank. He tells her that she was right about Helen and she smiles at him before he leaves.

The following day, Billy is sitting in his car across the street from the coffee shop. He looks nervously in the rear view mirror and sees Edith in the back seat. As he sees Helen drive off, he hears the delusion of Edith say "You know what you have to do. She's a whore. Like all others". He angrily hits the mirror to dispel the voice and starts the car to drive off, but begins to go into another panic. After killing another victim, Billy returns to Edith's house and she asks him where he was again, this time more aggressively. He brushes it off, saying that he was at work, but Edith calls him a liar. He tells her that he is planning on asking out Helen and she replies that "something evil" happened to Billy. He repeats his intention and says there is nothing Edith can do to stop him. She tells him to leave just like his mother did as Billy remembers the fight between Ruth and Edith. She taunts Billy by reminding him that his mother left him and Helen will do the same. Billy holds back his anger by clenching his fist so hard that he reopens a wound he sustained from killing Laura Westin. After agreeing to go out with him, Billy brings Helen to Edith's house to introduce them to each other. As Helen asks about his grandmother, Billy says that they argued earlier and Edith likely went out for a walk. However, Helen becomes increasingly apprehensive and tries to leave. Billy grabs her arm and takes out a box cutter, taking her captive.

Later, Billy sees Edith and tells her he was wrong about Helen. The delusion responds that Billy "knows what [he] has to do". As Billy prepares to kill Helen and place her inside a suitcase, he talks about how women can't be trusted as Edith looks at him ominously. Just then, Reid breaks into the room and holds Billy at gunpoint. He tells Billy about Ruth's plans to take him with her and a toy that she sent in the shipped belongings that was kept by Susan for years. The delusion avoids eye contact with him as Billy remembers what actually happened. Realizing that his grandmother had lied to him for years, an enraged Billy throws the box cutter at where the now vanished delusion of Edith was sitting before breaking down and being arrested.

Modus Operandi[]

Since Edith only killed one victim, the term "M.O." is somewhat misused. When she killed Ruth, Edith struck her in the back of the head with a bottle of vodka in anger due to an argument, accidentally cracking her skull and killing her instantly. After realizing what she had done, Edith unsuccessfully tried to revive Ruth before burying her body in the backyard.


No profile of Edith was made by the BAU, as their investigation was focused on Billy.

Known Victims[]

  • Unspecified date in 1997: Ruth Lynch (her daughter; struck in the head with a bottle; her body was found in 2017)


  • Edith is somewhat similar to Flora Martin ("The Bond") - Both were killers and malicious maternal figures to their episode's unsubs (who were both relatives of theirs), murdered one victim in the presence of those unsubs as children who later suppressed the memory (Billy witnessed Edith kill his mother Ruth; Flora killed the man who raped and impregnated her after forcing her son Randy to cut off his ear) and encouraged them to kill as adults (although in Edith's case, it was only a delusion of her by Billy).