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You think you know me? I know who you are, Regina.

Hamilton Bartholomew, a.k.a. "The Piano Man", is a serial rapist, killer, stalker, and abductor who appeared in the Season Seven episode of Criminal Minds, "Unknown Subject".


Almost nothing about Bartholomew's personal life is revealed, other than that he was married and was a fairly skilled piano player. In 2007, he raped Regina Lampert, whom he had seen picking up several men at a bar he frequented. Over the next five years, he raped an additional eleven women. Because he would tie his victims' wrists together with piano wire and play piano ballads while raping them, he was given the name "The Piano Man" by the media.

Exactly why he started raping his victims is unclear as well, although it is presumed that he gets off on the fear of his victims. Somehow he found out that someone was copying his M.O. and decided to take advantage of this in his latest goal to stay hidden. Bartholomew did this by abducting (and later murdering) Vanessa Campbell, his fifth victim, in order to frame the copycat; this latest abduction led to the summoning of the BAU, who initially believes that the Piano Man was on a mission to remind his victims that he will never be gone from their lives.

Unknown Subject

In the episode, Bartholomew is first seen playing a piano ballad at the bar Regina Lampert goes to, while she is present. Regina immediately identifies the ballad as Total Eclipse of the Heart, the same song the Piano Man played to her when he raped her and realizes that Bartholomew is her rapist. She berates Bartholomew for playing the song, even loudly shutting the piano in front of many people, but the two shortly make amends and Bartholomew eventually escorts her to her car, where Regina coldly tasers him to unconsciousness. Regina then abducts Bartholomew and takes him to her house, binding him with piano wire and sets him up in front of a piano. Bartholomew feigns innocence as she holds him at gunpoint and tries to convince her that he was playing another song in the bar, but Regina isn't convinced and non-fatally shoots his left hand. When Regina learns that the BAU arrested a suspect, Herman Scobie, she is shocked, only to receive a taunt from Bartholomew, who finally admits himself to being the Piano Man.

Regina goes to the kitchen and readies her gun, while Bartholomew seizes the chance to break loose from his bonds. When Regina returns, Bartholomew pushes her away and then hides behind the many furniture items scattered around the house. Calling 911, Bartholomew pretends to be a victim, to which Regina holds him at gunpoint again. The BAU arrive and Prentiss tells Regina that they have identified Bartholomew as an innocent man. Regina lowers her gun, allowing Prentiss to arrest her. When Hotch escorts Bartholomew outside, he immediately arrests him, Prentiss's claims to Regina that he was innocent having been a ruse to prevent his death. It's safe to assume he is incarcerated for his crimes afterwards.

Later, Bartholomew was mentioned in the Season Eight episode "The Fallen", when his case turned out to have become a chapter of Rossi's latest book, Evil Never Rests. His chapter was apparently titled "The Piano Man Sings".

Modus Operandi

Bartholomew targeted women of different races, ages, and social classes; what they had in common was that they were all smokers. After stalking them for some time, he would abduct them from near some kind of public venue such as a restaurant or a mall, drugging them with cigarettes laced with some drug that mimics a date-rape drug, binding them with piano wire (hence his nickname), and raping them. His signature was playing a piano ballad on some media player during the rapes and even singing along, so whenever they heard the song again afterwards they would relive the trauma. As forensic countermeasures, he wore a mask to conceal his identity and wore gloves to avoid leaving behind fingerprints. In the case of his second attack on Vanessa Campbell, Bartholomew abducted her from her home, did not rape her, fatally strangled her with the piano wire he used to bind her, dumped her body, leaving a piece of a neoprene surgical glove in her throat beforehand, hoping that the authorities would believe her murder was committed by Scobie.


Bartholomew is never profiled by the team directly, but he appears to be a typical anger-excitation rapist who likes to traumatize his victims and make them suffer. In the beginning of the episode (before Scobie was exposed as a copycat), the BAU presumed he is attacking his old victims a second time to bring the terror back into their lives and remind them that he isn't gone from their lives.

Real-Life Comparisons

Bartholomew seems to have been inspired by Lee Choon-jae - Both were murderous serial rapists who targeted women of varying ages (though Lee also killed girls), were classed as anger-excitation and power-assertive rapists, had forensic countermeasures that involved wearing masks and other clothes, killed at least one victim by ligature strangulation after raping her, had signatures involving using a specific kind of binding on their victims (Bartholomew bound his victims with piano wiring, while Lee used his victims' own clothes), and were both given nicknames for their crimes. Also, the way Yoon Sang-yeo was charged with killing one of Lee's victims and being deemed a copycat is somewhat similar to how Herman Scobie copycatted Bartholomew.

He may have also been inspired by David Parker Ray - Both were serial rapists and abductors who targeted women, their attacks were so brutal the women were left with horrible physical scars from the implements both rapists used, at least one victim wasn't originally believed and lost much of their personal lives as a result of the brutality and the rejection and denial from the people around them, and also killed one woman by strangulation (by proxy in Ray's case) before leaving her to be found on a public route.

Known Victims

  • 2007-2011 or 2012: Twelve victims raped over the course of five years. They are:
    • Unspecified date in 2007: Regina Lampert (first victim; played "Total Eclipse of the Heart" during her rape)
    • Unspecified dates:
      • Brittany Anderson (second victim; played "Up Where We Belong" during her rape)
      • Diana Mitchell (third victim; played "Maybe I'm Amazed" during her rape)
      • Kelly Miller (fourth victim)
      • Vanessa Campbell (fifth victim; played "You're the Inspiration" during her rape)
      • Linda Parker (sixth victim)
      • Valorie Neeve (seventh victim)
      • Susan Estrof (ninth victim; played "Lady in Red" during her rape)
      • Tammy Marlowe (eleventh victim; played "Glory of Love" during her rape)
      • Diane James
      • Angela Williams
      • Charlotte Fletcher
  • 2012:
    • January 24: Vanessa Campbell (his fifth victim; abducted, fatally garroted with piano wire, and stuffed a piece of a neoprene glove down her throat post-mortem; wasn't raped; played "You're the Inspiration" during her abduction)
    • January 24-25: Regina Lampert (his first victim; intended to abduct and kill)