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What we have is a bond that you know nothing about. But I'll tell you about it. If you ask permission.

Malcolm Ford is a murderous stalker, abductor and rapist who appeared in "The Company", the 20th episode of Season Seven of Criminal Minds.


Very little is known about Malcolm's past, though it is mentioned, that he was born on June 19, 1967, and has a lengthy criminal record for assaulting and harassing some of his former girlfriends and women he had presumably stalked. What is known is that at some point in 2004, he met Cindi Burns and her family at their local church and set his sights on her.

Around that time, another churchgoer named John Hitchens began stalking Cindi, calling and emailing her constantly and sending her gifts that she would return. The stalking became so severe that Cindi asked her cousin, Derek Morgan, to make a profile of the stalker and track him down. In the end, Morgan advised Cindi to flee, since doing so usually makes stalkers give up, and she went to Charleston, South Carolina. This didn't stop Malcolm, as he managed to abduct her before purchasing a gun and murdering John, who he saw as competition, in order to frame him as her abductor.

Over eight years, Malcolm abused Cindi sexually and psychologically, making her believe that 'The Company' would kill her and her family if she ever disobeyed him. This lie was maintained by a ring of twisted sadomasochists he apparently joined at some point in his life and also a contract that was the ring's tradition. In this contract, the captives who signed their names were to become their captors' "slaves." Because of the threats and the slave contract[2] that she was forced to sign, Cindi easily submitted to his abuse and eventually became impregnated with his child. Their son, Anthony, was placed under the care of the ring, in a place called "The Cabin", which held other children brought about by this ring. This gave her extra incentive to obey his commands. Apparently, he would let Cindi see Anthony every Christmas.

The Company[]

Malcolm is first seen driving a truck in Chicago, with Cindi as the passenger. He stops at a traffic light, coincidentally right next to the car of Desiree Morgan, Cindi's cousin. Desiree sees and recognizes Cindi, calling out her name and causing Malcolm to panic. He drives off and manages to lose Desiree when she is accidentally hit by another car while chasing him. Desiree survives and tells Morgan of her discovery, prompting him to summon the rest of the BAU. As a result, Malcolm makes plans to leave, making Cindi pack a suitcase and apparently telling her that they are going to "the cabin". As he leaves, he attempts to burn the slave contract and several other documents in his fireplace in order to cover his tracks. Malcolm and Cindi arrive at the house of another sadomasochistic couple, the Maguires. They hide Malcolm's car and inform him that they can get them into Canada. Cindi questions about why they are not going to the cabin, but Malcolm doesn't answer. While Mrs. Maguire shows Cindi her "bedroom" (a basement filled with torture devices), Malcolm makes small talk with Mr. Maguire, who compliments Cindi's servitude. Mr. Maguire gives him a phone and the number of someone who can get him to Toronto that night.

The following night, Malcolm and Cindi stop at a convenience store to pick up Malcolm's dinner. Cindi begins to cry despite Malcolm's orders to stop, and he teaches her a "lesson" by strangling her with her seatbelt and telling her to get the cabin out of her mind. Cindi then goes into the store to get food, taking only Malcolm's revolver, while Malcolm waits for his partner. Malcolm immediately learns that Cindi put the gun in her pocket and goes inside the store, where he stops Cindi and threatens her, telling her he can have her son, Anthony, killed with one phone call. Cindi consequently returns his gun to him. When they walk out, a spaghetti package Cindi had shoplifted sets off the alarm. The store manager tries to investigate, but Malcolm will have none of it, hastily paying the man, and realizes the police will arrive soon. Morgan and Rossi catch him driving away from the store, but quickly discover Cindi isn't with him. Malcolm smiles and laughs when he learns of Morgan's identity, even taunting him about it, and offers no resistance while being taken into custody.

JJ and Prentiss enter the interrogation, discussing their married lives and ignoring Malcolm. Malcolm is amused by their tactics, knowing that they have nothing on him for John Hitchens' murder or Cindi's abduction. He taunts JJ for allowing her baby to be handled by someone she's not married to and claims that he and Cindi have a bond far better than her bond with her partner because they never fight. Malcolm offers to tell them their "secret" if they will ask for permission, but they scoff at him and walk out. Morgan later enters the interrogation room, much to Malcolm's delight. He constantly asks for the time, claiming that it's around 10:00 or 10:15. When Morgan infers that Cindi sent a message to him and is waiting for a chance to escape, Malcolm, wanting to taunt the agent, remarks that "you don't know the love she had for me", knowing that Morgan will immediately assume Malcolm has killed her from this inference. As predicted, Morgan becomes enraged before realizing Malcolm didn't have time to dump the body and that Cindi is still alive. When Hotch stops the interrogation, Malcolm laughs and announces it's 10:30, knowing that Cindi has called a lawyer.

Malcolm is released, but on his way out with Cindi, they encounter Yvonne, Cindi's mother. He allows Cindi to speak to her, confident that she won't betray him. She doesn't, and Malcolm is pleased enough to take her to the cabin, where Cindi picks up Anthony. However, before Malcolm, Cindi, and Anthony can leave, the BAU and police arrive at the cabin, having received valuable information from the lawyer Cindi called as he is a close acquaintance of Malcolm's. Feeling cornered, Malcolm takes Cindi and Anthony into the woods and waits for Morgan to come. When Morgan comes close, he ambushes him, attempting to strangle him to death with his belt, but fails and is punched several times by him, incapacitating him. Cindi stops the fight, brandishing Morgan's gun, which he had dropped, and she points it at Malcolm, intending to kill him. While Morgan stops her from shooting, Malcolm stands up and attempts to flee, only to be stopped by JJ and Prentiss. He is arrested by them, with JJ taunting him about "the secret." By the end of the episode, Cindi happily reunites with Yvonne and introduces her to Anthony as Morgan watches. It's safe to presume Malcolm is incarcerated afterwards, along with a number of his accomplices.

Modus Operandi[]

Since Malcolm only killed one victim, the term "M.O." is somewhat misused. After abducting Cindi, he shot and killed John Hitchens with a .44 Magnum revolver and made the death resemble a suicide, after which he reported the gun stolen to cover himself. He also planted several altered photographs in order to throw authorities off his trail. While keeping Cindi captive, he would subject her to all kinds of abuse, either sexual or psychological. An example of the latter would be when he placed her head in a "headbox" and lock it shut. When he tried to kill Morgan, he strangled him with his belt and bashed his body into a tree to subdue him.


Malcolm was not profiled by the BAU, as the group was more focused on Cindi, whom they suspected of having Stockholm syndrome. The team also deduced that he fit the characteristics of a power-assertive stalker more closely than Hitchens. However, judging from the hints that were provided by the episode, he appears to be a sexual sadist, gaining pleasure from his absolute control over Cindi and also his mind-games with Morgan. He is also very intelligent, having a number of backup plans and strategies to employ whenever problems arose.

Real-Life Comparison[]

Malcolm seems to have been inspired by Cameron and Janice Hooker, particularly Cameron - Both are murderous stalkers and rapists who used a sensory deprivation box, a slavery contract signed by both "master" and "slave", which was burned after the crime was discovered but still served as the main evidence of their relationship with their captive. Afterward, there was the requirement of permission to speak, and using the threat of a fictional, all-powerful "Company" against the victims' relatives to keep them from fleeing. In regards to the latter, while a so-called "Company" never existed, there was a ring of sadomasochists Cindi's captor was a member of, though it did not work in the exact capacity the captor purported.

Known Victims[]

  • Unspecified dates: Numerous unnamed women (some of them were previous girlfriends; all assaulted and harassed only)
  • Possibly kept multiple other unnamed "slaves" prior to The Company
  • 2004:
    • Unspecified date: Charleston, South Carolina: Cindi Burns (stalked for an unspecified amount of time; later abducted, held captive, raped, and severely abused; was rescued on April 11, 2012)
    • Unspecified date, Chicago, Illinois: John Hitchens (shot with a .44 Magnum revolver and framed him as Cindi's killer; his death was ruled as a suicide until 2012)
  • April 11, 2012, Chicago, Illinois: Derek Morgan (Cindi's cousin; attempted; tried to strangle and bashed him into a tree)



  1. Shown on a credit card.
  2. A practice in master/slave BDSM relationships normally done between consenting partners in which the submissive partner pledges to serve the dominant one.