|“||Ask the question, Sir Percival.||”|
— Garner in "The Fisher King, Part 2"
Randall Garner, a.k.a. "The Fisher King", was a psychotic budding serial killer, stalker, hacker, bomber, one-time abductor, and one-time proxy killer who appeared in Seasons One and Two on Criminal Minds.
Garner was originally happily married with four children and was a school teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada. On the night of October 12, 1992, Garner and his entire family got caught up in a house fire that was caused by faulty wiring as they slept. Garner tried to save them, but he was only able to save one of his daughters, Rebecca, and was severely burned in the process. His injuries gradually drove him insane, leading to his institutionalization at the Bennington Sanitarium, coincidentally the current residence of Reid's schizophrenic mother, Diana. Diana taught him about the Fisher King, the mythical keeper of the Holy Grail and the obstacle of the Knights of the Round Table. This caused him to believe that he was the Fisher King, the Holy Grail being Rebecca and the Knights being the BAU, whom he also learned of from Diana. After being released by the sanitarium, Garner tracked down Rebecca, who had now forgotten her past and was living a life of drugs and running away, and abducted her. He kept her captive at his newly-purchased, medieval-style mansion (which he paid for with settlement money he got from the contractors who built his home) in Shiloh, Virginia, for two years. Her absence was never reported, with her foster-turned-adoptive parents believing she simply ran away again, this time for good.
The Fisher King
"All Work, no play".
Deciding it was time to initiate his "quest", Garner stalked the BAU, taking photos of them as they investigated all of their cases in Season One and finding out about their personal information, such as addresses and daily schedules. He gets one Marty Harris killed and decapitated post-mortem, later framing Elle for the act as she and Morgan vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica; sends a skeleton key to Reid while he attempts to visit his mother at the sanitarium; delivers Harris' head and a 1963 baseball card to Gideon as he has dinner with Sarah Jacobs; drops off a box containing a rare butterfly in a shadow box to JJ; makes a phone call to Hotch at his home; and taunts Garcia online using the alias "Sir Kneighf" (an anagram of the Fisher King), saying, "All Work, No Play." Hotch arrives in Jamaica and is able to exonerate Elle before the two of them, along with Morgan, return to the BAU headquarters to regroup with the rest of the team. They share their discoveries and contemplate on what is happening before Garcia arrives and tells them of Sir Kneighf hacking into her account, leaving the possibility that the unsub now has access to all of the FBI's files. She also tells them that she managed to find the hacker's account and names the unsub as Frank Giles. The BAU raid his house only to find him dead, impaled on his bed with a medieval sword. They also find two messages, one written in his own blood and the other engraved on the sword.They use the latter message to find a music box, which Reid unlocks with the skeleton key that was sent to him. They find a third message, a sample of Rebecca's hair, and a DVD; when they play it back at the headquarters, they are described of the quest by Garner and are told of the one rule: only the BAU members must participate in the quest and no outside help is allowed. Hotch is immediately paid a visit by Haley afterward, who tells him that a man came to their house and gave her a piece of paper with several numbers written on it. Deciding that outside help must be allowed to help further the investigation, Gideon orders JJ to stage a press conference that Garner later sees, enraging him. When Elle starts becoming drowsy, Hotch sends her home with Agent Grant Anderson, who unknowingly disobeys orders and drops her off instead of staying with her. Inside her home, Elle is confronted by Garner, who yells at her for breaking the one rule before shooting her when she lunges for her gun. He uses her blood to write the BAU a message: "Rules."
Meanwhile, the BAU manage to apprehend the man that approached Haley, who tells them that he was approached by a seriously-wounded man in a hat. Gideon realizes that the unsub they're looking for is suffering from terrible burn marks. The BAU then receives a phone call from Garner, who accuses them of breaking the one rule. When Gideon asks about his burns, Garner quietly snarls that he shot Elle before hanging up. Gideon and Hotch arrive at the hospital to be informed by Anderson that Elle survived and she is undergoing medical surgery. He also adds that Elle's FBI badge is stolen and is nowhere to be found. Garner is later seen giving Rebecca food and tells her that he loves her. She pleads to be released and begins to cry as Garner leaves the room. Meanwhile, Reid manages to find out that the numbers on the paper Haley gave Hotch symbolize certain words from a book written by an author with the surname of Fowles and published in 1963. Garcia manages to find an author named John Fowles, who had a book called The Collector published in 1963. Reid realizes that Garner is sending them items that are collected, and when the two of them see the book's cover, they find that it depicts a butterfly, a skeleton key, and a sample of blonde hair, identical to the items sent to the BAU. Reid calls a librarian who finds the words symbolized by the numbers on the paper, and the final message says, "The Path to the End Began at His Start to Find Her First Calm. She Sits in a Window with Secrets From Her Knight. Is It Adventure That Keeps Him Out of Her Sight?"
The BAU uses the message to find out about Rebecca's past, and they interrogate her adoptive parents, who tell them of her deceased family and Garner's full name. Garcia later finds out that Garner was institutionalized in the same sanitarium as Diana. The BAU sends someone to retrieve Diana from the sanitarium, despite her fear of flying. Reid socializes with his mother briefly before she tells him of what she told Garner years ago that led to his current delusion. Diana then reveals she was sent a photo of his residence. Reid, Hotch, and Morgan rush to the mansion with several SWAT agents, where they find Elle's ID and gun. Reid later finds Garner in his office with a bomb planted on himself, with his thumb on a "dead man's switch". Randall tells Reid to "ask him the magical question". Reid remembers that in the myth of the Fisher King, one of the knights asks the Fisher King, who was also badly injured, a question that heals his wounds, which was most likely "Who is served by the Grail?". Knowing that asking the question won't work, Reid attempts to tell Garner to stand down, but he refuses. Reid asks if Garner can forgive himself for the death of his family, and Garner replies, "Can I forgive myself? No, I can't." He then blows himself up. Reid manages to escape the explosion in time and immediately uses a clue hidden in the photo Garner sent Diana to find and rescue Rebecca.
In "No Way Out II: The Evilution of Frank," Rebecca would go on to be murdered by prolific serial killer Frank Breitkopf. In "Carbon Copy," the BAU would compare him to John Curtis, a.k.a. "The Replicator", who, like Garner, stalked the team throughout the season he appeared in and also hacked into Garcia's computer system.
No official profile of Randall was made by the BAU, although Gideon noted that, despite Randall's delusional state of mind, he was strangely organized in his crimes. This implies that he believed his delusions completely, thus being able to carry them out with such organization.
Randall's methods varied, but all of his planned murders were laced with a medieval style: Marty Harris was decapitated post-mortem by Frank Giles, while Giles himself was personally impaled to a bed with a medieval sword. When he attempted to kill Elle, he shot her with a .45-caliber M1911 handgun, then wrote "Rules" using her blood as a reminder to the BAU about them breaking his rule about not going to the media for help.
As he stalked the BAU, he sent members the following taunts and clues as part of the "quest" they were embarking on:
- He called Hotch at his home about Harris and Giles.
- He sent Gideon a package containing Harris's head and a 1963 Nellie Fox baseball card.
- He framed Elle for the murder of Marty Harris through Frank Giles.
- He sent Reid a skeleton key and a note about Rebecca.
- He sent JJ a shadow box containing a message and a butterfly.
- He hacked into Garcia's computer system and sent her the message "all work, no play".
As for Rebecca, he abducted her (presumably after she ran away from home again), held her captive in the basement of his home, and left her to die in a house fire caused after he blew himself up. When he stalked the BAU, he took pictures of them and would later send them messages and items, the latter of which were meant as references to The Collector.
- February 25, 2004, South Boston, Virginia, U.S.: Rebecca Bryant (his daughter; abducted, held captive, and later left to die in a house fire; was eventually rescued on May 10-11, 2006)
- Unspecified date in 2005(?)-May 2006, various locations in the U.S.: Stalked the following BAU members:
- May 8, Montego Bay, Jamaica: Marty Harris (killed and decapitated post-mortem by Frank Giles under Randall's orders)
- Virginia, U.S.:
- May 9, Arlington: Frank Giles (accomplice; stabbed in the torso with a medieval sword and impaled his body to a mattress post-mortem)
- May 10, Quantico: Elle Greenaway (attempted, but barely survived; was shot in the torso with a handgun; stole her own handgun and ID)
- May 10-11, Shiloh: Attempted to kill in a suicide bombing and subsequent house fire:
- Spencer Reid
- Aaron Hotchner
- Derek Morgan
- Three unnamed SWAT agents
Randall: (to the BAU via recording) I assure you, you will all understand in the end why it must be this way. You might even thank me. Hear now, you are on a quest. A young girl's life depends on the successful completion of it.
(the recording switches to a viewing of Rebecca)
Randall: As you can see she is quite beautiful and in distress. Now please listen closely, for there is one rule, and this rule must be followed. The one rule is only the members of your team may participate in the quest: Jason Gideon, Aaron Hotchner, Derek Morgan, Elle Greenaway, Spencer Reid, Jennifer Jareau, and Penelope Garcia. The quest must be completed in the proper way, or it is regressed. That's it. One rule. Simple. Now, you will all receive an item soon that will hold the final clue you will need to finish the quest. You will also need to find a book which has inspired many an adventure like mine. Believe me, when I tell you, I truly hope to see you all soon. It would make a successful end to this... adventure. For all of us.
Randall: (aiming his gun at Elle who was just waking up) It was one rule.
Randall: One rule! Agent Greenaway.
Randall: Do you not consider that holding a press conference is going outside the team for help?!
Randall: One rule!
Elle: Listen to me. We can talk about...
Randall: (angrily) I told you this was important!
(shoots Elle in the torso)
Gideon: I'm actually more interested in exactly how you got all those burns.
Randall: Remember this: next time you decide to step out of my instructions, Agent Greenaway did not have to die like that.
(Rebecca hits Randall in the head with her tray as he prepares to leave)
Rebecca: Why don't you just kill me, you son of a bitch?
(Randall turns around)
Randall: Because I love you too much, Rebecca.
(Rebecca begins crying as Randall leaves)
Randall: (to Reid) Ask the question, Sir Percival.
Reid: There's only one question that matters, Mr. Garner. There's only one really important question: Can you forgive yourself.
Randall: I couldn't get to them.
Reid: If you tell me where she is, you can save Rebecca now. Tell me where Rebecca is.
Randall: You already know. I sent your mother the map.
Reid: (confused) What map?
Randall: Can I forgive myself? No, I can't.
(Randall blows himself up, but Reid manages to get away in time)
- The Collector, the book used by Garner as part of the "quest", has provided inspiration for some other real-life serial killers. It is about a man who falls in love with a girl named "Miranda", abducts her and holds her captive in the basement of a remote house. Serial killer Leonard Lake fantasized about sexually enslaving women and having his own "Miranda" and even named his plan for doing so, which he carried out with Charles Ng, "Operation Miranda". Christopher Wilder and Robert Berdella were also inspired by the book, or presumably an adaptation of it.