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Where is he? I want to see him right now. You tell him the Hollow Man is here!
The Hollow Man

The Hollow Man (real name unknown) is a serial killer who appeared in Season Two episode of Criminal Minds, "The Last Word".

Background

Nothing is known about the Hollow Man's personal life or background, not even his real name. What is known is that he at some point got a job as a taxi driver and started killing prostitutes in St. Louis at around the same time as The Mill Creek Killer. According to the BAU's profile on him, the Hollow Man initially admired the Mill Creek Killer upon learning about him, and established contact with him in hopes of becoming more confident. Unlike the Mill Creek Killer, the Hollow Man was motivated by fame, which he couldn't get because the Mill Creek Killer's murders attracted more media attention. As a result, their relationship devolved into a rivalry. He would write letters to Jim Meyers, a journalist who wrote about the Mill Creek Killer, telling him about his murders and his motivation with phrases like "I won't be ignored".

The Last Word

After the Mill Creek Killer murders another woman, the Hollow Man starts another hunt, eventually spots a prostitute named Marci Mitchell and shoots her when she walks into a secluded alleyway. This murder, along with the Mill Creek Killer's latest murder, calls in the BAU. When the Mill Creek Killer murders yet another woman and the attention is focused on it in its entirety, the Hollow Man becomes enraged and approaches two prostitutes at an alleyway in his taxi. One of the women approaches him and informs him that they are off-duty before he pulls out his gun and shoots her. The other woman screams and attempts to flee, but is shot in the back and instantly killed. He then drives away. The BAU later finds out his communication method with the Mill Creek Killer and decides to use it to their advantage, using his alias to trap the Mill Creek Killer that works, resulting in a successful arrest.

The Hollow Man holds a security guard hostage.

JJ initiates a press conference that informs the public of the Mill Creek Killer's capture and states that the Hollow Man's murders are most likely unconnected. This enrages him and he immediately arrives at the police station, allowing two security guards to scan him. When one of them finds his gun, he pulls it out and holds him at gunpoint. He then successfully orders the other guard to slide his gun away. He then takes the guard upstairs where he demands the Mill Creek Killer before accusing JJ of being ordered by the Mill Creek Killer to not give him credit for his murders. When he spots the Mill Creek Killer in a conference room, he is distracted and accidentally lowers his gun, allowing the authorities to quickly make an arrest. He is presumably incarcerated alongside the Mill Creek Killer. On the jet on their way back, the BAU read a preview of the next day's newspaper, in which the Hollow Man's victims are named and memorialized, though he himself isn't mentioned.

Profile

"I left you the newspaper! I gave you the Mill Creek Killer! What else do I have to do?!"

While the Mill Creek Killer is motivated by internal forces, the Hollow Man is motivated by fame. His usage of simple statements, all first-person, like "I won't be ignored", implies that he feels tired of feeling overlooked in his professional and private lives. He may have a job that requires him to work in solitude or wear a uniform, erasing his individual identity. It is a menial job for which he was overqualified and felt a need for respect that he necessarily deserves or a job which he felt stripped him of his identity. His most recent shooting of two women says his confidence is growing, making him unpredictable and dangerous. The second and/or third aspects of the profile are correct, as he works as a taxi driver. Shooting his victims is a way for him to avoid bodily contact with them, making it more difficult for him to catch.

Serial shooters like the unsub are typically loners. Since his victims were prostitutes, he may lack confidence with women or have poor social skills. He does not rape his victims, which means he might be impotent. His gun gives him power and lets him maintain distance from his victims, with whom he does not want to come into physical contact. According to the graphological analysis of the letters, the Hollow Man's cursive handwriting suggests repression, that he is uptight and prone to overreacting, and that he solves problems in a practical, direct manner, such as shooting someone.

He contacted the Mill Creek Killer in the hopes that he would be his mentor and offered him admiration and respect, hoping to acquire encouragement and confidence from the latter. When he remained unnoticed by the press, he resented the Mill Creek Killer and turned their relationship into that of a rivalry.

Modus Operandi

The Hollow Man would hunt at night (except for the alleyway double homicide, which occurred during the day hours and was committed out of rage), shooting prostitutes with a .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver loaded with hollow-point bullets (hence his name). He usually killed right after the Mill Creek Killer claimed the life of another victim.

Real-Life Comparisons

The Hollow Man appears to have been based on David Berkowitz - Both are serial killers who used .44 Magnum revolvers as their weapons of choice, targeted women, killed their victims at night by shooting them, and sent letters to the police that contained their nicknames in regards to their crimes. In addition, Berkowitz was active at the same time as another independent serial killer, mirroring the Hollow Man's synced activities with the Mill Creek Killer.

He may have also been based on Colin Ireland - Both were serial killers who started killing as a way to gain fame, were given nicknames for their crimes, and were enraged when the press did not gave them attention or when their murders were being seen as unconnected.

The Hollow Man also seems to have been based on Sean Vincent Gillis - Both are serial killers who targeted prostitutes, were given nicknames for their crimes, and were active in the same area at the same time as another independent serial killer who also targeted women, and with whom they developed a 'rivalry' with. Also the way the Hollow Man held a man hostage is similar to how Lee held a man at gunpoint.

The Hollow Man is similar to Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman - All were serial killers who killed victims in drive-by shootings, and were active in the same area at the same time as another independant serial killer.

He may have also been inspired by John Hinckley, Jr. - They were physically and psychologically similar, were known to dress in military-style jackets, employed a revolver in their crimes, were obsessed with fame and recognition, and eventually killed to acquire the latters. The only difference between the two consists in the fact that the Hollow Man was a serial killer targeting prostitutes, while Hinckley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan.

He may have been loosely based on Herbert Mullin - Both are serial killers who were active at the same time as another independent serial killer (who targeted women and engaged in sex with their corpses), both targeted mainly one gender (The Hollow Man targeted female prostitutes, while Mullin mainly killed men, yet also killed women and children), shot most of their victims with a revolver (though Mullin's M.O. was various), and both initially started out with killing one victim at a time before beginning to kill multiple victims at once.

Known Victims

  • November 2005: Arlene Addison
  • 2006:
    • March: Tiffany Benson
    • June: Penny Clifford
    • August:
      • Grace Danielson
      • Suzette Freeman
    • October:
      • Gloria Earls
      • Diane Gladwyn
    • November 14: Marci Mitchell
    • November 15: The alleyway shootings:
      • Unnamed victim
      • Nicole B. (full surname unrevealed)
    • November 16: Unnamed security guard (briefly held hostage)

Notes

  • In addition to being similar to Hinkley, the Hollow Man is also similar to Travis Bickle, the main character in the 1976 film Taxi Driver (who was actually an inspiration for Hinkley) - Both were asocial, frustrated loners who worked as cab drivers, wore military-style jackets, had a relationship with prostitutes (Bickle had a thirteen-year-old friend working as a prostitute, the Hollow Man killed prostitutes), turned to crime because of their need for fame and recognition, and employed a long-barreled revolver in their exploits.
  • The Hollow Man's method of communicating with the Mill Creek Killer using newspaper ads is very similar to how the serial killers of Manhunter communicated.
  • The Hollow Man may have been based on The Footpath Killer ("Extreme Aggressor" and "Compulsion") - Both are serial killers whose real names are never revealed, worked menial jobs, were profiled as having low self-esteem, shot their victims with hand-held guns, were active while the BAU was investigating an unrelated serial killer (both of which had similar victimologies and methods), and were both apprehended after a hostage situation.

Appearances

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