The Virginia Anarchists (so named in this wiki) is a group of homegrown terrorists who attempted to stage a large-scale terrorist attack across the U.S. They appeared in the Season Eleven episode of Criminal Minds, "The Storm".
The anarchists were organized by Eric Rawdon, a psychopath who secretly did not share their ideology and simply wanted to cause destruction for the sake of it. At least some of their members also had overlap with white supremacy groups. Rawdon was eventually arrested, convicted of conspiracy, and imprisoned in Virginia Supermax Prison. However, the anarchists continued to operate under Rawdon's instructions and began planning two operations: a prison break to free Rawdon and an attack against the U.S.
The anarchists initiate their plan, first framing Hotch (who wrote a scathing profile of Rawdon) for conspiring an attack on the BAU headquarters, which causes him to get arrested by a SWAT team led by Captain Grant Howard. They were helped by Asher Douglas, a computer expert, and the son of serial killer Antonia Slade. Through Antonia's help, Asher is identified and arrested by the BAU, later being interrogated by Reid about his involvement. Then, the anarchists proceed with the plan to free Rawdon by infiltrating Virginia Supermax Prison, killing several prison guards, disguising themselves as guards, and using the control room to free all of the general prison population from their cells. They then enter the control room, kill a responding prison guard, and then allow inmates to take them hostage. Howard and other SWAT agents breach the control room and kill the inmates before they themselves are killed by the anarchists. At the same time, the BAU arrive at the prison to deal with the situation.
Under orders from Rawdon, Johnson opens the cells of the serial killer wing, where Lewis is at. The serial killers surround Lewis, and one of them charges at her, but she shoots him. Then, Hotch (who had been exonerated in time) and more SWAT agents arrive, shoot two inmates, and arrest the others. Meanwhile, the anarchists, including Rawdon and Johnson, confront Reid, JJ, and a SWAT agent. They kill the SWAT agent and engage in a shootout with Reid and JJ, who take cover inside the cells. Hotch and SWAT arrive and shoot at the anarchists, after which Rawdon drops a flashbang grenade that unintentionally incapacitates the other anarchists. Hotch confronts Rawdon and demands the location of the bomb the anarchists are making, but Rawdon smugly tells him that he will never stop it in time. Hotch then deduces it is at the Ivory Tower, a safe-house for fundamentalist groups in Virginia. The BAU and SWAT rush to the Ivory Tower and find other anarchists preparing to transport the bomb via helicopter. The anarchists shoot at them, and they kill several while the helicopter takes off. The BAU and SWAT shoot at the helicopter, managing to hit the bomb inside and detonating it, destroying the helicopter.
The group's plan against the U.S. was highly organized, methodical, and multifaceted. It was conducted in several stages:
- The group framed Hotch of planning an attack on the BAU headquarters in Quantico. Through Asher Douglas, they took elements of press conferences led by Hotch and then spliced them together to form the warning "Today will change everything". They also somehow acquired or copied Hotch's credit cards and used them to purchase the necessary supplies needed to build a powerful bomb, which would be traced back to him. Once the group was ready to execute the plan, they used an app called "The Storm" to spoof Hotch's cell phone number, called 911, and played a recording of the spliced message. This would result in a SWAT team arresting Hotch and prompting the rest of the BAU to try and prove his innocence, therefore distracting them long enough for the rest of the plan to be carried out.
- The group then infiltrated prisons around the U.S., including the one Rawdon was being held in, to orchestrate prison riots and breaks. They first killed some prison guards, disguised themselves using their clothes, and gained access to the control rooms. This allowed them to open the doors of cells and release inmates, who would kill any prison guard they came across and then raid the gun safes. Any surviving guards that managed to flee to safety in the control room would be killed or taken hostage by the anarchists waiting there. Once a SWAT team breached the control rooms, the anarchists would then ambush and kill them before swapping clothes with them as well and making their getaway. During the prison breaks (except for Virginia Supermax Prison), the group released the serial killers first to ensure the police would be as preoccupied as possible with them. They shot their victims with Heckler & Koch MP5A3s and M16A2 rifles, and several handguns.
- Once Rawdon and his accomplices escaped the prison, they would've regrouped with other anarchists at Ivory Tower, transported explosives they manufactured and used them to attack unspecified targets. Because the BAU managed to thwart Rawdon's escape, this stage was never achieved.
No official profile of the group was made, as the BAU were more focused on their leader Rawdon.
Though the anarchists do not appear to be based on any real-life groups, their act of swatting Hotch was based on a serial swatter who was repeatedly targeting celebrities, according to episode writer Breen Frazier.
- Eric Rawdon (leader; incarcerated). Portrayed by Jonathan Camp.
- The Virginia Supermax breakout crew:
- Two unnamed pilots (both deceased). Portrayed by Chris Joachims and an uncredited actor.
- Numerous other unnamed members (at least four deceased and the rest incarcerated). All portrayed by uncredited actors.
- Season Eleven
- Season Twelve
- Two SWAT agents named Kershaw and Bring (named after series producers Glenn Kershaw and Harry Bring) were assigned by Captain Grant Howard to accompany Reid and JJ. However, only one agent was seen with Reid and JJ before being shot and killed by the anarchists at the E Block, with the other conspicuously absent. The slain agent's name was never revealed.