|“||Have you forgotten? I know exactly how to get what I want.||”|
Askari grew up as an orphan on the streets of Tikrit, Iraq, and was homeless from the ages of seven to nine. When he was ten years old, he was raped for the first time. Since then, he led a life of violence; before he turned thirteen he had already killed three people. As an adult, Askari became a highly-educated member of the Iraqi Republican Guard, which gave him the opportunity to torture people and get away with it. He was eventually caught torturing prisoners-of-war out of pure pleasure. Being presumably kicked out because of that, he switched careers and began working with the U.S. State Department in July 2010, as an interrogation specialist and an interpreter for Operation: Classified, which tracked down Osama bin Laden, during which he worked alongside Jennifer Jareau, Mateo Cruz, then-FBI Section Chief Director Erin Strauss, and Michael Hastings, assembled by Undersecretary Rosemary Jackson.
As a result, the former job required him to use torture in order to extract information from informants, and, being a closet sadist, he derived pleasure from the torture. Some of the people he tortured, including a couple named Savin and Nadia Mubari, were killed. He also killed their daughter, who was a hostage held by members of a terrorist regime he was secretly working for. Eventually, Askari was exposed as a traitor, spying on the rest of the task force, and as a result, he fled with Hastings, also a traitor, during an ambush on a convoy carrying them on April 24, 2011. Soon after, they began fully working for the regime, all the while seething with hatred at his former co-workers. Eventually, in 2014, he, Hastings, and several other members of the regime were assigned to retrieve codes that would access Integrity, a database that was containing information relating to Operation: Classified, which were intended to be sold to enemies of the U.S.; these codes were known only to JJ and Cruz, the only members of Integrity that were still alive.
After members of the regime squad abduct JJ and Cruz, Askari personally confronts the former and drugs her. He then proceeds to torture both in order to learn the codes but proves to be unsuccessful. He even fakes Cruz's death in order to get JJ to talk, but the ploy fails. Finally, JJ gives up her codes when Cruz, acting on Askari's orders, persuades her to do so. When Askari learns that Cruz knows his own codes, Hastings takes over the interrogation process and manages to get Cruz to reveal them by attempting to rape JJ. Upon starting the downloading of data onto Hastings', Askari slashes the throat of one of their accomplices in front of JJ (possibly to remove loose ends) and stabs Cruz in the stomach (severely wounding him). He then prepares to slash JJ's throat when the BAU burst in and Hotch opens fire, shooting him twice and killing him; JJ and Cruz are both freed. Hastings is later killed when he falls off a roof during a struggle with JJ and Prentiss, with the downloading being canceled after his cell phone is destroyed during the fall.
The Forever People
Askari reappears in the episode, mostly through flashbacks. Near the end of the episode, Reid, who becomes aware of JJ's emotional struggles with the upcoming one-year anniversary of her abduction and torture, calls Prentiss and asks her for extra background intelligence on Askari. He tells JJ about this after they finish a case and that the file is in her old office. She decides to look at the file and learns about Askari's troubled childhood. He then suddenly appears in her office and taunts her, saying that he merely "bent" her and wanted to do more to her when he was torturing her. JJ accuses him of killing her unborn baby during the 2011 convoy ambush and for taking away everything else she had. Askari then responds that he will next take her sleep, then her smile, then her security, then her job, and then finally, her family. He then tells her about the risk she took during her latest case when she fired her gun unprovoked despite the danger of igniting gas that was leaking into the room she was in. Askari adds that he will watch her kill herself, or otherwise quit and spend the rest of her life in emotional pain. JJ snarls "No", only to realize that Askari isn't there anymore, having been a hallucination the entire time.
"If I were you, I would save my strength."
Askari usually tortured his victims through a variety of brutal ways (such as waterboarding, being sprayed with a powerful hose, and electroshock) in order to extract important information from them, and some were tortured so severely that they died. When he killed incidental victims, he shot them to death with an M1911 handgun, slashed their throats with a knife, or used homemade explosives.
Initially believed to be acting alone, Askari was profiled by the BAU team as being highly trained, organized, and meticulous who typically spends 24 hours with his subjects, torturing them with the standard techniques until they break. He seems to be keeping his "torture ritual" to an established timeline, which gives off the impression of a "perfect methodology" that evolved through years of practice. Of all of the torture techniques he used, Askari never used sexual torture, indicating that he has lines that he doesn't cross. Torturers are driven by a false sense of moral superiority and already derive enough sexual pleasure from the torture that they inflict on their victims. The behavior Askari exhibits is characteristic to not only a torturer but a sadistic serial killer who loves to get off on the torture.
- Pre-1986, unspecified locations: Three unnamed people
- Unspecified dates and locations in 1986(?) to 2010: Numerous unnamed victims (all tortured and/or killed)
- October 2010, unspecified location in Afghanistan: Savin Mubari (tortured to death)
- Unspecified location in Afghanistan: Nadia Mubari's unnamed daughter (blown up with a bomb)
- Unspecified location in Pakistan: Nadia Mubari (Savin's wife; tortured to death like her husband; also raped by Hastings)
- April 24, unspecified location in Afghanistan: The convoy ambush:
- Unspecified dates and locations from 2011 to 2014: Numerous unnamed captured U.S. soldiers (all tortured and/or killed)
- 2014, Washington, D.C., U.S.:
- January 23-24:
- Jennifer Jareau (drugged, tortured, and attempted to slash her throat with a knife; was rescued)
- Mateo Cruz (tortured and non-fatally stabbed in the stomach; was rescued)
- January 24: An unnamed man (one of his accomplices; slashed his throat)
- January 23-24:
- Askari seems to have been based on at least three unsubs from the show's past:
- Season One
- Vincent Perotta ("Natural Born Killer") - Both were psychopathic and prolific serial killers and abductors who would enjoy torturing their victims; were victimized as children (Askari was raped by assailants, while Perotta was abused by his father); targeted random victims; killed their first victims as children; had a wildly varying M.O. (one of which was throat slashing); and attempted to kill at least one member of the BAU.
- Season Four
- George Foyet ("Omnivore", "To Hell and Back, Part 2", and "100") - Both were prolific and psychopathic serial killers who were victimized as children (Askari was raped by assailants; Foyet was abused by his father), committed their first murders when they were minors, targeted random victims, attacked a member of the BAU on two separate occasions, used firearms (particularly M1911s) and were killed by Hotch. Foyet later appeared in Season Five.
- Season Six
- Season One