Jack the Ripper. Probably one of the most infamous serial killers of all time. What makes him stand out from the rest is the fact that to this day, he was never/probably never will be caught (yes, he is dead, but his identity could still be revealed… but probably not). Although there are many people that were profiled to be this psycho killer, there was never enough evidence to convict anyone. So, who is this “mastermind” behind murder? Well, here’s a little background information on our old pal Jack:
During the late 1800s, Jack the Ripper committed his crimes in London, England (specifically in the Whitechapel district). Ironically, Whitechapel was known to have a very high population of prostitutes, drug dealers, etc. According to Criminal Minds, these people are known as “high-risk victims” due to their unique lifestyle that makes them more likely to be victims of crime. Therefore, Jack the Ripper targeted mainly prostitutes, having less of a chance of getting caught by police. Ranging from around 5-11 total victims, the “Canonical Five” who were Jack’s definite victims.
Methods of Killing: Jack would slash the victim’s throats. There were also bruises visible on the bodies of victims, older than the time of death. This brings the assumption that Jack would strangle his victims before he would cut their throats. He would also take an organ or body part as a token of his “successful kill”. A pattern began to show with his killings; they would always happen on a weekend, in the wee hours of the morning. Distinctively, Jack would write letters giving details about his killings, sometimes even leaving them with the victims.
How does this relate to Criminal Minds, you may be asking?
Season Two, Episode 18, entitled “Jones”.
PAUSE!!!! If you have not seen this episode yet, I recommend watching it before reading on, as I do reveal some spoilers.
Due to a traumatic past (explained in depth in the episode), Sarah Danlin became obsessed with Jack the Ripper, and her killings in the show replicated his killing style. However, because she is a woman, her method of killing had to be changed a bit.
Sarah would lure her victims (all men) away from crowded places with promises of sex. Once she got them into a private place, she would slit their throats. After killing about six men, the Behavior Analysis Unit (“BAU”) concludes that this must be the work of a Jack the Ripper copycat, as the methods of killing were quite similar.
Although Sarah would not take an organ from her victims, she would remove an organ from the body, leaving it at the scene of the crime. She did however take a trophy, like Jack would. Most of the time this would be small knick-knacks with little value.
Do you think she did enough to perfect the “copycat” role? Nope. There’s one last detail:
Sarah would also type out letters that reflected the writing style of Jack’s and would leave them with the victims at the scene of the crime.
As you may know, most episodes of Criminal Minds episodes end about the same. A murder occurs, the team makes a “profile”, they figure out who the killer is, Garcia finds the killer’s address at unworldly like speeds, and the team puts away the killer. So, it was inevitable that Sarah was caught and incarcerated in the end—unlike Jack the Ripper, whose case remains unsolved, even almost 200 years later.