What episode of Criminal Minds has the puppets?

One of the most bizarre episodes from Criminal Minds was season eight, episode 10, The Lesson, which featured a serial killer with an obsession with puppets.


Criminal Minds aired from 2005 until 2020, when the crime drama series was cancelled. In the 16 years that the series aired, it was filled with numerous cases that fascinated viewers for various reasons. Whether the storyline was based on a real serial killer profile or not.

One of the episodes that fascinated viewers with its storyline was titled The Lesson. Forming part of the eighth season of the series which aired in 2012, the episode featured a serial killer, Adam Rain, who had a peculiar obsession with the puppets. An obsession that seemingly stemmed from a traumatic childhood experience.

What is Criminal Minds?

For 15 seasons, Criminal Minds captivated fans of the crime drama series. This is as the premise of the series differed from other popular crime series of the time.

According to IMDb, the series was about, “The cases of the F.B.I. Behavioral Analysis Unit (B.A.U.), an elite group of profilers who analyze the nation’s most dangerous serial killers and individual heinous crimes in an effort to anticipate their next moves before they strike again.”

The popularity of the series spawned spin offs including Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.

What episode of Criminal Minds has the puppets?

The Lesson is the tenth episode of season eight, which aired in December 2012. The premise of the story is cryptically explained as, “A number of bizarre, ritualistic murders prompts the team to search for the killer” by IMDb.

However, watching the episode reveals how bizarre it actually is. This is as the B.A.U is tasked with the profiling and finding psychotic serial killer, Adam Rain.

Rain who grew up believing that puppets are real due to his father, Alex Rain, who was a well-known puppeteer enforcing this belief. Alex primarily used two puppets, Mitch and Stephanie, who he considered as real people.

Therefore, when the puppets could not protect them when they were robbed at gunpoint resulting in the death of Adam’s father, the traumatic experience stayed with him. The memory would then be brought back to the surface following Adam suffering a tragic accident.

What did Adam Rain do on Criminal Minds’ The Lesson?

The Lesson starts with a flashback. Adam Rain wakes up from his coma in hospital after a tragic car accident. When he wakes up, we learn that he has suffered severe damage to his prefrontal cortex that has made him revert to childlike behaviour and needing his father.

After realising that his father is still dead, Adam looks to recreate the scene when his father died. But this time, have Mitch and Stephanie save him.

Adam then goes on a search for the perfect humans to play the puppets from his childhood and kills all the people that could not fit the description or were too heavy for the marionette mechanism he had.

Is Criminal Minds’ The Lesson based on a true story?

Criminal Minds’ The Lesson episode which profiled psychotic serial killer, Adam Rain, was not based on real life events or a profile of an actual serial killer that existed. Though this is not always the case, the fans of the show seemingly do appreciate the more fictionalised serial killer profile episodes, more than those based on real life serial killers or events.

This is as the top-rated episode of all time is Entropy, which was premised on a fictional storyline that reads, “As Reid narrates to one of the hitmen how they tracked her, the BAU works to get him out of the hitman’s gunpoint.”

Is Criminal Minds based on true stories?

Considering that Criminal Minds ran for 15 seasons, showcasing how the B.A.U profiled serial killers, and the fact that sometimes fact is stranger than fiction, some episodes were inspired by serial killers that have existed in history or events that did happen in real time.

However, as a fictionalised narrative, the show took liberties with the actual events. It would sometimes follow the sequence of events to a tee, or subvert the sequence of events to better suit its storyline. The most popular of those episodes being To Hell… And Back.


Criminal Minds has a total of 15 seasons and a total of 323 episodes from the 16 years it aired from 2005 until 2020. This has given fans of the show many hours of binge-watching quality content. Or for new fans, an extensive body of work to lose yourself in.

For fans of the show, there are various episodes which have captured their imagination for different reasons. One of those bizarre but captivating episodes was from season eight titled The Lesson. The episode profiled psychotic serial killer, Adam Rain, who was obsessed with puppets.