What the Killer Sees: Galen Calloway

Killer: Galen Calloway (Michael Zelniker)

Episode: “Kingdom Come” (29 November 1996)

Writer: Jorge Zamacona

Director: Winrich Kolbe

Quote: “I was just thinking on the plane about this man Calloway.  I felt how human he was, so inundated by pain, fragmented by grief.  It led him to surrender his humanity.  We can’t stop evil, but we can’t lose our faith either.” –Frank Black

Profile: Galen Calloway is an example of a seemingly good man turned evil.  His motives seem to be founded in religion, yet he does not fit any established FBI crime classification relating to religiously motivated homicide.  The murders he executes are meticulously crafted, based in part upon carefully researched methods from the Middle Ages for trying heretics, such as ordeal by water and forcing the victim to wear a sanbenito prior to being burned at the stake, right down to his choices of wood and fuel for that particular murder.  This sense of ceremony is determined to be important to him, with the staging of his victims signifying their piety during his mock “inquisitions”.  Other details to his modus operandi, such as the placement of a Spanish peseta coin in one victim’s mouth, are ultimately determined to represent an “elaboration of details” for his own satisfaction.

We come to learn that Calloway has suffered greatly in life, experiencing what Frank labels an “emotionally catastrophic event” when both his wife and six year-old daughter perished in a house fire several years prior, an inferno he had survived with severe burns the scars from which he still bears.  If anything, the homicides could be classified as revenge killings, a crazed attempt to take vengeance on the representatives of a merciless God by singling out those clergy members who had administered significant ceremonies through the course of his life: his wedding, his daughter’s christening, and so on.  As Father Schultz suggests to Frank, “There’s a disconnectedness out there and those desperate with that feeling expect faith to fill the void.  And when it doesn’t, they blame us.”  Yet it is Frank Black that ultimately intuits Calloway’s true motive: a self-loathing because his faith persists in spite of all his suffering, expressed through extreme violence directed outwards.  As he tells Calloway during their dramatic showdown in the church, “I’ve seen your ritual.  You try to kill your faith with the tools of your own belief because of your pain, because you think God’s forsaken you.  You think that you can get rid of your pain by slaughtering the faith that’s inside you.”

Kills: 6

Investigation: Frank is brought into this case by former FBI colleague Ardis Cohen due to its similarities with three murders he investigated with her there four years previously.  The first significant clue is Frank’s intuitive discovery of Calloway’s wife’s engagement ring at one of the latest murder scenes.  Intuiting that Calloway is a man who has suffered great personal loss helps narrow the search for him, as does the discovery that the four year break between the previous and recent sets of killings ties up with the period for which Calloway was incarcerated for DUI vehicular manslaughter.  The investigation climaxes with Frank – at great personal risk – entering a church wherein Calloway has wired himself with explosives.   There Frank attempts to reason with him over his relationship with his faith in God.  He is unable, however, to save Calloway from himself as he elects to extinguish his faith the only way he believes he now can – by turning his gun on himself.

Ultimately, and most poignantly, the case gives Frank cause to consider his more secular faith in humanity and the world around him.  Dramatically this is the central theme of the episode, reflected in the Black family dynamic and ending with the touching scene as Frank arrives home and tenderly discusses the subject with Catherine.  Jordan had earlier been upset at a bird dying having hit a window of the house, and Frank concludes, “I’m going to tell Jordan that bad things happen.  And even though the bird died and it upset her, we have to balance sadness with a sense of hope, and faith.”  Catherine responds, “I still have faith, Frank, even in a world where men like him [Calloway] exist.”  “So do I,” affirms Frank.

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