Luckily, the serial killer inspiration for “To Hell…and Back” is not still on the loose. In 2002, the pig farmer Robert William Pickton was arrested in Canada and later charged with 26 accounts of murder. He was convicted on six of them. According to Murderpedia, there were claims that he fed his victims, who were sex workers and drug addicts from Vancouver, to his pigs. The case sparked outrage at how the police handled the missing person cases of these women, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia, particularly with regards to prejudice against sex workers and Indigenous women.
The Criminal Minds episode addressed this somewhat, as the on-screen victims were mostly either homeless, sex workers, or drug addicts taken from Detroit and brought to Canada. The show also had agent Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) comment on the poor quality of the Detroit police investigation. It definitely seems that the episode’s plot was uncomfortably familiar to locals who were near the real-life location, as seen on Reddit, where user bigmoneyspender8 posted a thread about this episode, remarking that they live only a five-minute drive from the real farm’s location, a reality which bigmoneyspender8 says “still freaks me out.” Several other fans commented on how disturbing the episode was, with user TemperatureDizzy3257 saying it’s even more so now that they know it’s based on a true story.
On the other hand, some fans actually find this episode problematic in a different way, in part because of how it depicted the Canadian police and the developmentally disabled perpetrator. It’s certainly a notably disturbing episode to watch, in a series full of grisly murders.