|William "Bill" Croelick|
|Name||William "Bill" Croelick|
|Played by||Jason O'Mara|
|“||Fire doesn't care about your name, or rank, or badge number. You're all just bite-sized lumps of flesh and bone in the flaming food chain.||”|
William "Bill" Croelick is a murderer and murder suspect who appeared twice on The Closer.
Croelick was born into a violent household. His father started using drugs when he was five years old. He later killed Bill's mother in front him by forcing her head into a lit stove. Afterwards, Croelick went into foster care, where he became increasingly violent. At one home, he forced the family's cat to swallow a firecracker, causing it to burst into flames. A year later, he assaulted someone with a hot curling iron and was sent to juvenile detention for two years. After being released, he burned his name into a girl's arm while they were having sex; he became aroused by the scent of burning flesh.
In 2000, Croelick was arrested for burning and killing his girlfriend, Anna Tandy, who was burned alive, her hands and feet cut off, her body burned again and pushed over a cliff in a car. The case was investigated by Flynn, who had no leads until one of Tandy's friends told him that Croelick had talked about killing Tandy while drunk. Four days into Croelick's trial, the witness died of a drug overdose, leaving the prosecutor with next to nothing and leading to Croelick's acquittal.
Two years later another body was found killed and burned almost the same way as Anna Tandy and incorrectly identified as Lisa Barnes. Bill was arrested and found guilty for the murder and sent to prison. Three years later the real Lisa Barnes was found dead of a methamphetamine overdose and the case was reopened. Bill was freed and later the body was identified as a rape victim named Samantha Jones. It was later revealed that a psychiatrist named Anthony Easton, who had been having sex with the victim and had been involved in Croelick's trial, killed her after threatening to reveal their affair to his wife and framed Bill for the murder by leaving behind a cigarette lighter with his prints on it; having studied the Tandy murder, he knew the details of how Croelick would have done it.
After the investigation was concluded Bill filed a lawsuit against the city for his wrongful imprisonment. He later helped the Priority Homicide Division in the investigation of who started a fire that claimed the lives of five people. Although he was a suspect in the crime he still provided valuable insight into the crime due to Ricardo Ramos sharing information on the case. It was later revealed that the arsonist was a fireman named Tom Merrick who had killed a woman with whom he was having an affair and set the body on fire to cover it up. The fire had then spread to the rest of Griffith Park. After that case was solved Bill settled his lawsuit for 4 million dollars and promised Brenda to leave her jurisdiction and never return.
Due to watching his mother get burned to death, he developed a fascination with fire, from matches to forest fires the smell of anything burning arouses him. Croelick's M.O. during his known murder (for which he was technically never found guilty) was to kill the victim, Anna Tandy, by shoving pure grain alcohol down her throat and then setting the liquid on fire, lighting up her insides and burning her to death. Afterwards, he cut off her hands and feet, presumably so she would be harder to identify, torched her again and pushed her and her car off of a cliff.
- Unnamed cat (shoved a firecraker down it's mouth and watched it explode)
- Unnamed child (assaulted with a hot curling iron)
- Unnamed girlfriend (burned his name onto her arm during sex)
- Anna Tandy (set her insides on fire with pure grain alcohol, cut off her hands and feet post-mortem, put her in a car, set it on fire and pushed it off a cliff)
- In both his appearances he is never the murderer, but the real killer turns out to be a man covering up an affair with a woman and Croelick is suspected through the real killer's actions.