Characters: Criminal Minds

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Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner (Thomas Gibson)

The Stoic leader of the Behavioral Analysis Unit's lead team, a former prosecutor who transitioned to criminal profiling and eventually rose to his current position. Until J.J.'s marriage, he was the only member of the team with a stable home family life ( for the first few seasons, anyway).

  • Abusive Parents: It's heavily implied that Hotch's father abused him, and that's why he grew up to catch serial killers.
  • Alone with the Psycho: His encounter with Foyet.
  • Awesome by Analysis: So much that the trope should be renamed "Hotchalanche".
  • Badass Beard: Only in "It Takes a Village". The fandom consensus seems to be that he should grow it back. Apparently others associated with the show liked it, too: a brief clip of the Badass Beard is shown in the Season 7 opening credits.
  • Badass Bookworm: Collected coins as a kid, grew up to be a prosecutor, then took an apparent level in badass and joined SWAT and then the elite unit of the BAU at the Bureau.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Always wears a suit, with the jacket buttoned neatly and a plain white shirt.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening his family is a good way to get yourself a one-way trip to the emergency room. Or beaten to death.
  • Big Brother Instinct: In addition to being this with BAU members, he's this to his little brother.
  • Break the Cutie: Done to him by Foyet.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: On the rare occasion when a situation requires both him and Rossi to throw their weight around, Hotch is Captain Smooth.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Takes his position as head of his unit very seriously.
  • Cold Sniper: Used to be with SWAT, one of the best shots in the cast, and the BAU agent with the highest kill count.
  • The Comically Serious: Even when joking, he maintains a very serious demeanor.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: It's heavily implied that his father who died from lung cancer was abusive.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It comes out of nowhere.
    "Did you join a boy band?"
  • Dead Person Conversation: Has one with Haley and Foyet after he's seriously wounded, in a coma, and unsure if he wants to stay with Haley or Jack more. It seems they both want him to return to the living and move on with his life.
  • Death Glare: Look at the picture to the right. That's him on a good day.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Listening to Foyet psychologically torture his ex-wife and son, promising to kill them, hearing Haley shot over the phone, and finding her body in their old home. Hotch loses it and empties his gun into Foyet, then beats him to death with his own hands.
  • Family Versus Career: In season three, Haley makes him choose - her and Jack or the FBI. He chooses the FBI. In season five, after Haley is killed, he must choose between them again. FBI's still winning, though he does work out an arrangement with his sister-in-law to help raise Jack.
  • FBI Agent: And a very good one.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Apparently Haley and Foyet got along in the afterlife (or Hotch's unconscious mind) a lot better than one would expect.
  • Good Is Not Soft: He's a very nice and pleasant guy, off the job and sometimes when on, but he never hesitates to pull the trigger to stop someone. That said, he does try to reason with them when he can.
  • The Gunslinger: Of the team members he demonstrates the highest degree of skill and familiarity with firearms, especially when it comes to marksmanship.
  • Heroic Second Wind: After Foyet murders his wife, ambushes him in his own house, beats him badly and then threatens to go after his son after he's killed him, Hotch makes sure he doesn't survive long after that.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Hotch and Rossi, who are the only two team members to regularly call each other by their first names and have been very close friends for over fifteen years. Rossi is also able to consistently get a smile from Hotch, and Hotch has been known to joke with and confide in Rossi, something he almost never does with the rest of the team. To top it all off, in "The Pact", Hotch actually calls Rossi sexy, if a bit indirectly:
    Garcia (In reference to Rossi giving away his vacation days.) Altruism is sexy.
    Hotch: Yes it is.
  • High School Sweet Hearts: Hotch and Haley married right out of high school. Apparently, it was love at first sight and Hotch joined a production of Pirates of Penzance as the "worst Fourth Pirate ever" to impress her.
  • In-Series Nickname: Frequently called "Hotch" by the others.
  • It's Personal: Any and all violence against children (especially physical child abuse) and cases that leave children without a father, not to mention his obsession with catching the Reaper. After the Reaper and the events of "100", we can add UnSubs torturing their victims over the phone, and UnSubs who use knives and sexual sadism against their victims.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: His skill set seems to be the most well-rounded of the team members; conversely, while he's a very skilled profiler, he never shows detailed expertise in any specific area, beyond skill with firearms and ability to tolerate the bureaucracy involved in leading an FBI team.
  • Last Name Basis: Except for Haley and Rossi, everyone calls him "Hotch".
  • The Leader: Type II.
  • Married to the Job: It leads to his divorce.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "Doubt", he ends up getting the UnSub's profile completely wrong, directly leading to the deaths of three people. This very nearly destroys his career, and does destroy Gideon's.
  • Not So Stoic: "Mayhem", "Outfoxed", and especially "100". In general, whenever it comes to his family.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Almost everyone calls him Hotch, with occasional exception of Rossi who is an old friend.
  • Papa Wolf: Do not mess with his team. It will end badly. Furthermore, let the fate of George Foyet/The Reaper serve as a cautionary tale against attacking Hotchner's family.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Rarely smiles at work.
  • The Profiler: Along with the rest of the team.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Honestly cares about his team and tries to do right by them.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: Hotch tends to think he can save everybody, and actually goes and tries.
    • This is deconstructed in the series twice - first, in "Omnivore", when Rossi gives him a verbal smackdown ("That isn't your conscience talking, Aaron, it's your ego."); and second, in "Hopeless", when he, along with Rossi and Prentiss, leave the group of UnSubs to their intended Suicide by Cop, knowing he can do nothing to stop local law enforcement from enacting revenge.
    • The unsub of "Scared To Death" lampshades this.
  • Second Love: Has this with Beth in season 7.
  • The Southpaw
  • The Stoic: Usually. In Season 7, he's largely gotten over Haley's death and has started dating. He now appears more often in casual clothing, smiles and laughs more, and everyone (especially Rossi) is absolutely delighted to see this.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: As a result of being played by Thomas Gibson.
  • Team Mom: Truly cares about the well-being of all his people.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Given how many bad things have happened to him, its sometimes sad to see moments in early episodes when we see how happy his family made him.
  • When He Smiles: They are few and rare (and occur mainly around his young son), but when they appear, they are stunning.

David Rossi (Joe Mantegna)

One of the founding members of the BAU, who became wealthy and somewhat famous writing books about his experiences in the early days of the unit. Came out of retirement to fill the spot left empty by Jason Gideon's departure early in Season 3, serving as the team's oldest and most experienced member, though he's noticeably more wry and ornery than Gideon was.

  • Amicably Divorced: Above and beyond this with first ex-wife Carolyn, implied to be this with his two other ex-wives as well.
  • Agent Scully: Especially plays this to Prentiss's Agent Mulder in "Demonology".
  • Badass Beard: Even grows one. In his first appearance, "About Face", he's clean-shaven and a total jerkass. In the next episode, "Identity", he seems to have taken Hotch's advice to heart along with growing his goatee.
  • Badass Grandpa: The oldest member of the team, and quite a badass.
  • Break the Haughty: "Damaged" does a number on him in season three; "Zoe's Reprise" does a worse one in season four. He wasn't so haughty anymore, but "Epilogue" and "The Replicator" break him even more.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Inverted, Rossi spent twenty years obsessing over a case where parents were murdered in front of their children, and expected everyone else to do the same. When he tries to follow up on it, he is genuinely shocked that an isolated cold case has no new information and no one working on it. By the time the series rolls around, even the surviving children tell him to just drop it because they want to get on with their lives.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: On the rare occasion when a situation requires both him and Hotch to throw their weight around, Rossi is Sergeant Rough.
  • The Casanova: Largely in backstory. Apparently, Rossi is the reason behind the Bureau's "no-fraternization" policy.
  • The Chessmaster: His hostage-negotiation in "Minimal Loss" and interrogations in "Masterpiece" and "Zoe's Reprise" teach us that you do not want to try and out-maneuver David Rossi.
  • The Consigliere: Mostly to Hotch, but as of S5, to Morgan as well.
  • Cool Old Guy: Knows enough about Grand Theft Auto to identify characters from it, claims he's played video games, and explains Twitter to Reid.
    • He's also seen playing video games with Ashley at the end of "Coda".
    • Helps Hotch coach Jack's soccer team. It's really kind of adorable.
  • Deal with the Devil: In "Profiling 101" Rossi makes a deal with the Unsub. The Unsub is off death row and he will give Rossi the name and location of the body of one of his victims every year on a certain day. But it has to be on a special day of the Unsub's choosing. He chooses Rossi's birthday.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Among many other examples, he explains Reid by saying "He was left in a basket on the steps of the FBI," and responds to an unfriendly, obstructive cop by asking, "Do you need a hug or something?"
  • Disappeared Dad: He recently learned that he had an adult daughter that he was not aware of by his second wife who gave birth after their divorce. To really add to it, it turns out his daughter is married with a two year old son.
  • Famed In-Story: When Manilow's not in town.
  • FBI Agent: And well-known author on the topic.
  • First Name Basis: Hotch is the only one to regularly call him "Dave". Likewise, he's one of the three people who ever call Hotch "Aaron". Rossi also calls Strauss by her first name ("Erin"), usually to piss her off.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Leukine
  • Guile Hero: As one of the most experienced profilers on the team.
  • Heroic BSOD: Suffers from one in "The Replicator" after the titular UnSub kills Strauss. Of course, part of his breakdown (him pointing a gun at Morgan) can be blamed on the fact that he'd been drugged by a deadly combination of ecstasy and other stuff that exacerbated his distrust.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Rossi and Hotch, who are the only two team members to regularly call each other by their first names and have been very close friends for over fifteen years. Rossi is also able to consistently get a smile from Hotch, and Hotch has been known to joke with and confide in Rossi, something he almost never does with the rest of the team. To top it all off, in "The Pact", Hotch actually calls Rossi sexy, if a bit indirectly:
    Garcia (In reference to Rossi giving away his vacation days.) Altruism is sexy.
    Hotch: Yes it is.
  • Hidden Depths: You wouldn't expect it given his age, but Rossi seems to be the team member with the most in-depth knowledge of video games.
  • Honorary Uncle: Jack calls Rossi "Uncle Dave" at least once.
  • It's Personal: The Galen case ("Damaged"), the Butcher case ("Remembrances of the Past"), idol worship/emulation, especially directed toward him ("Limelight", "Zoe's Reprise"), and religion ("Demonology", "Public Enemy").
  • Jerkass: Depending on the writer. Moreso in season three, but there have been episodes in season five where writers of various episodes have him lapsing back into his Jerkass-y ways.
  • Jerkass Fašade: Rossi comes off as an egotistical bastard when he first shows up, baiting UnSubs and insulting a lot of people's intelligence. Turns out he's just kind of crap at this whole "team" thing, and he has good intentions and simply isn't the best at expressing them; once he realizes that these people have his back ("Damaged", most notably), he's a lot more open and caring toward them, until he finally grows into the role of Team Dad.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: This is probably a better description of him. Yes, he's a little arrogant and egotistical at first, and yes, he may come across as a jerkass, but he's definitely a good guy who is truly passionate about catching bad guys and helping people. A good example is in "Penelope", when he's kind of pushy and harsh when questioning Garcia...but only because he wants to catch the guy who shot her.
  • Large Ham: Can pull it off when needed, usually in the course of distracting the press (as seen in "The Performer" and "Painless"). Also, when cooking.
  • Lying to the Perp: Rossi's a master at this - see "Masterpiece" and "Reckoner" for particularly spectacular examples. "Reckoner" deconstructed this, as Rossi tells the somewhat Sympathetic Murderer that he slept with his wife, multiple times, and the unsub dies without learning that it was a lie, which just adds an extra tinge of tragedy to an already fairly brutal episode.
  • Married to the Job: Rossi, in his own words, is "more married to this team than I have been to three wives." He also hates going on vacation.
  • The McCoy: Usually playing this role to Reid's Spock and Morgan or Hotch's Kirk.
  • The Mentor: To Seaver.
  • New Old Flame: It takes until season 7, and it's in heartbreaking circumstances, but we do meet the first ex-Mrs. Rossi, Carolyn.
  • Non-Idle Rich: He could stay retired thanks to being a wealthy best selling author but he just loves the job. He's also used his wealth on one occasion ("Snake Eyes") to help solve a case.
  • Out-Gambitted: Pulls this on Henry Grace fairly magnificently in "Masterpiece", and it's one of his major moments of awesome.
  • Papa Wolf: It takes a bit for him to warm up to the team, but by "Masterpiece", he'll destroy you if you touch his team.
  • Parental Substitute: For Ashley Seaver. Ironically, Rossi captured her real father, a notorious serial killer.
  • Real Men Cook: Turns out to be an excellent cook, especially Italian food.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Acts as the de facto leader when Hotch isn't around; especially when compared with Erin Strauss.
  • Retired Badass: Before he returns to the Bureau. He's not so much retired anymore.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Henry Grace attempted to do this to him in "Masterpiece", with the other members of his team (except for Garcia) as the "proxy". It doesn't work, since Rossi successfully out-gambits him.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: He does this often. In "Hit", when the FBI Director orders Strauss to sacrifice the UnSubs' hostages in order to take them down, the team immediately protests. Strauss asks them if they plan on defying the Director. Rossi's response is simply "Yes."
  • Semper Fi: He served in the Marines in Vietnam.
  • Team Dad: By virtue of being the oldest and most experienced member of the team.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Is Catholic, and is the most openly sympathetic and comfortable member of the team in dealing with religious matters.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Was initially a bit of a jerkass after joining the team, and was pretty aloof and distant towards all the other members except for Hotch; however, he eventually realizes that the rest of the team truly considers him to be one of them and has his back, and he warms up to the rest of them in turn. The episode where things started to change was probably "Damaged", in which Prentiss, JJ, and Morgan (who had nothing to work on while Hotch and Reid were away) flew to Indianapolis to help Rossi solve a cold case that had been bothering him. When Rossi coldly brushes them off and tells them to go home, and they refuse, the turning point seems to come from this line:
    Rossi: Why do you care?
    (Morgan, Prentiss, and JJ exchange looks)
    Prentiss: Because you do.
  • Uncle Penny Bags: A bit more sarcastic than most but he still fits. He's invited his co-workers to his house to drink expensive wine, used his wealth to help victims that he's involved with personally like buying and maintaining a house for some kids ("Damaged") and paying for a victim's funeral ("Zoe's Reprise").

Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore)

The team's second-in-command, Morgan is a former Chicago cop turned FBI agent. The most socially outgoing and athletically inclined member of the team, he maintains an ongoing mock-romantic banter with Garcia as well as a big brother relationship with the bookish, nerdy Dr. Reid. Originally specializing in obsessional crimes, his role on the team has evolved to more general duties such as acting as Devil's Advocate when spit-balling ideas, bonding with victims/witnesses, and kicking down many, many doors.

  • Bald of Awesome: Does anyone actually remember the last time Shemar Moore had hair? He looked pretty nice then, too.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Briefly in Season Five.
  • Berserk Button: Touch his "babygirl" Garcia, and you are going to wish for death. Also, does not deal well with sexual abuse cases—it's kind of close to home.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He will put your head on a pike if you DARE to touch a single hair of his surrogate little brother Spencer Reid. Or anyone else on the team, actually.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Averted and subverted with Garcia—she's not technically his "love interest" and he doesn't have a problem at all sexualizing her. She has no problem reciprocating.
  • Clear Their Name:
    • In "25 to Life", when a man Morgan profiled as a rehabilitated offender is suspected of murder.
    • Morgan himself in "Profiler, Profiled", when he is suspected of a series of murders in his old neighborhood.
  • Cool Shades: When it's sunny outside, Morgan is always wearing them.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Watch "Profiler, Profiled" and all of Morgan's issues with authority figures and sexual abuse make sense. Then take a look at "Big Sea" and "The Company" and get a look into how fractured the stalking and disappearance of his cousin Cindy caused the family to be.
  • Fair Cop: Literally. Morgan used to be a cop before he joined the BAU.
  • FBI Agent: His job.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
  • Flanderization: In the first season—particularly the first half—Morgan dressed in suits and other professional attire and was known as an intellectual who just happened to be good at fighting. While his brain hasn't left him, his style of clothing (to a much more casual dress) and the pronouncement of his emotions suggest that the "fighter" part of his persona has shoved his brain to the back seat, though he goes back toward his previous characterization after being promoted to unit chief. See also What Happened to the Mouse? below for more.
  • Genius Bruiser: The most physical of the team, but as highly intelligent as any of them.
  • Handsome Lech: The playful, mostly-directed-toward-Garcia kind. He's mostly smooth with ladies he seriously wants to date, and turns on a more over the top 'lech' attitude with Garcia, older women and/or bums...and it's ADORABLE.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Reid. Although the fandom prefers to forget the "Heterosexual" part.
  • Hollywood Atheist: He was a devout Christian who lost his faith after being molested and became angry and resentful towards religion and God.
  • It's Personal:
    • Sexual abuse cases ("Profiler, Profiled"), racism ("Fear and Loathing", among others), and violence against cops ("Brothers in Arms").
    • He's also had the Prince of Darkness ("Our Darkest Hour"/"The Longest Night"), the Reaper ("Omnivore", "Faceless, Nameless"), clearing the name of Don Sanderson ("25 to Life"), and his cousin's disappearance in "Big Sea" and "The Company".
    • He spends almost every waking moment after Prentiss's "death" hunting down Ian Doyle, culminating in going off-grid.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Like his actor, Morgan's dad is black, while his mother is visibly white.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Particularly apparent in "Snake Eyes," where he steps out of a shower dripping wet with a loving pan up his body.
  • The Nicknamer: Can fall into this when talking to Reid ('Kid', 'Pretty Boy', 'Genius') or Garcia (too many to list). His favorite by far is "Babygirl".
  • No One Gets Left Behind: He does this for Prentiss in "Lauren".
  • Parental Substitute: For Ellie Spicer.
  • Platonic Life Partners: With Garcia. No one messes with his "Baby Girl".
  • Raised by Dudes: Inverted, with interesting consequences. All of the relatives we've ever met of his are female (his mother, his three sisters, his aunt, his cousin), which reinforces why Morgan treats the women in his life (especially Garcia) so well.
  • Rape as Backstory: Painfully revealed in "Profiler, Profiled".
  • Smarter Than You Look: UnSubs often assume he's just Dumb Muscle. He's not.
  • Token Minority: The only person of color on the team.
  • To Know Him, I Must Become Him: Fun drinking game in the first couple seasons - count the number of times Morgan says "I'm the UnSub".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Not Morgan himself, but his work specializing in obsessional crimes. The fact that he has this specialty hasn't come up in ages, even in episodes such as "The Big Wheel" where the crimes clearly are obsessional.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Blows Lucy away without a second thought.
  • Would Hurt a Child: If that child were a killer, or so he claims to a teenage unsub in "Safe Haven." Fortunately, the unsub ultimately surrenders voluntarily.
  • You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: After being promoted to Unit Chief in Season Five:
    Morgan: Thanks, Babygi—Agent Garcia.

Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler)

The youngest member of the team, Reid is a child prodigy genius with an I.Q. of 187, an eidetic memory, and an encyclopedic knowledge of a wide variety of different fields. He also has underdeveloped social skills and various Vulcan-like character tics that stem from being a walking computer and serve as the source of a lot of the show's humor.

  • Adorkable: In general, but especially with his giant Nerd Glasses when he was a child.
  • Asperger's Syndrome: According to Word of God. The UnSub of "Broken Mirror" mentioned this as well.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Does all the pattern analysis for the team.
  • The Baby Of The Bunch: Reid is the youngest member of the main characters.
  • Badass Adorable: He's a fully trained FBI agent, but acts like an overgrown puppy at times.
  • Badass Bookworm: If the Boom, Headshot in "L.D.S.K." didn't convince you, his thirteen-minute-long profile from thin air to keep from being killed by Chester Hardwicke in "Damaged" might. When Hotch compliments him on the headshot in "L.D.S.K." however, Reid blushes and jokes he was actually aiming for the unsub's knee.note 
  • Bad Dreams: Nightmares have been plaguing him since childhood.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't tell him that bullying is something some kids have to deal with. If looks could kill...
    • Don't abuse or insult the mentally-ill around the kid whose mother is a diagnosed schizophrenic.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He can shoot straight sometimes, you know. Played for Laughs in "Painless".
    "Never wage a practical joke war against an MIT graduate, because we have a history of going nuclear."
  • Break the Cutie: So many times. It seems the writers like to torture him, lock him up, drug him, infect him with anthrax, tie him up...
    • Prentiss' supposed death could count as well. How did he spend the time while she was away? At JJ's house, crying, and almost relapsing on Dilaudid.
    • He finally gets a girlfriend, a clever geneticist, but they only communicate via handwritten letters and payphones. When he finally sees her face-to-face, she's being held at gunpoint by a jealous woman, then she's killed in front of him by said jealous woman in a single-bullet murder-suicide. Ouch, writers. Ouch.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Reid does this to his own father in 4x7 "In Memoriam", and then to the unsub's father in "The Uncanny Valley".
    • Inverted in 4x20 "Conflicted", when he interrupts Adam/Amanda Jackson's murderous version of this.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Spencer tells hilarious jokes ... if you're a genius speed-reading polymath with an eidetic memory. Otherwise, not so much. He seemed pretty surprised when the villain from "Masterpiece" actually understands a joke he told a university class.
  • Child Prodigy: Graduated from high school at 12, had two BAs by 16, has an IQ of 187 and an eidetic memory.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet:
    • Poor guy doesn't realize that when beautiful movie stars kiss him it's because he's a babe, not because of 'transference'.
      Prentiss (after interviewing the homeless for information): How'd you guys do?
      Hotch: Well, Reid got propositioned by every prostitute we talked to...
    • Also this (after Morgan teases him about "not being able to get a date") note :
      Reid: Do you think that [being interested in weird things] is why I can't get a date?
      Elle: Have you ever asked a girl out?
      Reid: No.
      Elle: That's why you can't get a date.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Poor kid. Mommy's schizophrenic and Dad abandoned everyone. At one point, he was going to be the next victim of a local pedophile and child murderer. Biggest brain in the room and usually the one targeted physically by the serial killers.
  • Disappeared Dad: First with his own father, and then with his father figure, Gideon.
  • Disturbing Statistic: He's a veritable fountain of these. If the team needs to know a statistic relating to crime, you can bet he'll know it.
  • Fan Wank: In an in-universe example, Reid has a tendency to bore his colleagues with rants about the specs of the Death Star, that Bill & Ted was a ripoff of Doctor Who, and the nature and "surprising infrequency" of science errors in the original Star Trek.
  • FBI Agent: Though he goes by "Doctor" and not "Agent."
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
  • Flanderization: We all know that athletics are not Reid's strong suit, but failing EVERYTHING involving physical exertion (marksmanship, physical training, the obstacle course, Hogan's Alley, etc) at the Academy? It's a little extreme and it begs the question of how he not only passed the Academy, but continues to pass his field qualifications.
  • Geek Physiques: The skinny kind. Probably as a result of Forgets to Eat.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: If there's junk food around, Reid will find it.
  • Good Counterpart: He has the most Evil Counterpart's and even physically resembles some UnSubs.
  • Good with Numbers: And has been banned from many a casino as a result.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Definitely shows signs of this with Morgan.
  • Hidden Depths: Who'd have pegged Reid as a basketball coach in high school?!
  • Hollywood Nerd: He's played by a former model.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: He blames himself for letting Maeve be killed by her stalker.
  • I'm Taking Him Home With Me: He does tend to engender this type of response in some people.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Spence" from JJ, "Kid" and "Pretty Boy" from Morgan, and countless ones from Garcia, 'Gorgeous Grey Matter' being a notable example. "Pipe cleaner with eyes" from a witness.
  • Insistent Terminology: Doctor, not Agent.
  • Insufferable Genius: Unlike most versions, this comes not from arrogance (because he's quite humble) but simply his habit of outshining others with his knowledge, making them look bad by comparison, and his Motor Mouth tendencies.
    Prentiss: (After he puts together a star puzzle) There's a lot to hate about you Dr. Reid.
    Rossi: Play poker with him sometime.
    Morgan: Try playing chess with him.
    Garcia: Or Go.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Reid's school experience - "Being the smartest kid in class is like being the only kid in class."
  • James Bondage: Definitely. The most danger-prone agent out of the bunch. Enough said.
  • The Lost Lenore: seems to see Maeve as this in in season 9.
  • Lovable Nerd: Everyone seems to want to take care of him.
  • Motor Mouth: Talks extremely fast, about virtually any subject down the the most pedantic minutiae. A fun drinking game is to count how often Reid is interrupted by an irritated teammate.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Everyone in the BAU appears to like coffee, but Reid's is the only one to have a big point made of it. Probably because of all of the sugar he takes with it.
  • Near-Death Experience: Tells the team in "Epilogue" that when he was dying in Tobias Hankel's shed, he felt a warmth and saw white lights.
  • Nerd Glasses: Wears these from time to time.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Lila Archer (1x18 "Somebody's Watching"), Austin (4x9 "52 Pickup"), and various prostitutes (c.f. 2x22 "Legacy" and 4x7 "In Memoriam") seem to think so.
  • Nice Guy: He might have No Social Skills, but Reid compensates by having ample amounts of compassion.
  • No Social Skills: He's VERY awkward around people other than the team.
    Reid: I was able to differentiate between two distinct voices, two authors. I found various idiosyncratic words, phrases, punctuation and orthography within the blog. Entries consistent with each separate person, words like soda and pop. One guy uses dashes while the other guy uses ellipses. (chuckles)
    Detective Linden: ... where'd you find this kid?
    Rossi: He was left in a basket on the steps of the FBI.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Gideon always introduces him as "Dr. Reid" and Hotch does occasionally, leaving Reid to explain that he hasn't been to medical school, but does have three PhDs. Note that this doesn't stop him from trying to use his title of "Doctor" to approve himself for active duty in Season 5 when he disagreed with the notion of taking time off to let his leg fully heal.
  • Older Than They Look: Post 'boy band' haircut, he manages to look about 12, despite the actor being 29 at the time.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Oh god. So much.
  • Photographic Memory: His eidetic memory has been proven to be imperfect - for example, his memories from his very young childhood are murky at best - but, generally, it's reliable.
  • Prank Date: Was victim to this in high school. It was... brutal, to say the least. He was lured to the football field, where he was ambushed, stripped naked and tied to a goal post all night.
  • The Prankster: Do not try and prank an MIT grad, Morgan. Giving Reid's number to a bunch of press leads to a hilarious return-serve of Reid hijacking all of Morgan's electronic equipment (iPod, cell phone, etc) and programming them to play a looped message of him screaming.
  • Precision F-Strike: Reid easily having the cleanest mouth of the team, when he does swear, it means something.
    • Played for comedy in season 7.
      Reid: Loner, invisible, boiling rage—son of a bitch!
    • And played for drama in season 8.
      Reid: Maeve is somebody and this bitch is a nobody!
  • Pretty Boy: Hoo boy. In the words of Shemar Moore (the actor who plays Morgan), 'Matthew's so pretty he's almost a girl.' It's also his nickname. Unsurprising, given that he's a real-life Calvin Klein model.
  • Primal Fear: It's revealed in The Boogeyman that he's scared of the dark.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: It's his default expression.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Switches from a pistol to a revolver as his sidearm in Season 4. This is especially notable when you remember that when Reid was kidnapped by Tobias Henkel, he was forced to play Russian Roulette four times and survives, and later manages to get the same gun (still with only one bullet) away from him and kills him with one shot. It's quite possible he started carrying a revolver for this reason.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Not always, but part of him having No Social Skills means that he often gives sarcastic questions actual answers, hearing a request for information rather than an expression of exasperation. He's actually pretty good at using sarcasm, though.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: He uses so many SAT words that it's not even funny.
  • The Smart Guy: Three PhDs, one of them in engineering, check. Difficulty with guns (at least, in "LDSK"), check. Prefers to talk people down rather than risk shoot-outs, check. Badass Bookworm, check.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Inverted and subverted; Reid plays, but is constantly beaten by Gideon, and Prentiss out-thinks him in 2x10 "Lessons Learned." Additionally, in "The Uncanny Valley," it's implied that he stopped playing against people after Gideon left, while playing out every possible game with himself. Until the end of the episode, anyway.
  • Snark Knight: Turns into this towards JJ after he finds out that JJ lied to him about Prentiss' death.
  • Someday This Will Come in Handy: Reid has so much apparently useless knowledge that it is, in fact, ridiculous. By contrast, his knowledge of pop culture varies: he knows Siouxsie and the Banshees but not Twilight or Lady Gaga.
    • And some of it does come in handy, such as in "Plain Sight", where he recognizes the literature that the unsub writes quotes from at the crime scenes.
    • Lampshaded by Morgan in "True Night":
      Reid: You should have listened to me.
      Morgan: It wouldn't have saved that much time, Reid, let it go.
      Reid: The interchange between the 405 and the 101 freeways is consistently rated the worst interchange in the entire world.
      Morgan: Why do you know that?
      Reid: The government report.
      Morgan: So what?
      Reid: So you work for the government, you don't read the reports?
      Morgan: On traffic patterns in a city 2,500 miles from where I live?
      Reid: 2,295 miles.
      Morgan: Don't make me smack you in front of all these people.
  • The Spock: An interesting take on this trope. He's usually the most logical team member and the one to come up with the most effective plans, but he's still not even close to handling cases unemotionally.
  • Super Speed Reading: Has been shown reading and rapidly turning the pages.
  • Team Pet: Everyone wants to take care of him.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Holy shit, his classmates in his Backstory. See Prank Date above, and keep in mind he would've been at most twelve.
  • Took a Level in Badass: A few over the course of the show, but a spectacular one in "It Takes a Village".
    Interviewer: Now, calm down, Agent—
    Reid: This is calm and it's Doctor.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: In 3x16 "Elephant's Memory," he's seen attending a meeting of "Beltway Clean Cops" to cope with the Dilaudid addiction he developed in season two.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He is not happy to learn that the fact that Prentiss' death was faked was intentionally hidden from him. He lets go of most of his anger after "Proof", but he still remains somewhat distant from the rest of the team, JJ in particular.

Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness)

The team's Mission Control, Garcia is an extremely skilled hacker who was captured by the FBI and offered a job by Hotchner as an alternative to prison, due to her extreme skill and obvious strong sense of justice. In both style and personality she's the most free-spirited and non-traditional member of the team, due to her origins in hacker culture and her status as a techie rather than a field agent.

  • Adorkable: She is enthusiastic and awkward in equal parts.
  • Awesome by Analysis: She's a technical analyst, which means she sifts through electronic records and finds the good bits, and then puts them all together in a big picture. And remember, she learned at the feet of Aaron Hotchner.
  • Badass Boast: In a slightly nerdy way whenever she answers the phone to the team, for example she's announced herself "the fountain of all knowledge" on one occasion. Also see the quote under Beware the Nice Ones, she could absolutely do that. There's also her CMOA at the end of "The Internet Is Forever".
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    "Girlfriend? Kevin, if you come within 100 feet of Agent Rossi, I will unleash an unrecoverable virus onto your personal computer system that will reduce your electronic world into something between a Commodore 64, and a block of government cheese... call me later!"
  • Break the Cutie: Her shooting in "Lucky"/"Penelope", and the subsequent episodes that show her healing process - "House on Fire" and "Exit Wounds".
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Does not look the part of an FBI employee at all, but it doesn't matter because she's brilliant at her job.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Averted and subverted with Morgan - he's not her love interest and she sexualizes him plenty.
  • Characterization Marches On: She's nearly unrecognizable to what she would later become in the pilot, in which she's a Deadpan Snarker who dresses like a stereotypical "working stiff" and who actually easily gives up trying to hack something.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: One of the sweetest and most justified versions. After spending her days catching murderers, she volunteers one day a week to counsel the families of murder victims.
  • Control Freak: She admits to being one.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Both of her parents died in an automobile accident when she was only 18.
  • Depending on the Writer: Whether or not she's an only child. S2 says she has four brothers. S6 says she doesn't.
    • Mind you, she mentioned having a step-father and that she was 18 when her parents died, so both could be true at once if the brothers were older.
    • It's funny how a character on a show about murders and such that a character can go from four brothers to none and instead of making a plot they just ignore it.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: In "Penelope", Morgan tries to give her one for protection.
    Garcia: I don't believe in guns!
    Morgan: (shoves one into her hands) Believe me, they are very real!
  • Expy: Garcia shares a lot of personality traits with Abby Sciuto, though their precise roles are different. Both shows are on CBS. Funnily enough, this is likely a complete coincidence; Garcia's character was originally going to be a chubby, middle-aged Latino man. Then they met Kirsten Vangsness.
  • Fake Guest Star: In Season 1; they just didn't have the money to put her in the title credits. In fact, she is the only character to be Promoted To Opening Titles who was not a replacement for a departed character. She's credited with "Also Starring" from Episode 14.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Subverted in "Proof". Garcia can bake, but apparently lacks most cooking skills. Rossi ends up teaching her.
  • Fiery Red Head: For one season.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine
  • Geeky Turn-On: How she first meets Kevin.
  • The Heart: She and JJ tend to share this role between them.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: She, Prentiss, and JJ are all extremely close - Garcia is even godmother to JJ's son Henry.
  • In-Series Nickname: So, so many from Morgan.
  • Magical Computer: Garcia can do things with computers that are flat out impossible and can deliver instant search results from Omniscient Databases that sometimes contain info that have absolutely no business being online. Months old surveillance footage, sealed court records, records that predate the digital age, etc. Nothing is off-limits or takes any real amount of time to sift through or cross-reference. On the other hand, this saves us from having to deal with months of subpoenas and dead end searches, so Tropes Are Not Bad. The show lampshades this with repeated references to how good she is in that "she can find anything". The Sheriff in "A Rite of Passage" evens says she wants someone like Garcia for Christmas.
  • Meganekko: When she's wearing her glasses.
  • Mission Control: Does all the BAU's computer work and rarely goes out in the field.
  • Morality Pet: To Morgan, but mostly to the entire team as a whole.
  • Multicolored Hair: With more colors than a cotton candy machine. Garcia digs the Manic Panic.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She's quite well-built, to say the least, and several of her outfits, particularly the dress she wore to JJ's wedding, seem designed to show it off. Rather blatant in "Snake Eyes," which almost literally opens with a very good look down her nightshirt. May or may not be a coincidence that the same episode had the series' most blatant bit of male fanservice, as well. Considering Garcia would be Hollywood Pudgy on most shows, it's refreshing to see her being treated as one of the most attractive characters on the show.
  • Near-Death Experience: In "Penelope", she tells Morgan, Emily, and Reid that she heard the David Bowie song "Heroes" while she was coding in the ambulance, which makes her wonder if David Bowie is God.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: Any time Garcia takes a role other than computer-related analysis, there's always a good reason and she goes back to technical analyst when it's finished (ex: doing some profiling during "House on Fire" at Hotch's request; becoming the interim media liaison when JJ leaves because she wants to help out).
  • The Nicknamer; You could count on one hand the number of time she refers to anyone she's talking to by their real name. Made all the more impressive in that she comes up with a new one every time. In fact, this is such an important character trait, that when Reid calls her after he's been infected with anthrax, he can tell how upset she is by the fact that she calls him "Reid".
  • Non-Action Girl
  • Oh Crap!: When she gets a call from Morgan she usually answers in a very flirty way, which leads to these moments when he replies "You're on speakerphone". The crowner has to be Garcia's expression in "In Name and Blood":
    Garcia: Talk dirty to me.
    Strauss: This is Section Chief Strauss.
  • Platonic Life Partners: With Morgan, her "sweet prince" and other assorted nicknames.
  • Playful Hacker: One of the most dangerous in the world, actually.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: From season 2 onwards.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: After she got caught hacking the FBI's database, the choice was pretty much "join the Bureau or we put you in jail". In "The Black Queen" it's implied that she let herself be caught to escape her controlling boyfriend.
  • The Reliable One: Always working away in her office, just a phone call away.
  • Right Behind Me: How she meets Prentiss' replacement, complete with lampshading: "Oh god, I'm doing that thing where I'm talking and they're right behind me..."

Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A.J. Cook)

Originally the team's media liaison in charge of controlling the media response around investigated crimes (and thus its potential effect on the UnSub as well as the community), in the latest seasons she has transitioned to a more hands-on role as a full-time field agent/profiler.

  • Action Mom: Don't try to go after her son. It will not end well for you.
  • Alliterative Name: Applies with and without her nickname.
  • Alone with the Psycho: The Performer and All That Remains.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: "Revelations" and kill-shots to three rabid dogs. "Penelope" and one beautiful headshot through a plate-glass window. "The Performer" and a shovel to the back of an UnSub's head. In Nanny Dearest she pops the UnSub in the forehead from nearly a block away with her sidearm. Do not fuck with JJ.
  • The Bus Came Back: In "Lauren" for one episode, then as of "Out of the Night", JJ is officially back.
  • Character Development: JJ's original role on the team was to manipulate the media (and through them the bad guys) as well as deal with people the team came into contact with. Starting at the end of season five her role noticeably expanded until her temporary departure part way through Season 6. As of Season 7's "Proof" she's out pounding the pavement with Reid as well checking out body dumps and talking profiler-speak to the locals with Rossi. Part of this has to do with the fact that in Season 7, she has a different official job. The role of media liaison had already been filled when she returned to the team. The only way she could come back was to fill Prentiss' (then) vacated spot. (When Prentiss came back, she took Seaver's spot, and Seaver left). She's officially one of the profilers now. Hotch had suggested getting qualified for that role years before (back in something like Season 3), but she was happier as a media liaison at the time.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Her sister killed herself when JJ was eleven by slitting her wrists.
  • Deadpan Snarker: JJ seems to have absorbed best-bud Emily's penchant for sawdust-dry wit in season 7.
  • FBI Agent: Like all the main cast.
  • First Name Basis: She's the only person besides his mother who calls Reid "Spencer".
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
  • Happily Married: In Season 3's "Lo-Fi", Will LaMontagne tells the team that he's asked JJ to marry him. They are shown living together during Season 7, with Will taking care of Henry while JJ is chasing a serial killer in Tornado Alley, but not officially married until the season 7 finale.
  • It's Personal: Small-town violence ("North Mammon", "Risky Business"), stalking ("The Crossing"), and suicide ("Risky Business").
  • Mama Bear: DO NOT threaten her kid when she's around, she WILL kick your ass, as a thrill seeking bank robber/terrorist found out in the season seven finale.
    • And don't do anything to harm her team, either, that gun is not for show.
  • Put on a Bus: Thanks to Executive Meddling, she left in Season 6's "J.J.", accompanied by loads of Reality Subtext.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Four over the course of the show.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Will and Henry seem to appear and disappear in continuity Depending on the Writer.

Kate Callahan (Jennifer Love-Hewitt)

An undercover member of the FBI's Sex Crimes Unit who joins the Behavioral Analysis Unit in Season 10 after Alex Blake's departure at the end of Season 9.

  • Ms. Fanservice: Wears a very low-cut shirt in her last scenes.
  • Parental Substitute: After her sister and brother-in-law died in 9/11, Kate became the legal guardian to their (now 13-year-old) daughter Meg.
  • Remember the New Guy: Apparently the team has already met her several times off-screen. They all comment how great she is.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: A bit more girly than the Bureau's previous brunettes: she tells Garcia about cute animal videos she's seen, which astonishes Garcia in that there could possibly be something cute on the internet she hasn't seen before due to her need for Brain Bleach, and talks with JJ about what skin treatments are best to help heal injuries.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: In the season premier, we saw her working as an undercover cop before joining the BAU.
  • When You Coming Home, Mom?: At the end of the season premier, she apologizes to Meg for being away for two days. (We learn the details of their relationship later, but their First Name Basis indicates that Kate may not be Meg's mother.)

    Former BAU Members 

Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin)

One of the founding members of the BAU, Gideon served as an older, experienced wise mentor-type team member in the first two seasons of the show. Though intellectual and slightly eccentric, he was still much more grounded than Dr. Reid.

  • Archenemy: He and Frank.
  • Alone with the Psycho: The Footpath Killer in "Extreme Aggressor" and "Compulsion".
  • Awesome by Analysis: Took a very intellectual approach to the work, compared to the more hands-on approach of some of the team members.
  • Bus Crash: Gideon hadn't been in contact with the BAU for years, so it was very surprising to see his cabin again in the recent episode "Nelson's Sparrow." Then we find out it's because he's the Victim of the Week. Cue an It's Personal Tear Jerker for the entire team, especially Reid. Counts as a Bus Crash rather than a Back for the Dead because the corpse is always covered by a sheet.
  • The Chessmaster: Could beat Reid in chess.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: One of the main subplots of the pilot episode is Hotch having to decide if Gideon is a risk in the field, due to an incident in Boston where he caused the deaths of six agents and his subsequent nervous breakdown.
  • Defective Detective: Has PTSD from pre-series case.
  • FBI Agent: Of course.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic
  • Guile Hero: As an experienced and skilled profiler
  • It's Personal:
    • One Word - Frank.
    • The bomber in "Won't Get Fooled Again" turns out to be a copycat of the imprisoned Adrian Bale, the guy who killed Gideon's original team.
  • Leaving You to Find Myself: The in-series reason for Gideon leaving.
  • Mysterious Past: A lot about him is never revealed. He has a son, but it's never made clear what his relationship with the mother was, and where literally every other main character has had their youth delved into at least a little, his remains a complete mystery.
  • Not So Different: Frank implies the two of them are.
  • Parental Substitute: The closest thing to a father Reid had, which made the abandonment all the more heartbreaking.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The reason Gideon disappears without a trace is because actor Mandy Patinkin couldn't take the constant emotional impact of the horrific cases on the show.
  • Sick Episode: In "Blood Hungry" he's stuck at headquarters due to a skydiving accident.
  • The Stoic: To a lesser degree than Hotch, but capable of keeping cool even when having a shotgun pointed at his face.
  • Team Dad: Though he doesn't actually want you calling him "dad", as he informs Elle.
  • To Know Him, I Must Become Him: All the time.
  • Walking the Earth: After leaving the bureau, he abandons his cabin and is last seen traveling the country on a personal quest of self-discovery. At some point he goes back to living in his cabin, where he is murdered by an old UnSub from one of his earliest cases.

Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini)

The original holder of the team's High Turnover Rate position, Elle was a member of team for Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2 who specialized in sexual offense crimes. Driven and somewhat impulsive, she served honorably but ends up leaving the team under fairly shady circumstances.

  • Action Girl: Shows herself to be this not even a minute into her first appearance. Not afraid to take on the UnSubs directly
    Elle What's the matter, Scotty? Can't deal with a woman who's not afraid of you?
  • Brainy Brunette: Very intelligent, in Extreme Aggressor she figures out they are following a decoy due to the way he is driving - and of course intelligence is a given in her line of work.
  • Broken Bird: After the events of The Fisher King she is shot in her own home and brought back from the dead, left with PTSD that is triggered when she goes undercover to catch a rapist, costing the team the case... so she shoots him to stop him from raping anyone else.
  • But Now I Must Go: Something of a darker variant- after getting shot by the Fisher King, she feels that the team let her down, and she dreads the advent of new cases while she used to love them, so she quits the team, knowing that she simply can't do the job anymore.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Raped when she was younger.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The amount of one-line zingers she gets off is amazing. It also helps that she's got the timing and tone down pat as well.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After the events of "The Fisher King", there's at least one scene where she drinks quite a bit.
  • Fallen Hero: As a result of her own trauma. She even gets PTSD.
  • FBI Agent: Like all the team members.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
  • Foreshadowing: In one episode in Season 1, she said that when she worked in Sex Crimes, she saw dozens of offenders get away with it. In season 2, she KNOWINGLY fucks up and a rapist gets away with it- so she follows him home and kills him.
  • Genre Savvy: When she quits, the first thing she says after handing over her badge and guns is "This is not an admission of guilt."
  • Groin Attack: How she gets the unsub from "Broken Mirror" to tell her where the girl he abducted is. When Reid wonders how she got him talking later on, Gideon suggests that its best not to think about it.
  • The Gunslinger: After the events of "The Fisher King", she wears double holsters, totalling two guns in easy reach.
    • She had her double holster as early as "The Fox" (1x07)
  • Important Haircut: Gets one after returning to work after the events of "The Fisher King".
  • Instant Death Bullet: Averted. After she's shot by the Fisher King, she actually remained lucid long enough to dial 911, and while the King thought he'd killed her, she got through it.
  • It's Personal: Violence against women and sexual assaults. After "The Fisher King", it's also people getting attacked at home.
  • I Wished You Were Dead/Never Got to Say Goodbye: The last thing she said to her father before he was killed in the line of duty was "I hate you!", though it should be noted that she was about eight at the time.
  • Karma Houdini: Rapist or not, she mercilessly killed a man and got away with it. Hell, she didn't even get fired, she quit voluntarily- and she told Hotch that if she had to do it again, she wouldn't change a thing.
  • Made of Iron: See Instant Death Bullet. In addition, the paramedics said 'we might lose her again', implying that she actually died but they brought her back.
  • Moral Myopia: Aside from apologizing at her father's grave, she shows no regret whatsoever for murdering the UnSub in "Aftermath", and argues that the other team members would've done the exact same thing if they had been put in a similar situation. Before that, she blames the local police for not being able to prevent the UnSub from raping a woman in her own home, even though they had no legal reason to break into her house. Finally, she blames the team for being shot because they weren't there for her, even though none of them could be expected to guard her in her own house.
  • Never My Fault: The only reason the UnSub got away in "Aftermath" is because Elle confronted him before he did something that would have given the team legal cause to get his DNA. Despite this, Elle acts like the UnSub getting released is a failure of the system, and never admits that it was her carelessness that allowed him to be released in the first place. She even says that she would do the exact same thing again, apparently preferring to be a murderer to easily putting the guy behind bars.
  • Not So Different: Her unshakeable conviction that she did the right thing in killing the UnSub in "Aftermath", ignoring any alternatives and making numerous leaps in logic to convince herself that it was the only way is scarily similar to how many UnSubs justify their actions.
  • Rape as Backstory: When she was younger. One of the reasons she works sexual crimes.
  • Spicy Latina: Her mother is Cuban and Elle displays many of the qualities that are a part of the trope, especially being able to take care of herself and confrontational tendencies.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Sports one when she comes back to the team.
  • Vigilante Execution: "The Aftermath". After accidentally fucking up and letting the UnSub walk, she follows him home and shoots him.

Jordan Todd (Meta Golding)

An FBI media liaison who took over J.J.'s duties while she was gone on maternity leave. Having dealt mostly with general enforcement and non-violent crimes, she was understandably disturbed by the serial murders and other extreme crimes investigated by the BAU.

  • Heroic BSOD: Her arc on the show is basically her descent into this.
  • Morality Pet: Serves as one to remind the audience (and the team) that most people find what the BAU does to be a horrible job and cannot cope with the constant mental trauma.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Not that Meta Golding was unattractive before, but going undercover in "52 Pickup" gives her a chance to look extremely pretty.
  • Skewed Priorities: In "52 Pickup", Jordan lies to the mother of a victim, telling her that her own sister was killed and her mother wouldn't help the police, pressuring the mother into letting the sister of the victim talk to the FBI. Hotch calls her out on it and delivers a blistering verbal smackdown. She gets herself back on track by teaming up with Prentiss to go undercover and catch the UnSub.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For JJ, while she was on maternity leave.
  • Temporary Substitute: For JJ's maternity leave.

Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols)

An FBI trainee who was temporarily brought onto the team for the duration of Season 6 to fill the position left open by J.J.'s and later Prentiss' temporary departure. She was recruited into the team due to her unique insight into the psychology of serial killers, due to the fact her father was a serial killer himself.

  • Character Depth: Quite a bit. We learn a good deal about her in her introductory episode.
  • Emotionless Girl: Comes off as this at first.
  • Expy: Ashley is very similar to Rebecca Locke from The Inside, another young profiler played by Rachel Nichols. Substitute "my daddy was a serial killer and I have issues" for "I was kidnapped by a serial killer and I have issues".

Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster)

The team's 7th member slot has often been shifting for the duration of the entire show. Of all the characters who have had the position, Emily Prentiss held it for the longest period of time, for almost a full 6 seasons. The daughter of a prominent U.S. diplomat, Prentiss is fluent in several languages, is knowledgeable about many foreign cultures, and was formerly an international undercover agent of Interpol prior to her time in the FBI. She joins the team early in Season 2, taking the position left open after Elle Greenaway resigns after her vigilante execution of the serial rapist in "Aftermath".

  • Action Girl: Not one to sit back and solve issues by analysis alone.
  • Agent Mulder: Especially in "Demonology", where she's the one to bring up the exorcism angle.
  • Big Sister Mentor: Towards Ashley Seaver.
  • Boobs of Steel: She's not as busty as Garcia, but each one is still roughly the size of her head. Fittingly, the episode that shows this off most, "Lauren," is also when she's at her most Badass.
  • Brainy Brunette: Like all profilers, she's highly intelligent.
  • Break the Cutie: All through her story arc involving Ian Doyle. Also, the writers sometimes seem committed to literally breaking her, as she is the team member most likely to have to endure a savage beating.
  • The Bus Came Back: Returned for the 200th episode.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Luckily, only for part of season 6.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Reid, especially after her return from the dead.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Druggie friends, a neglectful mother, disappeared father, and an abortion at fifteen. Not to mention her time as an undercover operative tracking terrorists for Interpol.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Probably the preeminent snarker amongst the cast.
  • Death Faked for You: To deal with Doyle
  • Disappeared Dad: We know a lot about Prentiss's mother, the Ambassador, but her father is never mentioned.
  • Expy: Well, she's not an expy, but she did inspire the BBC to create Yvonne Rippon, a pretty clear-cut Expy of her, on Casualty (played by Rachel Shelley).
  • Fair Cop: Most of the time, but especially when she's undercover in "52 Pickup".
  • Faking the Dead: To deal with Doyle.
  • FBI Agent: Until she leaves for England.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Subverted. We find out in "Demonology" that Prentiss got pregnant in Rome when she was 15, and had an abortion. While she does show regret that she endured that time in her life without much in the way of support, she is never shown to be "damaged" in any way from the decision. Rather, it is the reaction of the Catholic church and the ignorance of her mother that is the problem.
  • Goth: In high school.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted. With the exception of JJ and Hotch, the whole BAU team thinks Prentiss died from her encounter with Doyle, and there is a funeral. At the end of "Lauren" however, it is clear that Prentiss is in fact still alive, but in Witness Protection.
  • Honor Before Reason: Some of her behavior in "Valhalla" and "Lauren".
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: In "Lauren", she tells Morgan, "Let me go", which prompts a No One Gets Left Behind response from him.
  • It's Personal: Politics ("Honor Among Thieves") and violence against women (especially rapes, as in "Slave of Duty"). "The Thirteenth Step" starts the Ian Doyle arc, which is played out until "It Takes a Village".
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Prentiss's Goth look in high school is played for laughs:
    Prentiss: What'd you do to it?
    Garcia: Do?
    Prentiss: You obviously photoshopped it or something. I mean, that hair!
    Garcia: Oh no, Pussycat, that's all you. Garfield High, class of '89.
    Prentiss: You really didn't change anything?
    Garcia: I hacked it as is. You trying to tell me you seriously don't remember rocking that look?
    Reid: Perhaps your lack of recognition stems from a disassociative fugue suffered in adolescence. Like, say, at a Siouxsie and the Banshees concert?
  • Near-Death Experience: Reveals in "Epilogue" that when she coded in the ambulance in "Lauren", all she felt was cold and darkness. Being a very lapsed Catholic, she says she desperately wants to change.
  • Older Than They Look: According to her fake tombstone, she's in her forties, and Prentiss is actually a year younger than the actress who plays her.
  • Parental Substitute: To Declan Doyle, though not at all in the way his father intended.
  • Parenthetical Swearing: Usually directed toward Strauss. Only Prentiss can make the address "ma'am" sound like "fuck you, you soulless bitch".
    • She also gives Hotch a rather icy "sir" in "Sex, Birth, Death" when he touches a raw nerve by accusing her of playing political games.
    • And her response of "And also with you" (to unsub Father Paul's condescending "May God's love be with you") is delivered in a tone that sounds more like a spit to the face.
  • Put on a Bus: But it's a happy ending for her as she's now the head an Interpol team.
  • Ship Tease: For a series that is strictly No Hugging, No Kissing among the main cast, she gets quite a bit with Reid, Hotch, and Morgan. Especially Reid.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Cold and sarcastic towards most people and prefers living alone with her cat to an unsatisfying love life, but definitively caring toward the rest of the team.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Her response to going "undercover" in "52 Pickup".
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sure, we always knew Prentiss was badass, but in her Doyle story arc she suddenly becomes a superspy when she turns out to have been an undercover operative for Interpol; over the course of her final episodes she winds up going rogue, staring at the door all night with her gun out, tossing grenades into UnSubs' cars and spraying them with machine-gun fire, and shooting hood rats in the ear. To say nothing of her badass change in wardrobe at the end of "Valhalla".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The scarification shamrock inflicted by Doyle seems to have magically disappeared.
  • When You Coming Home, Mom?: While it's never really confirmed, Emily Prentiss does not have a good relationship with her mother, and has implied numerous times that Ambassador Prentiss was neglectful toward her (most notably in "Honor Amongst Thieves", when she's surprised the Ambassador would go to her, and in "Demonology", when she says her mother "would have killed" her if she'd found out Emily was pregnant and had an abortion). It really doesn't get much more neglectful than failing to attend your own daughter's funeral.

Dr. Alex Blake (Jeanne Tripplehorn)

A linguistics professor and experienced FBI agent, formerly a contemporary of Rossi, Strauss, and John Curtis. One of the agents working on the infamous Amerithrax case, her career was badly damaged in the aftermath of the case's failure, and she had to spend the past decade working her way back into the FBI's good graces, with her assignment to the BAU's lead team in Season 8 and Season 9 (to fill the position left open by Prentiss' departure) being her "second chance".

  • Alone with the Psycho: "The Good Earth"
  • Brainy Brunette: Has a PHD in linguistics.
  • Cunning Linguist: It's her defining characteristic, and it's come in handy several times. The best instance of this was in "The Silencer", when her knowledge of sign language was instrumental in capturing the UnSub, who was deaf. Ironically she is terrible at communicating with her own family and hasn't gone home to Kansas City in five years ( big brother getting killed and mom dying of cancer (in the same hospital no less) can do that).
    Blake's younger brother (paraphrased): You're a big fancy linguist but you don't talk to us!
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic
  • Put on a Bus: Resigns from the BAU at the end of "Demons" due to being heavily traumatized by Reid getting shot.
  • Right Behind Me: Her introduction to Garcia.

    Other Characters 

Haley Hotchner (Meredith Monroe)

The wife of team leader Aaron Hotchner, the two of them were initially a loving, stable couple, but the high time and travel demands of his job eventually began to put pressure on their relationship. The two of them eventually divorce. Some time later, she and her son are forced into hiding by the Reaper, who eventually kills her.

Jack Hotchner (Cade Owens)

Hotchner's young son.

Detective Will LaMontagne (Josh Stewart)

A N'orleans detective who assisted the team on an early case, he returned to participate in a couple other cases and eventually became the love interest and later husband of J.J.

  • Ascended Extra: Originally only meant to appear in "Jones," when A.J. Cook became pregnant, the writers had to create a love interest for her quickly, and remembering her chemistry with Will, brought him back to be her mate.
  • The Big Easy: But not quite avoiding stereotypes.
  • A Day in the Limelight: While "Hit" and "Run" don't focus entirely on him, he plays a huge role in the story and we learn a lot about him.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Discussed on British radio.

Henry LaMontagne (Mekhai Andersen)

J.J.'s young son.

  • Cheerful Child: Never shown to be anything but a sweet little boy
  • The Cutie: Cemented when he shows up for Halloween dressed as "his favorite profiler" — his godfather, Reid.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: His entire existence is thanks to this. J.J.'s pregnancy was written in after A.J. Cook got pregnant. Henry is even played by her actual son.
  • Satellite Character: To J.J.

Kevin Lynch (Nicholas Brendon)

A fairly nerdy FBI computer technician, who was a co-worker of Garcia's and eventually her love interest for several seasons.

  • The Bus Came Back: Shows up again in the 200th episode.
  • Butt Monkey: He is, after all, played by Trope Namer Nicholas "Xander Harris" Brendon.
  • Eleventh Hour Ranger: Joins the team in "Penelope", when Garcia is in the hospital, then again in "100" to help catch the Reaper, and again in "Hit/Run" to run backup for Garcia during the bank takeover. He comes back for "The Wheels On The Bus..." to assist in tracking the disappeared bus.
  • Geeky Turn-On: "Oh, you are NOT seriously trying to backhack me!"
  • Mr. Fanservice: Briefly, in "Damaged".
  • Non-Action Guy: As a computer tech., he mainly hands around to help Garcia.
  • Naked People Are Funny: His... awkward encounter with Rossi in "Damaged".
  • Playful Hacker: Though he admits he's not as good as Garcia.
  • Put on a Bus: He and Garcia break up after she turns down his proposal of marriage; while he probably hasn't actually gone anywhere, we no longer see him very much.
  • Temporary Substitute: For Garcia in "Penelope".

Section Chief Erin Strauss (Jayne Atkinson)

The Section Chief for the entire BAU, and thus the team's immediate superior, Strauss' role fluctuated between being an Obstructive Bureaucrat and Reasonable Authority Figure, though the team generally saw her as more of the former rather than the latter due to the political pressure she often put on them.

  • The Alcoholic: Revealed to be one in season seven.
  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: She has the occasional, very rare Pet the Dog moments. Recently, after her return, she's become much more reasonable.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: At times her interactions with Rossi come off as this.
  • Depending on the Writer: In her first appearances, she's trying to be a manipulative bitch. Then it look like she is A Tyrant Taking The Helm. In her next appearance, she becomes a Bait-and-Switch Tyrant and gets a few Pet the Dog moments. Then she's back to the Obstructive Bureaucrat boss who does things over the team's objections. Now she's politicking while still giving the team a chance to do things their way, and at times seems to be trying to make up for previous jerkish behavior.
  • Expy: A Gender Flip of Henrik Hanssen, same personality traits.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Nope. She's crying and wants her kids and wishes she had died before allowing the baddie to humiliate her.
  • FBI Agent: Of the supervising sort
  • Genre Savvy:
    • In "It Takes a Village", she knows as soon as Emily asks for permission to trade Ian Doyle for Declan that the BAU's already set the plan into motion.
    • In "The Replicator" it is revealed that she already suspected that the UnSub was FBI insider and modified one of her team's reports, knowing that the UnSub would give himself away as having read said reports (the accessibility of which is privy only to a select few) by unknowingly using in one of his recreations the false detail she inserted.
  • Iron Lady: As a supervisor of the team, plays this role.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She comes off as a politically-minded Obstructive Bureaucrat, but there are a great number of instances where it's clear that she's actually just trying to help/protect the team.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Started out as one, before becoming more of a supporter of the team.
  • Pet the Dog: Surprisingly, in "100", after spending the entire episode investigating the events around Haley Brooks Hotchner's death and Hotch going off the rails, interrogating the team and trying to pin the blame on Hotch, she's in tears after Hotch's testimony, and refuses to pursue the matter any further.
  • Put on a Bus: Left for rehab; see The Alcoholic above. She's back and better as of "Hit/Run." Well, before "The Replicator," anyway.
  • Stay with Me Until I Die: After being fatally poisoned by the Replicator, she asks Hotch to stay with her so she won't die alone. He does.

Diana Reid (Jane Lynch)

Spencer Reid's mother, who did her best to raise him from a very young age after his father fled the family, despite her severe paranoid schizophrenia.

  • Broken Bird: Severe paranoid schizophrenic who had to be committed to a sanitarium by her then-eighteen year old son. Has just as brilliant a mind as Spencer, under the delusions and medication. It's implied that part of her mental breakdown was the result of seeing a friend of hers kill Gary Michaels, a pedophile who killed Riley Jenkins and targeted Spencer.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Of the "government is watching me and my son works with fascists" variety.
  • Cool Teacher: Was once a university professor, before the schizophrenia.
  • Mama Bear: The Instincts/In memoriam two-parter makes it very clear that she would never let anything hurt her son. Or have him stay in a mental institution for longer than a one night visit. When he asks her about Riley Jenkins, she tried her best to avoid talking about him, especially since her own son could have ended up like him.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Spencer's father left the family when he was very young, so Diana raised Spencer single-handedly. Apparently social services felt that it was totally okay for Spencer's sole guardian to be an unstable paranoid schizophrenic who thought Bob Dylan was spying on her.

Carolyn Baker Rossi (Isabella Hoffman)

Ellie Spicer (Isabella Murad)

  • Boyish Short Hair: Done by Billy so she'll look less like a girl.
  • Broken Bird: Her family was murdered and she was kidnapped.
  • Important Haircut: Billy cuts her hair to make her look less like her description.
  • Little Miss Badass: Stands up to Billy and manages to screw over one of his crimes, mocking him the entire time.
  • Missing Mom: Her mom disappeared for years. And then Billy offed her dad...
  • Morality Pet: To Billy Flynn, who murdered her father, raped her aunt, killed her grandparents...and sees Ellie as a granddaughter figure.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Averted, thank God.