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The BAU is a Bad Ass Team of Badass Bookworms, and Badass Normals.

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     Aaron Hotchner 
  • In "L.D.S.K.", Hotch tricks the unsub into letting him kick the snot out of Reid—which gives Reid access to the gun strapped to Hotchner's ankle.
  • In "Riding the Lightning", Jacob is in the electric chair, just about to be executed. Hotch storms into the room, then slams a recent picture of Jacob's son Riley onto the glass and says "You lose", proving that Jacob didn't kill his son—and neither did Sarah Jean. Even better, Jacob flips out at this, screaming wordlessly where before he had gleefully accepted his impending execution. "You lose" indeed.
  • In "Psychodrama", a killer is holding up establishments just to order people to undress, and get sons to have "control" of their mothers (slapping them repeatedly) while carrying a MAC-10. He murders a bank employee and a fourteen-year-old child, which disgusts Hotch—and fills him with stoic rage. When the BAU eventually tracks the guy down, Hotch blows a hole in his chest with his gun, then tells the paramedics not to give him any painkillers. Oh, and all the while, this guy is detoxing off of crystal meth. Hotch gives the guy exactly what he deserves. It's the disgusted tone when he says "these are children, for god's sake" that really makes it. One of the great things about Hotch's patrician upbringing is that he can kick your ass and do it with an exasperated sort of "honestly, pull yourself together, man!" look that just makes it more painful.
  • "Legacy" contains one of Hotchner's best moments. He walks into a room with the unsub's accomplice, then tells the accomplice exactly what is going to happen and why. Everything happens exactly as Hotch says it will, for the reasons that Hotch lays out. He deconstructs a man's entire life and personality, then turns him against everything he had done to that point, with a two-minute monologue:
    I've been standing on the other side of that glass thinking about what to do with you, Steven. And this morning I decided to save your life. You're gonna tell me where my killer is. You're gonna give me an address, and you're gonna tell me how to get inside without raising an alarm. You're gonna draw me a map if I need one. And you're gonna do this because he's never been nice to you. He constantly insults you and belittles you. He emasculates you and makes you feel ugly and stupid and worthless. Nothing you ever do is right. Never good enough. You hate him, Steven. And you're also going to tell me because you know you screwed up last night. He told you that your paramount concern was not to attract the attention of the authorities, and you know the punishment will be severe. Nobody knows better than you what he can do to people. I've spent a long time studying monsters like your friend, and I can promise you he's gonna do things to you that even you can't imagine.
  • In Season 3 episode "Damaged", a death row prisoner purposefully gets Hotchner and Reid locked up with him and states his intent to kill them in order to stay his own execution. Hotch is obviously not impressed:
    Inmate: So you planned to be locked inside with me, with no guns or weapons?
    Hotch: I won't need a gun.
    Inmate: There's no way they're gonna execute me next week—not after I kill two FBI agents. You saved my life by coming here.
    Hotch: But unfortunately for you I'm not a five-foot-tall, hundred-pound girl. [takes his vest off] All your life, you've gone after victims who couldn't fight back, and the rest of the time you spent looking over your shoulder, [removes his tie] worried about the knock on the door, scared that somebody like me would be on the other side waiting to put you away. [points at the inmate] At your core, you're a coward.
  • "Tabula Rasa": Hotch, in court, is faced with a defense attorney who calls the whole field of profiling into doubt. Hotch proceeds to profile the LAWYER, with extreme accuracy, basically demolishing his case. This scene is the origin of the term "Hotchalanche"—wherein Aaron Hotchner is made of awesome.
  • In "Brothers in Arms", Hotch plans on the UnSub attacking him at the press conference. The UnSub stalks Hotch through the parking lot, and the audience thinks Hotch is going to get his head blown off. The UnSub rounds the car to find Hotch... not there. A gun cocks from behind the UnSub to reveal Hotch, having gotten the upper hand.
  • In "Pleasure Is My Business", the team is being blocked by a CEO's various lawyers. One of them says that she will cooperate in exchange for immunity. Hotch replies that if she doesn't cooperate, he will arrest her for obstructing justice, and while she's sitting in jail, the FBI's White Collar division will tear through her company's finances and learn all her secrets anyway. It is his only offer—and the only one he needs to make.
  • In "Nameless, Faceless", Hotch stares down the barrel of Foyet's gun and does not even blink when the bullet comes within an inch of his shoulder:
    Foyet: Is this part of my profile? You can't show me fear?
    Hotch: If you don't see fear, maybe it's because I'm not afraid of you.
    In the next episode, Reid notes that, "You know, I've been thinking about it, and in all the time I've known Hotch, I've never seen him blink."
  • In "100", Hotch beats Foyet to death with his bare hands and continues until Morgan pulls him off. Foyet even tries to surrender in the middle of it, but Hotch is in full-on Papa Wolf mode, so he just keeps going. You can actually tell Foyet's state just from how the scene plays out. Derek barges in first and pulls Hotch away while assuring him the Reaper's dead on the ground. Look at Prentiss's reaction especially. Derek would be able to tell Foyet was dead from a glance alone if he was beaten to a bloody pulp to the point where it was obvious his face was just gone.
  • Hotch faces down the barrels of four rifles in "Exit Wounds" as he is told that the UnSub is coming with the angry townsfolk. His reply is two words long: "Not happening."
  • Hotch going toe-to-toe with British superspy Clyde Easter in "Lauren", talking Easter into helping the team and pulling an I Never Said It Was Poison to do it.
  • In "Out of the Light", Hotch shoots the UnSub three times underwater through a car window.
  • In "Broken", Hotch is interviewing a prostitute that repeatedly raped the UnSub and the other children at the conversion camp. She begins by saying she will tell him all he wants to know in exchange for a deal. He replies that he doesn't make deals with child molesters, and then deduces everything he needs to know without her saying anything.
    Isabella Grant: What about my deal?
    Hotch: We never had a deal.

    Spencer Reid 
  • After failing his firearms test, Reid grabs the gun on Hotch's ankle and blows away a sniper in "L.D.S.K." Let's be clear here. He kills the sniper from the floor, while in handcuffs, after having the crap kicked out of him, in a room full of hostages. With a headshot. This is followed by one of the best Reid lines ever:
    Reid: Hotch, I was a twelve-year-old child prodigy in a Las Vegas public high school. You kick like a nine-year-old girl.
    And then he cracks a joke about his previous failure by saying he was aiming for the UnSub's knee (the scene had earlier established that anything but a headshot would allow the UnSub time to kill civilians before anyone else could respond).
  • In "Somebody's Watching", Reid confronts the UnSub, a crazed stalker, who has a gun to the victim. He's unarmed, the gun is like six inches from the hostage's head, and Reid still disarms the UnSub with a tackle.
  • Reid gets what is arguably one of the best moments in the entire series in the episode "Revelations". Despite having been beaten, tortured, drugged, and having a revolver containing a single bullet pointed at his head by an UnSub with multiple personalities, Reid refuses to choose which one of his colleagues will be the killer's next victim. He refuses several times, barely flinching as the gun clicks to the next empty chamber, until—in what might be considered another, separate Awesome Moment—he has a flash of inspiration and "chooses" Aaron Hotchnernote , calling him a narcissist who puts himself before the good of the team and referencing a biblical verse about pride. Hotch, who is watching with the rest of the team via webcam, knows that though he has many faults, narcissism isn't one of them—so rather than getting upset, he looks up the Bible verse and finds a clue that allows them to locate and rescue Reid. Just to reiterate: Spencer Reid—the young, awkward, physically incompetent, near-constant target of serial killers—played Russian roulette and won.
  • In "Damaged", Reid delivers a thirteen-minute profile from scratch to keep a killer occupied while they wait for the guards to come back to let them out of the cell where they're interviewing him.
    Killer: Is that true, I never had a chance?
    Reid: I don't know, maybe.
  • In Season 3 episode "Tabula Rasa", Reid confronts the grieving father of a victim, who is bent on shooting the man who murdered his daughter, and talks him down. He does this completely without a weapon or force of any kind, using only his profiling skills and general compassion.
  • In Season 4's "Amplification", Reid gets infected by anthrax and starts showing the symptoms of it, but continues helping the BAU solve the case. Luckily, he manages able to find the cure.
  • In Season 5’s opening episode, the show had to write around Matthew Gray Gubler’s knee injury. How do they do this? By having Reid take a bullet protecting the UnSub’s target, continue shielding the target whilst unable to stand, and ultimately non-fatally shoot the UnSub when he couldn’t be talked down. On top of that, Reid then immediately forgoes medical attention to ensure the UnSub‘s survival.
  • "The Uncanny Valley":
    • Reid's furious verbal smackdown to a smug child psychiatrist (played by Jonathan Frakes) whose molestation and physical abuse of his daughter caused her to become a psychopath. Part of it is the build-up; while Rossi interrogates the psychiatrist Reid spends the whole time silently poking around in his office... and just from that he deduces the psychiatrist is a child-molester who keeps twisted "mementos" of his victims.
      Reid: See, this is why I love my job, Doctor, because my lab is a jury of your peers. My tests will be Jenny Larson, Abigail Moore, and Linda Krauss. The D.A. will put them on the stand and I'm gonna personally bring these dolls in and we're gonna watch how they react.
      During this whole thing, Reid doesn't even raise his voice. He speaks more quickly and firmly, but doesn't lose his cool. Memetic Badass.
    • At the end of the episode he confronts the aforementioned psychiatrist's daughter and convinces her to let the police take her without a fight. Also a Heartwarming moment, since all he does is act kind and empathetic while giving the woman back the things she lost.
  • In Season 6 episode "Corazón", Reid goes off on his own to find the UnSub, but gets caught and held at gunpoint. He keeps his cool and feigns having headachesnote , using the noise from the UnSub's hostage to distract him before eventually taking the UnSub down by smacking him on the head with a nearby pipe that Reid saw when he entered the room.
  • In the Season 7 episode "It Takes A Village", Reid delivers an almighty verbal smackdown to the Senate Committee after they question his decision to release Ian Doyle:
    Reid: If you want to punish me for taking a risk, then I encourage you to do that, but do not put the rest of my team on trial for something I suggested.
    Senator: Calm down, agent.
    Reid: This is calm, and it's "Doctor".
    • In the same episode, the UnSub catches the team off guard and begins shooting in every direction, taking down Doyle. Reid, who is standing closest to her, pulls his gun and blows her away, likely saving several officers.
  • In Season 8's "The Apprenticeship", Reid breaks the bureau's softball team's long losing streak by hitting a home run when they need it the most. It would be an awesome moment for anyone, but it is doubly so for Reid.
  • In the Season 9 episode "Gatekeeper", Reid pulls a fast one to disarm a knife-wielding UnSub while helping a pregnant woman deliver her baby. Again, he never loses his cool, just snaps on a glove and get straight to work.
  • Reid's entire interaction with Cat Adams in "Entropy" is awesome from start to finish, with one of the highlights being his calm Badass Boast:
    Reid: You don't get everything you want just because you're pointing a gun at me under a table. You're not the first killer to point a gun at me—you're not even the first woman to point a gun at me. Sorry.
  • Reid gets another chance to tango with Cat in "Red Light".
    • When he thinks that she has ordered his mother to be murdered, he hulks out on her, shoving aside tables and chairs and grabbing Adams by the throat, fully intending to kill her. This is more of an awesome moment for actor Matthew Gray Gubler—you can see the murder in his eyes.
    • She has been making his life a living hell for the entire second half of the season—framing him for murder and drug dealing, kidnapping his mother, and making him suffer from a huge amount of psychological torment during his time in prison—so after she forces Reid to admit he enjoyed hurting the inmates that killed a friend he made on the inside, Adams thinks she has finally brought Reid down to her level. When her plans to kill Reid's mother are foiled and he is leaving, she claims that since he has experienced the thrill of murder, he will never be able to go back. He calmly walks up to her, takes back his watch, and says, "Watch me."
  • Reid manages to talk down a psychotic, hallucinating UnSub with a gun by showing the UnSub that Reid knows what it's like to be him, to the point that the UnSub tells his hallucinations to shut up after listening to them for the entire episode.
  • Spencer Reid—the team member once referred to by a witness as "a pipe cleaner with eyes"—walks unarmed, with his hands up, purposely blocking a sniper's shot, into the middle of a street to talk down a machine-gun-wielding spree killer on the verge of going nuclear. He succeeds.

     Jennifer Jareau 
  • The fact that JJ's (originally planned) last episode also doubles as a Take That! to CBS. It's pretty plain to see that the writers are just as pissed as the fans are.
  • In "The Last Word", the team has discovered two serial killers in the same town in competition with each other. Having captured one, JJ holds a press conference where she says that the captured one will be studied for years as "one of the most complex killers we've ever encountered" while the other appears to be either isolated incidents and copycats or a killer so sloppy and unsophisticated, he isn't worth the BAU's time. This drives the second UnSub to go to the police station in a rage to confront them. It doesn't end well for him.
  • In "Revelations", she she fires three shots in the dark and takes down three attack-trained dogs.
  • When JJ takes down Garcia's shooter with a Boom, Headshot! through a glass window in "Penelope".
  • In "The Performer", after having been whacked upside the head with a shovel by the UnSub, JJ comes out of nowhere with her own shovel-to-the-UnSub's-head.
  • "The Longest Night": JJ talking Billy Flynn into letting Ellie go by talking to him about what a parent should do and that she understands how bad his childhood was, and that even though she can't understand why he's doing what he's doing, she knows what a parent should do and that he should let Ellie go. She's not a hostage negotiator, so the fact that she did this was all kinds of awesome. If this show ever had a motto, it would probably be the last few lines of JJ's speech.
    JJ: Yes, there are monsters, and yes, it's okay to be afraid of them — but it's not okay to let them win.
  • She gets one simply walking into a room in "Lauren", when she's revealed as the State Department official that Hotch called in.
  • "Run" gives JJ a CMOA to end all others. After seeing Will get shot, nearly blown up, and then taken hostage by the UnSubs, she discovers that one of the UnSubs is in her house with her son. While Rossi helps the kids outside get to safety, JJ sneaks in and holds a gun on the UnSub. A fight that shows off JJ's Mama Bear side ensues, during which the UnSub gets JJ's gun. In one fluid motion, JJ pushes the gun away, ejects the magazine, and then racks the slide to eject the round in the chamber, completely disarming it. She ends the fight with a roundhouse kick that would make Chuck Norris proud to put the villain down for the count. Making it more awesome? The UnSub is a trained, highly experienced assassin.
  • "All That Remains" is an episode-long CMOA for both JJ and her actress.
  • In "Nanny Dearest", JJ once again delivers a headshot to an UnSub, who is at least twenty-five yards away.

    David Rossi 
  • Rossi uses his vacation time to catch serial killers. No, really, he goes to Mexico on vacation and instead uses it to track down a killer who got away from the team.
  • Just Rossi's scene in "About Face", when he's preparing to return to the BAU — might not have seemed as cool when we were first watching it, but seeing it again later, knowing Rossi, seeing him get ready to return to the job with the CM background music (DUNDUN DUN DUN!)... it's simply awesome.
  • Rossi's response to Rothchild's Breaking Speech in "Masterpiece" about destroying Rossi's ego and killing his "family" and that he's going to get away with it: "Did you get all that, Garcia?" Followed by Rossi offhandedly mentioning that the confession will make "a good teaching aid" - oh, wait, did he forget to tell Rothchild that he teaches interrogation at Quantico? Then (because what he just did totally wasn't awesome enough, right?), when the UnSub attacks him from behind, Rossi turns around and pins him to the wall and taunts him some more! The title of the episode, "Masterpiece", might as well refer to Rossi's gambit instead of Rothchild's caper.
  • In "Demonology", a corrupt, fanatical priest is murdering people using exorcism and is shielded by diplomatic immunity. So, what does Rossi do to get around it and prevent the UnSub from being a Karma Houdini? He calls the freaking Vatican, and it works!
  • In "Omnivore", after the Reaper has taken out an entire bus full of people in response to Hotch turning down a deal, Hotch is suffering from a severe crisis of faith and believes it's all his fault. What does Rossi do? He holds out his gun to Hotch.
    Rossi: Well here, use mine. You've convinced me. No, no, you hung up on him, you practically killed them yourself. Go ahead, get it over with. Don't worry about us, we'll get this guy without you... Look, if you want to end up like Shaughnessy, like Gideon, blaming yourself for everything, you go ahead. But that voice in your head? It's not your conscience, it's your ego.
  • Rossi gets another one in "Exit Wounds" - Hotch, Reid, and the Alaska sheriffs are facing off with a virtual lynch mob over the UnSub. Hotch and Reid are trying to defuse the situation, and the leader of the mob wants to know who Hotch thinks has the high ground.
    Rossi: [standing behind the mob with Morgan and Prentiss] I think you'll find we do.

  • In "25 to Life", the team discovers that their prime suspect is running for Congress and Strauss orders them not to arrest him, fearing the heat this would bring onto the Bureau. When she accuses Rossi of not understanding the politics at play:
    Rossi: Oh, I do; I just don't care.
  • In "It Takes a Village", Rossi does what no one else in the team does: he gets the Senator on the committee to shut up, with just one question:
    Rossi: Was it wrong for Agent Morgan to want Ian Doyle dead?
  • In "The Replicator" he saves the rest of the team, and then leaves the Replicator to die in his own death trap.
  • In Season 10's "The Itch", Rossi smacks down another UnSub like he did back in "Masterpiece".

    Penelope Garcia 
  • Her hacker-battling Kevin, and winning, in "Penelope". It's basically what causes him to start falling for her before he even sees her face or knows her name.
  • In "Damaged", Kevin calls her his girlfriend and she says all dreamy-voiced:
    Penelope: Girlfriend? Kevin... if you come within 100 feet of Agent Rossi, I will release a virus onto your personal computer that will dissolve your electronic life into something between a Commodore 64 and a block of government cheese. Call me later.
  • In "Tabula Rasa", we get this gem from Garcia trying to get information from an uncooperative secretary over the phone:
    Garcia: Yes, I know what a closed adoption means, do you know what a court order means?
    JJ: [whispering] We don't have time for a court order...
    Garcia: Alright, you know what, ma'am? I am done. Being. Nice. If you look to your cursor, you'll notice it's moving on its own. That's me hacking your secure network. Now I got her file, now I got her Social, and now, 'cause you're grumpy, I'm gonna send your boss those Jamaican vacation photos. Check you out, no tan lines!
  • "House on Fire":
    • After having to research a town's dark secrets to help find an UnSub, Garcia gets sickened and extremely depressed. She completely tears into Hotch when they get back, and he apologizes.
    • Her coldly furious reveal to the team of how the small town had turned on a teenage boy (prompting his descent into madness and multiple-casualty arson) is nothing short of amazing.
  • Garcia hacking the Unsub's video feed in "The Internet Is Forever". ACCESS DENIED. YOU LOSE.
  • In "The Company", when Morgan is being a jerk and a bit egocentric, Garcia hangs up on him, but not before calling him out and telling him to call her back when he's not being so much of a jerk.
  • In "Demons" Garcia picks up Reid's gun and shoots a corrupt deputy trying to kill Reid without hesitation. Remember this is Garcia we're talking about.

    Derek Morgan 
  • The fact that Derek Morgan was sexually abused as a teenager and is just fine as an adult. He didn't end up repeating the cycle of abuse, he didn't become an emotional mess, and he didn't have to pretend it never happened in order to move on.
  • The time that Derek Morgan tackled a moving van. Seriously. When doors and people just can't do it for you anymore... He also tackles a train, and, maybe best of all, leaps tall buildings in a single bound.
  • In "Profiler, Profiled", Morgan confronts the guidance counselor who sexually abused him as a child, decimating the man's argument by pointing out that no matter how many people he's "helped", he's still a child molester.
    Carl Buford: I pulled you out of the gutter!
    Morgan: I pulled myself out of the gutter! All the way to the FBI! I DID THAT!
    Buford: Are you saying I had nothing to do with making you who you are?!
    Morgan: ...No, Carl. In fact, you have everything to do with me becoming what I am today. Because of you, I get to spent the rest of my life making sure people like you go down.
  • His "screw you" response to a Conspiracy Theorist's Breaking Speech in "Identity". Topped off when he lays his card on a table and departs with a, "Take care, boys."
  • "Mayhem": Driving a bomb-laden ambulance out of the city and jumping out seconds before it explodes.
  • Morgan taking care of Ellie Spicer after the events of "Our Darkest Hour" and "The Longest Night". Doubles as a Heartwarming Moment, too.
  • Morgan walking into a Congressional candidate's fundraiser in "25 to Life" and accusing him of murder after repeatedly being told by Strauss that his job is on the line if he so much as looks at the man wrong. Morgan - with Rossi and Prentiss for backup - strides right up to the guy and baits the guy into confessing in front of a ballroom full of guests, then handcuffs him and leads him out.
  • In "Lauren", he arguably saves a grievously injured Prentiss (at least until the paramedics can get there) by forcing her to stay conscious, despite her entreaties to let her slip away. His plea of "if you can hear me, just squeeze my hand" doubles as a CMOH.
  • Chasing a minivan off the side of the road into a lake in "Out of the Light". He then dives in to pull the victim out of the car and resuscitates her, possibly having flashbacks to "losing" Prentiss.
  • Just like with Ellie, he helps take care of Angel in the episode "Foundation". Angel escapes from the UnSub and Morgan gets him to talk and interact again. When they finally catch the UnSub, Morgan is able to punch him a couple of times before being stopped by Rossi. The UnSub deserves it considering the bite marks on Angel. Worst part, there were more victims before him.
  • The episode "Derek" is, appropriately, Derek Morgan demonstrating that he is an unparalleled badass from the start to the end. Kidnapped by a team of ex-military expert torturers, beating him with a baton barely raises his heart rate, he has white phosphorus streaked on him and set on fire, and when that doesn't break him he seizes on a mistake, kills five armed men and heavily wounds the sixth (all, it should be noted, while the WP is still burning him), remembers some of Reid's research in order to find a chemical that stops the burning, and, while doing all this, profiles his kidnappers and figures out he's about to become a father. And then, at the end, pinned to the table with a knife through his hand, he distracts the last enemy so Reid can take him out. And to top it off, he proposes to his girlfriend from his hospital bed. The entire situation would have had Batman look impressed.

    Emily Prentiss 
  • Speaking flawless Arabic in "Lessons Learned" and helping the team identify the real terrorists behind the killings. It's also the first time she proves her worth to the team.
  • Her Breaking Speech to the Unsub in "Seven Seconds".
  • She gets one in "Minimal Loss" when she takes a beating so Reid can preserve his cover, and even antagonizes her attacker in order to get a message across to the rest of the team, who are listening in.
  • In "Nameless, Faceless", she stays by Hotch's side after Foyet stabs him and, while she's hanging around, manages to solve the case everybody else is working on.
  • Prentiss taking down a rapist UnSub in "The Slave of Duty".
  • In "Retaliation", Prentiss, a fellow officer, and the UnSub are hit by a truck while driving to a station. The Unsub just killed the officer and leaves Emily to die in the car. Cue Prentiss pushing her way out of the battered car and shooting at the truck the Unsub unfortunately got away in.
  • Prentiss takes an exponential level in badass during the Doyle arc. It's revealed that Prentiss used to be a superspy for Interpol, working deep cover missions to put terrorists away. In "Lauren", she pulls off a one-woman assault on Doyle's SUV, involving smoke bombs and machine guns, and withstands branding, beatings, and torture before disappearing into Witness Protection. In the final fight, she also delivers a "Reason You Suck" Speech while she has the UnSub in a headlock.
  • Prentiss stepping into the Hotchalanche shoes that Jason Gideon and Hotch have left empty in "Hope".
  • In "Run", she refuses to leave Will to die and disarms the bomb strapped to him with zero time to spare.

    Jason Gideon 
  • "Extreme Aggressor":
    • An unarmed Gideon taking down the Footpath Killer on his own, by messing with his mind, to the point where he can't function. Later, he sums it up like this:
      Gideon: The Footpath Killer had a shotgun to my head, right here. I'm here, he isn't.
    • Gideon insulting an armed UnSub holding a hostage into shooting at him, rather than holding the gun on the hostage, clearing the way for Elle to shoot the hostage taker. In the very first episode!
      Hotch: Guess what "Gideon" means?
      Reid: "Mighty warrior". Appropriate.
  • Gideon facing down Adrian Bale in "Won't Get Fooled Again". Bale was a bomber who blew up a building, killing six agents after Gideon thought he had captured him, driving Gideon to a breakdown. When they need his help stopping another bomber, Bale mentally tortures him for the whole episode until the end, when he tells him which wire to cut. Gideon figures out that he is lying, using Bale's own speech against him. This invalidates a deal Bale made, ensuring he will never get out of prison. Gideon reminds him how he got the best of him. And Bale's fellow prisoners? They now know how willing he was to rat on them to save himself. Gideon's final smile just screams "I get to go to a nice home and you get to stay in a cell surrounded by guys waiting to knife you at the first opportunity. Have a nice life sentence, you simple motherfucker."
  • Gideon repeatedly hanging up on the UnSub in "Broken Mirror" because he knows that he'll keep calling back.

    Elle Greenaway 
  • Proving that she is definitely not a Faux Action Girl, Elle Greenaway holds an erotomaniac FBI agent at gunpoint. When he disarms her, she punches him in the stomach, takes his gun, takes him out at the knee, steps on his balls, sticks the gun in his face, and politely inquires as to the whereabouts of the girl he's kidnapped. He is remarkably compliant. The crotch step is so much her signature move that when Reid accidentally shoots the target man at the FBI shooting range in the crotch, Hotch snarks, "Did Elle teach you that?"

    Erin Strauss 
  • Even Strauss gets one in "The Replicator", where she narrows down the Replicator's identity immensely by falsifying information on a report, knowing that if the Replicator was in the FBI, he would read it and copy the false detail.

    Tara Lewis 
  • In "Entropy" after sending JJ and Rossi out of the resteraunt Cat Adams thinks she's in the clear and can talk to Spencer in peace. Tara has something to say about that as the camera pans over to her and Derek toasting their martinis as an undercover couple.
    Tara: Guess again, bitch.

    Luke Alvez 
  • While he's newer, he's a war veteran who hunted down FBI targets before joining the B.A.U., making him a good successor for Morgan on the team. His first introduction to the series, in "The Crimson King", is being the guy who helped capture eight of the twelve escaped serial killers.

    Multiple Team Members 
  • In "Broken Mirror" an UnSub attempts to collectively Breaking Speech the team over the phone, pointing out their "greatest weaknesses" and "deepest fears". To another team, it might be a crushing analysis. This team's biggest problem is holding out until he hangs up before starting to laugh. This may also be in part because said UnSub's attempt is particularly shallow — the harshest thing he fires at them is Hotch's wife and Reid's "autistic tendencies". The team has to resist laughing because he's doing their job so bad.
  • Emily, Garcia, and JJ in the bar with Brad the Real FBI Agent in "Open Season". They catch him in a pick-up lie about being a "real" FBI agent, get him to dig his grave a bit deeper by asking to see his badge (to which he replies, "That's classified."), and then they totally own him by showing him their badges.
  • Hotch and Rossi tag-team steamrollering the Wyoming Attorney General in "Minimal Loss", furious at the leaks to the press and the escalation of a hostage situation in which two of their team members are trapped. Rossi plays it cool, but Hotch backs the AG down with "get off my crime scene". As Marshall Eriksen might say - "LAWYERED!" Rossi follows it up by kicking some hostage-negotiation ass.
  • In "52 Pickup", Prentiss and Jordan Todd humiliate a skeevy, misogynistic pick-up artist who inspired an UnSub, refuting every single point he tries to make and bringing up the fact that not a single woman in the club is interested in him.
  • In "Hopeless", the team has been hunting a group of UnSubs that have been attacking at random with much overkill and violence. The police in the area are so worked up that Hotch fears a brutal retaliation against the UnSubs. Once two of the UnSubs are cornered and surrounded by cops, Hotch walks away - when Morgan questions him, Hotch says "It's our job to catch them, not kill them." Then Prentiss and Rossi walk away too, and the three of them do an Unflinching Walk away from the scene as the UnSubs burst out and the cops mow them down mercilessly.
  • Prentiss and JJ interrogating the UnSub in "The Company". In the beginning they treat him like he treats women, condescending and demeaning, with JJ even saying at one point, "The adults are talking."
  • The whole team in "Demons" when they take on an entire crooked police force, including figuring out quickly that the person they thought was the UnSub was really being framed, rescuing the son that was being used against a witness, defending Reid from two assassination attempts in the hospital, and unraveling a whole drug ring. It all ends in a shootout in a junkyard where Hotch disarms his opponent and beats him by hand while JJ releases several victims of human trafficking from a truck while in the middle of her fight.

  • The way that the killer in "L.D.S.K." lets the team know they had the wrong suspect is pretty awesome. They think it is an anti-social SWAT sharpshooter, realizing it as he is playing the part of the UnSub at one of his crime scenes at a reenactment. The team arrests him and are leading him away when the real UnSub snipes him. He could have easily taken out any member of the team if he wanted, but instead decides to shoot the SWAT sharpshooter just so they know they are wrong.
  • The UnSub in "True Night" killing the gang bangers who raped and murdered his pregnant girlfriend in cold blood.
  • Magnificent Bastard Foyet's intricate and insane escape from custody in "Omnivore" puts a new meaning to the term "Crazy-Prepared".
  • The UnSub of "Haunted" killing his pedophiliac and serial killer father, finally putting his inner torment and demons to rest.
  • The end of "Public Enemy", when the now-imprisoned killer shivs his father to death in the lunch line (in revenge for the long-ago murder of his mother), as the other inmates look on with disinterest (it's mentioned the father was really unpopular with everybody).
  • Ian Doyle in general.
    • His "hello, Lauren" to Prentiss in "Sense Memory".
    • The reveal of just how far his organization reaches in "Valhalla".
    • His masterful Batman Gambit to Prentiss in "Lauren", attempting to force a Sadistic Choice of whom he shoots: Rossi or Seaver. Prentiss takes a third option by telling him to shoot his own mook.
  • Ben killing the fuck out of his evil, Ax-Crazy hallucinations in "With Friends Like These". Granted, it only gives him a temporary reprieve from them.
  • The UnSub of "Today I Do" manages to kill her victim's abusive ex-boyfriend with her bare hands and maybe a stick. Considering she's not what you'd expect from a Dark Action Girl that's impressive.
  • The UnSub of "Dorado Falls", a former Navy SEAL, used his training to break into the FBI. Most of the time, the UnSub manages to evade the BAU because they don't know who he is. In this case, the BAU quickly learn who the UnSub is and are actively chasing him, but he's always a step ahead of them and countering their plays. Rossi figures that he's coming to the FBI, realizing that the UnSub recognized the FBI prefix from the BAU phone. As the FBI SWAT operators are locking down the building, the UnSub is already inside. As the SWAT team is clearing each floor, the UnSub walks into the BAU bullpen and gets the drop on Rossi. It should be noted the only other two UnSubs to break into the BAU had some sort of connections: Jason Clark Battle was a local deputy and the Replicator was an FBI agent.
  • Big Bad Matthew Downs in "Hit"/"Run" is complete and utter slime, true, but that still doesn't change the fact that he's the first villain on the show to ever completely dominate Morgan. Unfortunately for him, he fails to beat up a bullet through the heart compliments of Hotch.
  • In "The Pact", Darlene Beckette forces a killer to take her to the place where he buried her daughter, but they only find the girl's skull. He mocks the mother, saying "You have a few more holes to dig". She proceeds to beat him to death with a shovel.
  • At the end of "Brothers Hotchner", the Replicator manages to hack into Garcia's network. He begins by having her computers display all the pictures he's taken of the team. Then they all start showing the word "Zugzwang".
  • The UnSub of "A Thousand Suns" actually managing to successfully hack and to crash a commercial airplane, which is theoretically possible, but nobody have actually tried it in in real life on an actual airplane before.

     Victims and Non-Team Members 
  • Kelly Dalton from "Charm and Harm" puts up a hell of a fight. First she deliberately runs her car into a tree after the UnSub forces his way in. Then, as he's trying to drown her, she feels around in the water for a weapon, then smacks him with it, giving herself enough time for BAU to rescue her.
  • The first victim in "Secrets and Lies", a CIA agent, gets a posthumous one. The wife of a prominent businessman with Diplomatic Impunity had turned informant for him and implicated her husband as a terrorist; shortly afterward, the agent is found with his neck snapped. It's revealed that the terrorist bribed the agent's superior at the CIA to kill him, before going off to kill his wife and extremely adorable kids himself, intending to make a clean getaway with his immunity. The deceased agent ended up getting the last laugh from beyond the grave, though: he'd stashed the wife and kids in a shipping crate that had yet to go through customs, meaning the terrorist was not technically on US soil and could be arrested.
  • The reporter from "The Last Word" who protests when told not print a story about the murder of several prostitutes on the grounds that they deserve just as much ink as the more high profile victims. Considering how many people treat prostitutes and other homeless as nobodies not worth getting bothered over, it's really awesome to see someone stand up with them. Even better, at the end of the episode, he does print a story about the murdered prostitutes as a memorial for them, not even mentioning their killer.
  • "Sex, Birth, Death":
    • Nathan Harris seeking up Reid, whom he remembers from a behavioral lecture, because he knows something is wrong with him and wants to get checked out. He is fully examined by Gideon and makes Reid promise to give him the full diagnosis, no matter how bad. In a world where so many of the UnSubs probably could have been helped by getting therapy sooner, Nathan seeking out help stands out.
    • Nathan fighting his homicidal fantasies even when he has a chance to act them out. He has a potential victim, a weapon, opportunity, is about to be locked away in a hospital (possibly for life), and instead of giving in, he tries to commit suicide. He's not successful, but he fights his violent urges and wins.
    • The prostitute who blows the whistle that leads to the UnSub getting caught. And the other prostitute who maces him while he's down because he murdered her friend.
  • Ally in "Fear and Loathing" manages to kick the UnSub in the groin despite being drugged moments prior, causing him to reel in pain and allowing her to run to a police officer. This leads to him being completely caught off guard by the BAU in the middle of attempting to convince the police officer that the girl was his drunk niece.
  • "Ashes and Dust":
    • The arson investigator quotes Gideon's work to him about serial arsonists, then hands over his team's psych evals and medical records, noting his own is on top.
      Gideon: That's not necessary.
      Investigator: Your best suspect is a fireman who saw both fires burning, and that means me. I'm saving you time. [gestures to the scene] Come on, I'll walk you through it.
    • Evan Abby discovers that someone in his environmental group has been using it as a way of burning down homes and trapping families inside so he can watch them burn to death. Abby started the group after discovering he had terminal Leukemia and wanted his life to mean something. He lures the UnSub to a recently finished school that's basically sitting on an assload of benzine, a particularly flammable substance. The whole episode has been about how Abbey always wanted to do what was right, and never had the chance or the ability. Then we get to the last few minutes of his life, and we get this:
      Killer: What are you doing?
      Abbey: [chuckling] The right thing.
      When the UnSub panics and asks Abby how he plans to escape, he merely says "I don't" and lights the place up. Better still, besides getting rid of a murderer, he also saved all the kids that would have gone to school there, as the higher-ups didn't care about the school being on top of potentially dangerous chemicals.
  • "Open Season" has killers who are brother hunters of monsters, and every year release their prey into the forest and hunt them over several days. The intended victim, Bobbi Barrett, ambushes one, stabs him repeatedly, and manages to get the drop on the other, injuring him seriously. Still needs the BAU to save her, though. She even gets in a Pre-Mortem One-Liner too.
  • Maggie from "Legacy". Just think about it. She very nearly makes it to the exit of a deathtrap-filled building. She is literally a foot, maybe two away from freedom. In a few hours she manages to get from start to finish, drugged, barefoot, bleeding, with GLASS in her feet, and terrified. That takes serious determination. And then at the end, she demands they remove the sheet covering his body so she can see his face, just to laugh at him in triumph because she won.
  • Austin of "52 Pickup" remembering what Reid told her about the UnSub's behavior and recognizing him from the description, getting the future victim away, albeit at the cost of becoming the new one when she slips outside to call the BAU.
  • The general from "Amplification" pulls one hell of a Batman Gambit to get the UnSub to surrender, promising him a position at Ft. Dietrich in exchange for his virus which is killing Reid.
  • Kelly Shane in "To Hell..."/"...And Back". She manages to talk her way into getting outside to call for help; even though she has to be rescued, she's still the main reason Garcia manages to find the area she's in.
  • "Nameless, Faceless". The UnSub threatens the son of Doctor Tom Barton, a trauma surgeon. Near the end of the episode the UnSub tries to shoot Barton but is ultimately shot by Reid. Without even a moment of hesitation, Barton rushes over and performs first-aid on the man who just tried to kill him and earlier threatened to kill his son. The whole time Barton acts professional, as if he was just treating another patient. It's an amazing moment.
  • "100". It winds up not mattering in the long run, but U.S. Marshall Kassmeyer deserves some credit. Even after he's been shot in both legs and one foot, had a finger or two cut off, and been given a serious beating by one of the biggest sadists we've ever seen on the show, he does his job to the end. Not only does he not give up the Hotchners' location, but you can see him try to get up at least twice, presumably to go for his gun. Fairly badass, all things considered. Reid even commends him on it. He was tortured, and gave up nothing.
  • "The Uncanny Valley": Everything the current victim does is awesome. She's severely diabetic, and could very quickly die from the drugs she's being given. Instead, they wear off faster, and when she finally gets the needle injecting her with the drug out of her arm, the first thing she says is:
    "We're leaving!"
    She then does everything she can to get up, free one of the other victims, and call for help, even though she can't stand.
  • "Mosley Lane". The female kidnapper is about to cremate the kidnapped children, chasing down the middle child when the oldest, Charlie, pulls a gun, telling her to let them go. She laughs at him and says he's got to be kidding. He wasn't.
  • "The Longest Night":
    • We get another one for one of the victims. In one night, Ellie Spicer has seen her aunt raped and beaten (giving her injuries she later dies from), a cop who came to save her beaten up and tied up, and her father shot to death in front of her by a Serial Killer. Said killer then kidnaps her, and starts bringing her to houses where he's forcing her to be his "helper" with killing families. So what does she do when he tells her to go get the child of one family he's planning to do this to so he can experience this same thing? She finds that the family has two kids, and sends one brother out to tell the neighborhood that the guy is there so that the neighbors will find them and stop him. She totally isn't scared of the guy, and is going to do whatever it takes to survive and save as many people as she can. She not only calmly tells him what she's done, but that she's given the boy instructions to not stop going door to door, because there's no way he can possibly kill enough people to stop the alert from going out. Did we mention she's only 8?
    • The CMOA extends to the residents of the neighborhood, who turn up en masse to surround the home where the killer is brandishing guns, baseball bats, and whatever other weapons they can improvise. "California has its moments", indeed. It becomes even more awesome when you remember that this particular UnSub is based on the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez. While the UnSub manages to get away from the neighborhood by stealing his most recent victims' car, the real life serial killer he was based on attempted something similar and was not as lucky.
  • The teen girl from "JJ". She is kidnapped and left to die in shark-infested waters by a boy she rejected. Amazingly, she manages to survive by climbing and clinging to a water buoy for three days until search and rescue finds her. Think about that. Floating there, shark-infested water as far as the eye can see, hungry, thirsty, and still holding on, holding out hope that someone will come... and they do.
  • In another "victims fight back" example, in "Compromising Positions", one of the male victims, even though he is handcuffed and the murderer has a gun, manages to kickbox the everloving shit out of him for several minutes before getting killed.
  • Robert from "Into the Woods". Despite being perhaps ten years old, he gives his sister time to escape and puts up one hell of a fight, buying himself enough time to be rescued.
  • Shannon's mother from "From Childhood's Hour", who stalls the killer from just killing both her and her daughter by spitting out terrible lies about letting her boyfriend try to rape her daughter until the BAU arrives. You can just see her desperation. She so wants her daughter to live that she's willing to let them kill her, but she doesn't let on until the killer's restrained.
  • The Season 8 episode, "Through the Looking Glass", focuses on an UnSub who kidnaps an entire family, locking the sister, mother, and father up in a room whereas the boy, Braden, who has Asperger's Syndrome, is with the UnSub. When the UnSub leaves, what does he do? Pick the lock and attempt a daring escape. Even though he doesn't succeed, it's still pretty awesome to think about.
  • Donna Sullivan from "God Complex". She has been abducted, had her leg amputated, another leg grafted onto her stump, and the killer then cheerily informs her he's going to take off her other leg later. She manages to untie herself, walk across the room with that replaced leg (which she shouldn't be able to do), get the keys to her handcuffs, and then grab a scalpel.
    Donna: I'm ready for you, you son-of-a-bitch!
  • The girl in the Season 10 premiere episode, "X". She has been kidnapped by the UnSub, who has already killed and dismembered three people, and taken to a secluded ranch. She instantly notices he's very awkward and introverted and thus proceeds to act kindly, even lovingly, to him. She manages to get on his good side, convinces him to untie her to go for a walk together, and she successfully attacks him and flees into the ranch, remaining hidden until the BAU and the police arrive. This is even more impressive when you take into account that she did all of this after he hacked off her left arm.
  • Kudos to the pilots on Inter Atlantic Flight 61 during episode "A Thousand Suns", who manage to recover the plane in time after the unsub of the week hacks it and attempts to crash it, only to be stopped by the BAU.
  • "Amelia Porter":
    • The brother Andy placates the UnSub and convinces him that he's only trying to help, all to protect his sister. The first chance he gets though, he drives the car into a ditch in an attempt to kill the UnSub.
    • His sister gets points as well for managing to break free from her uncle's grasp.
  • In "Scarecrow", the would-be victim Cherry manages to talk down the UnSub long enough to avoid being killed, then plays upon the UnSub's obsession with morality to get untied, and then takes the shears he was about to kill her with and stabs him in the back before fleeing.
  • Nancy in "Safe Haven" managing to, at least temporarily, flip the script on the Un Sub, Jeremy Sayer. He got the drop on several previous victims by tying up their kids and clubbing them from behind when they rush to save them. Nancy walks in on her two kids tied up and keeps her head. She gets Jeremy out of the house by telling him he isn't a bad kid deep down and promising to drive him anywhere he wants since he clearly wasn't happy staying in their house for the night. On the drive to his house, Jeremy keeps trying to goad her into lashing out at him but she sticks to her guns and even sympathizes with him despite her obvious fear. Jeremy still stabs her in the end but doesn't stay to finish the job or mutilate her the way he did the other victims. As of the end of the episode, it seems she going to pull through.

  • The creation and writing of Morgan's sexual abuse arc is a moment of awesome for the writers/creators, as well. It's pretty much the opposite of nearly every other male sexual abuse survivor portrayed in fiction. In the first place, male protagonists who are survivors of sexual abuse are an underrepresented demographic to begin. Secondly, Morgan's abuse is part of him, but does not define him, which is an accurate portrayal of a healthy abuse survivor. He is shown to have had an excellent support system in his mother and sisters, who helped him with the emotional fallout. As a result, he doesn't appear to have any lingering emotional angst surrounding the abuse. He knows it wasn't his fault and acknowledges that it was his abuser who had the problem, not him. He regrets that it happened, but that's all. He feels comfortable around children and is not afraid that he'll repeat the abuse. He is able to form meaningful relationships with people of all ages, races, and genders; he's not afraid to get close to people, though his trust needs to be earned. Though he's a lady's man, he's not a sex addict and his relationships are healthy, not destructive. He's secure in his sexuality and doesn't feel the need to assert his masculinity to remind everyone that he's not gay as a result of his abuse. And his team gets a moment of awesome themselves when his abuse is revealed and they don't treat him any differently—given their line of work, their reaction could have been very different. All in all, an excellent role model and arc that gives hope young survivors of sexual abuse that normalcy can be achieved after such a harrowing experience.
  • The Frank Miller-esque vigilante scenes from "True Night" are an Art Shift Moment of Awesome for the show's production crew.
  • The entire ending speech of the "To Hell..."/"...And Back" pair of episodes, where normally they'd give the ending quotation.
    Aaron Hotchner: Sometimes there are no words, no clever quotes to neatly sum up what's happened that day. Sometimes you do everything right, everything exactly right, and still you feel like you failed. Did it need to end that way? Could something have been done to prevent the tragedy in the first place? Eighty-nine murders at the pig farm. The deaths of Mason and Lucas Turner make ninety-one lives snuffed out. Kelly Shane will go home and try to recover, to reconnect with her family, but she'll never be a child again. William Hightower, who gave his leg for his country, gave the rest of himself to avenge his sister's murder. That makes ninety-three lives, forever altered. Not counting family and friends in a small town in Sornia, Ontario who thought monsters didn't exist until they learned that they spent their lives with one. And what about my team? How many more times will they be able to look into the abyss? How many more times before they won't ever recover the pieces of themselves that this job takes? Like I said, sometimes there are no words, no clever quotes to neatly sum up what's happened that day. Sometimes the day just... note  ...ends. note 
  • The promo for Season 7, period. Not only do we see our team reassemble back to the ways of the glory days but Reid actually fires his gun, Doyle is brought to justice, and it looks like this season is going to kick UnSub ASS!

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