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The Current BAU Team

     Emily Prentiss 
Played by: 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". In Season 12, after Aaron Hotchner's departure from the FBI, Prentiss takes over as the leader of the BAU for the remainder of the show.

  • 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.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Her father is never mentioned.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Original characterization marked her as a lesbian and would give her a storyline involving such, but CBS nipped it in the bud. Has, instead, only had trysts with men but has some queer-coded behavior and had some Ship Tease moments with other female members, especially JJ.
  • Big Sister Mentor: Towards Ashley Seaver.
  • Back from the Dead: Emily had a near-death experience when all life signs in her body gave out and she ended up with no pulse for a short amount of time, before being resuscitated.
  • 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 and for one episode in season 11. She has been promoted back to series regular for the twelfth season.
  • Commuting on a Bus: She spends the latter half of season 6 in hiding, is working with Interpol throughout seasons 8-11, returns for a few episodes as a Guest-Star Party Member throughout that period, and permanently returns to the team roster in season 12.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Good Is Not Soft: While she's compassionate and honorable towards her friends and the victims, she typically shows no mercy towards murderers, terrorists and the like. This is most evident in the Lauren story arc where she attacks a van full of with a bunch of flashbang grenades and the like and the team is a little worried about whether the people survived or not.
  • 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 working with Interpol again, undercover.
  • 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. She later rejoins the team in the twelfth season.
  • Ship Tease: For a series that is strictly No Hugging, No Kissing among the main cast, she gets quite a bit with JJ, Reid, Hotch, and Morgan. Especially JJ and 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".
    • When she rejoins the team, she is promoted to team leader in the wake of Hotch being put into witness protection.
  • 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.
  • You Are in Command Now: In Season 12, when Hotch resigns she takes over as the BAU's new unit chief.

     David Rossi 
Played by: 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.

  • Action Dad: Rossi's a senior FBI Agent, who finds out in season 10 episode 09 "Fate" that he has an adult daughter, Joy.
  • Amicable Exes: Above and beyond this with first ex-wife Carolyn, implied to be this with his two other ex-wives as well. We later meet his second ex-wife Hayden Montgomery, and while there's some tension between them at first, they not only move past this, but begin seeing each other again.
  • 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.
  • 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. Of course, the children in question think he's been the one sending them gifts on the anniversaries of their parents deaths, which turns out to be the break he was looking for leading to the actual killer, who ironically for Rossi's obsession turns out to be a Sympathetic Murderer with a child mind who didn't really understand what he was doing in the first place.
  • 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", interrogations in "Masterpiece" and "Zoe's Reprise", and good judge of character in the Floyd Feylinn Ferell story arc teach us that you do not want to try and outmaneuver David Rossi.
  • The Consigliere: Mostly to Hotch, but as of Season 5, to Morgan as well. And later, Prentiss.
  • 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 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.
  • 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. Rossi comes off as an egotistical bastard when he first shows up, baiting UnSubs and insulting a lot of people's intelligence.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a little arrogant and egotistical at first and 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. Turns out he's just kind of crap at the 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.
  • The Lancer: To Hotchner
& Prentiss as The Leader.
  • 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.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: He finds out in Season 10 that he has a daughter named Joy.
  • 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.
    • Starting in Season 11, Rossi reconnects with his second ex-wife Hayden, and begins seeing her again.
    • Season 14 ended with Rossi remarrying ex-wife #3, Krystall. It seems all the Mrs. Rossis come back for more at some point.
  • 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.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: His son by his first wife died shortly after being born.
  • Papa Wolf: It takes a bit for him to warm up to the team, but by "Masterpiece", he'll destroy you if you touch any of them.
  • 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: The oldest and most experienced member of the team, but also a stern yet caring team leader, who takes care of the younger team members while pushing for their best work.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Robert Dunne plays the younger Rossi in flashbacks to his twenties.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Is Catholic, and is the most openly sympathetic and comfortable member of the team in dealing with religious matters. Because of his religious background, he's unable to help his wife kill herself. In a dark way, he lets her die, but only because she begged him not to call 911 to stop her death.
  • 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 coworkers 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").

    Spencer Reid

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 serves 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.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Whether or not he is autistic is up in the air. The UnSub of "Broken Mirror" states it's obvious (though he was trying to intimidate the team) and Alex Blake makes a joke about the possibility. It has been confirmed by Matthew Gray Gubler and one writer on the show that he does have Asperger Syndrome.
  • Ambiguously Bi: While he has only ever had female love interests on the show, there have been fair amounts of Ship Tease between him and other male characters.
  • 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 pulled from thin air to keep himself from being killed by Chester Hardwicke in "Damaged" might.
  • 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.
    • 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."
  • Brainy Brunette: He's the youngest member and he has the highest IQ on the team.
  • Break the Cutie: Several 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, for ten weeks straight, 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.
    • The entire latter half of Season 12 into the Season 13 premiere is one as Reid is drugged and framed for a murder, which lands him in jail for two months in hellish conditions. During that time, he is unwillingly roped into the activities of a drug cartel operating inside the prison, witnesses the murder of a prisoner he befriended, and makes an attempt to kill the cartel members that have been menacing him. Once the team proves his innocence, he is immediately launched into two crisis mode cases, one involving the kidnapping of his mom by the criminals who framed him, then the rest of the team's car accident at the hands of Mr. Scratch. The Season 13 premiere specifically states that he has PTSD from the prison stay.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Reid does this to his own father in "Memoriam", and then to the UnSub's father in "The Uncanny Valley".
    • Inverted in "Conflicted", when he interrupts Adam/Amanda Jackson's murderous version of this.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Reid 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 UnSub from "Masterpiece" actually understands a joke he told a university class.
  • Child Prodigy: Graduated from high school at age 12, had two BAs by 16, has an IQ of 187 and an eidetic memory.
  • Clear Their Name: The arc for the latter half of Season 12 revolves around Reid landing in jail after being caught by Mexican police with cocaine and heroin while drugged on said substances. And he got charged with the murder of Nadie Ramos, the doctor who gave him experimental medication for his mother's Alzheimer's.
  • 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.
    • When he's re-assigned and becomes a full-time professor, his class is filled with lovestruck girls. He's baffled when he finds out 95% of his class is just auditing it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Poor kid. Mom'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, it's a good bet he'll know it. If they don't need to know, it's absolutely certain he will.
  • 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 insists on going by "Doctor" and not "Agent".
  • 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.
  • Honorary Uncle: To JJ’s sons, Henry & Michael.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: He blames himself for letting Maeve be killed by her stalker.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: A male example. 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 = 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.
    • Becomes a case of Talking the Monster to Death in the episode "Damaged." He and Hotch visit a serial killer on death row, but find that the killer has timed their visit to coincide with a time when all the guards are watching the other prisoners so he can try to kill them. Reid launches into a verbose explanation of the killer's motives that goes on long enough (13 minutes of in-show time) for the guards to return and take him back to his cell. And afterward, Reid admits that he was talking off the top of his head.
  • 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 ("Somebody's Watching"), Austin ("52 Pickup"), and various prostitutes (c.f. "Legacy", "In Memoriam", and "Protection") 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 (Mathematics, Chemistry and Engineering, in case you were wondering). 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: Over the course of the series, Reid ages from 23 to 39; he looks significantly younger than that, ranging from a teenager to his twenties depending on his haircut. It’s only in the later seasons, when he abandons his clean shaven look in favor of some facial hair, that he starts looking somewhat close to his actual age.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Oh god. So much.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: While usually cheerful, Reid can become quite outraged when in emotional turmoil. Whenever his Diuladid cravings return, Reid will become very prickly and acerbic. He can also turn out to be very upset when he feels betrayed, such as with JJ after he finds out that she lied to him about Prentiss' death.
  • 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.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Much of the show's humor is derived from Reid's many eccentricities, like his Adorkable nature and lightning-fast technobabble.
  • 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 [Gray Gubler]'s so pretty he's almost a girl." It's also his nickname. Unsurprising, given that Gubler's a real-life Calvin Klein model.
  • Primal Fear: It's revealed in "The Boogeyman" that he's scared of the dark.
  • Punny Name: Who would have guessed that the guy named "Reid" is a total bookworm?
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: It's his default expression.
  • Recovered Addict: Becomes this post-Season 2.
  • 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 "L.D.S.K."), check. Prefers to talk people down rather than risk shootouts, 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 "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.
  • 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: He can read 20,000 words per minute.
  • 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.
    • He's taken a couple more in season 14:
      • Back at the beginning of the show, he mentions that he had to be given a special dispensation from the physical requirements to be able to graduate Quantico, but he can now take down suspect without breaking a sweat.
      • The same guy who could barely pass his firearms qualification in season 1, episode LSDK. now gets perfect scores, a feat only attained by a couple hundreds agents in all of the FBI.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: In "Elephant's Memory", he's seen attending a meeting of "Beltway Clean Cops" to cope with the Dilaudid addiction he developed in Season 2.
  • 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

The team's Mission Control, Garcia is an extremely skilled hacker who was captured by the FBI and offered a job by Hotch 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.
  • Affectionate Nickname: "Baby Girl" (used by Morgan).
  • 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 the "Lucky"-"Penelope" two-parter, and the subsequent episodes that show her healing process - "House on Fire", "Exit Wounds", and "Lucky Strikes".
  • Breaking the Fellowship: The last scene of the whole series has her leaving the BAU to become tech support in another FBI division, with her co-workers giving her a farewell party.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Crazy-Prepared: She carries at least three cell phones and a tablet.
  • 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. Season 2 says she has four brothers. Season 6 says she doesn't.
    • Mind you, she mentioned having a stepfather 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.
    • Season 13 finally confirms that yes she has brothers, step-brothers.
      • So technically, from a biological standpoint, she is an only child but gained stepbrothers from her mother's second marriage.
  • 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.
  • Geeky Turn-On: How she first meets Kevin.
  • Goth: Her former style before she was recruited by Hotch. A flashback in 2004 shows her wearing lace gloves, dark lipstick, a Beauty Mark on the right side of her mouth, and dark hair. When she talks to a goth teen, she admitted to sharing this trope with him.
  • 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: She and Morgan have several for each other.
  • 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.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: She looks the part, rather than playing the part
  • 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.
  • 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 made 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 in "Compromising Positions").
  • Nice Girl: Probably the nicest, friendliest of the bunch.
  • 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 Guy: She's usually back at the base, finding information and delivering it, rather than being out on the field like the others.
  • 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" in the first few seasons. The crowner has to be Garcia's expression in "In Name and Blood":
    Garcia: Talk dirty to me.
    Strauss: *beat* 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..."
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: During "Compromising Positions" when she temporarily takes the role of media liaison, both physically and in her attitude to fit the role better.
    Rossi: (to Gideon) And you were worried.
  • The Smart Gal: See Playful Hacker above.
  • Tsundere: Acts that way towards new team member Luke Alvez, who was inducted not long after Morgan's departure.

    Jennifer Jareau 
Played by: AJ 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".
  • Altar the Speed: In Season 3's "Lo-Fi", Will LaMontagne tells the team that he's asked JJ to marry him, and the two are shown living together over the course of the following seasons - however, it is eventually revealed that they haven’t actually gotten married. In the final episodes of Season 7, after Will is nearly killed, JJ asks Will to propose again & they get married shortly after in a small ceremony at Rossi’s estate.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: In season 13, an UnSub forces JJ to tell Reid her deepest secret. She tearfully admits she was in love with him since the beginning and was too chicken to do something about it. She later admits that Reid had been her 'first love' and she still cares deeply about him, but she has moved on with her family and apologizes to Reid.
  • 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. "Nanny Dearest" and a headshot from nearly a block away with her sidearm. Do not fuck with JJ.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • In "Lauren" for one episode.
    • After being Put on a Bus in the second episode of the season, the Season 6 finale ends on the reveal that JJ was returning to the BAU.
  • 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. Her role noticeably expanded though Season 5, before forcibly promoted out of the BAU in the opening episodes of Season 6 - however, she announces her return to the team in the season finale. As of Season 7, JJ is officially a profiler working in the field, largely because in her absence the position of media liaison had effectively been dissolved - with Garcia assuming all aspects of the job that she could whilst remaining at Quantico, and the field agents taking the remaining responsibilities.
  • The Chick, The Heart: She and Penelope tend to share this role between them.
  • 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.
  • Fair Cop: Is easy on the eyes, and a kick-ass agent.
  • FBI Agent: Like all the main cast.
  • First-Name Basis: She's the only person besides his mother who calls Reid "Spencer".
  • Girl Friday: Before she became more hands-on, she usually dealt with the media's attention on their cases. The trope is even name-dropped in reference to her in Season 1's "Unfinished Business".
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Has blonde hair, and is a kind and compassionate person. Just don't target her friend and family.
  • Happily Married: As of the Season 7 finale.
  • It's Personal: Small-town violence ("North Mammon", "Risky Business"), stalking ("The Crossing"), suicide ("Risky Business"), and kids being targeted ("Sick Day").
  • Kicked Upstairs: Is forcibly promoted to the State Department at the start of Season 6.
  • 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 7 finale.
    • Don't do anything to harm her team, either, that gun is not for show.
  • Nice Girl: Kind-hearted and soft-spoken to her friends.
  • Put on a Bus: During Season 6.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Four over the course of the show.

    Tara Lewis 
Played by: Aisha Tyler

A forensic psychologist whose past work has included extensively interviewing psychopathic killers and determining whether or not they are fit for trial, Lewis joined the team in Season 11 in the frequently-shifting 7th member slot after the departure of Kate Callahan in Season 10. She would go on to fill that spot on the team for the second-longest next to Emily Prentiss, from Season 11 to Season 15, the final season of the show.

  • Awful Wedded Life: Subverted. She was engaged, but her fiancé was unhappy about how devoted she was to her job over him, which resulted in at least one spat between them. He later calls off the engagement.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She's so calm and soft-spoken, even towards the most depraved of murderers, but when she becomes angry, you'll know to stay away.
  • Big Sister Instinct: For her reckless and wild-spirited younger brother Gabriel.
  • Brainy Brunette: She has black hair and a PhD.
  • Fake Guest Star: She appears in all but four episodes of Season 11, despite Aisha Tyler being credited as a guest star. Lewis was later elevated to main character status for Season 12, though she is always absent for a few episodes throughout, moreso than any other main character. Her absences may have been in part because Tyler was still co-hosting The Talk.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Largely inverted. She was affected by her mother's death from breast cancer, but soon got over it. What she didn't know was that it nearly drove her father to suicide and her brother risked his life stopping him. Then, her brother had to take care of their father on his own for a while while she built up her successful career. She never found out about this until "Mirror Image". Earlier than that, her brother defended her from a neo-Nazi bully at school and got beaten up for it.
  • It's Personal: She counseled the parents who lost their children in the Sandy Hook school shooting. When an UnSub (a conspiracy theorist) calls the shooting a hoax staged by the government, Lewis immediately makes it her mission to nail her for murder.
  • Missing Mom: Her mother died of cancer whilst she was in college.
  • Nice Girl: As a forensic psychologist whose job primarily involves interviewing serial killers, she has to be able to emphasize with them to a degree beyond even that of the other BAU profilers. She's also the most genuinely sympathetic of the team towards the community of nonviolent sex offenders in "Pariahville". Doesn't stop her from quickly headshotting an unsub without hesitation in the middle of a hostage situation.
  • Temporary Substitute: To both JJ and Kate, though unlike JJ's first temporary replacement Jordan Todd, she remains part of the BAU even after JJ returns from her maternity leave.
  • Token Minority: Becomes the sole black member of the BAU after Morgan leaves the BAU in "A Beautiful Disaster", until Stephen Walker joined the team in "Scarecrow". However, she becomes this again after Walker's death in "Wheels Up".
  • Voice Changeling: In her introductory episode, she mentions how she gained a serial killer's trust by subtly mimicking the vocal cadence of his wife. Later in the episode, she impersonates a character's wife on a conference call in order to avoid tipping off the unsub that the BAU is on the line.

     Luke Alvez 
Played by: Adam Rodriguez

Formerly of the FBI's Fugitive Task Force, and having served in the Army Airborne Rangers in Iraq, Alvez was brought in to replace Derek Morgan after the latter's departure in Season 12.

  • Big Brother Instinct: Adopts this role toward Reid and Garcia.
  • The Big Guy: Takes over this role after Derek Morgan's departure. Later shares this role with Matt Simmons.
  • Death Glare: Gives one to Mr. Scratch after having the gall to beg him to be saved despite all the murders he committed, all the hell he put the unit through. Alvez lets the bastard fall to his death.
  • FBI Agent: In training.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Has a big dog named Roxy that he holds in high regard.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Newbie" by Garcia, who is the only one to refer to him as such.
  • It's Personal: When it comes to Daniel Cullen, who tortured his former partner Phil Brooks.
  • Last Minute Hook Up: In the final minutes of the series finale, Luke asks Garcia to dinner now that they’re no longer working together in the BAU.
  • Like Father, Like Son: His father was in the Army before him.
  • Murder by Inaction: He silently refuses to pull Mr. Scratch, who is hanging on for dear life from a building rooftop, to safety. Despite all the murders he committed, he has the nerve to beg Alvez to save him; Alvez lets him fall to his death.
  • Ranger: He used to be in the U.S. 75th Ranger Regiment before joining the BAU.

     Matthew "Matt" Simmons 
Played by: Daniel Henney

Formerly of the FBI's International Response Team (from the spin-off series, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders), Matt joins the BAU as a full-time member in Season 13 after the death of Stephen Walker during the team's pursuit of recurring villain, Mr. Scratch.

  • Action Dad: He's the father of two boys and twin girls, and a badass who can take down suspects.
  • The Big Guy: He shares this role with Luke Alvez, taking down suspects.
  • Experienced Protagonist: New to the BAU but already has years of field experience from his time in the FBI International Response Team. He is also a US Army veteran.
  • Fair Cop: Played by Daniel Henney.
  • FBI Agent: A very experienced profiler.
  • Happily Married: Has been married to his wife Kristy for ten years.
  • Mixed Race: He is Korean-American and biracial.
  • Omniglot: Can speak Arabic, English, Korean, and Spanish.
  • Papa Wolf: Do not threaten his family ever, his wife or his children. When a terrorist takes Kristy hostage and is seconds away from executing her, Matt single-handedly takes down the accomplice and almost breaks the unsub's neck, only sparing him because Kristy convinces him to.
  • Transplant: Both in-universe and out. Matt is coming to work for the BAU after the IRT team went down, while the actor is coming from the cancelled Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders spin-off to the flagship series.

Former BAU Members

     Jason Gideon 
Played by: 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".
  • Ambiguously Jewish: In Frank's first appearance, he notes that Gideon's surname is Hebrew for "warrior". In a couple of other episodes, Gideon is shown knowing the meaning of Hebrew words and having an understanding of Jewish scripture. Put both pieces together, and it can be inferred that Gideon was probably raised in a Jewish household. It's also worth mentioning that his actor, Mandy Patinkin, is Jewish as well.
  • Animal Motifs: Gideon is often associated with birds, with numerous pictures of them being in his office and home. This is even lampshaded by Frank in "No Way Out, Part II: The Evilution Of Frank".
    Frank: What is your fascination with birds, Jason? Who is this? Paintings of birds, etchings of birds, books about birds. [...] Birders can be extremely single-minded in their pursuits. Almost obsessional.
  • 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 episode "Nelson's Sparrow". Then we find out it's because he's the Victim of the Week. Cue an It's Personal 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.
    Gideon: [in response to overhearing his teammates discussing him] They don't call them "nervous breakdowns" anymore.
  • Defective Detective: Has PTSD from a pre-series case.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Gives the BAU the clues they need to solve his own murder while he's bleeding out by shooting a specific spot in the wall of his cabin.
  • FBI Agent: He works for the FBI just like the rest of the cast.
  • Guile Hero: As an experienced and skilled profiler.
  • It's Personal:
    • 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.
  • The Lancer: To Hotchner's The Leader.
  • 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.
  • Real Men Can Cook: Is noted to be an excellent cook by his girlfriend.
  • 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.
  • The Strategist: He is the person who is most likely to plot out the strategies to capture killers and to plot out their responses.
  • Team Dad: Despite seeming gruff on the outside, he really does care for the team. Though he doesn't actually want you calling him "dad", as he informs Elle.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Ben Savage plays the younger Gideon in the flashbacks shown in "Nelson’s Sparrow".
  • 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 Greenway 
Played by: 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.
  • Becoming the Mask: She throws the case and ends up killing a serial rapist and pretending it was self-defence to stop him from hurting 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 it's 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".
  • 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: 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.
  • Knight Templar: She knowingly makes a mistake so that she can kill a serial rapist.
  • 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.
  • 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: "Aftermath". After accidentally fucking up and letting the UnSub walk, she follows him home and shoots him.

     Jordan Todd 
Played by: Meta Golding

An FBI media liaison who took over JJ's duties while she was gone on maternity leave. Having dealt mostly with general enforcement and nonviolent 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.
  • That One Case: Got visibly affected by the Norman Hill case.

     Ashley Seaver 
Played by: 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.

  • Ascended Extra: Briefly. She ascended from the other trainees, then almost immediately descended due to her unpopularity in the main cast.
  • Broken Bird: Her father was a serial killer.
  • Captain Obvious: Seems to be her main role on the team. In theory she has "special insight", but she never is shown using it.
  • 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. Just substitute "my daddy was a serial killer and I have issues" for "I was kidnapped by a serial killer and I have issues".
  • Faux Action Girl: She is repeatedly noted as being an extremely gifted trainee FBI agent, but she doesn't actually show any of these abilities.
  • FBI Agent: In training, at least.
  • Informed Ability: Despite supposedly great marks at the Academy, she shows quite a lack of judgment toward the climax of her debut episode.
  • Parental Issues: Her father was a serial killer. Kind of leaves an impression on a person.
  • Parental Substitute: Rossi is hers. Ironically, he captured her real father.
  • Put on a Bus: Transferred to another unit. Prentiss and JJ are happy for her, at least.
  • The Watson: Her main role on the team, due to her status as the rookie newcomer.

    Alex Blake

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!
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Her son Ethan died of an unnamed neurological disease at age nine.
  • 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.

    Kate Callahan

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.

  • Composite Character: It's somewhat debatable as she does have linguistics skills like Blake, dealt with sex crimes like Elle, and is a mom, kinda like JJ.
  • Insufferable Genius: To a degree; her favorite tactic during interrogations was demonstrating how much smarter she was than the person being interrogated, in order to throw them off balance.
  • It's Personal: The case in "A Thousand Suns", understandably. She later becomes extremely emotionally invested after a human trafficking ring that she had been tracking since the start of the season has kidnapped her adopted daughter.
  • Mama Bear: Goes to war when the human trafficking ring kidnaps her adopted daughter in the season finale.
  • 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.
  • Put on a Bus: Kate takes an extended maternity leave after her actress. In real life, Jennifer Love Hewitt decided to do the same.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Apparently the team has already met her several times off-screen. They all comment how great she is.
  • Sherlock Scan: Her main distinguishing skill was reading other people's body language to judge their mood, intentions, and truthfulness.
  • 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 premiere, we saw her working as an undercover cop before joining the BAU.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: A female example. At the end of the season premiere, 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.)

     Derek Morgan 
Played by: 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.

In Season 12, after 12 seasons, he and Hotchner leave the BAU to spend more time with their families.

  • Babies Ever After: Leaves the BAU to spend more time with his family following the birth of his son.
  • 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 5.
  • Berserk Button: Does not deal well with sexual abuse cases—it's kind of close to home. He once nearly beat a pedophile to death (not that he didn't deserve it).
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • He pretty much acts like a surrogate, protective brother to the team.
    • Touch his "babygirl" Garcia, and you are going to wish for death.
    • 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.
    • He's quite protective of his younger sister Desiree when she gets hit on by Rodney in "Profiler, Profiled".
  • The Big Guy: The strongest and best fighter of the group.
  • The Bus Came Back: Briefly reappears in the Season 12 finale "Red Light" and the Season 13 episode "Lucky Strikes".
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Usually at Reid's expense or during his banter with Garcia.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father was killed when he was 10.
  • Fair Cop: Literally. Morgan used to be a cop before he joined the BAU.
  • FBI Agent: His job.
  • 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.
  • Friend to All Children:
    • Is frequently tasked with interviewing children & adolescents, particularly boys, for information.
    • Makes a point to the visit the Youth Center where he learned to play football whenever he’s in Chicago.
  • 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 anyone else as a joke.
  • 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.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Complains to Garcia when after spending the night with Savannah, he gets woken in the middle of the night after she’s called into the hospital. He only realises that he’s done the same thing numerous times in the past when Garcia points it out.
  • 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.
    • Not to mention Chazz Montolo, who orchestrated his kidnapping and torture, then shot and nearly killed his wife and unborn child.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Like his actor, Morgan's dad is black, while his mother is visibly white.
  • Momma's Boy: Returns to Chicago every year for his mother’s birthday.
  • 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".
  • "Open!" Says Me: Whenever they face a door they have to get through, this is his go-to tactic.
  • Parental Substitute: For Ellie Spicer.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Garcia. No one messes with his "Baby Girl".
  • Put on a Bus: He leaves the BAU in "A Beautiful Disaster" to focus on being a father after his wife gives birth to their son.
  • 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".
  • Scary Black Man: Averted most of the time, as he's pretty easygoing around the office. Commit a particularly horrible crime or threaten anyone on the team, though, and he'll become this in a heartbeat. You'll be lucky if all he does is scare the pants off you.
  • Smarter Than You Look: UnSubs often assume he's just Dumb Muscle. He's not.
  • 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".
  • Token Minority: The only person of color on the team. Averted once Tara Lewis joins the team, making the team roughly 1/3 African American. However, no other minority groups are represented on the team.
  • Trauma Conga Line: His father was killed when he was 10, with Morgan a witness to the shooting; his surrogate father figure sexually abused him; he discovered the dead body of an unidentified boy as a teenager; he suffered a knee injury that ended a potential football career; and his family became fragmented following the disappearance of his cousin Cindy - and that’s just Morgan’s *backstory*.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: He has slept with so many women that almost everyone is in awe of him at the office.
  • 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 5:
    Morgan: Thanks, Babygi—Agent Garcia.

     Aaron Hotchner 
Played by: 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.

In Season 12, after 12 seasons, he and Morgan leave the BAU to spend more time with their families.

  • 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.
  • Big Brother Instinct: In addition to being this with BAU members, he's this to his little brother. He took care of Sean when they were younger and he actively supported him with his career path.
  • Break the Cutie: Done to him by Foyet.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Hotch knows the book inside out and backwards and always plays by the rules, but he also knows exactly how to use the letter of the law to his advantage when faced with a To Be Lawful or Good situation. He holds his team to the same unflinching moral code that he holds himself to, which sometimes causes conflict when they do things (like lie to the family of a victim in order to get them to open up) that aren't technically against the rules but go against his own code. On the rare occasions when he does break the rules, it's always possible to argue that it was justified due to extenuating circumstances.
  • 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.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Hotch is determined to help everyone, and practically defines himself as a person by his ability to do that.
  • 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.
  • Dork Knight: On the job he's The Comically Serious, and when he's home with Jack (or in social situations with the team) his goofier side will show through and he verges on Adorkable.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: How Hotch kills Foyet in rage.
  • 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
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Rarely seen out of his trademark suit and tie, Hotch is both extremely smart and impeccably polite. He's slightly too awkward on occasion to be called charming, but he's earnest and kind and that has much the same effect on the people he meets, who generally respect him very much.
  • 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 once he's exhausted all avenues of negotiation.
  • 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.
    • After the events of "Mr. Scratch", we can now add brainwashing and Mind Rape.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: His skill set seems to be the most well-rounded of the team members, although he does have a few specialities: he's the most skilled with firearms, the most tolerant of bureaucracy and paperwork, and he mentions that he teaches crisis negotiation at the FBI Academy (something that he frequently excels at in the field). But his ability to fill almost any role in the team thanks to a broad skill base is his biggest strength as a leader.
  • Last-Name Basis: Except for Haley and Rossi, everyone calls him "Hotch".
  • The Leader: Primarily of the Levelheaded variety, although with shades of other types as well.
  • 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", "Mr. Scratch", 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.
  • Pummeling the Corpse: After beating Foyet to death, Hotch continues to break the asshole's head open to ensure he ''stays'' dead until Morgan finally pulls him off.
  • Put on a Bus: Left the BAU in Season 12 for temporary duty assignment. It later turns out he's in witness protection. Even after the threat of Peter Lewis is gone, Hotch has come to like the freedom in being with his family that he's had up until then, and after leaving the program with his child, he decides not to come back, thus staying on the bus.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The reason Hotch left is because Thomas Gibson was fired after an onset altercation with an episode writer.
  • 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 from Season 7, although they eventually break up amicably in Season 10 due to her job taking her abroad.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: The top example was when Foyet ambushes Hotch in his home after killing Haley, then brags how he will kill Jack next. Hotch shuts him up by breaking the bastard's knee with a table leg before finally beating him to death, shutting him up for good.
  • The Southpaw: He's left handed, although he shoots right handed.
  • The Stoic: Usually. He defrosts a little by Season 7, by which point he's largely gotten over Haley's death and has started dating again. 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, though like Gideon, he doesn't want you calling him "mom".
  • There's No Kill Like Overkill: Hotch kills Foyet by brutally beating him to death, ignoring his plea of surrender. Considering this asshole just murdered his ex-wife and bragged he will do the same to his son, Hotch wanted to make the shit suffer immensely for all the victims he had killed by completely ensuring he stays dead for good.
  • Tranquil Fury: Most of the time, Hotch is calm and collected. Even when he's upset, he doesn't raise his voice, but the words he uses are enough to express his anger. When Jordan makes the BAU take up the case in "52 Pickup" based on things she found on the Internet as well as making up other factors, he calmly chews her for being deceptive and potentially risking the credibility of the FBI.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Given how many bad things have happened to him, it's sometimes sad to see moments in early episodes when we see how happy his family made him. Fortunately, he slowly regains some of the lightness and humour he had at the start of the show thanks to the family dynamic he has with his team.
  • When He Smiles: They are few and rare (and occur mainly around his young son or around Rossi), but when they appear, they are stunning.
  • Workaholic: Chronically. Hotch consistently stays much later at the office than any of the rest of the team, and this is only partially justified by his heavier workload as Unit Chief. His commitment to his job eventually ruins his marriage but does nothing to curb his workaholic tendencies. If anything, he gets worse now that he has no one to go home to. He also ends up taking on most of JJ's responsibilities as media liaison, and then a few years later temporarily takes on the workload of section chief as well, bringing his total up to three active jobs. Fortunately, a new section chief was found before he worked himself into the ground.

     Stephen Walker 
Played by: Damon Gupton

Selected by Prentiss after acquiring enough budget to hire an eighth member, Walker joined the team halfway through Season 12 to help them catch Mr. Scratch.

  • Action Dad: Has a daughter Maya and a son Eli.
  • Badass Baritone: A trained FBI agent, Stephen has quite the deep sounding voice.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The only newcomer in the main cast around the Season 12 finale, and the one obligatory casualty at the start of Season 13 after Mr. Scratch rams their car, killing Stephen in the resulting whiplash. He was dead on arrival when the rest of the unit got to him. The only other BAU member to die was Jason Gideon, who at that point was long retired.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His first mission as an FBI agent, which involved a terrorist cell in Belgium, ended badly when he got the profile wrong, causing the deaths of three undercover agents.
  • FBI Agent: Has been with the Bureau for at least 20 years, previously worked with the Behavioral Analysis Program prior to his transfer to the BAU, and has previous ties with Prentiss and Rossi.
  • Gratuitous Russian: Was said to be fluent in Russian in Season 12 "Unforgettable".
  • Happily Married: To his wife Monica.
  • Neck Snap: The car crash that killed him was implied to have jerked his head around so much it broke his neck, dying from catastrophic whiplash.
  • The Profiler: Like all of the team, Stephen is known to be a rather gifted profiler.
  • Sacrificial Lion: He's killed by Mr. Scratch only half a season after his introduction.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: Was officially let go by CBS for season 13. Stephen dies in a car crash in the Season 13 premiere.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: He only had one episode dedicated to his personal life before his death.

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