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The Hotch Moment That Makes Criminal Minds Fans Bawl

As they chase serial killers across the country, the agents of Criminal Minds go through some of the worst experiences possible. They've been kidnapped, tortured, shot, and drugged (not to mention framed for murder). But when Aaron Hotchner's (Thomas Gibson) ex-wife Haley (Meredith Monroe) is killed while they're talking on the phone, it brings tears to fans' eyes, no matter how many times they've rewatched the series.

Criminal Minds focuses on the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) as they use their knowledge of common serial killer traits to track down criminals. In the season 5 episode "100," Hotch and the other members of the BAU are in the midst of tracking down serial killer George Foyet, a.k.a. the Reaper. Foyet has already grievously injured Hotch and threatened his ex-wife and son, so they've been put in protective custody. But the Reaper tricks Haley into joining him at Hotch's house, and it isn't until she calls Hotch that she realizes Foyet is going to kill her.

Hotch and Haley have a tearful final conversation, while all the members of the BAU listen and desperately try to get there in time. It's heartbreaking and tense because everyone knows what's going to happen: Haley is going to die. Hotch tells his son to "work the case with me," which is a cue to run off and hide in his office. Over the phone, Hotch and the BAU hear the sounds of gunshots and know that it's too late. Hotch ups his kill count by the end of the episode by beating Foyet to death.

The episode has many heartbreaking moments that bring fans to tears

While there are some scenes that Criminal Minds fans can't stop rewatching, this one puts them in tears. Reddit user u/DiscordantScorpion_1 posted in r/criminalminds: "Never had my heart ripped out more than when I watched '100.' Aaron Hotchner went through all that, put his family through that, and still it didn't matter because his wife was murdered at the hands of the Reaper... Seeing him sobbing and holding his ex-wife's body made my heart crack so much I was bawling."

The episode is heartbreaking overall, but it seems each fan has a different moment that breaks them. For user u/chailatte731, it's when Hotch finds his son Jack hiding, after killing Foyet, and Jack says, "I worked the case, Daddy, just like you said." User u/chailatte731 commented: "Held it together up until then but when he said that... I mean... I was just a puddle. Jack is so innocent :'( And all was not lost."

Meanwhile, user u/mrinalini3 was already bawling before that, starting when Haley is on the phone call with Hotch and Jack hugs her. They said, "when jack hugged Haley and said mom you're hugging me too tight... My heart broke into pieces." User u/abmcm commented that the end of the phone call is what really gets to them, especially hearing the team's reactions.

It just goes to show that although Hotchner left the show after 11 seasons, he's still beloved by the fans.