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The Boston Reaper Plothole That Still Bothers Criminal Minds Fans

Any television show requires some suspension of disbelief. Real life simply doesn't make for excellent TV: Coincidences come at the wrong time, emotional climaxes peter out, and shocking reveals are a lot more rare. Generally speaking, audiences are willing to indulge a TV show's embellishments upon real life for the sake of entertainment. But sometimes, a storyline is a little too illogical, to the point of becoming a glaring plot hole. For Criminal Minds fans, one of the series' most iconic, heart wrenching episodes loses believability in this manner in one key scene.

It comes at the climax of the Boston Reaper story, captured in the season five episode "100," when Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner's (Thomas Gibson) family is in danger. Hotch and the rest of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit have been investigating the serial killer George Foyet (C. Thomas Howell), known as "the Reaper," for some time now. He's evading them after nearly killing Hotch and Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore). But since Foyet has painted Hotch as his nemesis, he taunts the agent by threatening his ex-wife and son. Hotch puts them in witness protection, but Foyet tricks Haley (Meredith Monroe) into thinking he's a U.S. Marshal and kills her. However, many fans think she should have recognized him as the serial killer from a photo.

Did the FBI show Haley a picture of the man threatening her?

While Criminal Minds gets plenty wrong about the criminal justice system, fans feel that Haley's inability to recognize Foyet's face is too huge a plot hole to accept. Reddit user sjog presents the case particularly well: "My issue: the fact that she saw Foyet's face and still let him into the house means she didn't know what he looked like. They never showed this woman a picture of the man that was hunting her and her son? No. I refuse to accept that." User mccabebabe added that it's been a point of contention for a while. They said, "I find it next to impossible to believe that Haley wouldn't have been completely briefed on Foyet, given his 'relationship' with Hotch. Not very clever of them at all."

However, user happylilthrowaway777 provided a counterpoint, saying that it isn't always so easy to recognize a suspect from a photo: "I work for a law enforcement agency. I see mug shots every day. I guarantee I would not recognize someone just by seeing their mug shot. People just look different ... We recognize C. Thomas Howell from the picture because we KNOW he's the bad guy. I don't consider it a plot hole when someone doesn't recognize someone from a photo."

Instead, happylilthrowaway777 brought attention to a different aspect of Haley's behavior that doesn't make sense: When Foyet tells her that Hotch is dead, she doesn't try calling Hotch to find out for herself. She might be too upset to think of this in the moment, but it could have saved her life. Though this episode's tragic ending is frustrating to some, it's still a fan favorite. However, there is a Criminal Minds episode so disturbing, even fans don't want to watch it.