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Why Hotch Fans Are Divided On This Criminal Minds Character

The agents of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) on Criminal Minds have intense jobs that require them to jet all over the country on a moment's notice while putting themselves directly into harm's way. That would be a tough way for anybody to live, but it's especially hard on those agents with families. Few characters on the show understand this more than agent Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson).

Hotch is a good old-fashioned family man, and viewers are introduced to his wife and son, Haley (Meredith Monroe) and Jack (Cade Owens), in season 1 of the show. As the seasons go on, they get a first hand look at just how difficult it is to balance a healthy family life while also hunting down some of the most dangerous murderers in America.

One of the show's most devastating storylines sees Hotch and Haley's marriage slowly deteriorate over the years, as she becomes more and more frustrated with how the demands of Hotch's job prevent him from spending time with his family. Those frustrations boil over, with Haley making her grievances known regularly, until the couple eventually divorce.

Haley's character arc on the show ends up being a tragic one, as she's eventually murdered by prolific serial killer and personal nemesis of Hotch, George Foyet aka the Reaper (C. Thomas Howell). But when it comes to her marital problems, not every fan of the series is on her side. A Reddit thread about the couple produced a wellspring of different takes on whether or not Haley's reactions to Hotch and his demanding job were justified.

Some don't think Haley's behavior toward Hotch is justified...

In a thread aptly titled "Hotch and Haley," fans went back and forth on how they viewed the couple's problems and specifically, how Haley responded to them. There were several users who understood where Haley was coming from, but felt that her behavior toward Hotch was rude, regardless of the reasoning. And no, we're not talking about the theory that she was cheating.

User AyyPapzz wrote, "she was rude, inconsiderate, and not exactly a supportive partner." They also pointed to how well agent JJ Jareau (A. J. Cook) and her husband, Will (Josh Stewart), figured things out: "Look at JJ and her Will. Will has a crazier schedule than Haley but they made it work with two kids. He was always supportive of her career."

For gmeb3, blaming Hotch's career for Haley's behavior doesn't make sense. They argued, "Haley's character agreed to marry someone who is openly career driven and passionate about work. The character of Hotch was a working lawyer before joining the FBI. That's a path that would have required significant dedication from the very start."

Another user, LadyGagaFanAccount, agreed, and wrote, "My thing is she knew what she was getting into when they got married You shouldn't marry someone if you don't think you can handle their career." But there was some major opposition to that line of thinking. User danielalemus rebutted LadyGagaFanAccount by writing, "In [season 1] we learn that they have been together since high school. She literally supported him through his whole career before he was an FBI agent. So no she didn't. She married a person she loved."

And danielalemus was far from the only one to jump to Haley's defense.

...but others urged fans to see things from her perspective

Although there were some Criminal Minds fans who weren't exactly on Haley's side in the divorce, others jumped to her defense. For the Haley defenders, her occasional curtness with Hotch was a justifiable reaction to the unrealistic expectation that she should just put up and shut up in the face of her husband's extraordinary work commitments.

Many of these arguments in Haley's favor focused on the fact that due to the nature of the show, we rarely got to see things from her perspective. User RebaKitten noted that when the show starts, they are already deep into their marriage. They wrote, "But we really don't see how many years of his being in the BAU was she the understanding wife? Maybe NOW she's rude because after 10 years of broken promises she's just done."

User fluffywhitething made a similar point. They argued, "Here's the thing, we only really get to see Hotch's perspective on the matter [...] We can try and see her perspective, but really, we're trained from the first moment to see Hotch as a fully developed person and Haley as part of Hotch." They took that argument one step further by deploying a real world example: "Hotch is a character we're going to be sympathetic towards because we see him more. Just like when your best friend gets a divorce, you're going to side with them no matter who is really at fault -even if no one is."

As with many arguments, the case of how Hotch fans feel about his relationship with Haley comes down to a matter of perspective.