Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Best Criminal Minds Family According To Fans

For a show primarily focused on killers and kidnappers, "Criminal Minds" took great effort to showcase "family" in all its various forms. Throughout the show's 15 seasons, the Behavioral Analysis Unit is frequently referred to as a family, complete with squabbles, tears, and laughter. "Criminal Minds" also explored the complex relationship between Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and his mother Diana (Jane Lynch). The series chronicled the collapse of Aaron Hotchner's (Thomas Gibson) marriage, as well as the growth and strengthening of J.J. Jareau's (A.J. Cook) marriage. Later seasons offered peeks into the parental realm as David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) discovered a daughter he never knew, and J.J. and Matthew Simmons (Daniel Henney) bonded over the common challenges of raising young children.

With family so central to the series, it's not surprising to learn that fans have their favorite "Criminal Minds" families. Recently, user CMStan1313 fielded a poll on Reddit asking those fans to vote for their favorite parent-child relationship on the series. With nearly 40% of the vote, fans picked the series' most traumatized family.

Fans liked the relationship between J.J. and her kids

Before diving into the top pick, let's take a moment to honor the second place finisher: J.J. and her two sons, Henry and Michael. Out of all the characters on "Criminal Minds," J.J. had one of the more stable personal lives. She met her future husband in Season 2, and remained with him for the remaining 13 seasons. Together, they had Henry and Michael, who were played by A.J. Cook's real sons, Phoenix and Mekhai (via Showbiz CheatSheet). The fact that her own children played her character's children certainly helped their scenes together feel natural and genuine. That on-screen chemistry is a likely reason why J.J. and her kids received 24% of the 698 votes cast in the poll.

Though the first and second place winners account for nearly 65% of the total votes, a few other parent-child relationships received a handful of votes. About 18% of fans voted for the relationship between Spencer and his mother. Matt's relationship with his five children earned 10% of the vote, while the relationship between Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) and his son nabbed nearly 4.5%. The parent-child duo with the lowest number of votes is Rossi and daughter Joy, who received just under 4% of the votes.

But Hotch and Jack's relationship was the clear favorite

While none of the families on "Criminal Minds" were drama-free, the family that experienced the most extreme trauma on the show is also the one poll participants love the most. When the votes were tallied, Aaron Hotchner's relationship with his son Jack came out on top.

As fans of the series know, Hotch wasn't always the best dad. During the first season of "Criminal Minds," Hotch and his wife Haley (Meredith Monroe) welcome Jack into the world and begin to adjust to life as parents. As Jack moves through infancy, Hotch is unable to effectively balance his role in the BAU with his role as a father, with the former usually taking priority over the latter. In Season 3, Hotch briefly toys with the idea of stepping away from the BAU permanently, though he ultimately opts to stay with the unit, which prompts Haley to file for divorce.

A handful of episodes during Seasons 3 and 4 show Hotch intermittently spending time with his son during the divorce. If Hotch as an absentee father had remained the status quo on "Criminal Minds," it's not likely he would have been as highly ranked in the poll results. But, Hotch's world turned upside-down in the Season 5 premiere "Nameless, Faceless," which saw Haley and Jack enter protective custody after a serial killer Hotch is hunting targets his ex-wife and son. Later in the season, in the infamous episode "100," the serial killer George Foyet (C. Thomas Howell) finds Haley and Jack. While forcing Hotch to listen over the phone, Foyet shoots and kills Haley. Jack survives the encounter because, while speaking to his father on the phone, Hotch uses a coded phrase that Jack recognizes as a signal to hide until help arrives.

Hotch evolved from absentee parent to full-time father

For the next several seasons, Hotch makes the transition from absentee father to single parent. The change is a drastic departure from the character seen in earlier seasons. Where he once made little effort to spend time with Jack, Hotch now prioritizes his son over all else, even taking time off work to comfort Jack on the anniversary of Haley's death. When, in Season 12, Jack is once again the target of a serial killer, Hotch takes his son and enters witness protection, temporarily leaving his position in the BAU. After the threat to Jack is neutralized, Hotch realizes that he cannot continue to work at the BAU and keep his child safe. So, after the two exit witness protection, Hotch makes his departure from the BAU permanent.

Given the growth from workaholic, absentee parent to full-time father who trades his career for his son, it's no wonder that fans loved Hotch and Jack's relationship. On a show that deals with the darkest depths of human nature, the evolution of their relationship remains one of the brightest and most hopeful arcs in "Criminal Minds."