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

The Sibling Moment That Criminal Minds Fans Loved

One of the main themes of "Criminal Minds" is family. Now, that may seem an odd choice for a crime procedural that, episode after episode, featured some of the most heinous crimes and criminals to ever appear on network television. But, with an impressive 15-season run, clearly a focus on family was the right choice.

The family aspect was seen in many of the series' long list of unknown subjects, which included a variety of family killers as well as killer families. The members of the Behavioral Analysis Unit frequently referred to their team as a family, which is evident in the sibling-like relationship among many of the characters. The series also incorporated several of the BAU's actual siblings. Over the years, viewers met Aaron Hotchner's (Thomas Gibson) brother, Derek Morgan's (Shemar Moore) sisters, and Penelope Garcia's (Kirsten Vangsness) stepbrother. In Season 12, Tara Lewis' (Aisha Tyler) brother crosses paths with the BAU, and fans loved one key moment between brother and sister.

Tara and her brother went down very different paths

In "Mirror Image," we learn (via Garcia's overzealous data digging) that Tara grew up in a household that frequently moved due to her father's military service. The matriarch of the family died from breast cancer when Tara was 10 years old. Both Tara and her younger brother Gabriel (Terrence Terrell) were gifted students, excelling at school and getting perfect scores on the SAT. Tara used her intellect to gain admission to Dartmouth College, while Gabriel rejected a full-ride offer from Yale in favor of "get rich quick" schemes.

Those schemes, which Garcia states bordered on fraud, caused a rift between the siblings. When Gabriel found himself in bankruptcy, Tara provided financial support but warned him that he had to change his ways. Gabriel rebuffed her concerns and cut off all contact with her. After years of estrangement, Tara agrees to meet her brother, if only to appease their father, who wants his children to get along.

Tara's brother is not who he claims to be

Their reunion at the local coffee shop takes an odd turn when a man (Alimi Ballard) claiming to be Gabriel sits down at the table and begins talking to Tara, who didn't need her Ivy League education to know that he isn't her brother. Tara brings the imposter to the BAU, and the team does what they do best. While J.J. interviews the man — who truly believes he is Gabriel and even has stories from his childhood with Tara — the rest of the BAU look into Gabriel's business partner and housemate. Eventually, they learn that the real Gabriel is being held captive by Peter Lewis (Bodhi Elfman), the infamous proxy serial killer known as Mr. Scratch, who brainwashes people into committing murder for him.

Over the rest of the episode, Tara interrogates the fake Gabriel — himself a victim of Mr. Scratch's highly effective brainwashing — hoping to glean details that might reveal where the killer is holding the real Gabriel. Piecing together the clues, the team tracks Scratch to a warehouse. When they reach the warehouse, Scratch is long gone, but the team finds Gabriel bound to an elaborate device rigged with a gun aimed at his head, and Scratch has ensured that the slightest movement will trigger the device.

Not even Mr. Scratch could sully this great sibling moment

Tara and Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriquez) try to keep Gabriel calm while J.J. and Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) attempt to deactivate the device. Panicked, Gabriel begins to shake, trying to wriggle himself free. Just as the gun is about to fire, Tara jumps between it and her brother. Thankfully, the gun is not loaded, and the team manages to free Gabriel from the device before Scratch activates the real threat — a shower of large nails fired from above.

On Reddit, user u/bthubbin recently shared that they had tears in their eyes watching the "sweet and intense" scene when Tara reacts without hesitation to save her brother's life. Granted, as another user points out, Tara is wearing a bulletproof vest when she risks her life. A third user, however, noted that even with a vest, Tara would have been seriously injured (or killed) if she'd been hit with a shotgun blast from only a few inches away.

While it's likely Tara would have jumped into danger even if the victim had not been her brother, the way she completely wraps herself around him, essentially cocooning him in her arms, is entirely familial. Despite following different paths and not speaking for years, Tara's love for her brother is undiminished. At this moment, she isn't an FBI agent saving a captive. She's a big sister protecting her little brother, and not even the notorious Mr. Scratch can break that bond.