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Criminal Minds: The Best Hotch Episodes According To Fans

"Criminal Minds" is filled with memorable leading characters, most of whom appear throughout its 15 seasons. While primarily a procedural show that featured said characters catching unsubs, "Criminal Minds" wasn't afraid to also explore the minds, trials, and tribulations of its protagonists. One character who, arguably, got some of the greatest character moments over the course of the show is Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner (Thomas Gibson).

Hotch was a central figure in the show for its first 12 seasons before his character left to take care of his son. In reality, the reason for Gibson's departure was that he was fired by CBS for engaging in a physical altercation on the set of "Criminal Minds." Given how popular the character was, this was a big blow to fans of the series. In fact, regardless of whatever real-life incidents led to Gibson leaving, "Criminal Minds" viewers still talk about the impact that Hotch had on the show, as well as their favorite moments involving him.

With that in mind, here are the best Hotch-centric "Criminal Minds" episodes, according to fans.

Tabula Rasa and 100 are Criminal Minds' definitive Hotch episodes

Over on the r/criminalminds subreddit, u/mccords asked "Criminal Minds" fans what their favorite Hotch moments or episodes are in the show. The answers, as any fan of "Criminal Minds" might expect, were quite varied. However, one of the top-rated answers was Hotch's courtroom scene in "Tabula Rasa," which sees Hotch profile the lawyer questioning him to frighteningly accurate degrees. "This is peak hotch for me, so casually brutally brilliant," opined u/flowers2107.

Fans also praised Gibson's performance in "100," the 100th episode of "Criminal Minds," which ends in tragedy for Hotch when his ex-wife Haley (Meredith Monroe) is murdered by serial killer George Foyet AKA "The Reaper." In response, Hotch beats Foyet to death — culminating in one of the darkest moments of the show. u/mr_mini_doxie lauded the episode, writing, "I know this is hardly a unique opinion, but '100' is one of the best episodes of all time. Haley's death and Hotch's reaction were flawlessly done." u/Inevitable-Permit342 agreed, replying, "Dude epic!! I had goosebumps the whole episode."

While other episodes were mentioned, it's clear — based on the Reddit thread's various responses — that "Tabula Rasa" and "100" are two of the more memorable Hotch-centric "Criminal Minds" episodes, and both work as great showcases for the character.