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Criminal Minds: Why Erin Wanted To Get Rid Of Hotch

As Behavioral Analysis Unit Section Chief, Erin Strauss (Jayne Atkinson) played an active role in the fortunes of the BAU, and had a complex story arc spanning seven seasons of the hit show "Criminal Minds." First appearing at the end of Season 2, Strauss was immediately hostile to the team and remained largely antagonistic throughout her run, although she did achieve a degree of mutual respect and acceptance with the team before her death from poisoned wine administered by The Replicator in Season 8.

From the moment audiences first met Strauss in the Season 2 finale, "No Way Out II: The Evilution of Frank," it was clear that her relationship with the team was going to be a rocky one. She challenged their methods and asserted her power as Aaron Hotchner's (Thomas Gibson) direct supervisor. She planted Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) as a spy; attempted to remove Hotch as Unit Chief, and later made it clear that she would thwart team members' career ambitions within the FBI.

The relationship warmed up over time as Strauss got to experience first-hand the stressors dealt with by the team in the field, sympathized with Hotch after the death of his ex-wife and abduction of his son, confided in Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) about her alcoholism, and even handed control over to Hotch when she took personal leave. But Strauss remains high on many fans' "love to hate" list.

Strauss' antagonism appears to have been motivated by genuine concern for the BAU, with her biggest problem being her failure to empathize due to a total lack of field experience. But some fans are still puzzled as to why Strauss had such a particular drive to remove Hotch from his position as unit chief.

Strauss was threatened by Hotch's career ambition

Before his ex-wife, Haley, was murdered and his son Jack abducted by unsub The Boston Reaper, Hotch was a driven career agent with a singular passion for his job. Many fans on Reddit believe this was the cause of Strauss's push to oust him — he was a rival and a threat to her position. Redditor u/roselighters pointed out, "Before hayley died all he wanted was to advance his career and eventually be head of the fbi" but when his focuses switched, she backed off the unit. u/Ok-Painting added, "It's all about politics tbh. She viewed Hotch as her biggest opponent," while u/fernandabrigoni posted in agreement. "In my opinion she saw how hard he worked and was afraid he would come after her job," they wrote. u/Brown_babe speculated that Hotch did indeed turn out to be a contender for Strauss's position, noting how "The moment she was out they went to him."

There is at least one alternative fan theory out there that explains why Erin wanted to get rid of Hotch. u/Comfortable_Bed3748 suggested that Strauss, having experienced the toll the work took on her relationship with her own children, wanted to protect Hotch. "I don't really know, but maybe because she knew how hard the work was on family life. Just a guess. She wanted him to be there for Jack as he grew up," they posited.

The fact that there is still discussion and debate over Strauss and her relationship with the BAU team is a testament to the impact her character had on fans.