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Hotchner's Worst Moment On Criminal Minds

Throughout his 12 season on "Criminal Minds," Behavioral Analysis Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) put away dozens of the worst criminals in the United States, from serial killers to terrorists to kidnappers. As a character, Hotchenr is your classic police procedural protagonist: professional, hardworking, highly intelligent, and compassionate toward his victims.

Hotchner isn't perfect, however. Like many a TV show cop who came before him, he's so dedicated to his job that it costs him his marriage and makes him an absentee father. Hotchner's woeful personal life is full of candidates for the biggest mistake he ever made, like the time when he turned down an opportunity to retire after his ex-wife Haley (Meredith Monroe) was brutally murdered, choosing his job over raising his son.

When it comes to his worst overall moment, let's turn to his professional life. Luckily, his career is also full of moments of questionable judgment. According to fans on Reddit, the way Hotchner treated Reid during Seasons 2 and 3 stands out in particular as the worst of the bunch.

Hotchner didn't support Reid during his struggle with drug addiction

Many of the BAU members experience trauma during the course of their jobs, but Spencer Reid had one of the most traumatic experiences during the two-part story about serial killer Tobias Henkel (James Van Der Beek) in Season 2. During the investigation, Henkel kidnaps Reid and repeatedly injects him with Dilaudid, which results in Reid developing a drug addiction.

This puts the rest of the BAU in a difficult position. Reid is prohibited from using drugs on the job, so alerting their superiors could cost Reid his career. On the other hand, not reporting Reid's condition could have serious consequences for their own careers. So, Hotchner and the team mostly just pretend to ignore Reid's addiction. Finally, it's Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) who offers Reid support, which prompts Reid to get help.

"The team's attitude in general toward Spencer's struggle with drugs never sat well with me," wrote Redditor u/PhoenixorFlame. "He was essentially left to deal with it alone."

Redditor u/Capgras_DL·agreed, suggesting that this is part of a pattern in Hotchner's leadership style. "He's not a very supportive team leader," they said. "I get he's not a very emotional dude but it's part of a good leader's job to make sure his team are supported and have good wellbeing. It helps prevent burnout and increase retention."

Hotchner always talks about the BAU as a family who all need to support each other. Yet when Reid needed his BAU family the most, almost all of them failed him. Overall, Reid's drug addiction storyline is one of the least popular in "Criminal Minds'" entire run, which is why the writers abruptly dropped it. It's definitely not one of Hotchner's career highlights.