The BAU Team on Criminal Minds functions like a family. Each of the characters take on a different role, and the plus toi look at the montrer through these eyes, the plus toi see it hold true episode after episode. Their relationships with one another prove that they have created a makeshift family structure of their team.

Aaron Hotchner and David Rossi function as the parents. Rossi is the father figure – the old timer whom his children and ‘spouse’ respect for his wisdom and experience. There is a clear separation between him and the rest of the family, but he has a close relationship with his ‘spouse,’ i.e. Hotch. His ‘children’ look to him for assistance and each in their own way forges a relationship with him.

Hotch is plus of the mother – the real leader of the family who knows and connects to each of his children individually. As seen at the end of 2x24 “No Way Out Part II: The Evolution of Frank ,” when Hotch profiles the team for Chief Strauss, he knows each of his teammates/family members intimately. He understands them – their strengths and weaknesses. At one time ou another each member has gone to Hotch with a problem ou concern. They trust him.

morgan is the oldest child, the oldest son, the big brother to all. He is rambunctious and heroic, but the protector of his family, especially his ‘younger siblings.’ He is a natural born leader and wants to follow in his parents’ footsteps. He is the older brother and has been with the team the longest; the other siblings look up to him for his experience. morgan is often seen jouer la comédie as a big brother figure for Reid, the baby of the family. He is there to offer conseil and support and ‘a man’s perspective’ to the less experienced agent. There is a great scene in 3x7 “Identity” where morgan and JJ are sent into a bar to talk to local militia leaders. Before they go in, morgan turns to JJ and cautions her to stay behind him and keep her back to the door. She replied “I can take care of myself.” The whole interaction seems like a big brother looking out for his plus vulnerable little sister, while the little sister tries to prove she’s not so little as he thinks. Even with Emily, morgan tries to protect her and shield her from the worst of their job. With Emily, though, morgan also feels a kind of kinship – as she is the eldest sister, the suivant in line.

Emily, as I have just pointed out, acts as the older sister in the family. She is the seconde child and is often in Morgan’s shadow. Yet, she is the strong female who tries to shelter her younger siblings while at the same time, tries to prove she can do anything morgan can do. Her and JJ share a special bond – they can laugh and talk about boys, while at the same time, they are there for each other when anything bad happens. plus often than not, it is Emily comforting and caring for her younger sister, while JJ looks to Emily for guidance and support. Perhaps the best example is the scene in 2x15 “Revelations” when JJ is washing up in the bathroom and Emily walks in and scares her. Emily recognizes her sister’s vulnerability and need to escape from the horrors she has witnessed and the constant reminder of their missing youngest brother. At the same time, JJ turns to Emily for guidance – asking her how she can stand to see the horrors they witness daily. With Reid, Emily is plus of the joking older sister – aiding morgan in teasing him, but always protecting and caring for him as well.

JJ is the younger sister – the cœur, coeur of the group. She is the emotional one, the person who comforts a grieving family and the one the overworked detective can turn to. Perhaps because she is so emotional, she is seen as the most vulnerable of the family. JJ is constantly trying to prove that she isn’t a “little kid” and that she can handle everything they have to witness. At heart, she wants to do what is right and believes, almost naively, in the good. JJ shares a special bond with Hotch, the mother, who she greatly admires and wants to be like. She measures herself based on the standards he sets. In the episode 3x11 “Birthright” JJ looses it while at the crime scene and Hotch comes over to talk to her. He tells her its ok to loose it every once in a while, to which she réponses “You never loose it.” She strives for approval from Morgan, her older brother and clings to her sister for support. Her baby brother, Reid, she teases, but the two share a special bond, being often paired together as the youngest in the family. This is why she feels especially responsible when Reid goes missing – not only was she the seconde agent there and should have stayed with him, she was his older sister and should have been there to protect him.

And then there is the baby brother – Reid. Since season one it is clear that, although intellectually Reid far surpasses even his ‘parents,’ emotionally, he is a child, innocent and naïve about the world around him. His siblings and parents, thereby, feel the need to protect and shield him. Reid is constantly in a battle to prove he is not a child, though at the same time he plays into his role quite well. He is closest with Morgan, turning to his older brother for conseil on how to be a man. Though each of his siblings baby and tease him, they fiercely protect him and value him, perhaps above themselves.

That is the nuclear family unit that comprises the BAU. The parents, Rossi and Hotch and their four children: Morgan, Emily, JJ and Reid. But wait – toi say. There are 7 members of the BAU. Worry not, I have not forgotten Garcia. Garcia serves a different purpose, for Garcia is the grandmother of the group.

Before protests arise, do not think of the grandmother as the old, decrepit woman in a nursing home. Rather, picture the grandmother, the matriarch of the clan, watching out for each of her little chickadees. She is one step removed from the nuclear family, staying regularly in her own ‘home’ but always reachable par phone. On occasion, she comes for a visit and joins them on their quests. With her eldest grandchild, Morgan, she shares a special bond – they have the longest history and had a relationship before any of the other children came around. Yet, she cares for each of her bébés and worries about their safety. JJ, the emotional one, also feels closest to her grandmother, finding solace in her positive outlook on life and wisdom beyond her years.

If toi ever watched the first season of 7th Heaven, it serves as the perfect analogy to help see the character dynamics of Criminal Minds. Rossi is Eric Camden and Hotch is Annie. The children map exactly onto Matt (Morgan), Mary (Emily), Lucy (JJ) and Simon (Reid). Even Garcia fits in as Annie’s mother, the grandmother who passed away at the beginning of season one (minus, of course, the whole dying thing).

With this in mind, I beseech toi to re-watch the series – starting when Emily comes to the BAU. If toi look at it through this lens, I am sure toi will agree with me that each episode plays into this family dynamic. The BAU is so much plus than just a team of individuals – they are truly a family unit.

One Big Happy Family