I’m curious for people’s opinions.
Chief Strauss seems to be one of the most hated characters in the Criminal Minds ‘verse (minus Elle — which still doesn’t make sense to me, she was awesome.). And I know that there are reasons for it too. Asking Emily to spy on the BAU team being the main one, but as I sit here, re-watching 100 again, and a lot of people seems to hate her for the investigation and I don’t get it.
Hotch killed Foyet with his bare hands. It warrants an investigation, just as Elle’s shooting Lee warranted an investigation (which Elle got through, if I remember correctly.)
Chief Strauss, to me, has seemingly been doing her job the entire show. Hotch’s team does have a lot of stuff happen to them that to a supervisor’s standpoint could be damaging to the Bureau. I mean, think about it. Elle killed someone (stuck in a situation Hotch never should have put her in in the first place), Reid was addicted to Dilaudid (spelling?) for months and the show gives us a glimpse of him debating using while working (even though, I don’t think that Sober!Reid would ever do that, but Addicted!Reid w/ PTSD could have - because hello, dead bodies after almost dying has to be a little rough and according to season 6, he didn’t even have any therapy after it.), Gideon just ups and leaves with no real answers (in the story they showed.) All this stuff has got to have an effect on the Chief’s opinion on how Hotch runs his team. I think she has a right to have some suspicion when Emily comes to the team. To the point of spying on him to get rid of him? Yeah, a little ridiculous, but enough to hate her? I don’t know. I realize that it’s a TV show featuring Good v. Bad and we always need a villain.
And after the episode where Strauss actually goes along with the BAU team, she gets a taste of it and honestly seems to understand a little better — the team was never messed with again, because of her anyways. And in Season 5-6, Strauss seems to be more helpful to the team (and Hotch with the retirement option.)
So I guess, I’m asking, Am I completely wrong? What is your opinion of Strauss?
For what it’s worth, I agree with this completely. For someone who functions as the closest thing that the show has to a recurring “stock villain”, I think her character has an extraordinary amount of depth. Her actions are not always likable, but I think they are largely understandable. I think Strauss is another character who is done little justice by fandom; because she doesn’t think the sun shines out of Hotch’s ass, she is automatically branded a “cold bitch”, despite the fact that her doubts concerning him and the team are often well-justified and that she shows a fair amount of sympathy towards him and others throughout the series.
"Her actions are not always likable, but I think they are largely understandable."
That basically sums up how I feel about everyone on the show. I watch from an intellectual and an emotional standpoint: emotionally, I get aggravated every time there’s a setback or someone’s feelings are trampled on because of her (or anyone else), but intellectually, I always keep in mind that there’s a job to be done, and someone’s gotta do it. This was really driven home for me when Strauss told Hotch re: JJ “So you want me to lose my job, so she can keep hers?”
Well, admittedly, I am biased as Strauss is one of my favorite characters but the only thing she ever did that I had a real issue with is trying to blackmail Emily into spying for her. Which I actually appreciate on one level because (from what I understand from people I’ve met who have worked at the FBI) it’s not that unrealistic.
Apart from (eventually) loving the character, I appreciated her role as a more realistic element on Criminal Minds. I hate how often this team goes rogue or gets away with lax procedure(this bugs me on all procedurals) because the characters are supposed to “heroes”, because for some reason for them, the ends justify the means.
What else can I say that hasnt been said so perfectly by others? I feel Erin Strauss is one of the most realistic characters on the show, especially since I feel Seasons 6, 7, and 8 (basically everything since 100) has showed this group of people as nearly infallible superheroes and everyone else in authority be damned). I honestly dont like that they made Strauss so pro-team, she stood up a couple of times (episode 8x17 stands out) but often I felt as if they were writing her as that overly smart woman who is never quite accepted by the “Mean Girls” so she sacrifices who she is to a point to have a seat at their table (at least in recent seasons).
What she did to Emily was wrong and I think she learned her lesson after going out in the field and seeing the sometimes split second decision making. Though I dont think trying to get rid of Hotch and Gideon was wrong from her POV. Even in seasons 1 and 2 that team was doing what they wanted. Getting the job done yes, but at what cost? From what little they give us on her relationship with Blake, I think the actions of cutting her down, and others who worked on that botched case, was justified (again, we dont have enough info). I think Erin Strauss is a strong woman, a dedicated agent, who doesnt let Aaron Hotchner (or anyone) walk all over her at least initially. I think it would’ve been interesting though to see how she handled being lied to in the “Emily’s fake death” storyline but they didnt have her on enough to really show that.
Also I dont even want to discuss how she was relegated to a sound bite and Rossi’s girlfriend by the end. Leaving that as her legacy kinda makes me sick to my stomach.