One of the darkest moments of Criminal Minds saw a killer targeting Haley, the ex-wife of Hotch; here’s the episode where she dies and who kills her.

The Criminal Minds episode where Hotch’s former wife Haley is killed by UnSub George Foyet, aka the Reaper, is one of the show’s most memorable to date. Criminal Minds debuted in 2005 and set itself apart from other law-enforcement dramas of the time by putting a focus on a team of FBI agents profiling serial killers. This psychological angle saw the show attract a fanbase, and it rarely shied away from the darkness inherent in the subject matter. The darker side of Criminal Minds is exemplified by its endearing range of fictional serial killers and criminals, but no other UnSub is quite as famous as The Reaper Criminal Minds character — thanks in no small part to the Criminal Minds episode where Hotch’s ex-wife died.


Criminal Minds has plenty of fan-favorite characters, from Matthew Gray Gubler’s Spencer Reid to Kirsten Vangsness’ Garcia or Shemar Moore’s Morgan. The interplay and chemistry between the ensemble gave Criminal Minds some much-needed levity. Arguably the most monstrous killer the BAU faced on Criminal Minds was George Foyet, AKA the Criminal Minds The Reaper character. Played by The Hitcher star C. Thomas Howell, The Reaper was a narcissistic serial killer who tormented the team on more than one occasion, including almost killing Hotch (Thomas Gibson). In one of Criminal Minds’ most intense episodes, The Reaper targeted Hotch’s ex-wife Haley (Meredith Monroe) and their young son Jack (Cade Owens).

Related: Criminal Minds Revival’s Darkest Theory Means Morgan Must Return

Hotch’s Wife Is Killed In Criminal Minds Season 5 By The Reaper

The Reaper in Criminal Minds.

In Criminal Minds season 5 episode “100”, which marked the show’s 100th overall episode, the Criminal Minds The Reaper character has tracked down Haley and Jack. Foyet poses as a U.S. Marshal to gain access to her house, before calling BAU chief Hotch to let him know there’s nothing he can do. Foyet allows Jack to leave the room and lets Hotch and Haley say goodbye over the phone before he shoots her offscreen and stabs her. Hotch arrives at the house afterward and after a brutal fight, beats The Reaper to death before being pulled off the corpse by the BAU.

The death of Hotch’s ex-wife Haley is truly one of the most harrowing scenes in Criminal Minds, with Criminal Minds’ The Reaper — and the showrunners — making sure to maximize the trauma of the moment. It’s still considered one of the most shocking scenes on the show, and needless to say, Haley’s demise had a major impact on Hotch in the years afterward. The sadistic pleasure The Reaper took in the build-up to the killing and his plan to also murder Jack also cemented him as one of Criminal Minds‘ most memorable UnSubs.

The Reaper Returned In Criminal Minds (Sort Of)

Criminal Minds the Reaper

While Hotch killed the Criminal Minds the Reaper character in a fit of rage, George Foyet returned to the show later on — kind of. In Criminal Minds season 15, episode 10, “And in the End…”, the Reaper is shown in a series of visions had by Dr. Spencer Reid. Following an explosion while trying to capture Everett Lynch, Reid suffers a brain injury. The BAU officer ends up having a vision that sees George Foyet guiding him back to where he collapsed. Then he sees Maeve on a couch, and leaves her and Reid alone in the room, patting Reid on the shoulder before walking out.

It’s a short reappearance, and it’s a wonder what the narrative significance of it was. It’s also rather ironic, considering Hotch isn’t in the scene at all. Hotch’s Thomas Gibson was fired from Criminal Minds after numerous on-set incidents. While fans were thrilled to see Foyet terrifying members of the BAU once more, it was still a weird moment seeing the Criminal Minds the Reaper character being attached to Reid rather than Hotch.

Next: Criminal Minds Revival: Will Hotch Return In Season 16?

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