|“||You spout all that profiler talk, but really, the best way to get to know someone is to marry them.||”|
— Carolyn in "Epilogue"
Not much about Carolyn's past is disclosed, other than the fact she was Rossi's first wife. She first met Rossi at a bar called The Benjamin (Gatekeeper). The two of them had a son named James, who died either before, during, or after childbirth. It is implied that James's death and Rossi putting his job first was what drove the couple apart. They later divorced, after Rossi had a case in 1983, making him miss their anniversary (this wasn't the first time such an occurrence happened), and he came home in time to see Carolyn packing his things (Demons). However, the two made a pledge that even though they were no longer married they would help each other out if they had a problem. A year before the events of Season Seven, Carolyn was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a form of motor neuron disease that is fatal to diagnosed patients. For eighteen months, she lived with the disease and didn't tell Rossi, until she began noticing the symptoms a few weeks prior to From Childhood's Hour.
Carolyn decided that it was time to tell Rossi of her problem, and she schedules a meeting with him at a diner. The two meet and engage in conversation before Rossi is distracted with a phone call and then tells her that he has to go attend to a case. When the unsub is captured, Rossi returns back to Quantico to meet up with Carolyn again, this time at his house. There, they have dinner and then sit in the living room, where Carolyn finally tells Rossi of the ALS, stating that it won't be long now until she dies. Carolyn then reveals she wants to end her own life before the disease takes its toll and asks Rossi if he will help her end her life when the time comes. The episode ends with them holding hands in the firelight.
Rossi arrives at a hotel room where Carolyn is staying. Rossi tells his ex-wife he won't end her life for her. After the two argue, Carolyn states that "it won't be long now" and Rossi realizes she has already taken a fatal dosage of pills, knowing that Rossi would refuse. Rossi tries to call 911 but Carolyn protests weakly and tells him it'll be too late. Rossi stays with her, and as she dies, Carolyn asks him if he thinks "he" will be there. Rossi replies that he knows he will. The last scene shows Rossi sitting next to Carolyn's grave, where she is buried next to James, their late son.
It is revealed that during the events between Epilogue and There's No Place Like Home, Carolyn's death had inspired the team to loan donations to people suffering from ALS. Rossi says that he has moved on from the tragedy, but still misses her greatly.
Carolyn might have made an appearance in one of the episode's many flashbacks, in which a woman was seen sleeping with Rossi sometime in 2005. There is also the possibility that it was Rossi's third soon-to-be ex-wife, a girlfriend that would soon become his third ex-wife, or just a girlfriend. It should be noted that the woman looked slightly like Carolyn.
- Even though Carolyn divorced Rossi, her gravestone reveals that she kept her husband's surname, presumably out of respect for him.
- Season Seven