|Birth Date||December 14, 1959|
|Family|| Unnamed ex-husband|
Two unnamed daughters
|Occupation||BAU Section Chief|
|Portrayed By||Jayne Atkinson|
|First Appearance||"No Way Out II: The Evilution of Frank"|
|Last Appearance||"200" (via flashbacks)|
Erin Strauss was the BAU Section Chief, the direct superior to SSA Aaron Hotchner. Her job lies in administration, and she had little actual field experience. She appeared in Criminal Minds as a recurring character until Season Eight, where she is murdered by the Replicator.
Strauss seemed to be under the impression that Hotch's team was disorganized and posed a threat to the BAU, prompting her to enlist Emily Prentiss to spy on the team (a maneuver that backfired when Prentiss resigned her position instead) and to attempt Hotch's removal from the BAU with a pending investigation on his methods. She backed off her attention from the team after experiencing first hand what the team lives with every case in the field (In Name and Blood) but not before making sure that they understood that none of them will ever be able to move up in any higher positions within the FBI (though this opinion appears to have been proven wrong in later episodes).
In the episode 100, Strauss conducted the inquiry into the events surrounding the actual beating to death of George Foyet. She questioned each team member in turn to get to the bottom of the situation and ensure that "a bloodbath like this never happens again." She finally questioned Hotch, who told her that he believed if Foyet were allowed to get up off of the floor, he would have killed Jack too. She effectively cleared him saying, "That's good enough for me." She also fell away from her cold and spiteful personality that was the norm for most previous episodes and sincerely told Hotch how sorry she was and that "if there is anything you [Hotch] or your son need..." she would help.
In the episode Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, it is revealed that Strauss is fighting alcoholism and that Hotch knew that she was getting help. However, it seems that she had relapsed and she tries to keep it a secret. In the end, Hotch and Morgan arrange for her to be checked in privately. In the Season Seven two-part finale Hit and Run, she is hired to supervise the hostage situation at the Colonial Liberty Bank perpetrated by the infamous Face Cards. Hotch convinces her to delay the Director's order for SWAT teams to move in. By the end of Run, she thanks Morgan for finding out about her drinking problem and even jokes to him that Morgan won't be happy when she returns to duty when he states it will be an honor to have her back, possibly her first instance at displaying humor to the team. She is present at JJ and Will's wedding and happily dances with Rossi and the team, showing that she might have become a better person towards them.
Strauss becomes more prominent in Season Eight. It is revealed in The Silencer that the newest member of the BAU team, Alex Blake, worked with her during the Amerithrax case, during which Strauss left her to take the fall when a linguistics flub led to the arrest of the wrong suspect. As a result, Blake didn't get along with her afterwards. At the end of The Silencer, Strauss tries apologizing to her, but she is turned down. In Carbon Copy, she specifically oversees the investigation into the Replicator, and by the end of the episode, she apologizes to Blake again, and this time, her apology is accepted. In Brothers Hotchner, she is abducted by the Replicator, later revealed to be a disgruntled FBI agent named John Curtis, whom she left to take the blame along with Blake following the Amerithrax case. In The Replicator, Curtis poisons her with spiked wine and leaves her to die. She is found on the streets by Hotch, and she admits that the Replicator forced her at gunpoint to drink again. She dies in Hotch's arms after begging him to stay with her as she doesn't want to die alone. Strauss indirectly helps defeat Curtis post-mortem when Rossi uses her sobriety chip to escape his trap, leaving him to apparently die in an explosion. After her funeral, the team celebrates her life during dinner at Rossi's garden, discussing happy stories of her time with them and acknowledging her as a good woman, friend, and mother.
Initially being an antagonist to the team, Strauss's opinion of the BAU appears to have changed due to her experiences in the field during the episode In Name and Blood and seeing the aftermath of the events in 100. She appeared to be very disturbed while reading the autopsy report on Haley and determined Hotch was justified in killing Foyet. She also expresses concern for Hotch in 25 to Life and that she is glad he is taking some time off. It is then shown in the episode The Stranger that all of the animosity with the BAU she had once held had vanished when Strauss told Hotch that his team had dealt with terrible things in one year, namely the "death" of Emily Prentiss and the events surrounding Foyet, but that they had dealt with them exceptionally. She also told Hotch that she was taking some time off due to reasons that are believed to be personal and that she wanted him to take care of the departments under her responsibility while she was absent (revealed to be her alcoholism). Through Season Three to Season Five, Strauss changes from being an antagonist to the team to a woman that understands the difficulties that the team goes through and has started to respect them. In About Face, she apparently doesn't believe people can be selfless.
It is revealed that she is an alcoholic in Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, something that ruined her relationship with her children. By the time of her death in The Replicator, she is over a year sober and a sponsor to other struggling alcoholics, having developed a strong animosity for alcohol, but is forced to drink again before she dies at the hands of the Replicator, the alcohol she drunk having been poisoned by him.
- Though Strauss is stated to have little field experience, Morgan told the team after her death that she was an excellent shooter. It is possible that she just never fired a gun while on the job, or he was referring to something else entirely ("The Replicator").
- Strauss's FBI database username was "Strauss_E_218" ("The Replicator").
- Season Two
- Season Three
- Season Five
- Season Six
- Season Seven
- Season Eight
- Season Nine
- "200" (via flashbacks)