|“||I want him to believe in love, because it is the most important thing... but you need to show him. Promise me!||”|
— Haley's last words in "100"
Haley Hotchner (née Brooks) was a recurring character who first appeared in the show's pilot Extreme Aggressor as the wife of SSA Aaron Hotchner. At the time of her death in 100, she and Hotch were divorced.
Haley was born to Roy Brooks, a store owner, and an unnamed mother, and she had a sister named Jessica. She and Hotch met in high school. She was in the theater club and was rehearsing a role in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance when Hotch walked in by mistake and fell in love with her, even taking a minor part as "Fourth Pirate" to be close to her. They later married as adults.
Before Season Five
Together, Haley and Hotch have a son named Jack, but their relationship began to suffer due to Hotch's commitment to his demanding job. Their marital issues were a running theme throughout the show's early seasons. By the end of In Name and Blood, it looks as though Haley and Jack have left. At the end of Scared to Death, Hotch mentions to Morgan that he isn't sure if Haley is coming back. At the end of Birthright, Haley has Hotch served with divorce papers as he is leaving the office for the day. After some reluctance, he signed them in Damaged. Haley continued using her married name, Hotchner, following the divorce, but it is revealed that Hotch kept her listed under "Brooks" in his personal information just in case it got into the wrong hands.
In the Season Five premiere, Nameless, Faceless, Haley and Jack are suspected to be potential targets of George Foyet. After Hotch is found at a local hospital, the team races to find Haley and Jack. Haley is found folding clothes in her bedroom and listening to music while Jack is spending time at a friend's house on a "play date". Haley is taken to safety, and Morgan offers to pick up Jack. When the two are safe, they are taken to Hotch's hospital room. Hotch tells Jack that he loves him and that they will have to go away for awhile. He tells Haley that he will spend the rest of his life making it up to her, and that once Foyet is caught, they can return home. They are later placed in the protective custody of U.S. Marshal Sam Kassmeyer.
In the episode 100, Haley is found by Foyet after he tortures and kills Kassmeyer. He calls her, posing as a Marshal, and informs her that Kassmeyer and Hotch are both dead. Horrified, Haley allows Foyet to take her and Jack to their old home. However, she discovers the truth when she calls Hotch, presumably to double-check. Foyet holds a gun to Haley's head and makes it plain that he is going to kill her. He allows Haley to say goodbye to Hotch as he and the rest of the team race to the house. Hotch tells her not to show fear in front of Foyet and that she is brave. Haley tearfully asks Hotch to look after their son and explain what happened between them, saying that she wants him to understand that she still loved Hotch. Hotch apologizes to Haley for putting her and Jack in danger. Moments later, Foyet shoots her through the neck, killing her, and repeatedly stabs her post-mortem off-screen.
Hotch finds Haley's blood-soaked body on the floor of their old bedroom. After a brief fight, an enraged Hotch beats Foyet to death in revenge of the deaths of Haley and all of Foyet's other victims; after finding his son and getting him to safety, Hotch then cradles Haley's body, sobbing. Her funeral was held in The Slave of Duty, at which Hotch delivers the eulogy, reciting a passage from Act II of The Pirates of Penzance as well as a quote by one of its writers, W.S. Gilbert.
Haley reappears in Route 66 as a hallucination fabricated by Hotch when he begins having severe complications brought by his stabbing at the hands of Foyet. She first appears in a movie theater, greeting Hotch and inviting him to sit down next to her. He does so, and together, they watch a movie about Hotch's recent life, in which she compliments Beth Clemmons, Hotch's current love interest. They are joined by Foyet himself, and despite him shooting her in the stomach with his revolver (not visibly affecting her), she displays a welcoming attitude towards him. When the movie ends, Hotch declares that he wants to come with her, but Haley tells him that Jack and Beth need him. After Foyet leaves, Haley tells Hotch that Beth is "a keeper" and that he "better not mess it up". She then tells him she still loves him before leaving. In the week following his near-death experience, Hotch puts up a photo of Haley during a "Day of the Dead" celebration hosted by Garcia.