|Family|| Carolyn Rossi (ex-wife; deceased)|
Two other unnamed ex-wives
James David Rossi (son with Carolyn; deceased)
Unnamed various brothers-in-law
Sal (uncle; deceased)
Rosie (aunt; deceased)
|Job|| Former Marine|
Unit Senior Agent
|Rank|| Former Marine Sergeant Major|
Supervisory Special Agent
|Portrayed By|| Joe Mantegna|
Robert Dunne (young)
|First Appearance||About Face|
"My wife always said I had a flair for the dramatic."
"All of them."
David Rossi is a Supervisory Special Agent and Unit Senior Agent at the Behavioral Analysis Unit at Quantico, Virginia. He, like Jason Gideon, his previous counterpart, are both partially based upon real life former profiler, John Douglas.
Born in Commack, Long Island, New York, Rossi served in the U.S. Marine Corps and made it to the rank of Sergeant Major. While a Private, he served in the Vietnam War under Sergeant Harrison Scott. When he was younger, he had some association with a local mafia, but severed his ties to them when he left town. He also knew a girl named Emma Louise Taylor that he loved but due to his career, they never married; Emma Taylor went on to marry Boyd Schuller. After leaving the Corps, he was recruited by the FBI. A few years later, he played a part in founding the BAU. (Reckoner)
Rossi has been married and divorced three times, his first wife being Carolyn. The reasons for his divorces are never made clear, but it is likely that it was because of his devotion to his job. Following his first divorce, he made an agreement with Carolyn that they would still help each other out when the other needed it. They had a son, James David, who was born on April 26, 1979, but died the same day.
Rossi was in early retirement for nearly ten years until his voluntary return to the BAU in October 2007. He had retired in order to go on lectures and book tours but returned to settle some unfinished business which wasn't immediately specified. Upon joining the team, it is obvious that he has had a previous working relationship with both Hotch and Erin Strauss, the BAU's Section Chief. Unlike most of the other team members, Rossi is not intimidated by Strauss's personality, and he often calls her by her first name (much to her chagrin).
In "Birthright," Rossi revealed to Sheriff Caulfield his reasons for returning. He held out a charm bracelet with the names of three children from one of his first cases. The children had come into their parents' bedroom to find them in bed, covered in blood, and he promised them he would find out who did it. Each year on Christmas Eve, Rossi calls the children to let them know he hasn't forgotten them and he hasn't given up on solving the case of their parents' murders. He kept with this tradition through his return to the BAU, though none of the children had replied to his most recent calls. Rossi finally told Caulfield that the case had gone unsolved for 20 years and it was finally solved in "Damaged". He steps in as a hostage negotiator--his forte--in "Minimal Loss" when fellow agents Reid and Prentiss are held hostage.
In "Reckoner", it is revealed that he apparently met a girl named Emma when he was 12, who knew that they were meant to be 'star-crossed lovers, destined to wonder what might've been'. David also tells Hotchner after closing a case on the plane that he should've married her when he left the Marines, but was recruited by the Bureau that got him 'obsessed with the chase, the hunt'. Also, despite what he tells Boyd Shuller, Emma's husband, he did not sleep with her. Despite his feelings for Emma, he did not attend her funeral.
In Remembrance of Things Past, Rossi gets back on the hunt for The Butcher, a brutal, sadistic serial killer active in the 1980s and 1990s in Bristol, Virginia, when bodies killed exactly like the old victims turn up in the same area. He had investigated the case during the first murders but was unsuccessful in catching The Butcher. He was, however, responsible for stopping his killing by narrowing down the geographic profile and alerting all possible victims in the area. The case stuck with Rossi for several years afterwards. He never wrote about it because he felt doing so would give the killer too much power. In the end of the episode, the killer, an elderly, Alzheimer-afflicted electrician named Lee Mullens, is caught. Upon getting home, Rossi, having suffered a writer's block earlier, begins writing his next book, presumably about the Butcher case.
In Proof, he invited the rest of the team over to his house for a cooking lesson/ dinner party, after receiving a "tempered" suggestion from Hotch when they talked about the tensions born between several team members due to the lies said to keep Prentiss safe.
In From Childhood's Hour, Rossi meets up with Carolyn. He believed that she wanted them to get together again; he also seemed to be still in love with her. Rossi was later shocked to find out that she had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and she knew that she didn't have long left to live. She asked him to help her end her life on her own terms when her time came. Finally, Rossi decided that he wouldn't help Carolyn, but when he tells her this, she reveals that she had been expecting such an answer and, as a result, had taken a fatal dosage of pills before he arrived. Rossi is forced to stay by Carolyn's side when she dies, and she is buried next to James.
In The Fallen, Rossi runs into his old Sergeant from Vietnam, Harrison Scott. Rossi is very saddened to see the man that "made him honest" homeless. Rossi learns what really happened when he got a concussion and sent home and the sacrifice that Anthony Hernandez, a fellow soldier, made to save them. Afterwards, Rossi and Scott present Hernandez's grandson, also a Marine, with the medal that his grandfather should have received all those years ago. He also tells Scott about New Directions, an organization dedicated to helping veterans get work. By the end of the episode, he dedicates his most recent book, Evil Never Rests, to Scott and Hernandez, "two men who saved me so I could save others."
On the JobEdit
Like his predecessor Gideon, Rossi is an experienced agent that acts as the team's official profiler. He is adept at getting into the minds of criminals and works in tandem with Hotch to develop these profiles. He is also the glue that holds the team together, taking over as confidant and adviser to the team's personal and professional dilemmas.
- He likes to hunt birds with his dog. (About Face)
- He is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam War veteran, honorably discharged with the rank of Sgt. Major. (Dorado Falls and The Fallen)
- He carries a Springfield Professional Model, which implies that he has had past experience on the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. In Identity, he mentions having been present at the Ruby Ridge standoff.
- He has written at least five books during the time of Season Four (Masterpiece) and at least one more since. Known bibliography are:
- Deviance: The Secret Desires of Sadistic Serial Killers, apparently about the motivations of infamous serial killers. This book had a special tenth anniversary reprinting (Zoe's Reprise).
- Frenzy: America's Worst Spree Killers, about rampage killers from U.S. history (Painless).
- Eyes of a Predator, about an unknown criminal subject.
- Evil Never Rests, about prolific criminals such as The Butcher, The Piano Man, and Lady X (The Fallen).
- He hates Los Angeles (The Performer).
- He has interviewed Charles Manson three times (The Fight) and he interviewed Ted Bundy at least once (Limelight).
- Unlike the other BAU team members, Rossi believes in true evil (Demonology).
- He is familiar with the video-game character Niko Bellic, indicating he may be a fan of Grand Theft Auto IV (Safe Haven). He is also seen playing video games with Ashley Seaver (Coda).
- He was a fan of the Rat Pack (The Performer).
- He is an apparent soccer fan (Out of the Light).
- Joe Mantegna chose the name of his character as tribute to Sgt. David Rossi, an LAPD officer who was one of the first officers to arrive on the scene of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, for which O.J. Simpson was later tried and acquitted. During the trial, Rossi was grilled by the defense on the stand for two days, even though his involvement in the case had only been that he answered the alarm call and been one of the first on the crime scene. 
- There has been some confusion regarding the fact that Rossi has a child or not:
- In an interview made around the time that he debuted on Criminal Minds, Mantegna states that his character has a son who can be seen in a photo on his desk. The son seen in the picture is actually the son of the real-life David Rossi.
- However, Rossi claims not to have any children - present tense - in The Crossing, supposedly contradicting the above fact (though it could be possible he was just lying for some reason).
- Additionally, in Coda, it was hinted that he has a child, possibly with some form of handicap.
- Finally, in Epilogue, it is revealed that Rossi has a son named James that died after he was born, therefore possibly contradicting the first and third facts.
- However, it is possible that the other son was a child he had with another ex-wife of his or that James (deceased) died of a handicap and Rossi was saying only that he had no children currently, not wishing to speak about his loss.
- He speaks some Italian ("Proof").
- He has a big house, which he calls "a mansion," and is a good cook, much like his predecessor Gideon ("Proof").
- He is Catholic (crossed himself in "There's No Place Like Home").
- He carries a Springfield Armory TRP as his weapon of choice, suggesting that he might have received SWAT training to use the gun.
- He is a cigar enthusiast ("Hit").
- He has unspecified relatives living in Italy ("The Pact").
- He may have done acid. (Alchemy)
- He had an Aunt Rosie and an Uncle Sal. (Alchemy)