To put it bluntly, Chief Hotchner isn’t very friendly — and he’s definitely not much of a smiler. So it’s odd that when the camera gets close enough to his badge, you can see this beaming grin stamped on his face in his official ID photograph. As one Reddit user, u/jumpingjellyf1sh, rightly pointed out, “the norm is to not smile in ID photos,” making Hotch’s uncharacteristic expression even stranger. So what’s the deal with this rare glimpse of a less serious Hotch?
Some fans think Hotch’s ID smile refers to the gradual hardening of his character over the years he spent working innumerable cases of violent assaults and murders. One fan, u/etuvu1, commented, “Ah, the face of an ambitious man going into the FBI and wanting to make the world a better place before it absolutely destroys him.” Another fan, u/AlexDavid1605, similarly wrote, “He was young, and innocent, and was sheltered from the horrors of the crimes that he investigated when that pic was taken. By that time all he did was in theory. That is why he is grinning. Also he was excited about getting the job too.”
Those are all valid points. Despite these pretty believable explanations, though, some fans opted to take a more imaginative stab at the reason behind Hotch’s smile.