Reddit user u/littleindian1, amidst their sixth rewatch of the series, posted to r/criminalminds, wondering if anyone else missed Elle.
“Elle has a way of talking to the victims/relatives of victims that’s extremely personable and I really miss that. Her confidence, and ability to push back against Gideon & even Hotch is commendable and she brought some humour to the show,” the user wrote.
Several commenters agreed, including u/sooprotectionsquad, who wrote, “She was compassionate while being bada** and spunky and I loved her attitude. Her interactions with Morgan and Reid were super cute to watch.”
But, for all her confidence and spunk, the fanbase’s lasting memory of Elle is centered on her downward spiral and decision to kill the suspect in the serial rape case. User u/megan_6724 said that the show’s writers did the character dirty by tying her exit to shooting a suspect in cold blood. Elle was the first of several characters written off because of the actor’s choices.
While shooting the suspect was Elle’s downfall, user u/reidsindiegf understood why she felt the need to do it.
“Elle was a vital part of the team until she almost died. Her whole personality changed when she had that near death experience. I think when she killed that guy it was her version of revenge on The Fisher King. She thought that if she can save those girls then it would give her closure, but once she did everything was the same and she still felt the same way,” they wrote.
In truth, the BAU’s reaction to Elle’s trauma is one of a series of things on Criminal Minds that didn’t age well. Her teammates all got their own share of traumatic experiences by the end of the series.