According to the Criminal Minds Wiki, Strauss was born on December 14, 1959. She was married with three children and ended up divorcing, although her family was never seen on the show.
Little is known about her working life before she joined the BAU, but she was a career FBI administrator with little to no field experience – although, at her funeral, Special Agent Morgan (Shemar Moore) did say she was an exceptionally good shot. Without firsthand knowledge of what the BAU agents went through, Strauss often questioned them and their methods.
One moment from her pre-BAU days that did get some screen time was her involvement in the Amerithrax bioterrorism case. During the investigation, Strauss and linguistics expert Alex Blake (Jeanne Tripplehorn) arrested the wrong suspect. Strauss let Blake take the fall, and during Season 8 the two women finally reconciled.
Strauss was also a recovering alcoholic, which occasionally affected her job performance, and which ruined her relationship with her children. At Hotch’s urging, Strauss sought treatment and by Season 8 she had been sober for more than a year. Tragically, her alcoholism was used against her when the unsub The Replicator (Mark Hammill) forced her to drink and poisoned her, leading to her demise.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).