Criminal Minds is an American police proceduralcrime drama television series created and produced by Jeff Davis. The series premiered on CBS on September 22, 2005, and concluded on February 19, 2020. It follows a group of criminal profilers who work for the FBI as members of its Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), using behavioral analysis and profiling to investigate crimes and find perpetrators. The show tells the story of the team as they work various cases, and tackle their personal struggles.
Criminal Minds became a rating hit for CBS, regularly featuring as one of the network's most-watched cable shows throughout its 15-year-long run. Its success has spawned a media franchise, with several spinoffs, including a South Korean adaptation and a video game. The show was renewed for its fifteenth and final season of ten episodes, which aired from January 8, 2020, to February 19, 2020. It was the final series in the franchise to end, following its two spin-off series, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, which had been cancelled previously due to low ratings. In February 2021, it was announced that a 10-episode revival was officially greenlit and will air on Paramount+. A planned true-crime docuseries, titled The Real Criminal Minds, was also ordered by Paramount+.
Patinkin departed the series at the start of season 3, due to being disturbed by its content.Joe Mantegna replaced him as David Rossi, a best-selling author and FBI agent who comes out of retirement. During this season, Cook became pregnant with her first child, and the pregnancy was written into the show. Cook was on maternity leave for part of season 4; her character's void was temporarily replaced by Meta Golding, who played Jordan Todd, an FBI agent who works with the agency's Counter Terrorism Unit.
Prior to the start of season 6, it was announced that Brewster's role would be reduced for the upcoming season, and Cook would be released from her contract; they were replaced by Rachel Nichols as Ashley Seaver, an FBI cadet. The decision to release Cook and Brewster from their contracts resulted in a backlash from fans who signed protest petitions. Subsequently, Cook and Brewster were reinstated in their roles for season 7 and Nichols was released. Brewster then departed from the series after that season; she was replaced in the eighth season by Jeanne Tripplehorn, who played Alex Blake, a linguistics expert. However, Brewster did make a guest appearance as Prentiss in the 200th episode.
After two seasons, Tripplehorn was released from the show;Jennifer Love Hewitt joined the cast for season 10 as Kate Callahan, a former undercover FBI agent who joins the BAU. During this season, the character of Gideon was killed off by producers off-screen; executive producer and showrunner Erica Messer said this decision was made as it was clear that Patinkin would not return to the series, but he could be featured in a flashback if he were ever to return in the future.
Cook and Hewitt were on hiatus from the show due to their pregnancies after production concluded for season 10; Aisha Tyler, who plays Dr. Tara Lewis, joined the show at the start of season 11 in a recurring role, though she appeared in most episodes. Cook returned after seven episodes of season 11, but Hewitt did not return to the show again. Moore departed later that same season; he had considered leaving in season 10 when his previous contract ended, but was persuaded to stay to give his character a proper sendoff. Messer said it was initially planned for Moore to do six episodes, but it was decided to extend this to the first 18 episodes of season 11 as six episodes "didn't feel like enough".
A week after Moore left, Paget Brewster made her second special guest appearance; in season 12, Brewster once again became a series regular. Moore was replaced in the twelfth season by Adam Rodriguez, as Luke Alvez, a Fugitive Task Force Agent. Tyler was also promoted to series regular from this season. Following this, Gibson was suspended, and later fired, from the program due to an on-set altercation with one of the producers; his character Hotchner was written out of the show. Gibson was replaced by Damon Gupton as Stephen Walker, a seasoned profiler from the Behavioral Analysis Program (the counterintelligence division of the FBI) who would bring his spy-hunting skills to the BAU. Gupton's contract was not renewed after season 12, with CBS stating his departure was "part of a creative change on the show".Daniel Henney, who was a series regular on spin-off series Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders as Matt Simmons, joined the main show as a series regular for season 13.
On April 26, 2019, it was announced that the series finale would be titled "And in the End".
Gideon is widely known as the BAU's best profiler. After a series of emotionally troubling cases and the murder of his girlfriend Sarah by fugitive serial killer Frank Breitkopf (Keith Carradine), he begins to feel burned out. The last straw occurs when Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner is suspended for two weeks by the team's boss—an action for which Jason feels responsible. He retreats to his cabin and leaves a letter for Dr. Spencer Reid, who he knows will be the one to look for him. When Spencer arrives at the cabin, he finds the letter and Jason's FBI credentials and firearm. Jason is last seen remarking to a Nevada diner waitress that he does not know where he is going or how he will know when he gets there, leaving the diner and driving off. In season 10, he is killed (off-screen) by a suspect he had tracked down from one of his first cases.
Hotch is a former prosecutor and was originally assigned to the FBI field office in Seattle. He is one of the most experienced agents in the BAU. He struggles to balance the demands of his job with his family life, but his wife, Haley Brooks (Meredith Monroe), divorces him in season 3. In the episode "100" (season 5), Haley is killed by fugitiveserial killer George Foyet (C. Thomas Howell), also known as "The Boston Reaper", whom Aaron fights and beats to death. He also has a son named Jack (Cade Owens) and a brother named Sean. After Haley is murdered, he has custody of Jack, and Haley's sister, Jessica Brooks (Molly Baker), helps him take care of Jack. When SSA Jennifer Jareau leaves the BAU, Aaron and technical analyst Penelope Garcia take over her job as communications liaison. Aaron dated a woman named Beth Clemmons (Bellamy Young), who first appeared in the episode "The Bittersweet Science" (season 7), before the couple separated after Clemmons accepted a job in Hong Kong. Following an on-set altercation, Thomas Gibson was removed from the main cast after season 12, episode 2, at which point Hotch went on temporary assignment. In a later episode, it is revealed Aaron and Jack went into witness protection after Jack was being stalked by Peter "Mr. Scratch" Lewis, a serial killer from a previous BAU case. Following Lewis's death in the 13th season premiere, Prentiss reveals that Aaron has opted not to return to the BAU, but instead to retire to be a full-time parent to Jack.
Greenaway is assigned to the FBI field office in Seattle and assigned to the BAU as an expert in sexual offense crimes. Elle suffers extreme emotional trauma after being shot by an unsub in the season 1 finale ("The Fisher King (Part 1)"). In the season 2 premiere ("The Fisher King (Part 2)"), Elle survives and returns to duty sooner than SSA Jason Gideon and Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner would like. Several episodes later, while alone on stakeout of a suspected serial rapist, she murders the suspect by shooting him in cold blood and planting her gun on the unarmed victim. The local police deem it self-defense, but Jason and Aaron question her ability as a profiler after this. Elle resigns, turning in her badge and gun to Aaron, declaring that it is "not an admission of guilt".
Morgan is a confident, assertive, and often hot-tempered character. He was raised by his mother, Fran, along with his two sisters, Sarah Morgan and Desiree Benita, after the death of his police officer father right in front of him. Derek was a troubled Chicago youth headed for juvenile delinquency. He was rescued and mentored by Carl Buford (Julius Tennon). Buford turned out to be a sexual predator who molested Derek and other young boys; he was eventually arrested for murder. After developing an interest in football, Derek attended Northwestern University on a scholarship. After a football injury left him unable to play, he joined the Chicago Police Department's bomb squad and later joined the FBI and the BAU. He has an emotionally intimate, but platonic, relationship with technical analyst Penelope Garcia; the two have a unique shorthand and banter. In the season 7 premiere ("It Takes a Village"), Derek shows utter hatred toward Ian Doyle (Timothy V. Murphy) for killing SSA Emily Prentiss, but when Emily returns alive, he has mixed feelings. In season 11, Derek is kidnapped and tortured by the father of Giuseppe Montolo, a hitman whom Derek put away and who later died while in custody. Derek escapes and when he learns his girlfriend Savannah is pregnant, he realizes that he doesn't want to put his family through something like this again. Derek leaves the BAU in the episode "A Beautiful Disaster" to care for his now-wife and newborn son.
Reid is a genius who graduated from Las Vegas High School at age 12 and holds Ph.D.s in mathematics, chemistry, and engineering as well as bachelor of arts degrees in psychology and sociology and, as of season 4, is working on a B.A. in philosophy. It has been revealed that he has an IQ of 187, can read a dizzying 20,000 words per minute, and has an eidetic memory. Most of the members on the team are intimidated by his profound knowledge. He is habitually introduced as "Dr. Spencer Reid" in contrast to the other agents, who are introduced as "supervisory special agent". The purpose of this, as explained by Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner in the pilot episode ("Extreme Aggressor"), is to create a respectable first impression of Spencer, deflecting judgments about his age. His mother, Diana Reid (Jane Lynch), suffers from schizophrenia and is currently committed to a mental institution. In season 6, Reid starts suffering from cluster headaches and when doctors can't diagnose why, Reid thinks he might be in the early stages of schizophrenia himself. Reid takes SSA Emily Prentiss' death very hard and, when it was revealed the death was faked, was distrustful of both Prentiss and SSA Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (who helped in the cover-up) for some time. During season 8, Reid becomes involved with a woman who was being stalked. In the episode "Zugzwang", her stalker ultimately kidnaps her and kills her, devastating Reid. In season 11, he is deeply affected by Derek Morgan's decision to leave the BAU, but understands and supports his reasons. Initially Reid had a crush on JJ, even going as far as taking her on a date to a football game. As the series progresses, their relationship becomes more of the brother–sister kind, however they confess feelings for each other in seasons 14 and 15, but nothing ever becomes of it, due to JJ's marriage and children. Morgan and Reid maintained a brotherly relationship and Morgan refers to Reid as his "little brother" prior to his departure in season 11. Spencer is also the godfather of Jennifer's son, Henry, and Derek's son, Hank. In season 12, Reid is himself arrested and finds himself in prison for the back half of the season. In season 15, he gets another girlfriend, Max, but she only appears in two episodes (Episode 4 & 6). He also has a flirty relationship with serial killer Cat Adams, starting in season 11. It is obvious she has feelings for Spencer, though it is never made clear whether he also had feelings for her, or if he simply flirted to get her to reveal her plans.
JJ served as the communications liaison on the team to local police agencies in seasons 1–5. She dates and marries William LaMontagne (Josh Stewart), a New Orleans Police Departmentdetective. They have two sons, Henry LaMontagne (Mekhai Andersen) and Michael LaMontagne (Phoenix Sky Andersen). Both boys are played by A.J. Cook's real-life sons. In the episode "JJ" (season 6), Jennifer is forced to accept a promotion at the Pentagon, causing her departure from the team, although Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner expresses his hope that she will return to the BAU in the future. Jennifer returns in the episode "Lauren" (season 6) to assist the team in finding SSA Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster). Jennifer returns as a series regular in the season 7 premiere as a legitimate profiler and admits to helping fake Prentiss' death, much to dismay of her colleagues. In the 200th episode, JJ is kidnapped because of a secret mission she performed while at the Pentagon. At the end of season 10, JJ reveals she is pregnant with her second child and consults over the phone for the few episodes of season 11 before rejoining the team in the field in the episode "Target Rich".
Garcia joined the BAU after bringing attention to herself by illegally accessing some of their equipment, while she was an underground hacker; she is offered a job in lieu of a jail sentence. She submitted her resume to Hotch on pink stationery. She usually supports the team from her computer lab at Quantico but occasionally joins them on location when her skills can be used in the field. She is a leader in a support group for those who have lost someone in their lives. Her parents were killed by a drunk driver when they were out looking for her when she was a teen and had missed her curfew. She enjoys a flirtatious relationship with SSA Derek Morgan, often engaging in comical banter of a sexually suggestive nature when he calls for information. He calls her "Baby Girl". She was once shot and almost killed by Jason Clark Battle, who lured her on a date in the episode "Lucky" (season 3). When SSA Jennifer Jareau leaves the BAU, Penelope and Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner take over her job as communications liaison. She is kidnapped once again at the end of season 13. SSA Sam Cooper (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior) often calls when his team needs her computer skills. Penelope is the godmother of Jennifer's son, Henry, and the godmother of Morgan's son, Hank.
Prentiss is the daughter of Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss (Kate Jackson). After SSA Elle Greenaway leaves the BAU, Section Chief Erin Strauss approves Emily to join the BAU. The plan was for Emily to report any problems within the BAU, but Emily remained loyal to the team and refused to report any problems, going so far as threatening resignation. Emily is also fluent in several languages, such as Spanish, French, Greek, and Arabic, has a working knowledge in Italian, and was fluent in Russian at one point but has lost comprehension. She is apparently killed while being held hostage by Ian Doyle in the episode "Lauren" (season 6), but in the last scene of the episode, it is revealed that she survived her encounter with Ian and is seen with SSA Jennifer Jareau in Paris passing her passports and bank accounts for protection. In the season 7 premiere ("It Takes a Village"), she returns alive and well, much to the team's surprise. In the season 7 finale ("Run"), Emily decides to leave the BAU after accepting a position running and returning to the Interpol office in London. She returns for the 200th episode to help rescue a kidnapped SSA Jennifer Jareau and again in the episode "Tribute" (season 11), where she enlists the help of the BAU in catching a serial killer who had originally killed in Europe before killing in the United States. Paget Brewster was confirmed to return for a several episode arc in season 12. Following the dismissal of Thomas Gibson, Brewster was promoted to a series regular again starting from season 12, episode 3; later Prentiss is promoted to Hotch's position of unit chief.
Rossi is a highly experienced profiler who once worked the BAU in its origins, then took early retirement in 1997 to write books and go on lecture tours about criminal analysis, until volunteering to return shortly after SSA Jason Gideon's departure in 2007. He has been married three times and is quite wealthy because of his successful writing career. In the episode "From Childhood's Hour" (season 7), David reconnects with his first wife, Carolyn Baker, who has shocking news for him. It is revealed that she came to him because she was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and wants David to assist in her suicide. In the next episode ("Epilogue"), Carolyn dies after taking a drug overdose. It is also revealed in this episode that David had a son who died at birth. In the season 8 episode "The Fallen", it is revealed that David was a Marine in Vietnam. The season 7 finale ("Hit") reveals SSA David Rossi may be having a secret relationship with Section Chief Erin Strauss; this was discovered when technical analyst Penelope Garcia and SSA Dr. Spencer Reid spot them both leaving a hotel. In the last season 8 episode ("The Replicator") we see their relationship has been known to the entire team. The episode is an emotional one for SSA David Rossi since Unit Chief Erin Strauss is murdered by The Replicator. She was taken from her hotel room, where he had planned to meet her that night, drugged and put on the streets of New York disoriented for Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner to find her. The episode's last scene is SSA David Rossi eulogizing her to the team after her funeral, at a gathering at his home. In season 10 we learn that David has a daughter by his second wife. Since then, he is shown to have a strong relationship with his daughter, son-in-law, and grandson, even approving of her husband's Italian heritage. In season 11 Rossi reunites with his second wife, and they give their relationship a second chance.
Seaver replaces SSA Jennifer Jareau after she is forced to accept a promotion at the Pentagon. She was chosen for her unique background; her father, Charles Beauchamp, was a horrific serial killer known as the "Redmond Ripper", who murdered dozens of women before being caught by the BAU, incidentally. At first, Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner was going to make her a special one-time consultant to the BAU, but SSA David Rossi allowed her to finish her remedial training with the team, under the supervision of SSA Emily Prentiss. In the episode "... With Friends Like These" (season 6), she graduated from the Academy and had been added to the team as a "probationary agent". In the season 7 premiere ("It Takes a Village"), Jennifer reveals to Emily that Ashley transferred to the domestic trafficking task force, which is led by Andi Swann.
Blake once worked for the BAU during the 2001 anthrax attacks but retired after a conflict with Chief Erin Strauss and rejoins the BAU after SSA Emily Prentiss transfers to the Interpol office in London. Alex first appears in the season 8 premiere ("The Silencer"). She makes a personal connection with Spencer Reid after he reveals to her that he has begun a romantic relationship with a woman whom he has never met. In the season 9 finale, after a difficult case in Texas in which the team is targeted by a group of corrupt sheriff deputies and Reid is shot, she escorts Reid to his apartment, explaining that the experience brought back memories of her son's death and that Reid reminds her of him. She leaves behind her credentials, which Reid finds in his bag before seeing Blake leave in a taxi, saddened but understanding.
Callahan, as mentioned in the season 10 premiere, previously worked under Andi Swann's team, which is also Ashley Seaver's team since she left the BAU. She is a "seasoned undercover agent whose stellar work at the FBI has landed her a coveted position with the Behavioral Analysis Unit". She and her husband, Chris, have been the guardians of Kate's teenage niece, Meg, since Meg was a baby following her parents' deaths in the September 11, 2001, attacks. Kate and Chris discover they are expecting a baby in the middle of season 10, coinciding with the actress's real-life pregnancy. At the end of season 10, she decides to take a year off and raise her baby. Even though producer Erica Messer has stated the door was open should Hewitt choose to return to show, she never did for the remainder of the series' run.
Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler), forensic psychologist and supervisory special agent (seasons 12–15; recurring season 11)
Lewis is a psychologist with an eye on forensic psychology and its application toward the criminal-justice system. Her dream was to study psychopaths up close and personal—and her psychology background, combined with her experience in the FBI, brought her face to face with monsters. Her job was to stare them down and interview them, to determine if they were fit to stand trial. Lewis replaced both JJ (A.J. Cook) and Kate (Jennifer Love Hewitt) while they were on maternity leave in the 11th season.
Alvez is a member of the FBI fugitive task force that partners with the BAU to catch the serial killers that escaped in the season 11 finale. In the season 12 premiere, he works with the BAU to catch the "Crimson King", one of the escapees that attacked Alvez's old partner. The team discovers the real killer is "Mr. Scratch", who taunts the team by turning over the real "Crimson King", who was tortured to the point he no longer remembers who he was. After that, Alvez decides to join the BAU full time and was Hotch's last hire. Alvez has a Belgian Tervuren dog named Roxy (whom Garcia thought at first was his human girlfriend) and served in Iraq as an Army Ranger prior to joining the FBI.
Walker is a supervisory special agent with the BAU. Walker was a member of the Behavioral Analysis Program. He was contacted by Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) about joining the BAU to assist in the manhunt for Peter Lewis, a k a "Mr. Scratch". Walker is an experienced profiler with about 20 years under his belt and a member of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Program before his transfer to the BAU. He is married to a woman named Monica and has two children with her, Maya and Eli. He met Emily Prentiss, then the chief of Interpol's London office, during his line of work. He was also mentored by David Rossi (Joe Mantegna). Stephen's first case concerned a terrorist cell in Belgium, and three agents were sent undercover to infiltrate it. However, Stephen's profile was wrong, and this resulted in the deaths of the undercover agents. He eventually moved on from the trauma and improved as he went along in his career. He and other BAP agents, including his longtime friend Sam Bower, were sent undercover to investigate corruption in the Russian government. Walker's skills include being fluent in Russian and playing the trombone. In the season 13 premiere, it is revealed he had died in the car crash Mr. Scratch had arranged as a trap for the team at the end of season 12.
Simmons is a special operations agent and formerly worked with the IRT. Simmons has a wife, Kristy (Kelly Frye), and has a total of four children, including two boys (Jake and David) and twin daughters, all of them under the age of 3. He was a former member of a special ops unit, and his experience with the unit allowed him to hone his profiling skills. Following the disbandment of the IRT, Simmons assists the BAU in taking down Mr. Scratch, and is later recruited to the BAU as a replacement for the late Stephen Walker, becoming the last addition to the team in the series. At the end of the fourteenth season, Simmons and Kristy announce their pregnancy with the fifth child, and the following year, Kristy gives birth to daughter Rosemary Simmons (whom her parents had attempted to name after colleague David Rossi).
Erin Strauss (Jayne Atkinson; seasons 2–3, 5–9), an assistant director and the BAU Unit Chief's direct superior. While her FBI experience was primarily in administration, SSA Derek Morgan remarked on her masterly marksmanship, after observing her at a firing range. In early episodes, Strauss appeared only concerned with herself and appearances within the Bureau, going so far as to force SSA Jennifer Jareau to accept a promotion to the Pentagon in the episode "JJ" (season 6). Further character development revealed her alcohol abuse. After being confronted by Morgan and Hotchner, Strauss accepts help and achieves sobriety. In the season 8 finale, the Replicator breaks into Strauss's hotel room in New York, drugs her, and forces her—at gunpoint—to drink alcohol from her room's minibar. Hotchner finds her on a bench near the hotel, where Strauss dies in his arms. Her death is avenged when Rossi traps the Replicator in an exploding house. Fittingly, Strauss's sobriety helps defeat the Replicator as Rossi uses her sobriety chip to escape the Replicator's trap and taunts him with it. After attending her funeral, the members of the BAU gather in a still-emotional Rossi's backyard, reminisce, and toast her memory. Showrunner Erica Messer chose to kill Strauss off because she felt that the character had come full circle since she was first introduced.
Haley Hotchner (Meredith Monroe; seasons 1–3, 5, 9) is Agent Aaron Hotchner's wife and the mother of his only son, Jack Hotchner, born in late 2005. The couple's marriage was troubled, as clues were revealed in season 3 that she may have been having an affair and walked out on him. She later appeared with divorce papers, and he accepted reluctantly so as not to cause any trouble for his son with the divorce. In the episode "100" (season 5), Haley and Jack were captured by a killer known as "The Reaper"; though Jack was saved, Haley was shot and died before Aaron could save her. Aaron later beat The Reaper to death. In the episode "Route 66", Hotch collapses from internal bleeding and dreams about Haley. She tells him that he should stop blaming himself for her death and to make sure Jack knows that he can talk about his mother's death. Haley leaves Hotch by telling him that he and Beth have a good relationship and he shouldn't mess it up by not telling her how he feels.
Jessica Brooks (Molly Baker; seasons 1, 3, 5, 9–11), is Agent Aaron Hotchner's sister-in-law, Jack's aunt, and Haley's sister.
Jordan Todd (Meta Golding; season 4) is SSA Jennifer Jareau's handpicked replacement to serve as the BAU's media director during Jennifer's maternity leave, from late 2008 through early 2009. Jordan had formerly served in the FBI counterterrorism division, but follows Jennifer for only one day of shadowing before Jennifer goes into labor. Jordan seemed to get along well with most of the team, even flirting platonically with SSA Derek Morgan. She is especially close with SSA David Rossi, who is seen to counsel her while they are on cases. However, Jordan has clashed several times with Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner. She eventually leaves when she decides she can't handle the stress that comes with her job.
Diana Reid (Jane Lynch; seasons 1–2, 4, 12 & 15) is the mother of BAU team member Dr. Spencer Reid. Like her son, she has a high IQ. She was once a university professor of literature, but suffers from schizophrenia and is hospitalized in a Las Vegas sanitarium, where Spencer committed her when he was 18. Her husband, William Reid, left prior to her diagnosis, because of his inability to cope with her illness, and he could not deal with protecting her after she witnessed a murder. She is functional when on her medication, but frequently lapses into regression to her university career. Diana spent much time reading aloud to Spencer while he was growing up, and he continues to write her a letter every day. She is proud of her son but disapproves of the FBI, as it is a government-run organization; she refers to his colleagues as "fascists". She seems to be showing signs of improvement in later episodes, when Reid states that she went on a supervised field trip to the Grand Canyon without feeling the need to notify Reid. However, she did not forget him, as Reid later receives a postcard and a gift from her.
William LaMontagne Jr. (Josh Stewart; seasons 2–5, 7–9, 11–15) is SSA Jennifer Jareau's husband and the father of Jennifer's sons, Henry and Michael. Will and Jennifer met while she was working a case in his hometown. As of early season 4, Will had moved to Virginia and is a stay-at-home dad for Henry until he became a detective for the Metropolitan Police Department (Washington D.C.) as shown in the season 7 finale ("Run"). It is also stated that the couple had made a deal that in a life-threatening situation, they would do everything so that one of them could live to look after Henry. Jennifer accepted his marriage proposal and they were married officially; however, when their son was born, they exchanged rings with insets of Henry's birthstone, citrine. He is seen briefly in the 100th episode getting medicine for Henry with Jennifer, as well as the episode "The Slave of Duty" (season 5), accompanying Jennifer and the team at Haley Hotchner's funeral. In the season 7 finale, Will works alongside JJ to stop the bank robbers and is eventually taken hostage. Afterward, they agree to get married and unknowingly attend a surprise wedding ceremony thrown by Rossi and Will.
Kevin Lynch (Nicholas Brendon; seasons 3–10) first appears in the episode "Penelope" (season 3), in which he is required to search Penelope Garcia's computer to learn who shot her. Kevin sends the team live video alerting that the unsub (unknown subject) is in the BAU headquarters. He is intensely impressed by Penelope's computer skills, and the feeling is mutual. At the end of the episode, Penelope is introduced to Kevin, and the two become romantically involved. In the episode "I Love You, Tommy Brown" (season 7), Kevin proposes to Penelope, but she turns him down, saying that "things are going too fast", and ultimately the couple break up.
Mateo Cruz (Esai Morales; seasons 9–10) takes over from the late Erin Strauss as the new BAU section chief in season 9. He has a past working relationship with JJ. It was revealed in "200" that the two had worked on a task force together in the Middle East. He was the only person to know of her pregnancy and miscarriage during her time on the task force. In the same episode, they are both kidnapped by Tivon Askari (Faran Tahir), who was a traitor within the task force. They are both physically and mentally tortured into giving the access codes given to them during the mission. He is shocked to discover that Michael Hastings (Tahmoh Penikett), one of the men with whom they had worked on the task force, was the mastermind behind the plan and threatened to rape JJ to give him the access codes. He gives in and is later stabbed by Askari, who is quickly killed by Hotch. Cruz is taken to the hospital following the incident and is believed to be alive. Several episodes later, he reappears in the season 9 finale, "Angels" and "Demons", when he asks the team to investigate a case brought to him by his friend Peter Coleman, the sheriff of Briscoe County, Texas. They first arrive to investigate a series of murders involving prostitutes, but as they investigate, the team soon finds that they are caught in a ring of corrupt deputies—ironically the only officer not involved being Sheriff Coleman—and find their lives in danger. After a fatal shootout with the corrupt, drug-peddling Preacher Mills (Brett Cullen), Sheriff Coleman is killed, Morgan is wounded, and Reid is critically wounded and hospitalized as a result. Distraught by this turn of events, Cruz travels to Texas with Garcia to help the team investigate and apprehend the ring leader, Deputy Owen McGregor (Michael Trucco). He is not seen again until late in season 10 (episode 19, "Beyond Borders") when he needs the BAU to help the FBI's international team, led by Jack Garrett (Gary Sinise), to catch an unsub who has kidnapped a family while on vacation in Barbados. The case is especially critical because this unsub has eluded both the domestic and international BAU teams by killing a family in Aruba, then in Florida one year later. This episode was the backdoor pilot for the upcoming spinoff, titled Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. He has not been seen since.
Savannah Hayes (Rochelle Aytes; seasons 9–11) Savannah Morgan (née Hayes) is Derek Morgan's wife. She works as a doctor at Bethesda General Hospital. Savannah first appeared in Season 9's "The Return", and it is presumed Morgan and Savannah started dating prior to Season 9, and first met after she approached him when he was depressed over a case that ended badly. Before they started dating they used to be neighbors. She was introduced to the show because Shemar Moore, the actor who portrays Morgan, requested that his character get a romantic partner.
Joy Struthers (Amber Stevens; seasons 10–11 & 14) is Rossi's daughter from his short-lived second marriage to French diplomat Hayden Montgomery. When they divorced, Hayden didn't tell him she was pregnant, and Joy thought her father was her mother's second husband, who finally told her the truth before dying from cancer. In the episode "Fate" (10x09), Joy seeks Rossi out and they're getting to know each other. Joy is a reporter and true-crime writer and is married. She has a 2-year-old son called Kai.
Kristy Simmons (Kelly Frye; seasons 13–15) is Matt Simmons' wife, and the mother of his four (later five) children.
This section needs expansionwith: inclusion of more reviews and summaries, for all seasons. You can help by adding to it. (April 2016)
The first season of Criminal Minds received mixed reviews from critics. It has a Metacritic score of 42 based on 21 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Dorothy Rabinowitz said, in her review for The Wall Street Journal, "From the evidence of the first few episodes, Criminal Minds may be a hit, and deservedly" and gave particular praise to Gubler and Patinkin's performances. Ned Martel in The New York Times was less positive, saying, "The problem with "Criminal Minds" is its many confusing maladies, applied to too many characters." The reviewer felt that "as a result, the cast seems like a spilled trunk of broken toys, with which the audience—and perhaps the creators—may quickly become bored." The Chicago Tribune reviewer, Sid Smith, felt that the show "may well be worth a look", though he too criticized the "confusing plots and characters". Writing in PopMatters, Marco Lanzagorta criticized the show after its premiere, saying it "confuses critical thinking with supernatural abilities" and that its characters conform to stereotypes. In the Los Angeles Times, Mary McNamara gave a similar review, and praised Patinkin and Gubler's performances.
Broadcast and ratings
In 2016, a study by The New York Times of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that "like several of the other police procedurals", Criminal Minds "is more popular in rural areas, particularly in the southeastern half of the country. It hits peak popularity in Alabama and rural Tennessee and is least popular in Santa Barbara, Calif."
Viewership and ratings per season of Criminal Minds
Criminal Minds typically ranks in the top-ten in Digital video recorder (DVR) playback, drawing in a range of 2 to 3 million viewers, according to Nielsen prime DVR lift data. For the week of October 10, 2010, the show peaked at sixth in DVR playback, gaining 2.40 million viewers, while also ranking seventh in demo playback (1.0 demo).
The Season 5 episode, "The Fight", introduced a second BAU team and launched a series called Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. The spin-off series debuted February 16, 2011, on CBS but was canceled after a short 13-episode season owing to low ratings. On September 6, 2011, CBS DVD released The Complete Series on a four-disc set. It was packaged as "The DVD Edition".
The series follows the FBI agents of the International Response Team (IRT) helping American citizens who are in trouble abroad. CBS aired a backdoor pilot on April 8, 2015 in the Criminal Minds slot, with a crossover episode titled "Beyond Borders". The second spin-off series debuted March 16, 2016, on CBS. On May 16, 2016, CBS renewed the series for a second season. On May 14, 2017, CBS canceled the series after two seasons due to low ratings.
CBS announced in October 2009 that Legacy Interactive would develop a video game based on the show. The game would require players to examine crime scenes for clues to help solve murder mysteries. The interactive puzzle game was released in 2012, but the show's cast was not involved with the project so it did not feature any of their voices. The second game, developed by Tilting Point, was released on November 20, 2018 for Android and iOS devices.
On February 19, 2021, it was reported that a revival of the series was in early development at Paramount+. On February 24, it was announced that a 10-episode revival was officially greenlit.
The Real Criminal Minds
A planned true-crime docuseries, titled The Real Criminal Minds was also ordered by Paramount+. The series will feature a real former FBI profiler and examine real cases and real behavior, illustrated by clips from the fictional Criminal Minds series.
Elle Greenaway is a fictional character from the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds, portrayed by Lola Glaudini throughout the first season and the beginning of the second season.
Dr. Spencer Reid or Spencer Walter Reid, is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds, portrayed by Matthew Gray Gubler. Reid is a genius with an IQ of 187 and can read 20,000 words per minute with an eidetic memory. He is the youngest member of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), has three BAs and three PhDs, and specializes in statistics and geographic profiling.
Jennifer "JJ" Jareau is a fictional character from the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds, portrayed by A. J. Cook.
Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner is a fictional character from the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds, portrayed by Thomas Gibson. He is a Supervisory Special Agent and the unit chief of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, and has appeared from the series' pilot episode "Extreme Aggressor", which was originally broadcast on September 22, 2005.
Derek Morgan is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds, portrayed by Emmy Award winner Shemar Moore. Morgan specializes in fixations and obsessive behaviors. He is a Supervisory Special Agent of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, briefly serves as interim unit chief. He has appeared from the series' pilot episode "Extreme Aggressor", which was originally broadcast on September 22, 2005. Before he left in season 11, he was one of only three main characters to appear since the first season as "starring", while also becoming the only character to appear in all episodes.
David Stephen Rossi is a fictional character in the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds, portrayed by Joe Mantegna. He is a Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, and has appeared from the episode "About Face", which was originally broadcast on October 31, 2007, during the show's third season. He is also portrayed as a younger man by Robert Dunne, in flashbacks as a Marine infantry private in Vietnam in 1969 and in his earlier years with the BAU in 1978.
Emily Prentiss is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds, portrayed by Paget Brewster. Prentiss first appeared in "The Last Word", replacing Agent Elle Greenaway, who had quit in "The Boogeyman". Her role in the show's sixth season was reduced, for what Brewster believed to be financial reasons. Brewster returned to her role for the show's seventh season. Her final episode as a main cast member was the May 16, 2012 episode "Run." Brewster reprised the role again in 2014 for the 200th episode. She returned as Prentiss following the departure of co-star Shemar Moore for the season 11 episode "Tribute".
The third season of Criminal Minds premiered on CBS on September 26, 2007 and ended May 21, 2008. The third season was originally to have featured 25 episodes; however, only 13 were completed before the Writers Guild of America strike (2007–08). Seven more episodes were produced after the strike, bringing the total number of episodes to 20 for the third season. Mandy Patinkin wanted to leave the series, since he loathed the violent nature of it. He was replaced by Joe Mantegna several episodes later.
The fourth season of Criminal Minds premiered on CBS on September 24, 2008, and ended May 20, 2009.
The fifth season of Criminal Minds premiered on CBS on September 23, 2009 and ended May 26, 2010. Episode 18 was a pilot episode for the spin-off series Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.
The sixth season of Criminal Minds premiered on CBS on September 22, 2010 and ended May 18, 2011.
The seventh season of Criminal Minds premiered on CBS in the United States on September 21, 2011. Both A. J. Cook and Paget Brewster were rehired by CBS to reprise their roles as Jennifer Jareau and Emily Prentiss. On February 15, 2012, Deadline Hollywood reported that Paget Brewster would leave the series, definitively, once season seven was over. All the other main actors on the show secured deals to return for the eighth season. The two-hour season finale, which took place on May 16, 2012, reveals Prentiss making the decision to leave the BAU.
The eighth season of Criminal Minds premiered on CBS on September 26, 2012. The series was renewed on March 14, 2012.
The eleventh season of Criminal Minds was ordered on May 11, 2015 by CBS. It premiered on September 30, 2015 on CBS and ended on May 4, 2016. The season consisted of 22 episodes.
The twelfth season of Criminal Minds was ordered on May 6, 2016, by CBS with an order of 22 episodes. The season premiered on September 28, 2016 and ended on May 10, 2017.
Matthew Simmons is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and Criminal Minds, portrayed by Daniel Henney.
Dr. Tara Elizabeth Lewis is a fictional character in the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds, portrayed by Aisha Tyler. Lewis is a forensic psychologist and a Supervisory Special Agent of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. Lewis first appeared in "The Job", originally serving as a temporary replacement for Agents Kate Callahan and Jennifer Jareau while they were both on maternity leave.
The fourteenth season of Criminal Minds was ordered on May 12, 2018, by CBS with an order of 15 episodes. The season premiered on October 3, 2018 and concluded on February 6, 2019. The season also featured the milestone 300th episode, which served as the season premiere.
The fifteenth and final season of Criminal Minds was ordered on January 10, 2019, with an order of 10 episodes. The season premiered on January 8, 2020, and concluded on February 19, 2020, with a two-hour series finale.