Criminal Minds is a CBS network drama series created by Jeff Davis that premiered on September 22, 2005 where it has been airing for 14 seasons & 314 episodes.
On January 10, 2019, the show was renewed for its fifteenth and final season.
The focal point of the series is about a group of FBI profilers who set about catching various criminals through behavioral profiling.
The plot focuses on the team working cases and also the personal lives of the characters, depicting the hardened life and statutory requirements of a profiler.
- Mandy Patinkin as Jason Gideon (seasons 1-3)
- Thomas Gibson as Aaron Hotchner (seasons 1-12)
- Lola Glaudini as Elle Greenaway (seasons 1-2)
- Shemar Moore as Derek Morgan (seasons 1-11)
- Matthew Gray Gubler as Dr. Spencer Reid (season 1-present)
- A.J. Cook as Jennifer Jareau (seasons 1–5, 7–present; recurring season 6)
- Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia (seasons 2–present; recurring season 1)
- Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss (seasons 2–7, 12–present; guest seasons 9, 11)
- Joe Mantegna as David Rossi (seasons 3–present)
- Rachel Nichols as Ashley Seaver (season 6)
- Jeanne Tripplehorn as Dr. Alex Blake (seasons 8–9)
- Jennifer Love Hewitt as Kate Callahan (season 10)
- Aisha Tyler as Dr. Tara Lewis (seasons 12–present; recurring season 11)
- Adam Rodriguez as Luke Alvez (seasons 12–present)
- Damon Gupton as Stephen Walker (season 12)
- Daniel Henney as Matt Simmons (season 13-present; guest seasons 10, 12)
Development and casting
When "Criminal Minds" premiered in September of 2005, it featured FBI agents Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini), Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A. J. Cook), and Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness).
For the first season, Garcia was not a main cast member, but rather had a recurring role, although she appeared in most of the episodes.
Lola Glaudini departed the series in the second season to return to live in New York City and was replaced by Paget Brewster in the role of Emily Prentiss.
Mandy Patinkin departed the series at the start of the third season due to being disturbed by the show's content.
Joe Mantegna replaced him as David Rossi, a best-selling author and FBI agent who comes out of retirement.
During this season, A.J. Cook became pregnant with her first child and the pregnancy was written into the show. She 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 the sixth season, 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 A.J. Cook and Paget 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 from the show.
Brewster then departed from the series after that season and was replaced in the eighth season by Jeanne Tripplehorn, who played Alex Blake, a linguistics expert. However, Brewster did make a guest appearance in the series' 200th episode.
After two seasons, Tripplehorn was released from the show and 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.
Shemar Moore departed later that same season; he had considered leaving in the tenth season when his previous contract ended, but he 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 the series, Paget Brewster made her second special guest appearance; in season 12, she 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, Thomas Gibson was suspended and later fired from the program due to an on-set altercation with one of the producers; his character, Aaron 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 will bring his spy-hunting skills to the BAU. Gumpton'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 the 13th season.
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 Mandy Patinkin & Matthew Gray Gubler's performances.
Ned Martel of 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 & Gubler's performances.
|Season||Episodes||Time slot (EST)||Original airing||Rank||Viewers|
|Season première||Season finale||TV season|
|1||22||Wednesday 9:00 pm||September 22, 2005||May 10, 2006||2005–06||No. 28||12.63|
|2||23||September 20, 2006||May 16, 2007||2006–07||No. 24||14.05|
|3||20||September 26, 2007||May 21, 2008||2007–08||No. 24||12.78|
|4||26||September 24, 2008||May 20, 2009||2008–09||No. 11||14.95|
|5||23||September 23, 2009||May 26, 2010||2009–10||No. 16||13.70|
|6||24||September 22, 2010||May 18, 2011||2010–11||No. 10||14.11|
|7||24||September 21, 2011||May 16, 2012||2011–12||No. 15||13.20|
|8||24||September 26, 2012||May 22, 2013||2012–13||No. 20||12.15|
|9||24||September 25, 2013||May 14, 2014||2013–14||No. 12||12.66|
|10||23||October 1, 2014||May 6, 2015||2014–15||No. 11||14.11|
|11||22||September 30, 2015||May 4, 2016||2015–16||No. 16||12.20|
|12||22||September 28, 2016||May 10, 2017||2016-17|
|13||22||Wednesday 10:00pm||September 27, 2017||April 18, 2018||2017-18|
|14||15||October 3, 2018||February 6, 2019||2018-19|
Wednesday 9:00 pm
|January 8, 2020||February 19, 2020||2019-20|
*Note: the season 2 episode "The Big Game" achieved a series-high rating by attracting an audience of 26.31 million viewers and an 18–49 rating of 9.3.