Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds Information

Criminal Minds is an American police procedural television program that premiered September 22, 2005, on CBS. The series follows a team of profilers from the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) based in Quantico, Virginia. The BAU is part of the FBI National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. The show differs from many procedural dramas by focusing on profiling the criminal, rather than the crime itself. The show is produced by The Mark Gordon Company in association with CBS Television Studios (originally Paramount Network Television then CBS Paramount Network Television) and ABC Studios (originally Touchstone Television).

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 did not feature any of the voices of the show's cast, nor was the cast involved with the project.

On March 14, 2012, CBS renewed Criminal Minds for an eighth season, which premiered on September 26, 2012.


When the series premiered in 2005, it featured FBI Agents Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), and the rest of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). For season one, the team was composed of Agents Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini), Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A.J. Cook), and Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness). During season one, Vangsness was not in the regular cast, but instead appeared as a guest star.

Casting has been ever-changing with the coming and going over multiple characters. In season two (2006"07), Elle leaves after episode six and is replaced in episode nine by Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), the daughter of an ambassador (Kate Jackson). In season three (2007"08), Jason departs after episode two, but he is replaced several episodes later by David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), a former FBI agent and best-selling author. In season six (2010"11), Jennifer leaves after episode two and is replaced by Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols). Later in season six, Emily leaves the show; and Cook returns, as a special guest star, to participate in Prentiss' final episode.

For season seven (2011"12), Cook had signed a two-year contract to return as a series regular at the end of season six and for the beginning of season seven. Brewster also returned as a series regular for season seven. In May 2011, CBS chose not to pick up Nichols' contract for a second season. Moore's and Gibson's contracts were both renewed. Paget Brewster left the show after season seven, and it was later revealed that Jeanne Tripplehorn would join the cast as Brewster's replacement.


Main article: List of Criminal Minds characters
Character Played by Position Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Aaron Hotchner Thomas Gibson Unit Chief / Senior Supervisory Special Agent colspan="8"
Derek Morgan Shemar Moore Supervisory Special Agent / Tactical Trainer colspan="8"
Spencer Reid Matthew Gray Gubler Supervisory Special Agent colspan="8"
Jennifer Jareau A. J. Cook Supervisory Special Agent / Former Communications Liaison colspan="5" colspan="1" colspan="2"
Penelope Garcia Kirsten Vangsness Technical Analyst / Communications Liaison colspan="7"
David Rossi Joe Mantegna Senior Supervisory Special Agent colspan="2" colspan="6"
Alex Blake Jeanne Tripplehorn FBI Linguistics Expert colspan="7"
Jason Gideon Mandy Patinkin Senior Supervisory Special Agent colspan="3" colspan="7"
Elle Greenaway Lola Glaudini Supervisory Special Agent colspan="2" colspan="8"
Emily Prentiss Paget Brewster Supervisory Special Agent colspan="6"
Ashley Seaver Rachel Nichols FBI Cadet colspan="5" colspan="2"
  • Although only guest-starring in the first two episodes of the sixth season, A. J. Cook was still billed as a member of the main cast in them. She later appeared as a "special guest-star" in two more episodes that season.


  • Aaron Hotchner (portrayed by Thomas Gibson) is the Unit Chief of the BAU team. He 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 three. In the season five episode "100", Haley is killed by fugitive serial killer George Foyet (C. Thomas Howell), also known as "The Reaper", whom Aaron fights and beats to death. He also has a son named Jack Hotchner (Cade Owens), and a brother named Sean Hotchner, who appears one time in the first season. After Haley is murdered, he receives sole custody of Jack, and Haley's sister, Jessica Brooks, helps him with taking care of Jack. Aaron is now dating a woman named Beth Clemmons (Bellamy Young), who first appears in the season seven episode, "The Bittersweet Science".
  • Derek Morgan (portrayed by Shemar Moore), is a Supervisory Special Agent (and served as interim unit chief for SSA Aaron Hotchner), is a confident, assertive, and often hot-tempered character. Raised by his mother Fran, along with his two sisters, Sarah Morgan and Desiree Benita, Derek was a troubled Chicago youth headed for juvenile delinquency. He was rescued and mentored by Carl Buford (Julius Tennon) who is later arrested for child molestation; Derek had been one of his victims. After developing an interest in football, he attended Northwestern University on a scholarship. After a football injury left him unable to play football, he joined the Chicago Police Department's bomb squad, then moved to the BAU. He has a special relationship with Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia, and the two have a unique shorthand and banter. In season seven premiere "It Takes a Village," Derek shows complete hatred towards Ian Doyle (Timothy V. Murphy) for killing SSA Emily Prentiss, but when Emily returns alive, he has mixed feelings.
  • Dr. Spencer Reid (portrayed by Matthew Gray Gubler), is a Supervisory Special Agent. He is a genius who graduated from Las Vegas High School at age 12, and holds PhDs in Mathematics, Chemistry, and Engineering, as well as BAs in Psychology and Sociology, and, as of season four, is working on a BA 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' introductions 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 the season seven episode "Proof", Spencer completely ignores SSA Jennifer Jareau for not telling him the that SSA Emily Prentiss was alive. Spencer is also the godfather of Jennifer's son Henry.
  • Jason Gideon (portrayed by Mandy Patinkin) is a Senior Supervisory Special Agent and is widely known as the BAU's best profiler. After a series of emotionally troubling cases, and the murder of his friend 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 come looking for him. When Spencer arrives at the cabin, it is empty except for the letter and Jason's badge 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.
  • David Rossi (portrayed by Joe Mantegna) is a Senior Supervisory Special Agent and is a highly experienced profiler who once worked the BAU in its origins, then took early retirement to write books and go on lecture tours about criminal analysis, until volunteering to return shortly after SSA Jason Gideon's departure. He has been married three times. In the season seven episode "From Childhood's Hour," David reconnects with his first wife, Carolyn Baker (Isabella Hofmann), who has shocking news for him. It is revealed that she came to him because she was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). In the next episode "Epilogue", Carolyn dies of a drug overdose. It is also revealed that he has a son who died in this episode. In the season eight episode "The Fallen" it is revealed that David was a Marine in Vietnam.
  • Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (portrayed by A. J. Cook), is a Supervisory Special Agent. In seasons one through five, she served as the Communications Liaison to local police agencies. She dates (and later marries) William LaMontagne (Josh Stewart), a New Orleans Police Officer, and the two have a son together, Henry LaMontagne (Mekhai Andersen). In the season six episode "JJ", Jennifer is forced to accept a promotion at the Pentagon, causing her departure from the team, although Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner expressed his hope that she will return to the BAU in the future. Jennifer returned in the season six episode "Lauren" to assist the team in finding SSA Emily Prentiss. In the season six finale "Supply and Demand", Jennifer meets with SSA David Rossi, informing him that she is returning to the BAU. As of season seven, Jennifer is now a legitimate profiler, thus Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia took over as Communications Liaison.
  • Elle Greenaway (portrayed by Lola Glaudini) is a Supervisory Special Agent. Elle 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 one finale "The Fisher King (Part 1)". In the season two premiere "The Fisher King (Part 2)", Elle survives and returns to duty, sooner than SSA Jason Gideon and Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner would like to see. Several episodes later, while alone on stakeout of a suspected serial rapist, she shoots the man in cold blood. The local police deem it self-defense, but Jason and Aaron question her ability as a profiler after this. Elle resigns, turning her badge and her gun in to Aaron, with the declaration that this is "not an admission of guilt."
  • Emily Prentiss (portrayed by Paget Brewster) is a Supervisory Special Agent. She is the daughter of Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss (Kate Jackson). After SSA Elle Greenaway leaves the BAU, Emily shows up with papers assigning her to the BAU. Emily is also fluent in several languages, such as Spanish, French, Greek and Arabic, and has a working knowledge in Italian, but it is revealed that Emily has lost comprehension of her other known language, Russian. She is apparently killed while being held hostage by Ian Doyle (Timothy V. Murphy) in the season six episode "Lauren," 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 with passports and a bank account for protection. In the season seven premiere "It Takes a Village", she returns alive and well, much to the team's surprise. In the season seven finale "Run", Emily decides to leave the BAU after accepting a job to run the Interpol Office in London. She is last seen at the wedding of JJ and New Orleans Police Officer William LaMontagne.
  • Penelope Garcia (portrayed by Kirsten Vangsness) is the team's Technical Analyst. She joined the BAU after bringing attention upon herself by illegally accessing some of their equipment; she is offered a job in lieu of a jail sentence. 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 in for information. She was once shot and almost killed by Jason Clark Battle (Bailey Chase) who lured her on a date in the season three episode "Lucky". When SSA Jennifer Jareau leaves the BAU, Penelope takes over her job as Communications Liaison. Penelope is also the godmother of Jennifer's son Henry.
  • Ashley Seaver (portrayed by Rachel Nichols) is an FBI Cadet training at the FBI Academy in Quantico who 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 season six episode "... With Friends Like These", she graduated from the Academy and had been added to the team as a "probationary agent". In the season seven premiere "It Takes a Village", Jennifer reveals to Emily that Ashley transferred to the Domestic Trafficking Task Force, which is led by Andi Swann (Amy Price-Francis).
  • Alex Blake (portrayed by Jeanne Tripplehorn) is an FBI Linguistics Expert and professor at Georgetown University who joins the BAU after SSA Emily Prentiss transfers to the Interpol Office in London. Alex first appears in the season eight 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 who he has never met.


  • Haley Hotchner, portrayed by Meredith Monroe (recurring seasons 1"5), 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 in season 3 clues were revealed she may have been having an affair, and walked out on Hotchner. She later appeared with divorce papers, and Hotchner accepted reluctantly, to not cause any trouble to his son with the divorce. In Season 5, in episode 100, Haley was put in danger along with Jack, in the hands of "The Reaper" or George Foyett, though Jack is saved, Haley was shot, and died before Aaron Hotchner could save her, though he later beat The Reaper to death in his own household.
  • Jordan Todd, portrayed by 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 only follows Jennifer for 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 clashed several times with Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner.
  • Dr. Diana Reid, portrayed by Jane Lynch (seasons 1"4), is the mother of BAU team member Dr. Spencer Reid. Like her son, she has a high IQ and 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 eighteen. Her husband William Reid (Taylor Nichols) 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 and she refers to his colleagues as "fascists".
  • Erin Strauss, portrayed by Jayne Atkinson (seasons 2"present), is the BAU Unit Chief's direct superior. Her FBI experience lies in administration, as she has no actual field experience. Strauss proves to be 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 season six episode "JJ". She is also revealed to have a drinking problem in one episode, which she is temporarily suspended from her job by and given help, the help being recommended by Derek Morgan and Aaron Hotchner.
  • Kevin Lynch, portrayed by Nicholas Brendon (seasons 3"present), first appears in the season 3 episode "Penelope", 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 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 have been romantically involved ever since. In the season seven episode "I Love You, Tommy Brown" Kevin proposes to Penelope, but she turns him down saying "things are going too fast" but by the end of season seven, the two seem set on reuniting.
  • William LaMontagne, Jr., portrayed by Josh Stewart (seasons 2"present), is SSA Jennifer Jareau's husband and the father of Jennifer's son, Henry LaMontagne. Will and Jennifer met while she was working a case in his hometown. As of early season four, 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 DC) as shown in the season seven 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 did exchange 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 season five episode "The Slave of Duty", accompanying Jennifer and the team at Haley Hotchner's funeral.


Main article: List of Criminal Minds episodes
Seven complete seasons of Criminal Minds have been aired, with the eighth season starting on September 26, 2012. , a total of 178 episodes have aired.

Season No. of episodes Originally aired DVD release date
Season premiere Season finale North America (R1) United Kingdom (R2) Australia (R4) Discs
1 22 6
2 23 6
3 20 5
4 26 7
5 23 6
6 24 November 28, 2011 November 30, 2011 6
7 24 6
8 24


The spin-off debuted February 16, 2011, on CBS but was canceled after a short 13 episode season due to low ratings.

Critical reception

Despite the first two seasons receiving largely positive reviews, subsequent reviews have been mixed. The show holds a Metacritic score of 42/100 as of May 11, 2012.

Dorothy Rabinowitz said, in her review for the Wall Street Journal, that "From the evidence of the first few episodes, Criminal Minds may be a hit, and deservedly" and gave particular praise to both Matthew Gray Gubler and Mandy Patinkin's performance.

The New York Times was less than positive, saying "The problem with "Criminal Minds" is its many confusing maladies, applied to too many characters" and 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."

PopMatters panned the show, saying the show "confuses critical thinking with supernatural abilities" and criticized the "stereotypical characters". The Los Angeles Times gave a similar review. However, both reviewers praised Patinkin and Gubler's performances.

American ratings


Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Criminal Minds.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
Season Episodes Timeslot (EST) Original Airing Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Season premiere 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 TBA 2013 2012"13 No. 16 13.02
  • In season 2 episode "The Big Game" Criminal Minds set a series high rating by attracting an audience of 26.31 million viewers and a 18"49 rating of 9.3.


The show ranked number nine in DVR playback (2.35 million viewers), according to Nielsen prime DVR lift data from September 22, 2008 " November 23, 2008.

For the week of October 10, 2010, Criminal Minds ranked sixth in DVR playback (2.40 million viewers), and seventh in the demo playback (1.0 demo) according to Nielsen prime DVR lift data.


The series is in syndication on A&E Network and ION Television.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Criminal_Minds" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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