When the series premiered in September 2005, it featured FBI Agents Jason Gideon, Aaron Hotchner, Elle Greenaway, Derek Morgan, Spencer Reid, Jennifer "J.J." Jareau, and Penelope Garcia. For season one, Garcia was not a main cast member, but rather had a recurring role, although she appeared in most episodes. In 2006, at the start of season two, Lola Glaudini announced her departure from the show, as she wanted to return home to New York City. Paget Brewster replaced her in the role of Emily Prentiss.
At the start of season three, Mandy Patinkin announced his departure from the show because he was deeply disturbed by the content of the series. He left letters of apology for his fellow cast members, explaining his reasons and wishing them luck. Joe Mantegna replaced him as David Rossi, a best-selling author and FBI agent who comes out of retirement. During season three, A.J. Cook became pregnant with her first child. Her pregnancy was written into the show. Cook's son, Mekhai Andersen, has been written into a recurring role as Jennifer's son Henry. Cook's void was filled by Meta Golding, who played Jordan Todd, an FBI agent who works with the agency's Counter Terrorism Unit. In season six, Jennifer is forced to accept a promotion at The Pentagon, causing her to leave the BAU.
Later that season, Emily is seemingly killed off. Although she survives, she does not appear for the rest of the season. Cook and Brewster were both replaced by Rachel Nichols as Ashley Seaver, an FBI cadet. CBS's decision to release Cook and Brewster from their contracts resulted in numerous fans writing angry letters to the studio and signing protest petitions. CBS rehired Cook and Brewster as Jennifer Jareau and Emily Prentiss, respectively; Nichols was released. In February 2012, Brewster announced her departure from the show after the seventh season. She was replaced in the eighth season by Jeanne Tripplehorn, who played Alex Blake, a linguistics expert. Later in season nine, Paget Brewster made a special guest appearance, reprising her role as Emily Prentiss in the 200th episode.
After two seasons, Tripplehorn was released from the show. Jennifer Love Hewitt joined the cast as Kate Callahan, a former undercover FBI agent who joins the BAU. During season ten, Jason Gideon was killed off-screen. Executive producer and showrunner Erica Messer said CBS and ABC Studios were fine with the decision because it was clear that Patinkin would not come back again, but the show would feature him in a flashback if he were ever to return in the future. Following the conclusion of season ten, Hewitt and Cook announced that they'll both be on hiatus from the show due to their pregnancies. Hewitt did not return for season eleven, while Cook returned after the first seven episodes of season eleven. Aisha Tyler, who plays Dr. Tara Lewis, joined the show at the start of season eleven.
Later that season, Shemar Moore, who plays Derek Morgan, left the show after eleven seasons. He had thought to leave in the previous season when his contract ended but was convinced to stay to give his character a proper sendoff. Messer said the initial thought was for Moore to do six episodes, but when that didn't feel like enough, they settled on Moore doing the first eighteen episodes of that season and he departed in March 2016. He is replaced in the twelfth season by Adam Rodriguez, who plays Luke Alvez, a Fugitive Task Force Agent. A week after Moore left, Paget Brewster, who plays Emily Prentiss, made her second special guest appearance since leaving in season seven, her first being in season nine. In season twelve, Brewster will once again be a series regular on the show.
On August 10, 2016, it was announced that former recurring star Aisha Tyler would be promoted to series regular for the twelfth season. The next day, it was reported that Thomas Gibson, who portrays Aaron Hotchner, had been suspended from and written off the show for at least one, most likely two episodes in the twelfth season due to an on-set altercation with one of the producers. On August 12, 2016, Gibson was fired from the program due to this incident. On September 30, 2016, it was announced that Gibson's character would be replaced by Damon Gupton, who will play Special Agent 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.Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), Senior Supervisory Special Agent and Former BAU Unit Chief (seasons 1–3)
Gideon 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 look 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. In season ten, he is killed (off-screen) by a suspect he had tracked down from one of his first cases.
Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), Former BAU Unit Chief and Senior Supervisory Special Agent (seasons 1–12)
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 three. In the episode "100" (season 5), Haley is killed by fugitive serial 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 takes 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. Due to an onset altercation Thomas Gibson was removed from the main cast after Season 12, episode 2 at which point Gibson's character took a consulting job off screen, his full exit being addressed at a later episode.
Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini), Supervisory Special Agent (seasons 1–2)
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 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. 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 in her badge and gun to Aaron, declaring that it is "not an admission of guilt".
Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), Supervisory Special Agent (seasons 1–11)
Morgan is a confident, assertive, and often hot-tempered character. 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 seven premiere ("It Takes a Village"), Derek shows utter hatred towards 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 who Derek put away and later died while in custody. Derek escapes and when he learns his girlfriend Savannah is pregnant realizes 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.
Spencer Reid, Ph.D., (Matthew Gray Gubler), Supervisory Special Agent (seasons 1–present)
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 four, 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 Jareau (who helped in the cover up). 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. 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.
Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A.J. Cook), Former BAU Communications Liaison and Supervisory Special Agent (seasons 1–5, 7–present; guest season 6)
J.J. served as the Communications Liaison on the team to local police agencies in seasons one through five. She dates and marries William LaMontagne (Josh Stewart), a New Orleans Police Department Detective. 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 expressed his hope that she will return to the BAU in the future. Jennifer returned 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 seven premier 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".
Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), BAU Technical Analyst and BAU Communications Liaison (seasons 2–present; recurring season 1)
Garcia joined the BAU after bringing attention to herself by illegally accessing some of their equipment; 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 in 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. SSA Sam Cooper (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior) often calls when his team need her computer skills. Penelope is the godmother of Jennifer's son, Henry.
Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), Supervisory Special Agent and BAU Unit Chief (seasons 2–7, 12–present; guest seasons 9, 11)
Prentiss is the daughter of Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss (Kate Jackson). After SSA Elle Greenaway leaves the BAU, Assistant Director 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 as 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 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 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.
David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), Senior Supervisory Special Agent (seasons 3–present)
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 eight episode "The Fallen," it is revealed that David was a Marine in Vietnam. The season seven 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 eight 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 ten, 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.
Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols), FBI Cadet and Special Agent (season 6)
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 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.
Alex Blake, Ph.D., (Jeanne Tripplehorn), FBI linguistics expert, Supervisory Special Agent and Professor at Georgetown University (seasons 8–9)
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 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 whom he has never met. In the season nine 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.
Kate Callahan (Jennifer Love Hewitt), Former FBI Undercover Agent and Supervisory Special Agent (season 10)
Callahan, as mentioned in the season ten 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 ten, coinciding with the actress' real life pregnancy. At the end of Season 10 she decides to take a year off and raise her baby. As of Season 12 she has not returned but producer Erica Messer has stated the door was open should Jennifer Love Hewitt choose to return to the show.
Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler), Forensic Psychologist and Supervisory Special Agent (seasons 12–present; 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. In the process, she made herself find the humanity inside these broken men (and, sometimes, women) in order to learn if there was a conscience behind their brutal crimes. Lewis replaced both J.J. (A.J. Cook) and Kate (Jennifer Love Hewitt) while they were on maternity leave in the 11th Season.
Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez), Fugitive Task Force Agent and Supervisory Special Agent (season 12–present)
Alvez is a member of the FBI Fugitive Task Force that partners with the BAU to catch the escaped serial killers that escaped in the Season 11 finale. In the Season 12 premier 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 remembered who he was. After that Alvez decides to join the BAU full time. Alvez has a 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.
Stephen Walker (Damon Gupton), Supervisory Special Agent (season 12–present)
Erin Strauss (portrayed by Jayne Atkinson; seasons 2–8, 9; 23 episodes), 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 eight finale, the Replicator breaks into Strauss' 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 (portrayed by Meredith Monroe; seasons 1–5, 9; 14 episodes) 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 three 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.
Molly Baker as Jessica Brooks, Haley's sister.
Jordan Todd (portrayed by Meta Golding; season 4; 8 episodes) 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. She eventually leaves when she decides she can't handle the stress that comes with her job.
Dr. Diana Reid (portrayed by Jane Lynch; seasons 1–4, 12; 5 episodes) 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 eighteen. 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. (portrayed by Josh Stewart; season 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 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 seven finale, Will works alongside J.J. to stop the bank robbers and is eventually taken hostage. Afterwards, they agree to get married and unknowingly attend a surprise wedding ceremony thrown by Rossi and Will.
Kevin Lynch (portrayed by Nicholas Brendon; season 3–present) 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 (portrayed by Esai Morales; season 9–present) takes over from the late Erin Strauss as the new BAU section chief in season nine. He has a past working relationship with J.J. 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 J.J. to give him the access codes. He gives in and is later stabbed by Askari, who was 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 nine 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 temporarily 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.
Dr. Savannah Hayes (portrayed by Rochelle Aytes; season 9–11; 10 episodes) Savannah Morgan (née Hayes) is Derek Morgan's wife and she works as a doctor at Bethesda General Hospital. Savannah first appeared in Season Nine's "The Return" and it is presumed Morgan and Savannah started dating prior to Season Nine, 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, had requested that his character should get a romantic partner.
Joy Struthers (portrayed by Amber Stevens; season 10–present) 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 sought Rossi out and they're getting to know each other. Joy is a reporter and true crime writer and is married with a 2-year-old son called Kai.
Eleven complete seasons of Criminal Minds have been aired, and the twelfth season is currently in progress. As of March 1, 2017, 270 episodes of Criminal Minds have aired.
Criminal Minds has received mixed reviews from critics. The first season holds 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 performance. 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" 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." Writing in PopMatters, Marco Lanzagorta criticized the show after its premiere, saying it "confuses critical thinking with supernatural abilities" and its characters conform to stereotypes. In the Los Angeles Times, Mary McNamara gave a similar review, and praised Patinkin and Gubler's performances.
In 2016, a New York Times study 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.".
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Criminal Minds.
* The season two 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.
The show ranked number nine in DVR playback (2.35 million viewers), according to Nielsen prime DVR lift data from September 22& to 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.
Early seasons of Criminal Minds have begun airing on Rewind Networks's HITS TV channel in South East Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Criminal Minds has produced two spin-offs: Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, as well as a video game.
The season five episode "The Fight" introduced a second BAU team and launched a new 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 cast features Forest Whitaker as the lead role of Sam Cooper; including Janeane Garofalo, Michael Kelly, Beau Garrett, Matt Ryan, Richard Schiff, and Kirsten Vangsness, who reprises her role as Penelope Garcia from the original series.
A proposed new series in the Criminal Minds franchise to be named Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders was announced in January 2015. Former CSI: NY star Gary Sinise (who is also a producer on the show) and Anna Gunn were cast in the lead roles of Jack Garrett and Lily Lambert, though the latter departed after the backdoor pilot. Tyler James Williams has been cast as Russ "Monty" Montgomery and Daniel Henney as Matthew Simmons, with Alana de la Garza as Clara Seger and Annie Funke as Mae Jarvis further being cast as series regulars.
The series follows the FBI agents of the International Response Team (IRT) helping American citizens who find themselves 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.
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.