Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds
Criminal Minds
Criminal Minds Title Card.png
Criminal Minds title card
Format Police procedural,
Drama, Thriller
Created by Jeff Davis
Starring Mandy Patinkin
Thomas Gibson
Lola Glaudini
Shemar Moore
Matthew Gray Gubler
AJ Cook
Kirsten Vangsness
Paget Brewster
Joe Mantegna
Rachel Nichols
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 146 (List of episodes)
Running time 45 minutes
Production company(s) The Mark Gordon Company (2005–present)
Touchstone Television (2005–2007)
ABC Studios (2007–present)
Paramount Television (2005–2006)
CBS Paramount Television (2006–2009)
CBS Television Studios (2009–present)
Original channel CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original run September 22, 2005 (2005-09-22) – present
Related shows Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2011)
External links
Production website

Criminal Minds is an American police procedural drama 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.[1] Criminal Minds differs from many procedural dramas by focusing on the criminal rather than the crime itself. The show is produced by The Mark Gordon Company in association with CBS Television Studios and ABC Studios.

On May 18, 2011, CBS renewed the series for a seventh season which premiered on September 21, 2011.[2]

CBS announced in October 2009 that Legacy Interactive will develop a video game based on the show. The game will require players to examine crime scenes for clues to help solve murder mysteries. The game is scheduled to come out in late 2011.[3][dated info]



Initially, the series centered on Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), and the rest of the Behavioral Analysis Unit, hereafter referred to as the BAU team. For the first season, that team is composed of Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini), Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), Jennifer "JJ" Jareau, (AJ Cook), and Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness). When the series premiered, Vangsness was not in the regular cast, appearing instead as a guest star.

A scene from the filming of season 6 of Criminal Minds.

During the second season, Greenaway left after the sixth episode and is replaced in the ninth episode of that season by Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster). At the start of the third season, Gideon departs after the second episode and is replaced several episodes later by David Rossi (Joe Mantegna). During the sixth season, JJ leaves after the second episode. A new character Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols) is introduced in Season 6. Also, later on in the sixth season, Prentiss leaves the show. AJ Cook returned to the show to participate in Brewster's final episode, billed as a "special guest star".

For the seventh season, it was announced that Cook signed a two year contract to return as a series regular at the end of the sixth season and for the beginning of the seventh season and it was also announced that Brewster would actually be returning as Prentiss as a series regular for season seven.[4][5] Nichols' contract was not extended for season seven, meaning she departed the cast. Moore's and Gibson's contracts were both renewed and their salaries were both raised.


Name Portrayed by Occupation Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Aaron Hotchner Thomas Gibson Unit Chief Main
Jason Gideon Mandy Patinkin Senior Supervisory Special Agent Main
David Rossi Joe Mantegna Senior Supervisory Special Agent Main
Elle Greenaway Lola Glaudini Supervisory Special Agent Main
Emily Prentiss Paget Brewster Supervisory Special Agent Main
Derek Morgan Shemar Moore Supervisory Special Agent Main
Spencer Reid Matthew Gray Gubler Supervisory Special Agent Main
Jennifer Jareau AJ Cook Supervisory Special Agent /Former Media Director Main Recurring Main
Penelope Garcia Kirsten Vangsness Technical Analyst /Media Director Recurring Main
Ashley Seaver Rachel Nichols FBI Cadet Main


  • Aaron Hotchner, portrayed by Thomas Gibson (Season 1−present), is the unit chief of the BAU team. Hotchner 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 divorces him in the third season of the show. Haley is later killed by a fugitive serial killer, known as "The Reaper", in the fifth season. He also has a son named Jack, and a brother who appeared one time on the first season of the show. After Haley was murdered, he received sole custody of Jack. Haley's sister helps him with the child's care.
  • David Rossi, portrayed by Joe Mantegna (Season 3, episode 6−present), 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.
  • Derek Morgan, portrayed by Shemar Moore (Season 1−present), is a Supervisory Special Agent and is a confident, assertive, and often hot-tempered character. Raised by a single mother along with two sisters, Derek was a troubled Chicago youth headed for juvenile delinquency. He was rescued and mentored by a man who is later arrested for child molestation; Morgan had been one of his victims. After developing an interest in football, he attended Northwestern University on a scholarship. After this, 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's "It Takes a Village," Morgan shows complete hatred towards Ian Doyle for killing Prentiss, but when Prentiss returns, he has mixed feelings.
  • Emily Prentiss, portrayed by Paget Brewster (Season 2, episode 9−present), is a Supervisory Special Agent. She is the daughter of Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss. After SSA Elle Greenaway leaves the BAU, Prentiss shows up with papers assigning her to the BAU. Emily is also fluent in some languages, such as Arabic and Spanish, 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 in the season six episode entitled "Lauren," but in the last scene of the episode it is suggested that she survived her encounter with Doyle. J.J. meets Prentiss at a cafe in Paris where she provides her with three passports and bank accounts to start a new life in hiding from Doyle. On May 28, 2011, it was announced that Brewster would be returning as Prentiss as a series regular for the next season. In "It Takes a Village" she returns, and it is shown that she loves children.
  • Dr. Spencer Reid, portrayed by Matthew Gray Gubler (Season 1−present), is a Supervisory Special Agent. He is the youngest BAU member. He is a genius who graduated from a Las Vegas public high school at age 12, and holds PhDs in Mathematics, Chemistry, and Engineering, as well as BAs in Psychology and Sociology, and, as of the fourth season, is working on a BA in Philosophy. It has been revealed that he has an IQ of 187, and has an eidetic memory. Reid joined the FBI in 2004. Most of the members on the team are intimidated by his profound knowledge. He is habitually introduced as "Dr. Reid", in contrast to the other agents' introductions as "Supervisory Special Agent". The purpose of this, as explained by Hotchner in the pilot episode, is to create a respectable first impression of Reid, deflecting judgments about his age. His mother suffers from schizophrenia, and is currently committed to a mental institution. Reid is also the godfather of fellow Supevisory Special Agent Jennifer Jareau's son Henry.
  • Jennifer "JJ" Jareau, portrayed by AJ Cook (Season 1−5; Season 6, 4 episodes; Season 7−present), is a Supervisory Special Agent. In Seasons 1-5, she acted as the Media Liaison to local police agencies. She is dating William LaMontagne, a New Orleans police officer, and the two have a son together, Henry. At the beginning of the sixth season, Jareau was forced to take a promotion to the Pentagon, causing her departure from the team, although Unit Chief Hotchner expressed his hope that she will return to the BAU in the future. JJ returned in the episode titled "Lauren" to help the team find Agent Prentiss. She returned once again in the season finale for the sixth season, before returning as a full-time cast member once again in season seven when Cook signed a two-year deal to return as a series regular. She is now a full-time profiler.
  • Penelope Garcia, portrayed by Kirsten Vangsness (Recurring season 1; Seasons 2−present), is the team's technical analyst. She joined the Bureau after bringing attention upon herself by illegally accessing some of their equipment; she was 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 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 an unsub who lured her on a date.Garcia is also the godmother of Supervisory Special Agent Jennifer Jareau's son Henry.
  • Elle Greenaway, portrayed by Lola Glaudini (Season 1; Season 2, episodes 1−6), was a Supervisory Special Agent. Greenaway was formerly assigned to the FBI Field Office in Seattle, Washington, and assigned to the BAU as an expert in sexual offense crimes. Greenaway suffers extreme emotional trauma after being shot by an unidentified subject in the season one cliffhanger. In the opening episode of season two she survives and returns to duty, sooner than SSA Jason Gideon and Hotchner would like to see. Several episodes later, while alone on stakeout of a suspected serial rapist unsub, she shoots the man in cold blood. The local police deem it self-defense, but Gideon and Hotchner question her ability as a profiler after this. She resigns, turning her badge and her gun in to Hotchner, with the declaration that this is "not an admission of guilt."
  • Jason Gideon, portrayed by Mandy Patinkin (Season 1−2; season 3, episodes 1−2), was a Senior Supervisory Special Agent and is widely known as the BAU's best profiler. After a series of emotionally taxing cases, and the murder of his friend Sarah in his own house by a fugitive serial killer, he begins to feel burned out. The last straw occurs when Hotchner is suspended for two weeks by the team's boss — an action for which Gideon feels responsible. He retreats to his cabin and leaves a letter for Reid, who he knows will be the one to come looking for him. When Reid arrives at the cabin, it is empty except for the letter and Gideon's badge and firearm. Gideon 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.
  • Ashley Seaver, portrayed by Rachel Nichols (Season 6, episode 15-24; Recurring Season 6, episode 10-14), was an FBI Cadet training at the FBI Academy in Quantico. She shadowed the BAU to help with the investigation into murders in a gated community. She was chosen due to her unique background; her father was a horrific serial killer who murdered dozens of women before being caught by the BAU, incidentally. At first, Hotchner was going to make her a special, one-time consultant to the BAU, but Rossi allowed her to finish her remedial training with the team, under the supervision of SSA Prentiss. In "... With Friends Like These," she graduated from the Academy and had been added to the team as a "probationary agent." Nichols's contract was not included for season seven, and her character departed the show off-screen. In the season seven premiere it was revealed that Seaver was transferred to another unit.


  • Haley Hotchner, portrayed by Meredith Monroe (recurring seasons 1–5), was Agent Hotchner's wife and the mother of his only son Jack, born in late 2005. The couple's marriage is troubled, due to Haley's perception of Hotch being more devoted to his job and BAU team than to his family. This subplot progresses, and by the end of the second episode of season 3, Haley moves out, taking Jack with her. Later in the season, Haley serves Hotch with divorce papers, which he decides to sign without contest in order to save his relationship with his son. Haley is occasionally referred to but not seen again until the first episode of season 5 when The Reaper stabs Hotch and steals Haley's address. Hotch has them put into protective custody. Hotch becomes obsessed with bringing The Reaper to justice so he can see his son and his ex-wife again. In episode 9 of season 5, The Reaper kills the US Marshal assigned to protect Haley, then lures her to Hotch's home, telling her that he is the replacement and that Hotch is dead. Meeting her alone at the house, he forces her at gunpoint to phone Hotch so he can hear his ex-wife and son being killed. Hotch gives Jack a coded message to hide and says a tearful goodbye to Haley before The Reaper shoots her. Hotch reaches the house ahead of the rest of his team and engages in a life-or-death fist fight with The Reaper. He beats him to death, then finds his son alive in his hiding place.
  • Jordan Todd, portrayed by Meta Golding (Season 4), was Jareau's handpicked replacement to serve as the BAU's Media Director during Jareau's maternity leave, from late 2008 through early 2009. Todd had formerly served in the FBI Counterterrorism Division, but only follows Jareau for one day of shadowing before Jareau goes into labor. Todd seemed to get along well with most of the team, even flirting platonically with Derek Morgan. She was especially close with David Rossi, who is seen to counsel her while they are on cases. However, Todd clashed several times with Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner.
  • Dr. Diana Reid, portrayed by Jane Lynch (Seasons 1–present), 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 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, and she has never been in the field. Strauss proves to be only concerned with herself and appearances within the Bureau, going so far as to force JJ to accept a promotion to the Pentagon.
  • William LaMontagne, Jr, portrayed by Josh Stewart (Seasons 2–present), is JJ's boyfriend and father of JJ's son, Henry. As of early season 4, Will had moved to Virginia, and is apparently now serving as stay-at-home dad to their son, Henry. JJ has not, as yet, canonically accepted the marriage proposal, but they did exchange rings with insets of Henry's birthstone, citrine. He is seen briefly in the 100th episode getting medicine for Henry with JJ, as well as "The Slave of Duty," accompanying JJ and the team at Haley's funeral.
  • Kevin Lynch, portrayed by Nicholas Brendon (Seasons 3–present), first appeared in 3x09 ("Penelope"), in which he was required to search Garcia's computer to learn who shot her. Kevin sent the team live video alerting that the unsub was in the BAU headquarters. He was intensely impressed by Penelope's computer skills, and the feeling was mutual. At the end of the episode, Garcia was introduced to Kevin, and the two have been romantically involved ever since.


Six complete seasons of Criminal Minds have been aired, with the seventh season starting on September 21, 2011. As of November 16, 2011, a total of 146 episodes have aired.

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release date
Season premiere Season finale United States (R1) United Kingdom (R2) Australia (R4) Discs
1 22 September 22, 2005 (2005-09-22) May 10, 2006 (2006-05-10) November 28, 2006 (2006-11-28)[6] February 12, 2007 (2007-02-12)[7] November 3, 2007 (2007-11-03)[8] 6
2 23 September 20, 2006 (2006-09-20) May 16, 2007 (2007-05-16) October 2, 2007 (2007-10-02)[9] May 5, 2008 (2008-05-05)[10] April 1, 2008 (2008-04-01)[11] 6
3 20 September 26, 2007 (2007-09-26) May 21, 2008 (2008-05-21) September 16, 2008 (2008-09-16)[12] April 6, 2009 (2009-04-06)[13] March 18, 2009 (2009-03-18)[14] 5
4 26 September 24, 2008 (2008-09-24) May 20, 2009 (2009-05-20) September 8, 2009 (2009-09-08)[15] March 1, 2010 (2010-03-01)[16] March 9, 2010 (2010-03-09)[17] 7
5 23 September 23, 2009 (2009-09-23) May 26, 2010 (2010-05-26) September 7, 2010 (2010-09-07)[18] February 28, 2011 (2011-02-28) March 2, 2011 (2011-03-02) 6
6 24 September 22, 2010 (2010-09-22) May 18, 2011 (2011-05-18) September 6, 2011 (2011-09-06)[19] November 28, 2011 [20] N/A 6 [21]
7 24 [22] September 21, 2011 (2011-09-21)[23] Spring 2012 N/A N/A N/A N/A


The spin-off debuted on February 16, 2011 on CBS[24] but was cancelled after a short thirteen episode season.[25]

Television broadcasting

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 P.M. September 22, 2005 May 10, 2006 2005–06 #28 12.63[26]
2 23 September 20, 2006 May 16, 2007 2006–07 #24 14.05[27]
3 20 September 26, 2007 May 21, 2008 2007–08 #24 12.78[28]
4 26 September 24, 2008 May 20, 2009 2008–09 #11 14.95[29]
5 23 September 23, 2009 May 26, 2010 2009–10 #16 13.70[30]
6 24 September 22, 2010 May 18, 2011 2010–11 #10 14.11[31]
7 24 September 21, 2011 2012 2011–12 #11 15.04[32]
  • In season 2 episode "The Big Game" Criminal Minds set a series rating by attracting an audience of 26.31 million viewers and a 18-49 rating of 9.3.[33]

The show ranked number nine in DVR playback (2.35 million viewers), according to Nielsen prime DVR lift data from 9/22/08 - 11/23/08.[34]

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.[35]


The series is now in syndication on A&E Network and ION Television.[36] Both networks edit the show for profanity; A&E likely for both timing reasons and the ability to air the show in marathon runs in the morning and afternoon hours.


  1. ^ NCAVC homepage
  2. ^ CBS 2011-12 Primetime Schedule Revealed
  3. ^ "CBS Consumer Products Announces Eight New Video Games Based on Popular TV Shows" (Press release). CBS Interactive. October 29, 2009. 
  4. ^ JJ Is Back! AJ Cook Inks 2-Year Deal To Return To 'Criminal Minds'
  5. ^ It's Official: Criminal Minds Welcomes Back Paget Brewster, Bids Farewell to Rachel Nichols
  6. ^ "Criminal Minds - The First Season". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Criminal Minds - Season 1 Complete". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Criminal Minds - The 1st Season". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Criminal Minds - The Second Season". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Criminal Minds - Season 2 Complete". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Criminal Minds - The 2nd Season". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Criminal Minds: Season 3". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Criminal Minds - Season 3 Complete". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Criminal Minds - Season 3". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Criminal Minds: The Complete Fourth Season". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Criminal Minds Season 4". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Criminal Minds - Season 4". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Criminal Minds: The Complete Fifth Season". Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Criminal Minds: The Complete Sixth Season". Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Seidman, Robert (June 29, 2011). "CBS Announces Fall 2011 Premiere Dates". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  24. ^ Nellie Andreeva (17 May 2010). "CBS Picks Up 'Criminal Minds' Spinoff To Series". Retrieved 17 May 2010. 
  25. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 17, 2011). "CBS renews 'CSI:NY', cancels 'Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  26. ^ "ABC Television Network 2005–2006 Primetime Ranking Report". (May 31, 2006). ABC Medianet. Retrieved November 6, 2007.
  27. ^ "ABC Television Network 2006–2007 Primetime Ranking Report". (May 30, 2007). ABC Medianet. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  28. ^ "ABC Television Network 2007–2008 Primetime Ranking Report". (May 28, 2008). ABC Medianet. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  29. ^ "ABC Television Network 2008–2009 Primetime Ranking Report". (June 2, 2009). ABC Medianet. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  30. ^ "Final 2009-10 Broadcast Primetime Show Average Viewership". TV by the Numbers. 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  31. ^ "2010-11 Season Broadcast Primetime Show Viewership Averages". June 1, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2011. 
  32. ^,0,1937498.htmlstory
  33. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings". ABC Medianet. February 6, 2007. Retrieved March 15, 2010. 
  34. ^ "Breaking News - Cbs Number One Live - And In Playback". 2010-06-29. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  35. ^ Gorman, Bill (2010-11-01). "Live+7 DVR Ratings: Grey’s Anatomy, Fringe, The Mentalist Top Week’s Rankings". Zap2it. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  36. ^

External links

Preceded by
Grey's Anatomy
Criminal Minds
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Succeeded by

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