Criminal Minds, a police procedural drama that follows a team of FBI profilers as they investigate the worst criminals the United States has to offer, dominated network television on CBS before it moved to the streaming service Paramount +, under the new name Criminal Minds: Evolution. The show's characters' strong chemistry kept fans hooked for 16 seasons.
Despite all of this success, viewers did not notice the long line of cast changes that Criminal Minds has gone through over the years. While most of the changes came as a surprise, some cast members' departures varied dramatically, with some departing by force, others due to budget cuts, and others choosing to depart for the sake of their sanity.
We thought it would be a great time to reflect on why the series' cast changes so often.
Why is Dr. Spencer Reid not in Criminal Minds: Evolution?
The Return of many agents from the Final Season of Criminal Minds, while the absence of favorite Dr. Reid and Simmons remains a mystery.
Despite Reid and Simmons being absent, showrunner Erica Messer told TVLine that they are not forgotten: "Dr. Reid's and I believe Matt Simmons' desks are still there, still have stuff on them... Like, if any of you went back [to the office after the epidemic], you still have stuff on your desk that was there for two years. So we're certainly playing that. But [Spencer and Matt] are not gone."
Messer explained that while they hoped all of the team members the show finished the CBS series with would return, it was not possible due to a variety of reasons, like the fact that “we started filming in August... and we're going to be wrapped in December... so there was a little window to try to get all of our friends to play.”
Gray Gubler does have no projects in the works due to scheduling conflicts, according to his IMDb page. In 2022, he was involved in the comedy series Dollface, however that was canceled in May 2022, which according to Messer technically would have given Gray Gubler the chance to film Criminal Minds. This adds to the mystery especially when you factor in the fact he has yet to speak publicly about Criminal Minds: Evolution.
Gray Gubler isn't the only one to apologise in the wake of the reboot, although Henney has been busy filming Prime Video's The Wheel of Time. It's still uncertain why Dr. Spencer Reid and Matt Simmons haven't appeared in Criminal Minds: Evolution, but it gives hope for a comeback in season 2.
Why Did Mandy Patinkin Leave Criminal Minds?
Jason Gideon, a fan favorite agent, was replaced in season three. Patinkin was an original cast member in the Criminal Minds pilot, "Extreme Aggressor," in which his character Gideon had returned to the BAU after suffering from PTSD when a bomber he was profiling killed six agents under his supervision. Which is ironic in many ways as Patinkin's reasons for leaving the show all came down to his own mental health.
Patinkin said in an interview with the New York Magazine that his greatest public error was that I did not do Criminal Minds in the first place. He went on to explain that the show's dark subject matter, particularly its portrayal of the violence against women, was far too heavy for him and resulted in him deciding to leave for his own mental health.
Gideon was murdered off-screen by a serial killer during season 3 of "Nelson's Sparrow," making it impossible for him to return in the reboot.
In 2006, Ed Bernero, the writer and producer of Criminal Minds, revealed to the Los Angeles Times that Lola Glaudini, who played Elle Greenaway in seasons 1 and 2, would leave the program because she was dissatisfied with living in Los Angeles, where the program was shot.
Force Cast Changes
Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner, who had previously been kicked from the show, said in a statement to EW. "We all want to work together to make the best show possible." However, after he was placed on a two-episode suspension, his character died in a car accident. Gupton's replacement may have been to make room for Daniel Henney, who has previously worked on the Criminal Minds spinoff, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.
Jennifer Jareau, better known as JJ (A.J. Cook) was abruptly relegated to the series after CBS made a conscious decision to reduce costs while retaining FBI trainee Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols). However, the uproar was massive, and Nichols was left out after only 13 episodes, and Cook and Brewster were eventually reinstated into the series. In Criminal Minds: Evolution, JJ has continued to play an active role.
Choice Makes a Cast Change
Paget Brewster took over as Interpol unit head in season two, although her role hasn't been consistent throughout the series. Prentiss resigned to leave after two seasons due to contract negotiations falling apart. She was later replaced by Kate Callahan (Jennifer Love Hewitt) for one season in season 10.
The ultimate shocking departure was one that no one desired to see happen, the departure of heartthrob Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) who decided to leave after 11 seasons because he felt that it was the perfect time to take on other projects, namely S.W.A.T. While we understood the notion that there would be no more flirtatious exchanges between platonic friends Morgan and Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), we also agreed that the departure of Morgan and Kelly was unsettling.
On Paramount+, Criminal Minds: Evolution is available to stream.