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Criminal Minds is an American police procedural drama series that premiered September 22, 2005 on CBS. The series follows a team of profilers from the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) at Quantico, Virginia. Criminal Minds differs from many criminal system 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. The original title for Criminal Minds was Quantico, and the pilot was filmed in Vancouver. In the Quantico script, Jason Gideon was named Jason Donovan.

On May 20, 2009, CBS officially renewed Criminal Minds for a fifth season, which premiered on September 23, 2009 at 9:00PM EST. New episodes air every Wednesday at 9:00PM EST on CBS, while re-runs can be seen on A&E and ION.


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, a spin off has also been announced.


Current BAU Team


FBI BAU Supervisory Special Agent/Unit Chief Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner

Played by Thomas Gibson, Hotch used to be a prosecutor, and was formerly assigned to the FBI Field Office in Seattle. His attempts to balance his family life and his job successfully had been an ongoing theme on the show. Shortly after he and his wife, Haley, were divorced, his family was threatened by The Reaper. Haley is eventually killed in "100" and Hotch takes a leave of absence, likely to make up on lost time with his son, Jack.


FBI BAU Supervisory Special Agent/Temporary Unit Chief Derek Morgan

Played by Shemar Moore, Morgan is a confident and assertive everyman character, the son of an African-American father and Caucasian mother. He went to Northwestern University on a football scholarship, holds a black belt in Judo, runs FBI self-defense classes, and served in a bomb squad unit and as a Chicago police officer. Former unit chief Aaron Hotchner has just promoted him to unit chief in Hotch's place, a promotion Morgan saw as only temporary until the "The Reaper" is captured.


FBI BAU Supervisory Special Agent David Rossi

Played by Joe Mantegna, David, a "founding father" of the BAU, was in early retirement until his voluntary return to the BAU in 2007. He had retired in order to write books and go on lecture tours, but returned to settle some unfinished business which wasn't immediately specified. His motives were later revealed in "Birthright" and resolved in "Damaged".


FBI BAU Supervisory Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid

Played by Matthew Gray Gubler, Doctor Reid is a genius who graduated from a Las Vegas public high school at age 12. He is almost always introduced as Dr. Reid, even as the others are introduced as S.S.A. 'blank'. This was explained by S.S.A. Gideon in an early episode that the reason why he gets called that by the other members of the team is to deflect comments about his age. It has been revealed that he holds Doctorates in Mathematics, Chemistry, and Engineering, BAs in Psychology and Literature, and is working on a BA in Philosophy. After being kidnapped by an unsub in "The Big Game", he is drugged with the narcotic painkiller Dilaudid and becomes addicted, but later cleans up after going to a series of addiction support meeting specifically for members of law enforcement. He is godfather to J.J.'s son Henry.


FBI BAU Supervisory Special Agent Jennifer "JJ" Jareau

Played by AJ Cook, JJ acts as the team's liaison with the media and local police agencies. She is dating William LaMontagne, whom she meets in "Jones". The two have a son together, Henry.


FBI BAU Supervisory Special Agent Emily Prentiss

Played by Paget Brewster, Prentiss is the daughter of an ambassador. After Agent Elle Greenaway left the BAU, Prentiss showed up with papers stating she was the newest member of the BAU. At first it is implied that she pulled some strings through family ties to get her placement on the team. However, it is later revealed that FBI Section Chief Director Erin Strauss placed her there to have leverage on a team member in order to later undermine Hotch. She refused to do so, rather deciding to resign than help Strauss undermine Hotch. She decides to stay with the BAU, but refuses to help Strauss get rid of Hotch. She is a self professed nerd and is also well spoken in some foreign languages.


FBI Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia

Played by Kirsten Vangsness, Garcia is the team's computer technician at BAU Headquarters in Quantico, VA. She is flamboyant and fun-loving and provides the rest of the team with comic relief. She lost both her parents at a young age and then lived off the grid as a computer hacker. Garcia brought the attention of the FBI upon herself after illegally accessing some of their equipment. She had little choice but to join the ranks of the bureau to avoid a jail sentence. She is god mother to J.J's son Henry.


Former BAU Members


FBI BAU Supervisory Special Agent Jason Gideon

Played by Mandy Patinkin, Gideon was the BAU's best profiler and former Unit Chief (was Unit Chief prior to the series, but replaced by Hotchner before the series began). Prior to the series timeline he was said to have had a nervous breakdown (or "major depressive episode") after sending six agents into a Boston warehouse with a bomb in it. All six were killed and he was heavily criticized for his decision. It can be inferred that this was the reason Hotchner remained the Unit Chief of the BAU instead of Gideon retaking his old position. Gideon is also skilled at chess, having continually beaten Dr. Reid throughout the series.

Gideon also provided classified behavior analysis service for the CIA, and it is unknown how deep his assignments penetrated into the government. While it is an unofficial rule that the team not profile each other, Gideon was often seen counseling his agents and helping them through their problems. After a series of emotional cases, and the murder of his friend Sarah in Gideon's own house by fugitive serial killer "Frank", Gideon began to feel burned out. The last straw was Hotch's two-week suspension, for which Gideon felt responsible. He retreated to his cabin (the one place where his job couldn't find him) and left a letter for Dr. Reid, who he knew would be the one to come looking for him. When Reid arrived at the cabin, it was empty except for the letter and Gideon's badge and firearm. Gideon was last seen remarking to a Nevada diner waitress that he didn't know where he was going or how he would know when he got there, leaving the diner and subsequently driving off in his vehicle.


FBI BAU Supervisory Special Agent Elle Greenaway

Played by Lola Glaudini, Elle was formerly assigned to the FBI Field Office in Seattle, Washington, and assigned to the BAU as an expert in sexual offense crimes. Her father was a police officer but was killed in the line of duty. She is half Cuban and speaks Spanish. Elle suffered extreme emotional trauma after she was shot by a psychotic unsub, who proceeded to stick his hand in her wound and write on the wall using her blood. She returned to the BAU rather quickly after the incident, against the advice of the rest of the team. Not long after, she staked out and shot a suspected serial rapist in cold blood because of his crimes against women (and, probably, her part in accidentally ensuring his freedom). Her ability as a profiler was questioned by Hotchner and Gideon because of this, even though the local police force deemed it self-defense. She turned in her badge and her gun to Hotchner, declaring that it wasn't "an admission of guilt".


FBI BAU Supervisory Special Agent Jordan Todd

Played by Meta Golding, Jordan was JJ's handpicked replacement to serve as the BAU's Media Director during JJ's maternity leave, from late 2008 through early 2009. Jordan had formerly served in the FBI's Counterterrorism Unit, but had only followed JJ for one day of shadowing when JJ went into labor (4x07, "Memoriam"). Thus, Jordan started somewhat abruptly into a job that she found more stressful than it appeared. Jordan seemed to get along well with most of the team, even flirting platonically with Derek Morgan. She was especially close with David Rossi, who was seen to counsel her while they were on cases. However, Jordan clashed several times with Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner. The first was after she lied to the mother of a victim in order to gain information to be used in the team's victimology (4x09, "52 Pickup").

Later, she was overwhelmed by her emotions during the Los Angeles Freeway Killer case. Feeling responsible for the death of another victim after a press conference she gave, she was visibly angry and emotional near television cameras, leading Hotch to tell her, "Tell me right now, can you do this job, or can't you?" Jordan did manage to get things under control, though the cumulative effect of that case and the files she had to look through every day seemed to be catching up with her. At the end of 4x13, "Bloodlines", she told Hotch that JJ would be waiting for them at the BAU by the time they returned. Though she had liked working with the team, she was glad to be going back to Counterterrorism. She advised Hotch that "a family takes on the character of its leader" and told him to make sure that JJ knew she wasn't taken for granted.

[edit] Other characters


Haley Brooks Hotchner

Played by Meredith Monroe, she was the high school sweetheart, and then wife, of Aaron Hotchner. According to 1x22 ("The Fisher King, Part 1"), Hotch spotted her in the hallways and was instantly smitten. Since she was in the school musical production, he joined as well, playing "the worst Fourth Pirate ever." Together they have a son named Jack, born in late 2005. Their marital issues were a running theme early on, specifically Haley's feelings that Hotch devoted more time to the job and the team than he did to his family. It all came to head in the first episodes of Season 3, and by the end of episode 3x02 ("In Name and Blood," also entitled "In Birth and Death"), Haley moved herself and Jack out of the house. At the end of episode 3x03 ("Scared to Death") Hotch mentioned to Morgan that he wasn't sure if Haley was coming back. Hotch was served with divorce papers as he was leaving the office for the day, at the end of episode 3x11 ("Birthright"); at Haley's request, and without retaining a lawyer, he signed them three episodes later (3x14, "Damaged").

Until 5x01, she and Jack were apparently still living in the house she and Hotch had shared. After being mentioned, but not seen, for nearly two seasons, Haley appeared in 5x01 ("Faceless, Nameless"). George Foyet, the Boston Reaper, stabbed Hotch, and stole Haley's address from Hotch's address book. Though she and Jack were soon found unharmed, they were taken into protective custody, intentionally leaving Hotch unaware of their new location. This left Hotch devastated, knowing that he would only be able to see Haley and Jack again once the Reaper was caught. In episode 5-09 "100", Haley is lured to her old home by George Foyet, who has led her to believe that the agent addressed to protect her is dead (he was just badly beaten) and so is Hotch. Once in the house with Foyet, he has her call Hotch and she realizes the peril she is in. Hotch tells her to be brave and show Foyet no fear as they tearfully say their goodbyes to each other. Foyet then shoots Haley to death while Hotch and the team listens over the phone.

Diana Reid

Played by Jane Lynch, she is Dr. Spencer Reid's mother. She first appeared in 1x22 ("The Fisher King, Part 1"), when it is discovered that she is connected to the serial killer Randall Garner, the man who shot SSA Elle Greenaway. Garner was institutionalized at the same mental hospital as Diana and it was because of her telling him about Reid that leads Garner to target the team. Like her son, Diana has a genius IQ. She was once a university literature professor, but is no longer since her diagonsis of schizophrenia. She currently resides at the Las Vegas based Bennington Santiarium, where Spencer committed her when he was eighteen. Her husband, William Reid, left her when Spencer was a child due to her schizophrenia.

Much of Diana and Spencer's time while he was growing up was spent with her reading to him. Spencer writes her a letter every single day. In episode 4x07 ("Memoriam"), while Reid is investigating the cold case of a murdered boy, it is discovered that Diana was involved. Reid had believed that his father was the boy's murderer, but it was revealed that Diana had figured out that the boy was murdered by a pedophile after the man had also approached Reid when he was four. Diana then informed the father of the murdered boy who in turn killed the pedophile. Diana had entered the house after the murder and suffered a psychotic episode causing the family to move because she was under the belief that Reid's life was in danger (forgetting that the pedophile was dead).


FBI Section Chief Director Erin Strauss

Played by Jayne Atkinson, she is the BAU's direct superior. Her job lies in administration, and she had no actual field experience before accompanying the team to Milwaukee in 3x02 ("In Name and Blood"). She was under the impression that Hotch's team was disorganized, and posed a threat to the BAU. (It was also suspected by Hotch that she saw him as a threat to her own advancement within the FBI.) After placing Emily Prentiss on the team in early season 2, she attempted to enlist Emily's aid in spying on the team. Emily refused, instead briefly resigning. Strauss then used his and Gideon's handling of the Flagstaff, Arizona case as pretext to suspend Hotch for two weeks from the BAU, with a pending investigation on his methods. After seeing first-hand what the team's job is like (while catching Milwaukee serial killer Joe Smith), Strauss eventually backed off on her attempts at reorganizing the team and removing Hotch from the BAU. She instead made it clear that none of the team members would ever be promoted to any higher positions within the FBI.

However, the fact that a season later, Morgan was being looked at to head the New York field office makes her power to back up her claim questionable. Because of Hotch's questionable actions since being stabbed by George Foyet (aka the Boston Reaper) in 5x01 ("Faceless, Nameless"), Strauss is forcing Hotch to step down as Unit Chief, be reassigned or possibly be fired. Hotch decides to step down and promote Morgan, as this internal promotion will at least keep the team together. Morgan agrees, but says he will only serve in that role until George Foyet is apprehended (episode 5x05, "Cradle to Grave"). Strauss heads the investigation in the 100th episode involving the incident with Hotch and George Foyet. The team is hostile to her (Morgan, most notably) and though she seems to have it out for Hotch, shows genuine compassion for him at the end of his testimony and clears him of any suspicion.


Detective William LaMontagne Jr.

Played by Josh Stewart, Detective LaMontagne was first seen in 2x18 ("Jones") as a New Orleans detective investigating a serial killer case which had initially belonged to his father. Detective William LaMontange Sr. was a detective and had made a breakthrough in the case right before being killed in Hurricane Katrina. The unsub was believed to have suffered the same fate, but when evidence to the contrary arose, Detective LaMontagne took over the case using the work his father had done and a single clue carved on the wall by his father, just before he had died. Detective LaMontagne Jr. called in the BAU to assist him, and they were ultimately successful in capturing the unsub. LaMontagne Jr. spent much of his time on the case choosing to work closely with Agent Jareau.

In 3x17 ("In Heat"), it was revealed that they had been involved for over a year, and in 3x18 ("The Crossing"), JJ called Will to tell him she was pregnant with his child. In the season three finale ("Lo-Fi") Will showed up in New York City while the BAU was on a case, reiterating an off-screen proposal of marriage, and further telling JJ that he would be willing to give up his shield, move to Virginia, and raise their baby. 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.


FBI Technical Analyst Kevin Lynch

Played by Nicholas Brendon, Kevin 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. Though Garcia was briefly worried about violating FBI rules against fraternization after being "caught in the act" in her house by Rossi in 3x14 ("Damaged"), her worries did not bear fruit. Kevin visits the BAU often to spend time with Garcia, and seems to have been accepted whole-heartedly by the rest of the team.

In episode 4x23 ("Roadkill"), he told Garcia that he had applied for a better-paying job with the NSA, and asked whether she would be willing to move with him if he got it. Garcia struggled with this decision, eventually telling Kevin that the BAU was her home and she did not feel she could leave. Kevin then told her that the NSA position had just been withdrawn, due to a breach in security. Penelope let it slip that "you wouldn't have been happy in Karachi anyway," suggesting that she had hacked into the NSA mainframe to learn about the job. However, Kevin did not seem to be disturbed by her actions, and the relationship is, to all appearances, still going strong. He is seen briefly in the 100th episode and helps Penelope search for Foyet.

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More Criminal Minds reviews
review by . November 24, 2010
For the past month, I have found a new TV series obsession - Criminal Minds.  I know it has been on for several years now, but have just recently started watching it, and with a passion.      The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit consists of many characters; Dr. Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) who is the young genius, Rossi (Joe Mantegna) who seems to be the "fatherly" one of the group, Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) who is head of the group but is haunted by the …
Quick Tip by . November 28, 2010
posted in Pass The Remote!
This is my newest TV addiction- I usually end up staying up way too late just to watch the end of a 3 hour marathon session! It has a great mix of personalities to which the actors portray well so that you don't feel that you're watching a caricature. You get sucked in with the crimes (which can be a bit gruesome at times) and then, you don't stop thinking until the crime is solved. It's an interesting take on the same old cop dramas out there!
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
Quick Tip by . July 10, 2010
I love this show, and I'm quite interested in criminal profiling, but really... What are the odds they almost always show up 5 seconds before someone dies? Just once I'd like them to bust in a minute too late...
Quick Tip by . October 22, 2009
I love this and have to watch series 5 online as we are about a year behind here. Have seen some quality episodes but does occasionally lag
review by . March 10, 2009
Even if you're a huge fan of crime dramas, you have to admit that all of the forensics talk and overly-complicated "analysis" of crime scenes can get old after a while. I started watching Criminal Minds a couple years ago, and it's quickly become one of my favorite shows on TV, period. Instead of focusing on a purely scientific storyline, the show's team- part of the Behavioral Analysis Unit at the FBI- instead create psychological profiles of criminals in order to solve crimes, even showing what …
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