A Look Inside the Final Season of 'Criminal Minds'

Aby Rivas
Nov 24, 2019
04:30 P.M.
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“Criminal Minds” fifteenth and final season is coming back to our screen in January, and it promises to be a tear-jerker. Here’s all we know about the characters returning, the storylines, and possible romances so far.


After 14 years on air, “Criminal Minds” is coming to an end in 2020.


Season 15 of the beloved crime drama show is coming on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, with a two-hour season premiere oat 9 p.m. ET.

Although the show usually runs for 20 episodes, this time around the storyline will be contained in 10 episodes, with two two-hour specials at the beginning and the end.

What characters are coming back?

According to reports, most of the current cast will return for the final run.


That means main stars David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), Jennifer "J.J." Jareau (A.J. Cook), and Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness).

Recurring stars Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler), Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez), and Matt Simmons (Daniel Henney) will also be back.

On top of that, it has been reported that Rachel Leigh Cook, will be joining the cast as Max, a love interest for Spencer Reid, described as a "quirky, kind-hearted, candid woman." She is set to appear in at least two episodes.


Jane Lynch, who plays Reid's mother, Diana, will also make an appearance, as Gubler revealed:

“I see a happy ending in store for Reid, which is something that we're all looking forward to, including with his mom.”

Showrunner Erica Messer also hinted that some memorable villains from past seasons could return, as she told Deadline:

“We have one in the works right now who’s a very memorable villain, but I don’t want to say too much if it doesn’t work out with casting.


Are any of the former cast members returning?

Fans are also hoping to see some of their favorite characters that have left the show in past seasons, especially Derek Morgan, played by Shemar Moore.

There’s also people asking for Mandy Patinkin, who left the show in Season 3, and Thomas Gibson, who was fired in 2016 after he got into a physical fight with a writer/producer.


Although the odds don’t look good for Patinkin and Gibson’s fans, Moore is most likely to return for a final goodbye, considering that he has reprised his role in two occasions, and still maintains a good relationship with the cast and producers of the series.

“I am very hopeful that we can honor all of those characters who have been beloved and with this team, with the audience for years, but I don’t know what that’s going to look like,” Messer said.


What’s the storyline for season 15?

The storyline has already been laid down from season 14 finale.

We have a serial killer known as The Chameleon and portrayed by Michael Mosley, who managed to outsmart Rossi both mentally and physically, hurting the BAU chief in the process.

Right in his pride.


Messer explained that Mosley did such an excellent job as The Chameleon that he became a “worthy adversary” for the team, “especially given how he really shocked and rocked Rossi's world.”

Season 15 picks up with a time jump of six months and with Rossi’s obsession with catching the bad guy, and that storyline will play through the ten episodes, ending in a showdown between the two characters.


Drama and romance are coming

On a more emotional level, Messer promised “a couple of personal stories that might be surprising to people,” and “certain things that I feel the fans will be completely invested in.”

Considering that season 14 ended with J.J confessing her love to Spencer—despite being in a happy marriage—and with a new character coming into the quirky agent’s love life, it seems like the perfect set up for an angsty love triangle.


"We can’t … pretend it didn’t happen. It’s definitely a huge driver for the first handful of episodes that will help add layers to those characters again," Messer told TV Line of JJ's confession: 

Are any deaths planned?

According to Erica Messer, she’s not planning on killing any of the characters so that you can rest easy on that note.


As she explained:

“I know a lot of shows, when they find out it’s going to be over, then characters are killed off or something like that. That’s not my instinct, mainly because I’ve been here for so long with all of these voices, I just don’t want that to be how it ends for them.”

“So the jet won’t crash, I can tell you that,” she joked.

However, the showrunner can’t promise there will be no tears, as she described the final as a “tearjerker.”

The finale will air on February 19, 2020.