“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls. The massive characters are seared with scars.” – Criminal Minds
This is going to be quite a ride! Get ready to explore the secrets and trivia behind Criminal Minds.
Criminal Minds Facts
31. The title difference
Originally, Criminal Minds was supposed to be called Quantico and the pilot was filmed in Vancouver. Well, we’re glad they dodged that bullet.
30. Character trauma
This was, of course, done on purpose. The personal stories were meant to match the investigated cases in gravity and emotional value. Producer Rick Dunkle pointed out why lighter storylines would seem out-of-place in the context of a murder investigation. “It’s very hard in the middle of a case,” he said. “People are dying. ‘Oh, Morgan, are you gonna go on that date?’”
29. Mismatched socks
Matthew Gray Gubler doesn’t wear matching socks because he thinks it’s unlucky. In several scenes, you can actually spot his mismatched socks peeking out.
28. Sorry, you’re not right for the part
When Matthew Gray Gubler first auditioned for the role of Dr. Reid, he was told that he wasn’t right for the part. He was then asked to audition several more times – each time being told he was not right for the part. The role, obviously, eventually went to him. How did they miss that he was perfect to play that character?
27. What’s an unsub?
On the show, suspects are often referred to as “unsub”s – meaning, “unknown subjects.” Now you know.
26. Small talk
The majority of the witty exchanges between Morgan (played by Shemar Moore) and Garcia (Kristen Vangsness) are actually based on how the actors converse with each other in real life.
25. The duck death
When Mandy Patinkin (who played Jason Gideon) departed the series, he was replaced by Joe Mantegna (who played David Rossi). In Rossi’s first appearance on Criminal Minds, he shoots a duck – which was very intentional and symbolic, since Gideon was a bird enthusiast.
24. Mandy Patinkin left the show due to trauma
Mandy Patinkin, who played Jason Gideon, left Criminal Minds because he was disturbed by the content of the show. The actor went on to state that he regretted signing up for the role in the first place and had no idea the series would be so gruesome.
23. Ironically, his character gets killed off
If being traumatised by the show was not enough, Patinkin’s character Gideon is killed off by a serial killer, making him the only main character to actually die. Yowza!
22. No one-hit wonder
Penelope Garcia was initially supposed to be in only one episode, but the character received such a positive reaction from audiences that she was added to the main cast.
21. Guess who’s technophobic?
Despite being brilliant in many ways, Dr. Reid doesn’t involve the help of a computer or even a smartphone, because the character is quite technophobe.
20. Dr. Reid has an MIT degree by accident
Breen Frazier confused MIT with CalTech while writing Season 7’s “Painless” episode, thereby giving Dr. Reid an extra degree. No one caught the mistake until much later.
19. Not fun faces to look at
In the opening credits of the show, the mug shots belong to real serial killers like Charles Manson, Theodore John Kaczynski or the Unabomber, John Wayne Gacy, Lee Harvey Oswald and others.
18. How Matthew Gray Gubler sees his character
When asked to describe his character Dr. Spencer Reid, Matthew Gray Gubler stated that, “he’s an eccentric genius, with hints of schizophrenia and minor autism, Asperger’s Syndrome.” There you have it.
17. Cognitive interviews
The cognitive interviews conducted on Criminal Minds are not actually, well, cognitive interviews. What is being portrayed is hypnosis, which does share some principles with cognitive interviews, but a formerly hypnotised witness cannot be put on the stand.
16. J.J’s name
A.J. Cook joked that the name J.J. was given to her character so she could memorise it (implying it’s because she’s a blonde). But the creators of the show reassure us that the name was chosen before the actress was cast.
15. Famous friends
Since Joe Mantegna is friends with Ringo Starr, his character Rossi has a photo of them together on his desk at the BAU and also lays claim to a friendship with the former Beatle. What a showoff…
14. California can pass for anything
The BAU travels around the country solving crimes, but all those places are filmed around California. So far, the state fooled us into thinking the BAU was in New York City, Washington D.C., Mexico, New Orleans and a bunch of small towns.
13. IQ and other smarts
Dr. Reid allegedly has an IQ of 187, can read up to 20,000 words per minute and has an eidetic memory. What a fella!
12. On the subjects of smarts
Since we’re already talking about Spencer Reid: the guy hold doctorate degrees in Chemistry, Mathematics and Engineering, along with Bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology.
11. Gideon’s son, Gideon
Mandy Patinkin, who plays Jason Gideon, actually has a son named Gideon. Coincidence? Up to you to decide.
10. Hidden pregnancies
Both A.J. Cook’s and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s pregnancies were written into the show to accommodate the actresses. Cook’s son even made an appearance on the show as J.J.’s son.
9. Getting shot in the leg
Dr. Reid gets shot in the leg in season 5, which was not actually part of the original plot. It was written in because Matthew Gray Gubler severely injured his leg and was unable to walk unassisted. He dislocated his knee while dancing!
8. Episodes directed by a cast member
Over the years, some cast members had the opportunity to direct a couple episodes, like: Thomas Gibson (“Gabby”, “Boxed In” and “Lockdown”), Joe Mantegna (“The Road Home” and “Anonymous”) and Matthew Gray Gubler (“Mosley Lane” and “Lauren”).
7. Dead producer…
Writer and producer Rick Dunkle briefly appears as a dead body in the Season 4 episode called “Paradise.”
6. Rapid achievement
The professional timelines of these characters may cause a few raised eyebrows, and for good reason! Agent Hotchner, for example, got a law degree, worked as a prosecutor, joined the FBI, and has now worked his way up to a top position in the BAU… and somehow he did this while aging exceedingly slowly.
5. Profile, please?
“Presenting the profile” isn’t even a real thing. On the show, the BAU agents stand in front of a room full of cops dutifully taking notes. In reality, it would be more of a dialogue.
The real process is not as formal — they might tweak the profile in the field, or sitting around a table, or on the phone.
4. Garcia’s love of theater
Garcia’s character does community theater because Kirsten Vangsness is quite the thespian in real life.
3. So sext post-mortem…
Garcia’s boyfriend in Season 8 is the same dude (actor Stephen Simon) she shot in the head in Season 6.
2. Flying in style
“The BAU jet is also a point of contention with the real BAU,” Frazier said. On the show, “they get treated better than real-life FBI agents.”
In real life, most FBI agents fly coach.
1. Whoops, Gibson…
Team leader Agent Hotchner had to be written off the show because the actor who plays him, Thomas Gibson, was fired from the show after he had a physical altercation with a writer-producer. Allegedly, Thomas was directing an episode, and the physical altercation occurred when the actor refused to omit a line.
“There were creative differences on the set and a disagreement. I regret that it occurred,” said Gibson in a statement to Deadline. “We all want to work together as a team to make the best show possible. We always have and we always will.”
Despite a slight drop in rating and viewership, the show has continued to thrive, with viewership over 6.5 million.