Barely two years after the initial 15-season run ended, Criminal Minds is already on the cusp of making a comeback. In early February, Paramount+ executives confirmed a revival is in the works. It’s also been reported that almost all the main cast from the last season is ready to come back.
Criminal Minds debuted on CBS in September 2005 and was one of the most popular crime dramas for over a decade. The show focused on the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit team, which traveled around the country to help local authorities solve crimes by using their profiling skills. Like many procedurals, the show had a rotating ensemble cast, with only Matthew Gray Gubler, A.J. Cook, and Kristen Vangsness starring in all 15 seasons.
During the height of its popularity, CBS tried to find the right formula for a spin-off, but they never quite solved that puzzle. The first spin-off was Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, which only aired one 13-episode season in 2011. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders was only slightly more successful, as it had two seasons and 26 episodes produced between 2016 and 2017. Considering the failure of these shows, it’s clear that what fans loved about Criminal Minds was the original characters, not just the format. With that in mind, here’s a look at what we know so far about the revival.
Two actors will not return
Two major stars from Season 15 are not expected to return. While Joe Mantegna, Kristen Vangsness, Adam Rodriguez, A.J. Cook, Aisha Tyler, and Paget Brewster are all close to signing on for Season 16, Matthew Gray Gubler and Daniel Henney are not planning to come back. Henney is busy with Amazon Prime Video’s The Wheel of Time, although Deadline reports that he may be open to making a guest appearance. Gubler, who played Dr. Spencer Reid for 15 years, is more interested in working on other projects than returning to Criminal Minds.
Six Season 15 cast members are in talks to return
Six of the main cast members from Season 15 are in talks to return, Deadline reports. Joe Mantegna, Paget Brewster, A.J. Cook, Adam Rodriguez, Kristen Vangsness, and Aisha Tyler are all ready to sign on to return. The only problem is studio ABC Signature still hasn’t finalized a deal with longtime showrunner Erica Messer. Once that happens, the actors will reportedly sign contracts to return.
It’s still in development
Paramount+ chief programming officer Tanya Gills confirmed on Feb. 1 that the Criminal Minds revival is still in the works. “We are still very much in development on Criminal Minds. We’ll have more to share soon on that, but it is alive and well.” Gill said.
Later, president of original scripted series Nicole Clemens told Variety she couldn’t comment on star Paget Brewster’s recent tweets about the show being dead. “As I mentioned, I came in in the summer and so it took a second to gear up and figure out, ‘What are we doing? ‘There’s not a hidden monster under the water there. It’s just been in its process, so it’s in development,” Clemens explained. “We have always thought it’s a fantastic idea to have ‘Criminal Minds’ on the service, so that hasn’t changed.”
The revival is set to include a mix of original and new characters
News of a revival first leaked in February 2021, a few days before Paramount+ formally confirmed it. At that time, it was reported that CBS is trying to bring back some of the original characters, alongside new ones, similar to the format of CSI: Vegas. However, Clemens said on Feb. 1 it was too early to say who could come back with any certainty.
“We are still in development, so coming soon would be closing up all the deals, getting material. So we have time to go,” she told Variety.
Paget Brewster said it was unlikely to happen before Paramount+ said otherwise
The reason why Criminal Minds‘ future seemed so ominous was thanks to Paget Brewster, who played Emily Prentiss in Seasons 2-7, and Seasons 12-15. Back in July 2021, Brewster shockingly told fans she thought the revival was dead. “I’ll let you know if there is any progress but it seems unlikely. Which is a bummer,” she wrote at the time.
After Paramount+ said Brewster was incorrect, she celebrated. “When being wrong feels so right… I LOVE IT,” she tweeted.
The season will follow one ongoing case
The new Criminal Minds series is expected to run 10 episodes and focus on a single case, similar to CSI: Vegas. This is very different from the format of the original Criminal Minds. The original procedural focused on a single case each week, save for special two-part stories.
Longtime executive producer Erica Messer is returning
The behind-the-scenes creative team is just as in flux as the cast in front of the camera. Erica Messer, who served as an executive producer and showrunner during the show’s original run, is expected to return. ABC Signature and CBS Studios will produce the show. It’s not clear if series creator Jeff Davis will be involved.
Paramount+ planned an accompanying true crime spin-off
Around the time the Criminal Minds revival was announced, Paramount+ also unveiled plans to release The Real Criminal Minds. This will be a spin-off focusing on real cases and real criminal behavior. A real former FBI profiler will take part, and a Criminal Minds cast member will host. Not too much is known about this project though, as it was not mentioned on Feb. 1.
While we wait for more BAU adventures, the entire run of Criminal Minds is available on Paramount+. Netflix users can still check out the first 12 seasons.