TV & Movies

Criminal Minds' Season 15: What Fans Can Expect in the Final Season

Criminal Minds has been around for so long that it seems like the FBI procedural is always on somewhere if you flip channels long enough. So it’s hard to believe that the upcoming 15th season will be the last. 

TV Line caught up with the show earlier this month as part of a publicity push for the final season. Viewers may be a little disoriented beyond their favorite show ending: when it comes back in the fall, there will be a time jump, and the final season will be a little short, at ten episodes.

We’ll take not only look forward to the last season, but also look back at how the show became a long-running hit. 

What awaits ‘Criminal Minds’ in its final season

Showrunner Erica Messer revealed to TV Line the final season will pick up following a time jump and feature “a little more serialized storytelling” as well as “a couple of personal stories that might be surprising to people.” 

The show will also feature the return of a couple of Lynches. Castle alum Michael Mosley will continue playing Everett Lynch aka The Chameleon, a serial killer who caused quite a bit of trouble in season 14. Meanwhile, Jane Lynch will return to her role as Reid’s mother. Rachael Leigh Cook will appear in several episodes as a kind-hearted woman who strikes up a relationship with Reid.

The season finale title will be “And in the End,” which, depending on your frame of reference, could be a quote from either Abraham Lincoln or the Beatles. Lincoln said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” In one of their final songs, the Beatles sang “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” 

The return date of the final season has not been set yet, but Criminal Minds is expected to return mid-season.

How ‘Criminal Minds’ got its start 

Criminal Minds creator Jeff Davis came up with the show as an answer to an Oscar-winning movie about catching serial killers. He told the podcast Influencers

When I was coming up with Criminal Minds, I really just wanted to do the TV version of Silence of the Lambs. I wanted to do a thriller. But in doing the research, it was reading all about behavioral profilers in the FBI that actually made me realize there’s real science and unbelievable amount of thought being put into this. The idea that these guys went into prisons and interviewed serial killers to come up with a questionnaire, to come up with a way to hunt these guys from their perspective, a way to get into their minds.

Current and former cast members included Thomas Gibson, Paget Brewster, Shemar Moore, A.J. Cook, and Kirsten Vangsness. Other recognizable names dropped in and out, including Jeanne Tripplehorn and  Jennifer Love Hewitt. The show steadily gained traction until it became the number 8 program on TV in its tenth season from 2014 to 2015. After that, the ratings steadily dropped with season 13 ranking number 25.

‘Criminal Minds’ leaves a legacy 

Although the show’s ratings have fallen, it cannot be disputed that Criminal Minds has been a major success for CBS  It has spawned two spinoffs,  Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, as well as a video game. And it will probably play in syndication forever.

Amy Reisenbach, a CBS Vice President, said to Deadline: “We wanted to make sure Erica had the time and ability to write a season (14) finale that honors the characters and the fans. We discussed wanting to keep the show in continuous production so 10 felt like the right number for us to roll straight into and give Erica enough episodes to end the series the way she wanted to.”

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