Criminal Minds' 15th Season: Every Detail We Know

The beloved series will close with a 10-episode season.

Criminal Minds
CBS Photo ArchiveGetty Images

After 14 seasons of mutilation and the term "un-sub" being thrown around approximately every four minutes, beloved crime procedural Criminal Minds' 15th and final season is nearly upon us. The last season will have just ten episodes—most thus far have had at least 20—and will heavily feature longtime Criminal Minds stars Joe Mantegna, Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness, Paget Brewster, and A.J. Cook, along with a handful of recent cast additions, as well as longtime guest star Jane Lynch.

Unlike its first fourteen seasons, the final season will begin airing in CBS' mid-season slot—think early to mid-2020—rather than in the fall of 2019, as was initially expected. Here's what else we know about the last season of the show that made everyone in America double-check their doors were locked before they went to sleep (as any longtime viewer knows, the suburban family is the least safe of all!).

Jane Lynch will be in it!

Oh, thank God. Lynch has played Reid's genius mom on and off since the very first season; her character, Diana, suffers from schizophrenia, and Reid had Diana committed when he became an adult. In season 12, Diana was kidnapped, and after she was saved by the BAU (because, of course), she and Reid had an emotional reunion. That's the last we saw of Diana—until now!

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

Criminal Minds
CBS Photo ArchiveGetty Images

The cast is super sad to say goodbye.

I mean, wouldn't you be? This show has been running longer than Friends did, for crying out loud.

They even got matching rings to commemorate their time on the show.

View this post on Instagram

Today is my last day of taping at @crimmindscbs. It’s a surreal day. Everyone hugging, holding on a little longer than before. Thanking each other for the hard work, laughing about the tough times, tearing up over the good ones. Making as many memories on this one day as we can — trying to make as many memories as were made over the last decade and a half in just twelve hours. It’s impossible but we’re trying.⁣ ⁣ Criminal Minds has truly changed my life. This was the first prime-time drama I did for more than one season. Where I directed my first episode of television, where I got my @directorsguildofamerica card. I‘ve made so many good friends here, learned so much, laughed so hard.⁣ ⁣ We all keep reminding each other of how lucky we are, what an extraordinary ride this has been, what a special collection of talented and hardworking people it is. What a joy and privilege to be a part of this extraordinary team. ⁣ ⁣ People often ask why Criminal Minds has been so popular around the world for so long, especially considering the dark subject matter. I always say it’s because people are comforted by the knowledge that a brilliant team of dedicated professionals are working around the clock to keep the rest of us safe. We are just a television show but those people do exist in the real world. I am so incredibly honored to have had even the slimmest opportunity to represent the hardworking men and women of the FBI, who dedicate their lives to the safety of others, and who now, more than ever, are under attack and deserve our recognition and support.⁣ ⁣ Our producer and FBI tech adviser Jim Clemente (@efbeye), who worked at the real #BAU, told us that when CM first came on there were very few college programs focused on forensic psychology, and now every major university offers one. We can’t take credit for that here, but it is a privilege to represent this important work, and the great and dedicated professionals of the real-life BAU. They are out there doing critical work every single day, and it has been a true honor to tell their stories.⁣ ⁣ BTW the cool CM rings are from our own @ajcook. Check out my story for more from today. It’s been a ride.⁣ ⁣ #wheelsup

A post shared by Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) on

The series will center around tracking down The Chameleon.

The key to the final season will be Rossi's much-anticipated showdown with The Chameleon, played by Michael Mosley. Rossi "will be concluding the 10 episodes with a showdown with [the Chameleon]," said showrunner Erica Messer in a January interview with Deadline.

Daniel Henney told TV Line: "Overall, I'd say [Season] 15 has more of an arc through the episodes than previous seasons. Our unsub, Chameleon, is played by Michael Mosely, and he's definitely into some gruesome, creepy stuff."

So, business as usual, then!

Old heroes and villains could return.

Ooh. In the same interview with Deadline, Messer teased that stars in the form of old un-subs and old cast members could return for a final goodbye.

"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 ... 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."

She also mentioned that she'd be reluctant to kill off any of the most beloved and long-standing characters. "I know it’s a drama, but I’m less likely to injure or write someone off in a way that says they’re not breathing anymore," she said. (Full interview is here.)

The cast members most in demand by fans would likely be Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner, played by Thomas Gibson; Derek Morgan, played by Shemar Moore; and Jason Gideon, played by Mandy Patinkin. For two of those three actors, coming back would be complicated—Gibson was abruptly fired from the show over anger-management issues (Gibson denies that he was violent, as the network claimed), and Patinkin has described his tenure on Criminal Minds as his "biggest public mistake," adding that the show "was very destructive to my soul and my personality" and suggesting that it shouldn't have been made in the first place.

Shemar Moore is a different story. Moore has returned twice for guest spots and, plot-wise, showrunners left the door open for him to return in the future. It sure seems like he maintains a good relationship with the show and its network—but he's also the lead on S.W.A.T., which is currently airing, so scheduling conflicts may have arisen. (Ironically, S.W.A.T. has replaced the Wednesday slot that Criminal Minds used to occupy. The audacity!)

The final episode is titled "And In The End..."

Don't mind me, it's just some dust in my eye! I'm fine!!

Criminal Minds
CBS Photo ArchiveGetty Images

The final episode has already shot; the series wrapped up in May.

Reid has a new love interest.

I wish that love interest were me, but it's not: Rachel Leigh Cook, who you might remember from She's All That and Josie and the Pussycats, will guest star as a love interest to Reid. This is a plot point in and of itself, given that it turned out at the end of season 14 that JJ had been in love with Reid all this time (and who among us hasn't been!)—but, also, she's married and her husband is coming back. So that'll be a whole thing.

Said Messer to TV Line of JJ's confession: "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.”

There will be drama.

One of the show's current leads, Aisha Tyler, told TV Line that the finale of the show would be “massive, explosive and transformative," and full of "really good surprises." Messer also said that it would be a "tearjerker."

The women of the show did a gorgeous shoot.

I mean, look at them on this Watch! cover.

image
Watch!

And, okay, the men did a nice one too.

image
Watch!

Matthew Gray Gubler's maniacal grin (almost un-sub-like, you might say) is pretty fitting here, no?


For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.

subscribe here

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below