‘Criminal Minds’ Reboot: How the Series’ Continuation Undoes the Season 15 Finale

by Taylor Cunningham

Criminal Minds may have suffered a few kinks while trying to bring Season 16 to the screen. But after more than a year of talks, the project is officially a-go and filming has begun—which means that the writers will have to completely undo a major plot in the 2020 series finale.

When the TV show came to a close, two of the characters stood at the forefront of the story, Penelope Garcia and Spencer Reid. First, Reid finally came to terms with his own emotional trauma, and the writers made sure to let us know that he would live his life with far less torment than he had during his time with the BAU.

And on a similar theme, Penelope decided to leave the FBI to start a safer and less disturbing career. The technology genius was always a sweet and kind personality who never found a way to cope with the ugliness of the job. So she shared the news with her team. While they all supported her move, they were devastated to say goodbye. And she left behind a cryptic note that left fans painfully curious as the story ended.

What or who the note was for was never revealed. And as Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer told TV Insider, we were never meant to know.

“We’re never going to say [what’s in the note],” she said. “We want that to be whatever you want it to be. I had a different idea for what it would be than what Kirsten had, and what other people think it is, and I think that’s the point of it. This show and these characters meant different things to different people. Kirsten and I both agree she was leaving a note for the next person to find one day.”

Garcia Will Find Her Way Back to ‘Criminal Minds’

Nonetheless, the entire situation was perhaps the biggest story to come out of the series finale. But now that the show is getting a revival, the writers will have to completely undo it. And maybe, they’ll let us know what was in that note when they do.

Penelope’s Kirsten Vangsness is confirmed as a star in the Paramount+ revival. And that means that she will be back with the BAU. How she will make her return is unknown, but there are several ways to work her back into the story. Penelope could have moved back to the team while the characters were living their lives offscreen. Or, the major plot, which finds the FBI profiling a network of serial killers, could tempt her to come back and help.

Unfortunately, we won’t get to see anything more come of the Reid storyline, however. His actor, Matthew Gray Gubler, has opted out of the Criminal Minds revival.