‘Criminal Minds’ Star Joe Mantegna Is ‘Wheels Up’ as Filming Gets Underway

by Taylor Cunningham

After a year of negotiations and several rumors of failed efforts, Criminal Minds is finally coming back to TV. And filming is officially underway.

The Paramount+ revival has been in the works since early 2021. But it wasn’t until July 19th of this year that the streamer officially ordered Season 16 to production. Because the efforts hit so many snags along the way, the cast was too superstitious to celebrate until they actually walked on set. But according to star Joe Mantegna, they’ve finally reached that pivotal milestone.

In an Instagram video, the David Rossi actor cheered over two days of filming being officially in the bag.

“In the language of Criminal Minds,” he says as the suspenseful opening credit theme plays in the background, “wheels up, we’re back baby.”

The ‘Criminal Minds’ Stars Are ‘Excited that Everything’s Finally Coming Together’

Getting back to work is particularly sentimental for the actors because they’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions ever since the series ended in 2020. In fact, around this time last year, Emily Prentiss’ Paget Brewster announced that the efforts were “dead.”

So when the creators finally got the project off the ground, she and her fellow stars were “thrilled” to be able to work together again. As Brewster told KTLA, all of the actors keep in constant contact.

“We’ve been talking about it for almost two years,” she said of the revival. “So, it’s really exciting that everything’s finally come together and we’re going to start shooting soon. We have stayed in touch, we’ve been in touch, we’re all on a giant text chain.”

The upcoming Criminal Minds Season 16 will air eight episodes. In the story, the B.A.U team will track one serial killer who is leading a band of murderers who make their moves as people stop sheltering at home following COVID.

Aside from Brewster, Joe Mantegna, Kirsten Vangsness, Adam Rodriguez, A.J. Cook, and Aisha Tyler are all returning to the screen.

Matthew Gray Gubler and Thomas Gibson will not be joining the cast for the revival. Daniel Henney is also out as a series regular due to his commitment to Amazon’s The Wheel Of Time. However, there is a chance that he will guest star if time allows.

“We did become a family, and we still are,” Brewster continued. “And that’s why it was so exciting when the idea was floated that maybe we could come back again and do more episodes for Paramount Plus. We’ve been chomping at the bit to do it, so it’s just thrilling that we all get to be in each other’s presence again.”