WATCH: ‘Criminal Minds’ Clip Teases Casts Highly-Anticipated Return to Set

by Caitlin Berard

After 15 years of spinning thrilling stories of fearless detectives hunting down the country’s most terrifying villains, the hit police procedural Criminal Minds came to an end. Or so fans thought. Just one year later, the streaming service Paramount Plus received the green light to move forward with a 10-episode revival.

Unlike the seasons before it, Season 16 of Criminal Minds will follow the agents of the BAU through a single case. According to the official logline, the Unsub (unknown subject) is so sinister that the Behavioral Analysis Unit will need the entirety of the ten-episode season to catch them.

Rather than working alone, the Unsub is a criminal mastermind who leveraged the COVID-19 pandemic to create a network of serial killers bent on wreaking havoc across the country.

The series has been in the early stages of production since July but was set to begin filming this month. And it appears they’re right on schedule, as a crew member recently shared a TikTok of the cast’s trailers and lockers being prepared.

As expected, the returning characters teased in the video include David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau (A.J. Cook), Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler), and Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez).

Why Matthew Gray Gubler Isn’t Returning for the ‘Criminal Minds’ Revival

Unfortunately, the clip seems to confirm that Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), and the fan-favorite character Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) will not return for the revival.

Though fans would love a return of all the Criminal Minds characters, the absence of Spencer Reid is particularly painful. Matthew Gray Gubler was in every episode since the pilot – the only actor to do so. As such, he had no time to work on other projects.

“Matthew was the only person in the last two seasons that had been in every single episode,” Gubler’s longtime co-star Paget Brewster explained to Looper. “He did 15 years straight through. From 25 to 40, the guy was on one show, and that’s when we shot 22, 24 episodes a year.”

“He was never able to go do other stuff, so I understand, he wants to direct. He graduated from NYU to direct, and his first audition was Criminal Minds.”

“Imagine you never expected to be an actor and then suddenly it’s 15 years of your life,” she continued. “I understand why. I’m hoping he changes his mind, but I understand why he wants to do other things.”

“I was gone from Criminal Minds for four years,” Brewster said. “I got to do a ton of other things that enriched my life and my resume and my education. So I understand how he feels.”