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12 Things Fans Want To See In The Criminal Minds Reboot

A perennial favorite of procedural fans everywhere, the original "Criminal Minds" ran for an impressive fifteen seasons, finally coming to an end in 2020. But, in the world of film and TV, endings are never really endings, as reboots are constantly in production. When the idea of a "Criminal Minds" reboot was first floated, many fans were hesitant to get their hopes up. It wasn't initially clear which of the original cast would be returning, or how the new series would differ from the original.

What we now know is that many of the main cast will be back, including Paget Brewster, A.J. Cook, Joe Mantegna, Kirsten Vangsness, Aisha Tyler, and Adam Rodriguez. The reboot — entitled "Criminal Minds: Evolution" — will have a pandemic-related storyline that involves a criminal mastermind who created a network of serial killers while the whole world was shut down. The season will follow the team as they track down each of these unsubs.

"Criminal Minds" fans are a passionate bunch, and there have been lots of opinions swirling around about what the reboot might look like. It's not often that a reboot happens so quickly after a show's original run, and fans are both apprehensive and excited about what the new series could bring. We thought we'd take a look at what it is that viewers really want to see from the "Criminal Minds" reboot.

Reid not being forgotten

Spencer Reid is one of the most beloved characters on "Criminal Minds," so when it was announced that Matthew Gray Gubler would not be returning for the reboot, many fans were upset and questioned how the series would even go on without him. But as fans have begun to accept Reid's absence, they have some stipulations for how his vacancy should be treated. Redditor u/sool47 wrote: "All I ask is for them NOT to pretend Reid was never part of the team, or never mention him," and their comment received over 100 upvotes. This fan maintained that we should at least get to see the other team members referencing Reid or imagining what he would do if he were there.

Other fans noted that even if Reid isn't on the show, they want to have confirmation that he's living a happy life somewhere. u/ReidsFanGirl18 wrote: "I want Reid to be happy with a wife and kids." Perhaps anticipating that the show might take a darker turn, u/KDF021 was adamant that there be "Absolutely no unsub Reid," but that they'd be fine with most other storylines. Another Redditor, u/Lions_ais_27299, suggested that Matthew Gray Gubler could write or produce a few episodes of the show.

Though showrunner Erica Messer has confirmed Reid will not be a regular part of the series, she has suggested that Reid won't totally be forgotten. "Their [Reid and Simmons] desks are still there, still have stuff on it," Messer said during a Television Critics Association panel (via Variety). "We're definitely playing that. They are not gone gone."

Luke and Penelope getting together

One of the biggest plotlines left unresolved at the end of "Criminal Minds" Season 15 was the relationship between Luke (Adam Rodriguez) and Penelope (Kirsten Vangsness). Luke and Penelope had a flirty dynamic in the show's final season, and Luke finally asked Penelope out to dinner in the very last episode.

As it turns out, a lot of fans want this relationship to actually happen. u/Ginger-Georgie wrote, "I really want Luke and Penelope to be in an established relationship," while u/Minghaolegs chimed in with, "I need Luke and Penelope's relationship to flourish. Like, primally." Another fan of the couple, u/emmaraeanderson, made a poll asking who wanted to see Luke and Penelope together in the reboot, and 75 of 101 users responded in the affirmative.

According to Adam Rodriguez, there may be hope for these shippers. He told Entertainment Weekly that "[With Luke and Penelope], they can't decide if they want to be best friends or if there is something more there. There's always that fine line." Rodriguez noted that their relationship is complicated because they work together, but that "we will continue to ride that line and have a lot of fun doing it."

Rossi still being happily married

At the end of Season 15, Agent David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) finally retired from the BAU in order to live a happy domestic life with his wife Krystall (Gail O'Grady). Since it's been announced that Rossi will be returning to the BAU as unit chief, fans are worried about what might have caused him to come out of retirement, speculating that it could be COVID-related. Redditor u/big_white_fishie wrote, "I'm hoping (and praying) that Rossi's life being affected by COVID is just the fact he was bored at home, so came out of retirement [and] became BAU leader," rather than something tragic happening in his family life. u/TvManiac5 concurred, sharing their worries that Rossi and Krystal might break up. "Just let my man be happy," they wrote.

These fans have a right to be worried, as the details that have been released about Rossi's situation do seem rather troubling. Joe Mantegna told Entertainment Weekly that "we're going to find that Rossi came in under odd circumstances," which is a suspiciously vague explanation. Mantegna went on to say: "You're going to find that because of what's happened over the past few years, and the fact that there's been this time off and things have happened [and] changed — not just in the BAU, but with the world — that there's been some drama." Fans are hoping it's not drama of the life-or-death variety, as these characters have been through enough of that over the last fifteen seasons.

An update on the Skull Tattoo Man

There were several plotlines that were left unresolved when "Criminal Minds" wrapped, and some of them are more perplexing than others. In the Season 11 episode "Awake," the team is after a man named William Taylor, who has been kidnapping and torturing his victims using sleep deprivation. He is after someone known as the Skull Tattoo Man, who he believes took his daughter Tatiana. The BAU thinks the Skull Tattoo Man is just a figment of Taylor's imagination, but at the end of the episode, we see a man matching this description attempting to take another child. It's never brought up again, and it remains one of the most frustrating cliffhangers for fans.

Fans are still thinking about this unsolved mystery years later, with several Reddit threads dedicated to discussing the episode. We don't know if the BAU will be revisiting any old cases during the reboot, but one fan had an interesting idea about how they might tie up loose ends. Referencing the fact that the series might focus on one unsub for an entire season, Twitter user @Lynn_Nyx01 wrote, "I'm hoping it's the one from 'Awake,' the one with the skull tattoo on his hand. I have never forgotten about that or [stopped] wondering how many he's abducted and killed under the radar." Clearly, this case is something that's been on fans' minds for quite some time now, so it will be interesting to see if it gets revisited.

A good explanation for why Penelope has returned

Penelope Garcia is often the most chipper member of the BAU team, but she's also the most sensitive. Over the course of her time at the FBI, Garcia experienced a number of traumatic events that would leave anyone in her position reeling. Because of this, it wasn't all that surprising that Garcia left the BAU in the series finale in order to pursue a less gruesome line of work. But since Kirsten Vangsness will be returning for the reboot, fans have been wondering how Garcia ended up back on the team.

On a Reddit thread discussing the new series, u/sool47 wrote, "I want a good explanation as to why Garcia came back, after the show spent 2 episodes and the show finale focused on telling us Garcia would thrive in an environment free of murders/crimes and made it a big deal/character development she decided to leave." It's a prescient question, especially considering that the Season 15 finale seemed to wrap up everyone's storylines so nicely.

Vangsness addressed these concerns in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, but we still have a lot of questions. "[Penelope] does not want to go back to the BAU. She can't do it because when you've had a period of time where you've reorganized yourself based on new values, you can't go back," she explained. But, of course, Garcia does go back to the BAU, and we're still not sure why she's returned. "When the show starts, I don't think the job and Garcia are energetically matching," Vangsness added.

Prentiss in a happy relationship (preferably with a woman)

Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) is a survivor. She's literally come back from the dead and lived through countless harrowing experiences. But there's one thing she hasn't quite figured out, and that's romance. She's dated a few men over the course of the series, but it never really worked out. And let's face it, none of these men were ever interesting enough to be on her level. Fans of Emily want to see her happy, and part of this means finally seeing her in a loving relationship. Redditor u/Redigit30 thinks the new series should "get Prentiss in a relationship where she's actually happy looking."

For some fans, their hopes for Prentiss are more specific. "We deserve Gay Prentiss" wrote u/mighty-mango. "Let her love the ladies!!" u/tsp_of_dopamine commented. u/Gentle_penguin95 concurred, adding, "Can they please let her be part of the LGBTQ+ rainbow already, don't be cowards!"

Some of the fans who think Prentiss is or should be gay or bisexual are also fans of the ship "Jemily" and love the idea of Emily and JJ (A.J. Cook) being in a relationship with one another. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like that will ever happen. One fan asked Paget Brewster on Twitter if they will get together in the reboot, and Brewster responded, "Sorry, hon, not this time. But shipping is awesome and life is long so don't give up." A sad day for Jemily shippers, but some fans are still holding out hope for Prentiss' future love life.

No more romance between Reid and JJ

It may have already been confirmed that Matthew Gray Gubler will not be returning for the "Criminal Minds" reboot, but there's still one Reid storyline that has fans reeling. In Season 14, it was shockingly revealed that JJ was in love with Reid, despite the fact that they had maintained a sibling-like relationship for much of the series and that JJ was married with two kids at that point. It's one of the least-liked storylines in the whole series, and many fans prefer to ignore it or pretend it never happened.

Some fans were so scarred by the incident that they're still worried it will be brought up in the reboot. When asked for ideas about what should happen in the new series, Redditor u/whatsyourvibe wrote "Get rid of the 'forbidden love between Reid and JJ' storyline." u/PaddlesOwnCanoe concurred, writing "I always thought that was a stupid idea." Because Gubler won't be a part of the series it's unlikely this storyline will be rehashed, but we understand the worry.

Meanwhile, some fans are crossing their fingers that JJ is still in a good place with her husband after all this time. "I don't want to see JJ and Will separated" wrote u/​​lashesnlipstick. We don't know for sure what the state of JJ's marriage is like in the reboot, but A.J. Cook told Entertainment Weekly that JJ and her family have moved back from New Orleans together, which seems to suggest they're still operating as a family unit.

All current and former BAU members still being alive

Everyone on the BAU team has been through a lot over the course of fifteen seasons, and "Criminal Minds" fans are weary of any more tragedy befalling the group. If there's one thing fans abhor, it's characters being killed off-screen. Gideon's off-screen death in Season 10 is one of fans' most hated "Criminal Minds" storylines, so it's no surprise fans don't want this fate being thrust upon any more characters.

Answering the question "What could the reboot do to p*** you off," u/m_green_02 responded: "Kill any non-returning members off [or] give anyone more trauma." u/systemfa1lure was preemptively angry about the prospect of killing either Reid or Hotch off-screen, as was u/xOlivia_Greyx, who wrote that "Kill[ing] off anyone from the team" would p*** them off the most.

Speaking with Variety, showrunner Erica Messer confirmed that neither Reid nor Simmons are actually gone from the BAU, they just won't be on the show. "They're certainly not forgotten," she said. It remains unknown whether Hotch will be referenced in the series, as Thomas Gibson was fired during Season 12 after an on-set altercation.

No new agents

Though a few members of the team have remained for much of the series' run, the BAU has had a good amount of turnover over the years. Certain additions to the team have been more welcome than others, and everyone has their own opinions about which newer members are their favorites. But it's understandable that fans have begun to tire of all of these cast changes, which is why some viewers have said enough is enough.

Redditor u/Leather_Ebb_596 wrote, "I don't want any 'new' agents who are just filler cast" on a thread dedicated to discussing potential pitfalls of the reboot. Since we know that many of the original cast members will be returning, it seems unlikely we will get too many new characters. However, Variety reported that Zach Gilford — best known for starring in "Friday Night Lights" — will be featured as a guest star in the new series. He is set to play Elias Voit, "an operations analyst for a global cyber-security firm who has a dark side and an obsession with death," said the Hollywood trade.

The team working on one case for an entire season

Being that it was a network procedural, an average season of the original "Criminal Minds" was around 23 episodes long. Because of this network structure, most episodes focused on the team catching a single unsub, with the exception of a few season-long arcs. Because the reboot will be airing on Paramount+, fans have been theorizing about how the new series might differ from the original in terms of structure.

When it was first hinted that the show might be getting rebooted in 2020, fans had a lot to say about what the new series might (or should) look like. Redditor u/SportsGuy132121 commented on a post from around this time with a suggestion for the series. "I want a six episode reboot where the entire six episodes are going after the same killer," they said. We might not be getting exactly what this fan hoped for, but it turns out they weren't far off.

The reboot will be 10 episodes long, not six, but there will be a season-long arc, according to the synopsis that's been released. Per The Hollywood Reporter, "Criminal Minds: Evolution" will focus on a particular unsub who has "used the pandemic to build a network of other serial killers. As the world opens back up and the network goes operational, the team must hunt them down, one murder at a time."

The return of Hotch

Fans have long been hesitant about the "Criminal Minds" reboot, in part because of the beloved characters who have left the show in the past. On a thread from 2020, u/1Indra-Kun wrote, "If there will be a reboot, hopefully, they can hash things out with Thomas Gibson." Several users actually argued that there should only be a reboot if Hotch is brought back into the fold. One fan on Twitter, @bonkybirnes, was very adamant about Hotch's involvement, writing: "​​BRING BACK AARON HOTCHNER FOR THE CRIMINAL MINDS REBOOT PLEASE I AM BEGGING HE DIDN'T DESERVE TO BE ERASED FROM THE SHOW."

At this point, it seems extremely unlikely that Hotch will ever return, especially as the reboot's main cast has already been announced. Thomas Gibson left under less-than-amicable terms, which makes his return even more improbable. However, for Hotch's fans, a Hotch-less reboot seems to be a hard pill to swallow. There are also some fans out there who think the show went on too long to begin with, like u/AbjectDisaster, who wrote: "It shouldn't have continued post Hotch and Morgan (in my world)." It remains to be seen if Hotch will even be referenced at all in the reboot, as most of the characters seemed to forget he ever existed after he was written off the show in Season 12.


Though it initially aired on network television, "Criminal Minds" is a pretty scary show, and it got away with a lot within the confines of network regulations. But streaming television is a different beast, and in some cases it allows writers to have more freedom with what they're able to put on screen. "Criminal Minds: Evolution" will air on Paramount+, which has led some fans to speculate about how the show will change given these new parameters.

In the original series, none of the characters could swear, despite the fact that they frequently found themselves in life-threatening situations that might call for a bit of colorful language. Fans have long wondered what the show would be like could the characters use profanity, with one thread on Reddit having been dedicated to discussing which characters would swear and what words they would use.

Now that the reboot has been confirmed, some fans have begun to hope these theories will become a reality. "I would love to hear more swearing," u/pagetownsme13 wrote on a thread about the new series. On Twitter, another fan agreed. "I hope they let one character say f*** in the new 'Criminal Minds' reboot," @samanthakry posted. Now that this idea has been planted in our heads, we'll be waiting with bated breath to see if it actually happens.