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Criminal Minds: Evolution Fans Can't Help But Notice Reid's Absence

Across 15 seasons and three decades from 2005-2020, CBS's "Criminal Minds" explored the ins and outs of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (aka the BAU). This was achieved by giving viewers engaging characters to root for over the years, with Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A.J. Cook), Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), and Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) bringing the compelling cases to life for most of the series. 

After a two-year hiatus following the end of the 15th season, a new installment titled "Criminal Minds: Evolution" premiered on Paramount+ on November 24, 2022. The restart of the program is being labeled as "grotesque and upsetting" but also faithful to the daring audacity of the original series (per Entertainment Weekly).

But the charm of one Special Agent Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) is nowhere to be found in the revival. Despite Reid's engaging personality and never-failing interest in the science and psychology of criminal behavior, the character does not appear in "Criminal Minds: Evolution." Special Agent Reid was always part of the story in every season of the show, so it was undeniable his absence would be felt in the continuation. After a few episodes of the new "Evolution" season, fans can't help but notice his absence and the effect it is having on the "Criminal Minds" viewing experience.

Fans are saying Criminal Minds: Evolution just isn't the same without Spencer Reid

In an interview with TV Line, "Criminal Minds: Evolution" showrunner Erica Messer spoke about the absence of Special Agents Spencer Reid and Matt Simmons (Daniel Henney). She commented, "Our hope is that the team members we ended the series with on CBS will be able to come back and play at some point, but everybody does have other projects. We started shooting in August and we're going to be wrapped in December ... so there was a short window to try to get all of our friends to play." The possibility of Reid's return to the program is not a foregone conclusion, and based on Messer's comments, the reason was likely due to a conflict of schedule, which means we may see Matthew Gray Gubler in the future.

But fans are letting their disappointment be known on Twitter, with @bv1018 tweeting about the December 1, 2022 episode, "Great episode! I'm so happy to see everyone together again but where is Reid? I miss him. [sad emoji] #CriminalMindsEvolution #matthewgraygubler." Fan @kittykattbishhh was more direct by using several sad emojis, tweeting "I'm sorry #CriminalMindsEvolution just don't hit the same without Spencer Reid ... I'll keep watching it tho." In spite of not being part of the show at this point, viewers are still willing to tune in, with @DayyLady sharing, "finna watch the new criminal minds ... idk how to feel since reid not on there but we'll see #criminalmindsevolution."