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The Criminal Minds Episode The Apprenticeship Hid References To The Bad News Bears In Plain Sight

TV and movie fans have developed a pretty firm grasp of Easter eggs and how they work. Not too long ago, however, references to other productions were only occasionally placed within scenes for eagle-eyed fans to spot. Today, such clever nods to other shows or films are common. In fact, they're almost expected in some cases. "Rick and Morty" is loaded with references and brilliantly winks at "Community" and the "Indiana Jones" franchise, while "Avengers: Infinity War" paid homage to "Arrested Development." Easter eggs can sometimes pop up in the most unexpected places, even a dramatic show like "Criminal Minds," which once referenced a film from more than 45 years ago.

For those not familiar with the popular CBS series, "Criminal Minds" features a team of FBI behavioral analysts who've been cracking case after case since the show premiered in 2005. More than 300 episodes aired by the time the show ended in 2020, and fans are now enjoying a reboot called "Criminal Minds: Evolution," which kicked off in November 2022. But, it was back 10 years ago, during a Season 8 episode, when the show's writers snuck in an Easter egg, introducing a pretty significant nod to the 1976 comedy film, "The Bad News Bears."

Criminal Minds used character names to reference the baseball comedy

Although it's common nowadays to see references to other TV shows and films in current productions, it's always fun to look back at past examples that may have gone under the radar. One fascinating Easter egg can be found in "Criminal Minds," specifically in Season 8, Episode 6, "The Apprenticeship," when the writers decided to very obviously include references to the film "The Bad News Bears." And those in-your-face references came primarily from character names. For example, the characters David Roy Turner, Toby Whitewood, and Jose Aguilar matched the names of Bears players Turner, Toby, and Aguilar. Also, the roles of Amanda Lopez and Detective Sam Ogilvie echoed the film's characters, Ogilvie and Amanda. 

For those who don't remember — or were born well after its release — "The Bad News Bears" starred Walter Matthau, Tatum O'Neal, and Vic Morrow, and the story follows an ex-professional baseball coach whose affection for alcohol has reduced his career to leading a youth baseball team, the Bears. The Bears are bad. Really, really bad. While the "Criminal Minds" Easter Egg is amusing, it's not clear why it was included. The only notable plot connection in the episode involves Morgan (Shemar Moore) trying to recruit Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) to join the bureau softball team. Whatever the reason for the Easter egg, it's fun to speculate about and it's amusing.