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Early Roles The Cast Of Criminal Minds Probably Want You To Forget About

A different kind of police procedural, "Criminal Minds" focused on the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI, where profilers use science and data to track down the most elusive targets. A mix of cop drama and thought-provoking thriller, the series debuted in 2005, and was a monster hit for CBS for over a decade, eventually airing a series finale in 2016. 

Originally led by Mandy Patinkin, the series saw a few notable cast changes, but many more in the series' cast wound up staying with the show for the majority of its run. In 2022, the series made a triumphant return as a streaming original on Paramount+, retitled "Criminal Minds: Evolution." This thrilling revival reunites some of the show's biggest stars and adds a few new ones to the mix too. 

With the cast back in action, they're no doubt happy to be returning to their fan-favorite roles in a series that they'll probably be forever remembered for. Starring in a hit series allows them to bury their worst work and put lamentable roles behind them ... but we're not ready to let them off that easy. As the series returns to greatness, we thought it was time to take a look back at some of the actors' lowest points. Here are the roles the cast of "Criminal Minds" probably wants us to forget about.

Shemar Moore - Butter

Before Shemar Moore was busting up the baddies as Sgt. Hondo Harrelson in "S.W.A.T.," he was chasing them down as part of the Behavioral Analysis Unit in "Criminal Minds." As FBI agent Derek Morgan, Moore starred in "Criminal Minds" for 13 seasons. We were torn at first when looking for Moore's worst project though, as we very well could have chosen his role as Jesse Reese in the ill-fated 2002 TV series that shared a universe with Michael Keaton's Batman, "Birds of Prey." But that series has its charms, which isn't something we can say about the 1998 drama, "Butter."

In this action thriller from writer and director Peter Gathings Bunche, Moore stars alongside Nia Long of "NCIS" fame and "Ghostbusters" star Ernie Hudson. Alternatively titled "Never 2 Big" (it's never a good sign when a movie goes by multiple titles), "Butter" is a look at the darker side of the music business. Moore plays Freddy who has a music star in the family that winds up dead when she refuses to sign a new record contract. Looking for answers, Freddy is framed for her murder and suddenly finds himself in the crosshairs of some bad musical gangsters.

Terrence Howard, Donald Faison, and Tony Todd also star in this by-the-numbers thriller that's badly acted, poorly directed, and written so sloppily you'll see any purported plot twists coming a mile away. It might fool you with its cast, but "Butter" spreads its ambitions a little too thin.

Matthew Gray Gubler - How to be a Serial Killer

"Criminal Minds" has more than just gung-ho FBI agents, and Matthew Gray Gubler stars as Dr. Spencer Reid, a former child prodigy who achieved his Ph.D. at a young age and serves the BAU as an expert criminal profiler. Gubler may not be the same super genius as his character though, because he's taken a few roles in his career that he probably regrets, like the 2008 satire, "How to Be a Serial Killer."

A film with the awkward kind of title that might get you on a watch list if you Google it, "How to Be a Serial Killer" may sound like a clever black comedy on paper, but in execution, it's anything but that. It's written and directed by Luke Ricci and stars Dameon Clarke as Mike Wilson, a smart, well-kept college-educated man who would be otherwise unremarkable if he wasn't slaughtering people in his spare time. Rather than fall in love and start a normal life though, Wilson finds a young man named Bart (Gubler) and takes him under his wing, mentoring him as a killer-in-training.

Maybe inspired by the disturbing dark humor of "American Psycho," the film tries mixing in slapdash comedy that's not funny or incisive enough to be much of anything. In the end, it doesn't make you laugh or say anything thought-provoking, while its weak attempt at a mockumentary style falls flat.

A.J. Cook - Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell

For the entire run of "Criminal Minds," A.J. Cook has played BAU agent Jennifer "JJ" Jareau, even returning for the 2022 revival, "Criminal Minds: Evolution." During her time on the show, she hasn't found a lot of time to do much else, but before she originated the role of JJ she did appear in a direct-to-video horror film famous for how bad it is. Third in a series of four films, "Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell" took the franchise to new lows.

The first film in the series was memorable for featuring a who's who of horror icons like Robert Englund, Tony Todd, and Tom Savini, and while never a critical hit, has a cult following. By 2001, the third film in the series had lost any appeal it might have had, to the point where producer Wes Craven was no longer involved. Once again centered on a demonic entity that grants magical wishes, original actor Andrew Divoff is replaced by John Novak, who seeks out new Earthly victims to torment. 

Unfortunately, Cook is sucked into the mess that is "Wishmaster 3," a d-grade horror movie with little more than gratuitous nudity and buckets of blood to convince its target audience to pick it off the rental shelf. It's a sad showing for Cook, but while we can give her a pass as one of her earliest films, we're sure she'd rather we just not talk about it.

Thomas Gibson - Evil Never Dies

Starring for more than a decade in "Criminal Minds" was "Dharma and Greg" actor Thomas Gibson in the role of Special Agent Aaron Hotchner, better known as "Hotch." Unfortunately, after some behind-the-scenes drama on the set of the series, Gibson had his contract terminated by the studio and left "Criminal Minds" after filming a pair of episodes in the show's 12th season, and he was quietly written out of the series. It was a major career mistake, but it wasn't his first. Looking back, he might also lament his part in the 2003 television movie, "Evil Never Dies."

Part cop drama, part supernatural horror, part dark sci-fi, "Evil Never Dies" puts Gibson into the role of Detective Mark Ryan whose wife is murdered by a notorious serial killer. Still haunted by her death, Ryan moves over to a new job as a beat cop on a local college campus. But he soon meets Eve (Katherine Heigl), assistant to a mad scientist working to resurrect the dead, and whose first test subject is none other than the man who killed his wife who'd previously been executed for the crime.

A twist on "Frankenstein," the premise of "Evil Never Dies" never makes any sense. Plot holes and coincidences pile up quickly, and by the end, you'll probably have shaken your head in bewilderment enough to give you whiplash. 

Paget Brewster - My Big Fat Independent Movie

While Paget Brewster had a recurring role in "Friends" and appeared in the main cast of the short-lived series, "Love & Money," she wouldn't find true success until 2006 when she joined the cast of "Criminal Minds." As BAU unit chief Emily Prentiss, she first appeared in the show's second season before becoming a series regular the following year. She's continued playing the role into 2022 and is probably hoping she can finally put behind her some of her failed early projects, like "My Big Fat Independent Movie."

A spoof film released in 2006, "My Big Fat Independent Movie" pokes fun at the indie scene and starred the likes of Pauly Shore, Jason Mewes, and Clint Howard, which should tell you all you need to know about what kind of awful mess it is. Taking aim at celebrated classics like "Memento," "Pulp Fiction," "Run, Lola, Run," and "Amelie," the movie leaves no joke untold, no matter how bad it might be. With a cliched time-jumping story, Brewster plays a cashier up against the ropes when she's taken captive by a pair of eccentric hitmen.

Sloppy and cheap like so many other movies of its kind, "My Big Fat Independent Movie" is bland and boring, a quick cash grab that thankfully barely scratches 80 minutes. Its short runtime is perhaps the only thing the film does right, and that it's been completely forgotten decades later is probably just fine with Brewster.

Mandy Patinkin - Maxie

Veteran actor Mandy Patinkin may still be famous for his role in "The Princess Bride" as swashbuckling revenge-seeker Inigo Montoya, but he's had his hits on TV too. Following a run on "Chicago Hope" in the 1990s, he joined "Criminal Minds" as agent Jason Gideon, a role he'd hold for the show's first two seasons. Though he's long since left the series behind, one role that he might wish wouldn't follow him is Nick from the woeful 1985 comedy, "Maxie."

A slapstick laugher also starring Glenn Close, Ruth Gordon, and Valerie Curtin, "Maxie" centers on a free-spirited 1920s flapper. The titular Maxie (Close) is open with her sexuality, and she's hoping to make it big in Hollywood. The catch however is that the movie takes place in the '80s and Maxi is a ghost who causes trouble for Nick (Patinkin), the new owner of her old home. She thinks she can get her big acting break by taking over the body of Nick's wife.

A screwball ghost comedy feels like something that maybe could have worked in days gone by, but in 1985, it made little sense. Noted critic Roger Ebert gave the film credit for its cute premise, but decried it for doing "as little with its original inspiration as is humanly possible." A silly and insipid comedy that's too weird for its own good, "Maxie" is one stinker that has haunted Patinkin for decades.

Joe Mantegna - Turbulence III: Heavy Metal

There are two kinds of Joe Mantegna fans: The ones who identify him as the voice of Fat Tony in "The Simpsons" and the ones who see him as Special Agent David Rossi in "Criminal Minds." Though he wouldn't join the series until its third year, he's been a stalwart leader of the BAU team since. It's a good thing Mantegna snagged the part because it finally gave him an iconic regular role in a big network hit, allowing him to put clunkers like "Turbulence III: Heavy Metal" in the rearview mirror.

But before people forget it entirely, we're here to bring it up one more time. It's the second direct-to-video sequel to an already-terrible late '90s action flick starring Ray Liotta and Holly Hunter, and while the first film was merely awful, this threequel is downright amateurish and stupid. The only thing it has in common with the first film is that it takes place on a plane, where a terrorist plot crashes a concert held by a Marilyn Manson-esque goth rock star named Slade Craven (John Mann), who's inexplicably holding his show in a jumbo jet.

The movie's shoestring budget is plainly visible in its sparse sets and homemade VFX. It looks cheap and seems like it was filmed in one take, with stunts that are neither convincing nor fun. Worse than a b-movie, it's downright insulting that they managed to rope in talented actors like Mantegna and Rutger Hauer.

Lola Glaudini - Drive Thru

A veteran of several critically acclaimed crime dramas, Lola Glaudini has had recurring roles in hits like "NYPD Blue" in the 1990s and "The Sopranos" after the turn of the millennium. She later appeared in "Ray Donovan" and "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," but of course in between she starred in the first two seasons of "Criminal Minds" as FBI agent Elle Greenaway. Outside of TV, she's bounced around films where she hasn't had quite the same level of success. Her worst role on the big screen is probably in the 2007 slasher, "Drive Thru."

When it comes to lame horror comedies, it doesn't get much sillier than this one, which sees a murderous fast food mascot named Horny The Clown terrorizing a small town. The film wastes no time with the plot and gets right to the killing, which is all for the better because its attempts at a story backfire spectacularly, while the jokes land with a thud. As Horny hunts down some local teens with a meat cleaver, Glaudini plays Detective Brenda Chase, who tries to piece together the identity of the blood-thirsty monster.

Killer clown movies are their own subgenre and have potential on paper, but this one doesn't follow through to the screen. Instead, it's a pedantic, hollow slasher that does the bare minimum, and offers up nothing special, with Dread Central calling it "so awful that anyone that ever praises it should have their license to mock Uwe Boll revoked."

Adam Rodriguez - A Kiss of Chaos

One of the later additions to the cast of "Criminal Minds" was Adam Rodriguez, who joined the series around the same time Thomas Gibson departed in Season 12 in 2016. It was nothing new for the actor, who'd wrapped up a 10-year run in the "CSI" franchise a few years before, and had starred in "Roswell" and "Brooklyn South" earlier in his career. Another actor who struggled on the big screen in between TV roles, Rodriguez never seemed to pick the right movie roles, winding up in flops like "A Kiss of Chaos."

Released in 2009, "A Kiss of Chaos" is a painfully generic indie crime drama about a young woman whose life is thrust into chaos when her ex-boyfriend shows up at her door with a bullet wound. The same day, her drug-addled sister also comes looking for help, and suddenly she's dragged into dueling dramas. The audience has it almost as bad as she does though, subjected to actors who are there just to collect a quick paycheck, and a movie so boring it makes being stuck in traffic seem downright riveting.

We might not blame Rodriguez for this one if it were earlier in his career, but even in 2008 he was starring in "CSI." All the more perplexing though is that he accepted a role in this slop, but a few years later turned down a role in a Christopher Nolan movie.

Jeanne Tripplehorn - Waterworld

"Criminal Minds" isn't just a collection of TV veterans, and has had more than a few big screen stars join its cast throughout the years. This includes Jeanne Tripplehorn, star of films like "Basic Instinct" and "The Firm," who played the show's resident language expert, Alex Blake, for two seasons. But Tripplehorn's movie career wasn't wall-to-wall successes, and in fact, she has quite a few duds. Her biggest — or at least the most well-known — is the infamous 1995 sci-fi disaster, "Waterworld."

Notoriously the most expensive movie ever made at the time of its release, its unprecedented scale made its disappointment at the box office all the more embarrassing. The film reunited director Kevin Reynolds and star Kevin Costner from their work on "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," and looked like it could have been the next big blockbuster. An inverted version of "Mad Max," the film is set in a dystopian future where water covers the planet thanks to global warming, and the film's hero (Costner) searches for a mythical patch of land.

An absolute debacle, the film is more than just bad, it's downright famous for being a failure. Though some have since revisited it claiming it's not quite as terrible as its reputation suggests, we can't imagine Tripplehorn is all that eager to be connected with one of Hollywood's most famous flops.

Jayne Atkinson - Blank Check

In the mid-'90s there was a wave of films inspired by the success of "Home Alone." These slapstick comedies typically featured spunky children fighting back against armed crooks, often using makeshift weapons and traps to stop the bad guys. Suffice it to say, almost none of them were any good, and most of them were bargain bin trash. Firmly in the latter category is "Blank Check," a 1994 film that starred future "Criminal Minds" star Jayne Atkinson, who played the BAU's section chief, Erin Strauss. 

In "Blank Check," Atkinson plays the mother of the little tyke that leads the film, a down-on-his-luck 11-year-old kid named Preston Waters (Brian Bonsall) who is handed a signed blank check by an escaped crook. Rather than go to the police though, Preston tries to cash it for a million bucks, which draws the attention of the crook's enemies and puts him on the wrong end of a criminal scheme. Now not only does Preston have tons of money he uses to buy everything he ever wanted, but he has to escape the clutches of some vicious thugs.

"Blank Check" isn't just terrible though, it's cringe-inducing, ending with an adult FBI agent (Karen Duffy) giving 11-year-old Preston a less-than-innocent kiss. In 2017, it gained renewed attention when the film arrived on Netflix, prompting a backlash that Atkinson can't be happy to be associated with.

Jennifer Love Hewitt - Munchie

Many audiences might still connect Jennifer Love Hewitt with her part in the '90s teen drama, "Party of Five," the 1998 film "I Know What You Did Last Summer," or her starring role in the 2000s drama, "The Ghost Whisperer." But fans of "Criminal Minds" will know her best as FBI agent Kate Callahan, who appeared in the show's tenth season. She's had several roles she might look back at now with some awkwardness though, and the one that rises to the top of the cringe pile is the 1992 comedy, "Munchie."

Directed by Jim Wynorski, the man behind such classics as "Chopping Mall," "Sorority House Massacre II," and "The Bare Wench Project," it should come as no surprise that "Munchie" is a low-budget b-movie. Just one in a long line of bad "Gremlins" knock-offs, the film introduces us to a magical little leprechaun-like creature who wears a three-piece suit and is voiced by comedian Dom DeLuise.

One of the stupidest slapstick kids movies you'll ever see, "Munchie" is a muddled mess with no point. It's also inexplicably a sequel to the 1987 film, "Munchies," but has almost nothing in common with it, and is somehow even worse.