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Criminal Minds Fans Find The Upside To Matthew Gray Gubler's Absence In S16

When "Criminal Minds" returned to television screens in 2022 with the Paramount+ revival "Criminal Minds: Evolution," fans were disappointed to learn it would be without favorite Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). Now that the series has ended its first season (also known as Season 16 including the original series), positive critical response shows that "Evolution" wasn't hurt by his absence. The show left things open for the character to return at any time, as Gubler's choice not to be in the first new season was made with no ill will toward the long-running procedural.

Now that all is said and done, fans have also made it clear that they were okay with Reid not returning for the first season of the revival. A Reddit thread regarding how fans felt about Gubler's absence found some pretty positive responses. User u/gremlin-with-issues opened the thread by saying, "I was really disappointed he wasn't coming back BUT honestly I really don't think he would've actually fit in well this series, like his quips and human [encyclopedia] just doesn't seem like it would've vibed." Users echoed the statement, and had some pretty painfully hilarious reasons why they were okay with him not returning this time.

Reddit users think Spencer Reid's absence protects him

Reddit users think that Spencer Reid sitting out "Criminal Minds: Evolution" might actually be a good thing, even though they love the character. User u/No_Seesaw_5789 made a good point about protecting the character's peaceful life outside of the BAU. They said, "If Reid was in 'Evolution,' the writers would probably have found new ways to hurt him like they always do ... I like to think he quit the dangerous BAU life and settled down with his wife and kids like Morgan did." Redditor u/BoganOtaku agreed, writing, "If Reid had been involved in 'Evolution,' the first 30 seconds of the show would see Reid being kidnapped, tortured, and then killed by Sicarius."

A couple of fans had further explanations for what helped soften the blow of him not returning. User u/joey0live pointed out that the show addressed his absence right away, writing, "They stated in Episode 1 of 'Evolution' that he [Reid] was on the field and been busy." User u/yoopergirl73 liked that a door was left open for Reid, saying, "That is exactly how I feel. They mentioned him, but not in a way that would prevent him from returning in the future."

Time will tell if Matthew Gray Gubler returns to the role that made him a star. "Criminal Minds: Evolution" has been renewed for another season, so fans can hold out hope for Reid's arrival on the streaming show. With looser standards and practices, "Evolution" has been able to explore darker material and get away with less censorship compared to the original CBS seasons. One Redditor, u/PsychoticHellhound, posed to the thread, "Imagine Reid dropping the F bomb."