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When Will Netflix Update With Season 13 Through 15 Of Criminal Minds?

Criminal Minds, with its big, lovable cast and addictive formula for building tension, remains eminently bingeable. As anyone hunting for more episodes will notice, the long-running crime procedural came to an end at last in February of 2020. Now that the episode tap has been sealed for good, the show will enter its second life of basic cable syndication and all-day streaming marathons in chronological order. The current 12 seasons available on Netflix may seem like plenty, but once you start, you'll really want to finish, even if it takes a couple weeks, right? It's partially about the achievement of seeing the whole blessed thing, and even moreso about having perpetual access to That One Episode you just can't get enough of. 

Over the past several years, Netflix has kept up with making seasons of Criminal Minds available as they enter the home-release cycle, but more recently that appears to have slowed, as seasons 13-15 have not yet been made available to watch. The last season only ended recently, so that's understandable enough, but we're two years out from when 13 aired, and over a year and half since the DVD box set of that season hit stores. What gives? The answer is pessimistic and not necessarily what you want to hear, but here's what's going on with Criminal Minds' latter seasons on Netflix.

There may be a streaming wars custody battle over Criminal Minds

The simple answer is that we don't know when Netflix will start carrying the rest of Criminal Minds — because we don't know if they're going to get to keep it at all. In February of 2020, news came through that CBS's reboot of Hawaii 5-0 would be leaving Netflix unexpectedly. As we said, there's no official word yet on the fate of Criminal Minds on Netflix, but it's a serious sign of where the wind is blowing. Where did Hawaii 5-0 go? CBS All Access, naturally. It's taken a few years — CBS's proprietary streaming service has been running since 2014 — but the network appears to finally be flexing its distribution rights at last, and we are seeing a slow reclamation of content in action.

It isn't quite as simple as a thief-in-the-night departure of Agent Reid from Netflix, however, All Access does have its own rules about distribution it needs to adhere to — a fan on Reddit made an inquiry about why season 14 of Criminal Minds abruptly disappeared from All Access late in 2019, and the reply explained that All Access' streaming rights of a season ended with the arrival of new broadcast content. That would be the 15th and final season, which is now the one available on All Access as of this writing.

Criminal Minds definitely appears to be living in a kind of custody limbo, in which CBS may not be willing to cough up licensing rights to Netflix, but hasn't sorted out all the legalese to ensure older episodes can be hosted on their streaming site, either. There's no telling when Criminal Minds' first 12 seasons will end their time on Netflix, but that could be what CBS is waiting for — we can probably expect that the month that license ends will be when the whole kit and kaboodle of the BAU's adventures come home forevermore to All Access.