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The Spencer Reid Moment That Criminal Minds Fans Love

Yes, Criminal Minds is known for having some of the wildest and most disturbing investigations of any case-of-the-week procedural on TV — but that's only part of the reason why the show developed such an intense fanbase during its 15 seasons on the air. What hardcore Criminal Minds stans really love are the characters. The agents of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) bring laughs, gritty determination, and a lot of heart to the proceedings.

One of the most well-loved of those characters is Dr. Spencer Reid, played by Matthew Gray Gubler. This lovable oddball is known for being a fast talker and for his obsessive knowledge of, well, just about everything. Despite his extreme genius, he's also regarded by his colleagues and fans of the show as an indispensable member of the team.

In general, Reid isn't known for having a brash attitude or playing hardball like some of the other agents. However, when Reid is pushed, he won't hesitate to use his quick wit and intellect to lay a verbal smackdown. In fact, a particularly sassy retort of Reid's is regarded by fans as one of the greatest moments Criminal Minds has ever seen.

"This is calm, and it's 'Doctor'" is a comeback that has produced its own cottage industry of t-shirts, mugs, stickers, and other memorabilia due to its popularity. Out of context, it already sounds like an incredible quote — but when you understand why it was said, you'll start to understand why it's a moment that Criminal Minds fans love.

The moment that caused Dr. Spencer Reid to unleash the beast, if ever he had one

The gravity of Reid's comeback is heightened by the fact that it happened during one of the series' most intense and personal storylines. Former Irish Republican Army member Ian Doyle (Timothy V. Murphy) proved to be a formidable thorn in the BAU's side for much of Criminal Minds' sixth season — so much so that one team member, Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster, who was briefly fired from the show for dubious reasons), had to fake her own death to prevent him from coming after her.

However, on the season 7 premiere, Doyle is in FBI custody. His partners in crime are still at large, though, and they kidnap his son, Declan (Conrad Bluth), whom the team is desperate to save. The episode, aptly entitled "It Takes a Village," uses frequent flashbacks to show the extraordinary measures the team used to finally bring Boyle's storyline to a close — while in the present day, each of them is testifying before a Senate committee to explain their unorthodox (i.e., illegal) approach to the case.

Reid faces harsh questioning from Senator Cramer (Mark Moses) about his decision to briefly free Doyle from custody to lure Declan's captors out of hiding. Cramer is flabbergasted that the team took such a potentially ruinous action with a notorious criminal, but Reid stands firm, telling the Senator, "A young boy's life was at stake. I ran the probability of his survival, and it wasn't good. If you wanna punish me for taking a risk, then I encourage you to do that, but do not put the rest of my team on trial for something that I suggested."

After Reid rattled off his impassioned plea, Cramer responded, "Calm down, Agent." That's when Reid unleashed the mic-drop heard 'round the Criminal Minds universe: "This is calm, and it's 'Doctor.'"

How much do fans love Reid's comeback?

To say fans love Reid's feisty comeback to the Senator would be an understatement. On an episode where the storyline of one of the series' most notorious, long-running villains finally gets wrapped up — and where Prentiss reveals to her team members that the casket they put in the ground didn't, in fact, contain her dead body — Reid's "and it's Doctor" quip is perhaps the most enduring moment. 

On Reddit, the quote is often referenced as being among the best from the entire series. In a thread specifically about Reid's remaark, user u/SourTwizzler2460 explained how the moment represents Reid's growing confidence in himself and his rightful title: "I like how at first he questioned why Gideon called him 'Doctor Reid' when introducing him to people, and now he even calls himself that. I feel like Reid gets more and more confident as the show goes on."

Meanwhile, user u/hpspnmag said they love the quote so much, they plan to incorporate it into a major life event: "This quote is how I plan to announce my graduation lol."

They aren't alone in that desire, and, in fact, one smarty-pants Reddit fan fulfilled that promise. User u/blackygreen started a thread in which they revealed that they included, "This is calm, and it's (hopefully) Doctor," as a piece of hidden text in the acknowledgments section of their PhD dissertation. In a follow-up thread, u/blackygreen revealed that they were successful in defending their dissertation, and now have a PhD in chemistry. (Sorry, we should say Dr. u/blackygreen.)

Whether it was inspiring fans to open an Etsy store, work on a PhD, or just to have the gumption to stick up for themselves, Dr. Spencer Reid's beloved comeback will live on as one of Criminal Minds' most influential moments.