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Things You Never Noticed In The First Episode Of Criminal Minds

After a long series run, it's always fun to look back on a show's first episode to notice things that were different or that might have gained meaning later on. Over 15 seasons, Criminal Minds has changed a lot in some ways, yet in other ways very little. Characters have come and gone, and the cast has all moved on now that it's ended, but the show stuck with its tried and true bad guy-catching formula until the end.

The series opener focuses on bringing the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) together to catch a strangler in Seattle who's kidnapped a woman. Profiler Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) is called in from his six-month leave to help find the missing woman, along with agents Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), and Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). Through their clever reasoning, they learn that there is not one, but two killers, and proceed to save their latest victim. 

It's a good start to the series, but on first watch, there are several details that now stand out far more than they did in 2005.

Garcia's outfit is very out of character

The lovable, empathetic, super-smart Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) has been in almost every episode of Criminal Minds. Her record is second only to Reid's, as she missed an episode in the first season because she was never supposed to be a series regular. Vangsness told Parade that she was only going to be in one episode, but she had so much chemistry with Moore that they wanted to keep her around.

However, that decision came after her debut in the pilot, and it shows that they had yet to develop her character. We first see Garcia when Morgan calls her while trying to unlock a suspect's laptop. She introduces herself with: "You've reached Penelope Garcia in the FBI's office of the supreme genius." She's got her trademark cockiness, but every other part of her now-well-known character is absent. In the scene, she's wearing a bland argyle sweater vest over a button up. She's got on lipstick and a necklace, but other than that she looks a whole world apart from her usual colorful getup. This Garcia doesn't have any of the style that she gets later on.

Hotch's baby name ideas are quite familiar

At this point in the Criminal Minds timeline, Hotch's wife Haley is still pregnant with their son. In his opening scene, they're trying to come up with names for him. Hotch suggests "Sergio," but Haley shoots him down. It's a complete throwaway line, but six seasons later, that name comes up again as Emily Prentiss's (Paget Brewster) black cat. Prentiss later describes her cat as "the perfect man. He doesn't hog the covers, and he poops in a box."

After Hotch and Haley narrowly avoid their kid having the same name as Prentiss's cat, Haley suggests the name Gideon. She says it's perfect, referencing its meaning and its Hebrew origins. According to Behind the Name, it means "feller," in allusion to the hero of the Old Testament. However, Hotch says, "Not a chance," and is most likely thinking about his boss Jason Gideon of the BAU. It may have been awkward for Hotch's boss and son to have the same name, but they wouldn't have had to compete for the name very long, as Mandy Patinkin left Criminal Minds after two seasons.

The cashier at the end originally auditioned for Spencer Reid

When Gideon is first introduced, he's giving a lecture about a behavioral profile he'd done on a previous case. He explains that they shouldn't be surprised if the killer has a stutter, because his killing method shows a lack of confidence. Then, at the very end of the episode, Gideon is at a gas station when the cashier (Lukas Haas) speaks to him with a stutter. Gideon leaves and the episode ends with the other man pointing a gun at the back of his head.

The second episode continues this plot, and we find out the man is actually the so called Footpath Killer that Gideon had been lecturing on. Interestingly, the DVD commentary reveals that Haas originally auditioned for the character of Spencer Reid. However, he expressed hesitation over committing to a series, and was cast as the two-episode killer instead.

The technology in the pilot is extremely outdated

Nothing dates a show quite like the technology they use, and boy has technology changed in the 15 years since Criminal Minds first aired. In the first episode, Hotch gets a fax about the missing victim, because he doesn't have a smartphone to buzz with an email notification. At least they had cell phones, though, even if they were the small, outdated chunky kind.

Then there's a whole section of the plot that hinges on CDs. While investigating a suspect's bedroom, Morgan finds a portable CD player hooked up to a pair of headphones. Hoping it will lead them to the suspect's computer password, the team proceeds to go through dozens of CD cases to find the one most used. In modern times, this method probably wouldn't make any sense, as you'd likely have to check out someone's Recently Played songs on Spotify, which would be, incidentally, on the locked computer.

The episode's end quote is reused in later seasons

Criminal Minds may have changed many of its characters, but one thing that stuck around is its use of quotes at the beginning and end of an episode. Curiously, the first episode, "Extreme Aggressor," actually has four quotes used throughout. Gideon recites each one, finishing the episode with: "Nietzsche once said, 'When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks into you.'"

This quote became something of a Criminal Minds slogan, as it's reused in two later episodes. In episode 100, actually entitled "100," Hotch begins the episode saying a longer version, "He who fights with monsters might take care, lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." Then, at the end of the season nine episode "200," Jennifer "J.J." Jareau (A.J. Cook) recites Gideon's version.

It's a bit of a dark quote to be tied so heavily to the show, but hey, Criminal Minds never claimed to be lighthearted.