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This Is Why Criminal Minds Fans Are So Divided On Gideon

With crime procedural Criminal Minds' large, ever changing cast of characters, the fans inevitably have strong opinions about which is the most iconic form of the team. Interestingly, the favorite is not the starting group, but rather the one that congealed in the third season. At least part of this preference is due to the character Jason Gideon, played by Mandy Patinkin, who fans simply cannot agree on.

From the beginning of the series, Gideon is the senior profiler who's seen as the leading expert in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). Incredibly talented at getting into the minds of serial killers, he takes his job very seriously, though he can be arrogant and blunt about it — perhaps as a result. He is a bit of a loner other than his mentor relationship to the young genius Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). 

Gideon stayed on the show for two seasons before Patinkin left the series, but he made quite an impression on fans in that brief time, in both good and bad ways.

Some fans thought he was too rude to his teammates

Reddit user u/Shanaynay5555 posted in r/criminalminds, offering their thoughts on Gideon as a character. They argued that, "It seemed he was only nice to Reid and sometimes Hotch. Even then he always seemed to try and over rule Hotch. He didn't seem to care about anyone else's opinions except for his, he basically skipped over anything Morgan had to say, he barely even talked to JJ or Elle." They also said he was "incredibly rude and unwelcoming" to Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) who joined the BAU midway through season 2.

User u/ks2715 agreed, saying, "YES!! I always felt like the odd one out for hating Gideon. It always felt like it was 'my way or the highway' with him." 

However, while this may be one of Gideon's character flaws, user u/ACaringBeingOfHatred felt it wasn't so cut and dry. They agreed he was rude, but argued it wasn't something inherent to his personality, saying, "Through the two seasons, we see he's a solitary man who likes his peace. Meaning, he's probably more at ease/comfortable when he's by himself in a quiet place than when he's with people. In my opinion, he's not actually rude because he intends to, it's more like he's someone who's oblivious to other people's feelings sometimes." So while he's not always the most pleasant person, u/ACaringBeingOfHatred doesn't feel that comes from a harmful intention.

However, user u/Shanaynay5555 thought his actions were harmful in one of Criminal Minds' most crucial early story arcs: the season 1 finale in which a killer targets the BAU team specifically.

The Fisher King arc put stress on the team

Known as "The Fisher King," the suspect stalks the members of the BAU, gaining access to their personal information via a mistake that computer whiz Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) makes. He then uses riddles to bait them into playing a game to save a captured young woman. However, when Gideon breaks the rules of his game, it ends with teammate Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini) shot in her home.

In their Reddit post, u/Shanaynay5555 referenced particular Gideon moments from the Fisher King episodes that rubbed them the wrong way: "He called [Garcia] stupid for making a mistake in front of the whole team. And with Elle getting shot, that would've never happened if he had listened to the fisher kings demands in the first place." They argued that he didn't feel guilty over Elle's injury.

However, a few commenters saw the situation differently. User u/thnks-fr-th-memories said they loved Gideon, but agreed he could overpower the team. They commented, "I hated when he made Garcia feel bad for making a mistake even though most of them make mistakes at one point or the other." But, they disagreed that he didn't feel guilty over Elle getting shot. They argued that by justifying his actions with "I was just doing my job," he was trying to convince himself he wasn't responsible, even though he probably felt he was.

User u/ACaringBeingOfHatred added that Gideon's feelings about Elle's attack were more complicated, saying, "I think you're oversimplifying it a bit. In 2x01 while Elle is in surgery and Gideon waiting at the hospital, you see him really struggling with his decision to provoke the Fisher King." They commented that his decision made sense with the information he had.

Whether fans love or hate Gideon, he's only around for two seasons before he's replaced by David Rossi (Joe Mantegna). Of course, fans debate who's better, Gideon or Rossi, but it's still amazing that Gideon leaves such an impression from his meager presence in the 15 season-long show.