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The Cast Injury You Didn't Realize Was Written Into Criminal Minds

Actors are just as human as the rest of us, and sometimes they, too, get sick or break bones. When it comes main characters in TV series, these incidents must be woven into the storyline so that an actor can continue their work and the show can go on. One such incident occurred before Season 5 of "Criminal Minds" was filmed. While doing press for the movie "500 Days of Summer," Matthew Gray Gubler severely dislocated his knee after getting "a little too overzealous on the dance floor," as he told Brian Truitt from USA Weekend in 2010.

It is because of this injury that Gubler's character on "Criminal Minds," Dr. Spencer Reid, gets shot in the first episode of the season. If you carefully watch the episode "Faceless, Nameless" of Season 5, you'll notice that Reid is seated for the entire episode until he takes a bullet to save Dr. Barton (Christopher Cousins) from a distraught, gun-wielding Patrick Meyers (Michael Adler), whose son died before Barton could perform a surgery in attempt to save his life. But if you look closely at this scene, the man who tackles Barton is not Matthew Gray Gubler but a stunt double. After Reid is shot, Gubler takes back over the character, who is now lying on the ground, unable to walk.

Matthew Gray Gubler's injury and its aftermath

Matthew Gray Gubler's injury was far worse than a common case of knee pain. In 2010, he told Brian Truitt from USA Weekend, "If this were 50 years ago, they would have amputated the leg ... [I] managed to pretty much do something that most knee surgeons have never even thought possible or seen in their lives." He continued, saying that his knee was "dismantled" to the point that "they were talking about experimental surgeries in Norway." A video promoting "500 Days of Summer" documented the trip to the emergency room that followed the incident, during which Gubler reported from a hospital bed that he couldn't feel his toes. 

The injury ultimately required three surgeries and months of physical therapy to correct, but Gubler was miraculously healed by December 2009 — though his doctors told him to take it easy until October of the following year.

As for his fellow castmates and the crew of "Criminal Minds," Gubler found that, even though screenwriters rewrote his part to incorporate his injury, he was unable to truly convey to them its severity, telling Truitt that, "They really have no understanding. They've called my doctor, and I think they think my doctor is like a paid actor who's lying to them." Despite his team not taking the injury seriously, Gubler harbors no ill will. He recognizes his luck in injuring his left leg, not his right — so that he could still drive while healing — and sees Dr. Spencer Reid's shooting as an event that helped develop the character into the enduring and loveable FBI agent that fans have adored for 15 years.