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The Character Mistake You Never Knew About Reid On Criminal Minds

In a world where every TV network usually has multiple primetime police procedurals running at any given time, CBS' "Criminal Minds" set itself apart by tackling subject matter that's typically too extreme for network television. The show follows a fictionalized version of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, a real-life investigative department that assists law enforcement agencies around the country with catching America's most notorious criminals. That means each week's villain is going to be much more dangerous than the bad guy on a typical "Law & Order." And the formula must have worked, because "Criminal Minds" aired a total of 324 episodes over its 15 seasons

On "Criminal Minds," the personal lives of the BAU investigators are just as important as the cases they investigate week in and week out. As co-executive producer Breen Frazier told BuzzFeed in 2014, each character deals with their own trauma that's supposed to match the intensity of a given week's crime.

But with so many episodes, it's inevitable that the characters' backstories on "Criminal Lives" might have a detail or two that isn't internally consistent. Writers are human, after all. In the same BuzzFeed interview, Frazier admitted that the seeming discrepancy in the educational background of Dr. Reid was definitely a mistake.

There's something strange about Dr. Reid's resume

On "Criminal Minds," Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) is the most brilliant investigator in the BAU, described as a socially awkward genius with an encyclopedic knowledge of everyone and everything. As a genius, he's had a lot of education. One episode from Season 4, "Memoriam," specifies exactly how much education he's had. An article seen on Reid's father's computer says that Reid attended the California Institute of Technology to study mathematics, where he received three PhDs.

That contradicts what Dr. Reid says about his education later on in the series. In the Season 7 episode, "Painless," Reid mentions graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Does this mean he also studied at MIT despite already having three entire doctoral degrees from CalTech? No. Frazier wrote this episode and admitted to BuzzFeed that he simply got CalTech and MIT mixed up with each other.

That is exactly the sort of mistake that Dr. Reid would never make. But not everyone gets to be a genius. Some of us have to settle for being wildly successful TV writers.