Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What You Never Noticed About Reid's Nickname On Criminal Minds

"Criminal Minds" remains one of the most successful procedurals in CBS' long broadcast history. The series concluded with its 15th season in 2020; however, a highly anticipated revival is currently in the works for Paramount+ subscribers. With 323 episodes, there's always an enjoyable story for fans to watch (and rewatch) when they're missing the team at the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit.

The veteran crime drama was a huge success not only for its jaw-dropping, heart-stopping mysteries, but for its memorable and lovable characters. One of the best parts of "Criminal Minds" is watching the camaraderie and chemistry that develops between the main characters, and seeing how their relationships evolve over more than a decade of TV.

In particular, JJ Jareau (AJ Cook) and Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) share a special bond. While "Criminal Minds" writers always teased fans with the possibility of a romantic subplot, the two ultimately remained close friends — even at the end. JJ's affection for Reid, though, was always shown in a special, subtle way.

Reid's nickname is reserved for those closest to him

Throughout the series, JJ calls Reid "Spence," a nickname showing their close relationship. Redditor u/MrKOOLAID remarked on this on the "Criminal Minds" subreddit, writing, "JJ calls Reid 'Spence' and Reid says to Gideon 'do you know she's the only person in the world who calls me Spence' [sic]." However, u/MrKOOLAID also notes that this isn't the case throughout all of the series' run: "By the end of the show Prentis calls him Spence nearly every episode, others do as well, at one point Alvez calls him Spence. This felt like really lazy writing to me for the writers not to think of this [sic]." 

Some "Criminal Minds" fans on Reddit disagreed with this analysis, arguing the change wasn't an example of lazy writing, but a signifier of how Reid's place on the team changes over time. "It doesn't bother me at all," wrote u/rosemarysimmons. "Only people who he has a good connection to call him Spence and I'm happy he developed so many tight social relationships."  

u/mccabebabe feels similarly: "I like that other than JJ is calling him Spence. It fortifies my feelings that he's especially close to Prentiss, Garcia and Rossi too. I think the writers may have done this on purpose, to underline the fact that they are close."

We love seeing how comfortable Reid has gotten with the whole team over the course of the show, though we'll always love his special connection with JJ.