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How Matthew Gray Gubler Really Feels About His Criminal Minds Character

Not every actor plays a character for 15 years, but Matthew Gray Gubler lived in Dr. Spencer Reid's skin for as many seasons. He started on CBS' "Criminal Minds" when he was just 25 years old and is the only cast member to have appeared in every episode.

Between the fan adoration and his enduring presence, the young genius Spencer — who's always got a scientific explanation or obscure fact on the tip of his tongue — has become synonymous with the series. Fans love him for his fierce protection of his loved ones, but he's also the sweet one who the writers can't help but put in danger over and over again. There's a kidnapping that leads to drug addiction, someone framing him for murder and a subsequent prison sentence, and countless other traumas that are too much for one human being to bear.

Although some aspects of Gubler's life — like his mismatched socks — have influenced Spencer's character, ultimately, they're very different people. Case in point: Gubler can both roller skate and dance. But when it comes to Spencer, Gubler likes him just the way he is.

Artistic vs. scientific eccentricity

Matthew Gray Gubler's known for being a little eccentric — he lives in a "haunted treehouse" (via Vanity Fair) and wrote a children's book about a monster who wears a banana peel on his head. In fact, he's not above wearing a banana peel on his own head (via Parade). So, it's only fitting that he would play and appreciate a character as eccentric as him, though in a different way. "I like Reid the way he is," Gubler said in 2011 when Assignment X asked if he wanted Reid to grow out of his social awkwardness. "I know they keep on trying to make him kind of cool. I like first-season Reid, he's my favorite [version of the character], sort of the naive Reid."

"Reid to me has always been such a real character," he added. "I'm really so happy with how the writers developed Spencer." In a 2018 interview with Liveabout.com, Gubler said he's unlike Spencer when it comes to the character's genius, but sees similarities in how they both ended up with long-running jobs they didn't seek out. Reid was recruited by the FBI, an option he hadn't considered when pursuing his education. Meanwhile, Gubler himself always envisioned that he'd be behind the camera, rather than in front of it.

"Reid makes the most of it and so do I. It's fun and quite an honor. He's a Ph.D. in physics and mathematics and nobody knows what the third one is and I'm in no way scientifically minded. I think he's way more analytical than I am," Gubler said.

When it comes to the future, Gubler sees a dark path for Reid and a haircut for himself

While it's never been confirmed on "Criminal Minds," many fans believe that Spencer Reid is on the autism spectrum. Matthew Gray Gubler agrees, mentioning it in his interview with Liveabout.com. However, it's schizophrenia that hangs over Reid's head throughout the series. His mother has it and he worries about developing it, too. Gubler thinks this could develop into a storyline for Reid, saying, "I'd like to think that one day down the line he will go schizophrenic and maybe turn into the type of person they'll chase relentlessly." While Spencer certainly has the intelligence to get away with crime, he's actually not the top fan pick for a BAU agent-turned-unsub. That dubious award goes to Jason Gideon, played by Mandy Patinkin, who was Reid's mentor for the first two seasons.

Now that "Criminal Minds" is over, it's unlikely that we'll see this future that Gubler imagines, but he has his own plans moving forward. In an interview with TVLine, Gubler weighed in on the unending conversation about Spencer's hair, saying, "The other funny thing about the show ending is it's like saying goodbye to the most ridiculous hairstyles that have ever existed on network television. That's what I'm having the most trouble letting go, is my horrible haircuts. I'll have to get a real haircut now!" Spencer's had some bad haircuts over the years, but apparently, that was all him, and not Gubler. Who would have thought?