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Criminal Minds Fans Think This Death Disrespected The Character

Character deaths are a natural part of television shows. Handled at their very best, they can be moments that define a show, either by moving a plot forward or wrapping one up effectively. However, some series throw death at viewers in ways that are meant to shock and do little else. "The Walking Dead," for example, has outraged fans more than once with its handling of character deaths, which some argue is part of what drove viewers away from the once extremely popular series. "Criminal Minds," a long-running crime procedural, is another example of a show that used main character deaths to try and push storylines forward.

Premiering in 2005 and running for 15 seasons on CBS, "Criminal Minds" followed a group of profilers working for the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit as they hunted down killers of all types. It proved to be a ratings success for the network and has a dedicated fanbase, even after it ended in 2020. Still, no show is without its more critical viewers, and some fans have taken issue with some of the creative decisions that were made during the series' long tenure.

One criticism in particular from certain parts of the fanbase is how it handled one of its main characters' deaths, and how it outright disrespected everything that viewers came to love about him.

Gideon's death was handled poorly

Though Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) was perhaps a divisive character for some fans, others were devastated when he left the show early into the third season of "Criminal Minds." In fact, on a recent Reddit post talking about unpopular opinions related to the show, u/Interesting-Issue475 talked about the death of Gideon and how it betrayed the character. "No matter how unfortunate Mandy's comments were, they should have handled it better," they wrote, referring to Patinkin's comments to New York Magazine (via TV Guide) about how the show was "destroying" his soul because of how violent it was. u/TrainingSecret agreed, writing that "Criminal Minds" didn't really have a good reason for getting rid of Gideon.

Originally, Gideon left behind his badge and gun and sort of rode off into the sunset at the beginning of Season 3. Inexplicably, in the Season 10 episode "Nelson's Sparrow," Gideon is killed off-screen, and the rest of the team is forced to solve his murder. For some fans, this seemed at the very least like a missed opportunity to someday have the character back. For others, it seemed like an intentional response to Patinkin's remarks about the show. Whether that was the true motivation behind his sudden death or not, it definitely felt like a death that came completely out of left field for a show that had, at the time, all but moved on from Gideon years ago.