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The Character Everyone Forgets Jane Lynch Played In Criminal Minds

Jane Lynch has had a storied career most people would dream of. She's acted consistently since the 1980s, appearing in practically every genre under the sun, from action flicks to dramas. Then, she found a niche for herself with comedies, regularly flexing her funny bone in projects like "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." Most viewers were probably first introduced to Lynch thanks to her role of Sue Sylvester on "Glee," but her resume is extensive. And she's appeared in numerous TV shows and films you probably never even realized before.

If you're a fan of "Criminal Minds," you're all too familiar with the character of Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). He's the genius of the group, holding multiple Ph.Ds and solving numerous mysteries that would've stumped anyone else. When we first meet his mother, Diana Reid, played by Lynch, it's easy to see where his intellect comes from, but their relationship is anything but pleasant.

Jane Lynch brought an emotional turn to Diana Reid on Criminal Minds

Diana may be just as intelligent as her son, but she lacks his compassion. This can be attributed to her schizophrenia, which progressively worsened as Spencer got older. As mentioned in "Criminal Minds," he committed her to a sanitarium and wrote every day. Even with their relationship strained, it's obvious Spencer continued loving his mother all of those years.

She makes a brief but memorable first appearance in Season 1's "The Fisher King, Part One," where we see her inside the sanitarium. Spencer visits the exterior of the building, but he can't bring himself to go inside as he's called to assist with the latest case. But don't worry; they have plenty of time to see one another face to face throughout the series, including the most recent Season 15. 

It should come as no surprise that Lynch kills it every time she goes on the show, which is why her co-workers love bringing her back. The show's executive producer Erica Messer spoke highly of the actor in an interview with Matt & Jess. She discusses Lynch's return to the show for Season 15: "It was one of those dangling storylines we wanted to be able to connect. Reid's mom is obviously such a huge influence on him and a gift anytime that she can be on ... We all really wanted to see Reid, who is in a moment of needing care-giving as opposed to being the caregiver, have a heart-to-heart with his mom."

Few actors give as good of heart-to-hearts as the one and only Jane Lynch.