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What Criminal Minds Fans Really Think About The Show's Later Seasons

In 15 seasons of pursuing unsubs, the crack team known as the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit has grown, changed, and have come closer together. Starring Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Kirsten Vangsness, among several others, "Criminal Minds" highlighted a diverse set of personalities that sometimes seemed at odds with each other, but the team always came together for the greater good. The team hosted not only eccentrics like Spencer Reid (Gubler) and Penelope Garcia (Vangness), but also confident and volatile people like Derek Morgan (Moore), or extremely pragmatic ones like Aaron Hotchner (Gibson).

Considering that "Criminal Minds" has a grand total of 324 episodes and ran well over a decade's worth of time, it would make sense that fans would have some rather strong opinions about the overall direction of the series. As seen on Rotten Tomatoes, the first season had an audience score of 87%, halfway through the series it climbed to 94%, and the final season dropped to a 68% audience score (via Rotten Tomatoes).

So why did the audience scores decline in the later seasons?

Fans felt like the quality of Criminal Mind's later seasons diminished in quality

On the "Criminal Minds" subreddit, Redditor u/LaureJ95 asked, "I don't know if it's just me but I've recently been watching seasons 13-15 and I feel like the acting got worse and the show got way more unbelievable/corny? I sometimes feel like the episodes are hard to watch... Thoughts?"

Reddit user u/Paul14360 added that they had a ton of feelings about the later seasons of "Criminal Minds," but said the main issues that they felt caused the decline were Morgan and Hotchner leaving the series, and that the new members of the team never quite meshed with the more established characters. They also asserted that Season 11 was the last great season of the show, and each successive one got progressively worse and worse. Redditor u/SemTeslaGirl agreed with these sentiments, and said that from Season 13 on, the show just seemed to focus on interpersonal drama and cringey issues with the FBI.

Redditor u/Significant-Work1463 replied that they enjoyed the later seasons, but considered them substandard to the rest of "Criminal Minds." Reddit user u/Ok-Painting4471 finished the dialogue by stating, "To be completely honest, I only watched the later seasons because I knew Prentiss came back. I did really like Matt [Simmons], Luke [Alvez], and Tara [Lewis], but they weren't given great backstories and the writing in general got sloppier."

Overall, it seems the general consensus among fans is that the quality of the show declined somewhere around Season 11.