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The Surprising Number Of Criminal Minds Episodes Matthew Gray Gubler Directed

Throughout its 15-season, 323-episode run on CBS, the serial-killer procedural "Criminal Minds" regularly ranked among television's most-watched network dramas. It also ranked among the creepiest series in the primetime landscape, as well, with its twisted tales of violent offenders doing often reprehensible things to seemingly random victims unnerving viewers as much as it thrilled them.

While the offenders typically changed from one week to the next on "Criminal Minds," the faces of the crack FBI profiling team tasked with bringing them to justice remained more or less intact during the series' run. There was, however, only one member of the BAU crew who stalked "unsubs" in every single episode of "Criminal Minds." That member was everybody's favorite, info-dumping "boy genius," Dr. Spencer Reid, who was portrayed with savant-like abstraction for 15 seasons by Matthew Gray Gubler. Along the way, Gubler's scene-grabbing work as Reid helped make the character not only a legit "Criminal Minds" fan-favorite, but essentially the face of the entire series. 

Even as impressive as Gubler's work in front of the camera was, you may not realize he also regularly worked as a director during his "Criminal Minds" tenure. And just how many episodes of the series he helmed might surprise even "Criminal Minds" super fans. 

Matthew Gray Gubler helmed a dozen episodes of Criminal Minds over the years

During Matthew Gray Gubler's time playing Spencer Reid on "Criminal Minds," he actually directed 12 episodes of bone-chilling "unsub" insanity, including lauded additions like the season 10 stunner "Mr. Scratch" — which introduced one of the show's most infamous "unsubs" in the mind-controlling Peter Lewis (Bodie Elfman) — and the season 14 chiller "The Tall Man." As it was, Gubler's run as a director on "Criminal Minds" is all the more impressive in that it didn't even start until Season 5, when he helmed "Mosely Lane," an episode which featured talented guest stars like Beth Grant, Toby Huss, and Evan Peters

Gubler's turn to directing wasn't entirely a surprise, though, when you take into account that the actor had already claimed a handful of credits behind the camera prior to his breakout turn as the BAU's motor-mouthed profiler, including helming a pair of short films, and music videos for New York dance-rockers The Killers. Interestingly enough, Matthew Gray Gubler earned his first directing credit on the film which scored him his first acting credit, as well: said film was Wes Anderson's underrated 2004 dramedy "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou," which found the actor portraying a particularly devoted Team Zissou intern. It also found Gubler playing intern to Anderson himself, and assembling a suitably unconventional "making-of" documentary about the film. And it's safe to assume Gubler has used much of what he learned from Anderson in every project he has directed ever since.