'Criminal Minds' Stars Post Heartfelt Farewell Messages (VIDEO)

Meredith Jacobs
Cliff Lipson/CBS

We may not know when the final season of Criminal Minds will air just yet, but the cast has officially wrapped filming and they're sharing goodbye messages on social media.

Joe Mantegna, who has played David Rossi since Season 3, looked back on his time on the show in a message posted on Twitter on his last day of filming May 13.

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From cast mug shots to holding tight to one another and matching jumpsuits, the cast isn't ready to let go.

"I can't help but reflect in awe at what a truly wonderful experience it has been. As you know I came to a show already in production. I was welcomed by the cast and crew instantly, making me feel part of the team on day one," he wrote. "The next 12 years would be a wild and wonderful ride."

While he's going to miss playing Rossi and "the wonderful writing that brought him to life," he'll "mostly" miss seeing the people who work on the show. "It may seem a cliché to say we're like family, but it's so very true. In 15 seasons we've all grown a little older, hopefully a little wiser too. We laughed together, we cried together, and like a family we gained and lost members along the way," Mantegna said.

"I am satisfied with what we accomplished and proud of the work," he continued before closing with gratitude for the show's fans. "In the end we owe it all to you, the fans. For being the most loyal, tolerant, and passionate fans we could have ever asked for. Thanks for being there."

His costar, Paget Brewster, retweeted his message with a note of gratitude for him. "We all need to thank @JoeMantegna for becoming the captain of our Criminal Minds ship when we were lost at sea and scared," she wrote. "Joe, you are my mentor, my inspiration and my friend."

The following day, Mantegna posted a follow-up "to acknowledge the brave men and women who inspired the characters" they play and address "the grim nature" of the drama series.

"I've had the pleasure to visit Quantico numerous times, and each visit made me appreciate more and more how much we owe to not just those in the F.B.I., but to law enforcement everywhere, who have chosen a profession which at its core is dedicated to serve and protect the public," he wrote, adding that headlines have failed "to champion the huge percentage of incidents where our defenders of the law have had to give up limb and occasional life in the pursuit of their daily job."

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He also wrote that the "grim nature" of the show never bothered him. "I felt that would be an insult to the men and women who each day had to face the real grimness and tragedy that their job had to contend with," he explained. "I've made a very good living portraying real life heroes, but I never for a minute felt that portraying one was harder than being one."

 

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A.J. Cook, who has played J.J. since the first season (with a brief exit in Season 6 before returning full-time for Season 7), was emotional in the video message she posted on May 15. "The end of an era," she wrote in the caption on Instagram.

"I just got wrapped," she said. "So insanely grateful to all of you who have supported us from day one, and it's been one hell of a ride. I'm going to be really sad to say goodbye to these characters the same way you guys are. This is weird. Thank you everybody."

Matthew Gray Gubler has played Dr. Spencer Reid since the series premiere and shared a video on May 15 of some fun on set alongside his message of thanks for the series' crew, noting that they "have been carrying us on their shoulders for 15 seasons."

Aisha Tyler, who joined the cast as Tara Lewis in Season 11, also shared a message on social media on her last day of filming on May 10. She looked back on her time on the show and explained why she thinks the series has been such a success.

"It's a surreal day. Everyone hugging, holding on a little longer than before. Thanking each other for the hard work, laughing about the tough times, tearing up over the good ones," she wrote in the caption of a photo of the cast wearing Criminal Minds rings from A.J. Cook. "Making as many memories on this one day as we can — trying to make as many memories as were made over the last decade and a half in just twelve hours. It's impossible but we're trying.⁣"

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The CBS procedural drama "truly changed my life," she continued. It was the first primetime drama she starred in for more than one season and where she directed her first TV episode.

Despite the series' dark subject matter, "people are comforted by the knowledge that a brilliant team of dedicated professionals are working around the clock to keep the rest of us safe," she wrote. "We are just a television show but those people do exist in the real world. I am so incredibly honored to have had even the slimmest opportunity to represent the hardworking men and women of the FBI."

 

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Today is my last day of taping at @crimmindscbs. It’s a surreal day. Everyone hugging, holding on a little longer than before. Thanking each other for the hard work, laughing about the tough times, tearing up over the good ones. Making as many memories on this one day as we can — trying to make as many memories as were made over the last decade and a half in just twelve hours. It’s impossible but we’re trying.⁣ ⁣ Criminal Minds has truly changed my life. This was the first prime-time drama I did for more than one season. Where I directed my first episode of television, where I got my @directorsguildofamerica card. I‘ve made so many good friends here, learned so much, laughed so hard.⁣ ⁣ We all keep reminding each other of how lucky we are, what an extraordinary ride this has been, what a special collection of talented and hardworking people it is. What a joy and privilege to be a part of this extraordinary team. ⁣ ⁣ People often ask why Criminal Minds has been so popular around the world for so long, especially considering the dark subject matter. I always say it’s because people are comforted by the knowledge that a brilliant team of dedicated professionals are working around the clock to keep the rest of us safe. We are just a television show but those people do exist in the real world. I am so incredibly honored to have had even the slimmest opportunity to represent the hardworking men and women of the FBI, who dedicate their lives to the safety of others, and who now, more than ever, are under attack and deserve our recognition and support.⁣ ⁣ Our producer and FBI tech adviser Jim Clemente (@efbeye), who worked at the real #BAU, told us that when CM first came on there were very few college programs focused on forensic psychology, and now every major university offers one. We can’t take credit for that here, but it is a privilege to represent this important work, and the great and dedicated professionals of the real-life BAU. They are out there doing critical work every single day, and it has been a true honor to tell their stories.⁣ ⁣ BTW the cool CM rings are from our own @ajcook. Check out my story for more from today. It’s been a ride.⁣ ⁣ #wheelsup

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Daniel Henney, whose character, Matt Simmons, was first introduced through the Beyond Borders team before he moved over to the mothership in Season 13, also posted a video message on May 16 to thank fans for their support. "I wouldn't be here without you guys," he said. "We love you so much. As a cast, we talk about the amazing fan support we have every day. It's surreal that it's over, but I will always be so grateful to have been a part of it."

Criminal Minds, Final Season, Coming Soon, CBS