10 Little-Known Facts About ‘Criminal Minds,’ Now 15 Years Old

Criminal Minds - Chameleon - Joe Mantegna
Cliff Lipson/CBS

Criminal Minds caught its last UnSub this past February when the CBS series exited after 15 seasons. September 22 marks 15 years since its 2005 premiere, and for the first time, fans are facing a TV season without the BAU.

So, disappointed viewers, how about this? We’ve rounded up 10 trivia tidbits about the procedural and its cast. You likely know about Mandy Patinkin’s frustration with the show, Thomas Gibson’s altercation on set, and the drama surrounding Paget Brewster’s and A.J. Cook’s ousters.

But do you know which Criminal Minds star was originally booked for just one episode? Which cast members played near-identical roles on Friends? And why Reid wore glasses all the time? Read on…

1. Criminal Minds was originally called Quantico and was still going by that title less than two months before CBS announced its 2005–06 primetime lineup.

2. Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia) was only slated to appear in one Season 1 episode but ended up staying for the entire run. In a 2016 Parade interview, Vangsness credited her longevity to her chemistry with costar Shemar Moore, saying their characters had the “yummiest, delicious, coolest male/female relationship.”

3. The Season 4 episode “Memoriam” features Moore’s character, Morgan, watching The Young and the Restless, the CBS soap opera on which he starred for more than a decade.

4. Spencer Reid wore glasses on the show only because actor Matthew Gray Gubler was allergic to contact lens solution. “Half the people think they’re great and the other half think they’re the ugliest they’ve ever seen and say, ‘You look like a nerd.’” Gubler told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2006. “I think they fit the character. Someone described it as a 1960s accountant look.”

5. Criminal Minds inspired a South Korean adaptation, also called Criminal Minds (크리미널 마인드). Cast member Lee Joon-gi won the (adorably titled) Fabulous Award at the 2017 Asia Artist Awards for his role on that series.

6. The show also inspired 2018’s Criminal Minds: The Mobile Game. “Animated Joe Mantegna [David Rossi] looking concerned over the cartoon corpses of a husband, wife and their two children is just wrong,” wrote Kotaku reviewer Mike Fahey.

7. A.J. Cook’s real-life sons, Mekhai and Phoenix, played her character Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau’s sons, Henry and Michael.

8. Aisha Tyler (Tara Lewis), who joined Criminal Minds in Season 11 after the departure of Jennifer Love Hewitt (Kate Callahan), was Hewitt’s costar and onscreen best friend in CBS’s supernatural drama Ghost Whisperer.

9. Tyler and Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss) both guest-starred on Friends as a love interest of Joey’s who falls for one of his pals.

10. Seasons 14 and 15 of Criminal Minds were filmed back to back, and ultimately, Mantegna’s last day of filming came more than nine months before the series finale aired.