15 Criminal Minds Episodes to Watch Before the Final Season (PHOTOS)

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CM episodes final season
Cliff Lipson/CBS; CBS; Robert Voets/ABC Studios
CM 101 Extreme Aggressor

“Extreme Aggressor” (Season 1, Episode 1)

Not only can you see how it all began, but you can also see some of the current members of the BAU looking oh so young. The team was very different then — led by Jason Gideon — but what was the same was their mission: catch the worst of the worst.

CM 104 Plain Sight

“Plain Sight” (Season 1, Episode 4)

This was pretty much the beginning and the end of any potential romance between JJ and Reid for most of the series. At the beginning of the episode, Reid commented on JJ’s nickname for him, and at the end, Gideon gave him football tickets for her favorite team. (The date, we’d later find out, wasn’t really much of a date.)

CM 215 Revelations

“Revelations” (Season 2, Episode 15)

While Elle was shot in the Season 1 finale, this was really the first time we saw a team member, especially one who would remain on the show for seasons to come, in serious danger, as Tobias Hankel tortured Reid and the others could only watch until he gave them clues as to his location.

CM 218 Jones

“Jones” (Season 2, Episode 18)

JJ’s confession at the end of Season 14 is going to have ramifications, for her relationships with Reid and Will, her husband and the father of her children. Why not remind yourself how JJ and Will met and their romance began?

Criminal Minds - Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) tries to talk with cult leader Benjamin Cyrus (Luke Perry)
Sonja Flemming/CBS

“Minimal Loss” (Season 4, Episode 3)

Not only did this episode include Luke Perry’s guest spot (which is enough of a reason to check it out), but this case would also come into play 10 seasons later, in the series’ 300th episode.

Agent Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) battles the Reaper in an effort to save his family, on Criminal Minds
Monty Brinton/CBS

“100” (Season 5, Episode 9)

In one of the most heartbreaking sequences of the entire series, Hotch could only listen as Foyet killed his wife and hurry to make it to their location before the Reaper could find his son.

Justin Lubin/ABC Studios

“Lauren” (Season 6, Episode 18)

Prentiss’ past came back to haunt her in a big way in Season 6, culminating in what her team thought was her death. However, as viewers would see at the very end, not everything was as it seemed, and the following season’s premiere would see those who didn’t know the truth find out what really happened.

Monty Brinton/CBS

“Hit”/”Run” (Season 7, Episodes 23 & 24)

JJ could only watch as Will surrendered to bank robbers after killing one of their crew, and by the end of the two-part finale, she was asking him to propose to her again. They married in Rossi’s backyard. These were simpler and happier times for the Jareau/LaMontagne family.

CM 812 Zugzwang

“Zugzwang” (Season 8, Episode 12)

We know that Rachael Leigh Cook has been cast as a “quirky, kind-hearted candid woman” with “an unusual relationship” with Reid in the final season. We haven’t seen Reid in many relationships of any kind outside of the BAU, and in this episode, Reid finally met his girlfriend, Maeve, for the first time in person — only in time to watch her stalker kill her and herself.

Nelson's Sparrow
Robert Voets/ABC Studios

“Nelson’s Sparrow” (Season 10, Episode 13)

This episode took us back to the BAU’s origins as the unit investigated the murder of former teammate Jason Gideon and flashbacks showed him and Rossi in 1978.

Mr. Scratch
Sonja Flemming/CBS

“Mr. Scratch” (Season 10, Episode 21)

Watch the introduction of perhaps the most terrifying serial killer the BAU has ever faced, as Peter Lewis/Mr. Scratch dosed Hotch and made him see his teammates and friends’ deaths.

CM 1401 300
Cliff Lipson/CBS

“300” (Season 14, Episode 1)

The milestone episode saw two of the BAU in the clutches of a cult of serial killers (one of which was an FBI agent!), and the rest of the team rushing to find them before one of them was sacrificed.

Criminal Minds - Chameleon - Joe Mantegna
Cliff Lipson/CBS

“Chameleon” (Season 14, Episode 13)

This episode introduced the newest Big Bad for the team, Everett Lynch, with whom Rossi came face-to-face — and lost. But Everett left him alive, with a cut on his forehead and knife in the ground next to him to remind him he could’ve taken his face.

Truth or Dare
Eddy Chen/CBS

“Truth or Dare” (Season 14, Episode 15)

At the end of the penultimate season, JJ was put in a position, at gunpoint, where she had to say something she was afraid to, and she told Reid she’d always loved him. The two shared a few meaningful looks at Rossi’s wedding and reception, but what happens next as a result has yet to be seen.

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Why not prepare to say goodbye to Criminal Minds by looking back at the more than 300 episodes that came before the final season?

Ahead of the CBS procedural drama’s farewell, we’re taking a look back at some of the key episodes from its run to prepare you for the final episodes. In some cases, these will help you understand what’s to come, whether due to set-up from Season 14 or casting news for Season 15. In other cases, the episodes simply stood out or featured a key moment for the team.

Click through the gallery above to see the episodes you should watch before the beginning of the end of the series.

Criminal Minds, 15th and Final Season, Coming soon, CBS