* {{Anvilicious}}:
** "Machismo": Mexican male-dominated culture is bad.
** "North Mammon" focuses heavily on the evils of small-town life, complete with homophobia, sexism and terrible attitudes towards mental illness.
** "Lessons Learned": The JackBauerInterrogationTechnique is not just cruel, but [[TakeThat useless]] as [[TwentyFour a means to get information]]. To get the point across clear, the story is set [[TheWarOnTerror in Guantanamo Bay]].
** "House on Fire": Small-town gossip and bullying are bad.
** "Roadkill": Keep your eyes on the road, and when you can't, take responsibility for it.
** "The Slave of Duty": ''We get it'', the guy that forces himself into richer, more powerful brunettes' lives and makes them treat him as their boyfriend, all while fancying himself the perfect lover, is a piece of shit! Did we need Prentiss tackling him to the ground and lecturing him at gunpoint about how he's going to get [[PrisonRape buttraped]] in prison to drive it home?
* AssPull: The entire Pentagon thing in "JJ". Simon Mirren has tried justifying it with "[[{{Retcon}} We have always known that J.J. had other connections...]]"
** The EmoTeen plot in "Doubt" smelt faintly of this.
** Some parts of the fanbase think that Prentiss's past as [[spoiler: an undercover CIA agent]] was an AssPull to give her something substantial and exciting for her final episodes.
%% * BaseBreakingCharacter: Seaver.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: Combined with NightmareFuel, in "The Longest Night", with Leonard Cohen playing over flashbacks of the [=UnSub=] (played by Creator/TimCurry) as a child with his mother. His teeth turn into those of Tim Curry's character in the present. It's reprised a few more times with "Dance Me to the End of Love", "Sisters of Mercy" and more flashbacks.
** Reid's leech dream in "The Instincts".
** The [=UnSub=]'s hallucinations in "Sense Memory".
** Back in Season One, the team (usually Gideon) being transported back to the moment the murder was committed, walking out the murder with the [=UnSub=].
** Ashley Seaver's brief membership in the team has become something very close to this; they sent her off with a line of dialogue and she hasn't been mentioned since.
** The entire near-death hallucination with Hayley and the Boston Reaper in "Route 66."
* BrokenBase: Now that "What Happens at Home" has finally aired, the reception of Ashley Seaver is very mixed with fans taking these two positions: a good, distinct, different, and fleshed-out character in her own right (despite the physical similarities to JJ) or a Scrappy Mary Sue copycat replacement with a ham-fisted background.
* CargoShip: Reid/Maps (as in the ones he uses to make geographic profiles) is an amusingly common crack-pairing, to the point that "Map" is now a character option when searching on FanFiction.Net.
* CastingGag: The kid who plays a smart-aleck 13-year-old sociopathic serial killer from "Safe Haven" played essentially the same character on an episode of ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit''.
* CompleteMonster: Enough of them for [[Monster/CriminalMinds their own page]], even!
* CounterpartComparison: In "Unfinished Business", we meet Max Ryan, a retired FBI agent that is brash, jaded and doesn't work well in a team dynamic. Ryan is also a prolific writer, retiring to go on a book tour, only returning to duty for this episode because of unfinished business (hence the title). Years later, Rossi would debut and be almost the exact same character.
* CriticalResearchFailure: More than a few.
** "Beyond Borders," the PoorlyDisguisedPilot for [[Series/CriminalMindsBeyondBorders a(nother) spinoff]], is set in Barbados. [[http://loopnewsbarbados.com/2015/04/09/criminal-minds-sets-episode-in-barbados/ Actual Barbadian viewers felt the only thing the show got right about the place was the flag.]] It didn't help that some StockFootage for an establishing shot of the island [[http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/tv-show-criminal-minds-rips-off-footage-taken-at-port-douglas-for-barbados-episode/story-fnkxmkf4-1227303996714 actually showed Port Douglas]] - which is in '''Australia'''.
** "Machismo" fails Spanish naming customs hard, [[ConvictionByCounterfactualClue despite the (Mexican) victims' surnames being the BAU's key]] to learn the identity of the [=UnSub=].
** Although the show is set in Quantico, Virginia, the show seems to lack an ability to Google basic Virginia locations.
*** The episode "Birthright" takes place in Frederickburg, VA, which the show portrays as a rural, country area. Virginia viewers were quick to point out that Frederickburg is actually [[http://www.fredericksburgva.gov/ very urban and commercialized]].
*** The season seven episode "Dorado Falls" is perhaps the worst example of Virginia distances and locations. Garcia says that Charlottesville is "practically our backyard" in reference to Quantico, despite the two being about 100 miles apart. A similar distance issue comes up when the Unsub seemingly drives from Charlottesville to Bethesda to Quantico within half an hour-- despite the real-life drive being over three hours, crossing over state lines in the process.
* DarknessInducedAudienceApathy: New viewers have second thoughts about the show which is about FBI profilers catching serial killers and there are several instances where there are [[DownerEnding Downer Endings]] due to TheBadGuyWins or that the team failed to save the victim in the last minute which would haunt them for the rest of their lives. The later seasons are catching up with this thanks to FranchiseOriginalSin.
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: Creator/MandyPatinkin left ''Criminal Minds'' because he felt that this trope was in play. ''Criminal Minds'' is about people who catch horrible criminals by figuring out the mindset of those criminals how they think. It is a long-running, popular show. Patikin thought that the show was becoming sick fantasy fulfillment for people and couldn't be a part of it any more.
* DieForOurShip: Hoo boy. God forbid you like Haley in this fandom -- both the het and slash fans can't seem to stand her, if they're not killing her off or turning her into a shrieking harridan.
** Averted, interestingly, with Will. Fanfics that focus on the popular pairing of JJ/Reid usually just [[FanonDiscontinuity pretend Will never existed]], rather than turning him into a {{Jerkass}} or killing him off. Probably a testament to the writers' and actor's sympathetic portrayal in-Universe.
** Kevin Lynch gets a lot of flack on account of his dating Garcia yet not being Morgan.
** Subverted with Seaver. A good number of fans didn't want her shipped with [=anyone=], but especially [[LauncherOfAThousandShips Reid]].
** Speaking of Reid, there are now a large number of fans who will simply pair him with any of the women who have flirted with him over the series (like Austin from 52 Pickup) and are instead expressing hatred for the fact that he ''doesn't'' have a canonical love interest despite so much ShipTease.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Garcia. It's why, unlike the other girls, her role isn't being decreased in season six.
** Ask around a fan community who its frequenters' favorite [=UnSubs=] are and Tobias Hankel's name is bound to come up quite a bit. It doesn't hurt that he's [[TheWoobie sympathetic]] and from a [[MrFanservice Reid]]-centric episode.
** Austin from 52 Pickup is liked by those who wish she'd been a recurring love interest for Reid. As well as the fact that she saved a potential victim from the [=UnSub=] based on the profile Reid gave her and her own observational skills (albeit at the cost of becoming his new one).
* EvilIsCool: Averted. The [=UnSubs=] generally fall into three categories. Some are genuinely crazy, a few genuinely just enjoy killing, but the vast majority are just immature and kill to make up for their own emotional insecurities.
* EvilIsSexy: A number of the [=UnSubs=], but special mention goes to [[spoiler: Foyet]]. He was certainly not ugly, and after he revealed himself he became very suave and self-assured.
** On the female side of things, there's Megan Kane and Sydney Manning.
** Averted with Billy Flynn. Why is this aversion notable? Because he's played by [[Creator/TimCurry a man]] who once made a DracoInLeatherPants out of an ''[[FernGully amorphous smog cloud]]''.
* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop: Many episodes seem to carry the message, "A woman should ''never'' be even ''slightly'' socially friendly towards a man, lest he lock onto and brutally murder her."
** Some people (e.g. Danny Murphy, George Foyet, Jeremy Sayer) were literally born rotten.
* FoeYay:
** Hotch and the Reaper, in "Faceless, Nameless" when [[spoiler: the Reaper tells Hotch to relax because "it goes in so much easier". If the Reaper hadn't been holding a knife, the whole scene would have read as an extremely violent rape. The Reaper's 'do you still think I'm impotent?' question makes many viewers wonder if he really did rape Hotch.]]
** The Keystone Killer towards Max Ryan. Max Ryan isn't so above it all either. Gideon even comments that The Keystone Killer is Max's "the one who got away" though maybe not in ''that'' sense.
--> 'We're inseparable, you and I.'
** Prentiss and [[spoiler: Doyle]], which sort of skips right past mere implications...
* FranchiseOriginalSin: Before Season Three's "In Name and Blood", the show never revealed to the audience who the [=UnSub=] was before the team figured out who the [=UnSub=] was (besides "The Last Word", although that one still had one [=UnSub=] to be revealed at the end). Later episodes, including some hailed as classic episodes such as "Normal" and "The Uncanny Valley", would use this early reveal to good effect, illuminating some aspect of the [=UnSub=] that couldn't be brought out unless it was directly shown (such as the effects Norman Hill's wife's belittling had on Norman). However, as the series moved on the writers fell in love with the idea too much dragging it to the point where it is now where virtually every [=UnSub=], even those who had no storytelling reason to be revealed, are revealed early to the audience, making the episode an exercise (sometimes painful) in watching the team try to catch the [=UnSub=] before it's too late. Fans often complain that this early reveal robs the show of what once made it good--the guessing game of who the [=UnSub=] was as a person--since now the audience now already knows the puzzle before it's finished.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: Reid telling Hotch he "kicks like a nine-year-old-girl" in L.D.S.K.? Funny. Rewatching the episode knowing Thomas Gibson was [[http://www.ew.com/article/2016/08/12/thomas-gibson-fired-criminal-minds fired from the show]] after an altercation ending with him kicking a producer? Extremely uncomfortable.
* HarsherInHindsight: Watch the conversation Elle and Hotch have at the end of "Unfinished Business" about family and priorities and not letting the job take over your life, and try not to cry when you know what happens to Hotch in later seasons.
** Virtually ''anything'' with Hotch and Haley in the first two seasons.
** The great remarks made about JJ in Season 4 after her maternity leave (Jordan: "Don't take her for granted" "You're a family"; Hotch: "We've missed you.") now seem hollow because while the ''show'' greatly appreciates JJ, CBS [[ExecutiveMeddling DID take her for granted]] and cut her out without regard for the "family". Her final episode "JJ" reflects this very strongly.
*** There is a certain amount of satisfaction now that CBS has backpedaled hard to put JJ back in the BAU. It's a mixture of happiness at getting JJ back and smug superiority at [[LaserGuidedKarma watching the executives squirm]].
** Detective Shaughnessy telling Hotch in the first scene of "Omnivore", "you're going to have to pay for my sins" in regards to the Reaper. When you've seen the entire arc, especially "100"? Horrifyingly accurate.
** In the opening episode of season 6, JJ is having trouble cutting through some red tape, and after being put on hold she says "I'm still here. Yep. I'm always going to be here." The very next episode, she's PutOnABus.
** In "A Thousand Suns", one of the initial theories is that one of the pilots deliberately crashed the plane, with suspicion aimed at the co-pilot who had been treated for depression. Four months after the episode aired, the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525, who had been treated for depression, locked his captain out of the cockpit and flew the Airbus A320 into the French Alps, killing all 150 on board.
** This exchange in "100". Are they talking about the case at hand, or about gun control?
-->'''Rossi''': There is nothing a bureaucrat can do to make sure that something like this never happens again.
-->'''Strauss''': So we just wait for the next bloodbath?
* SugarWiki/HeReallyCanAct: All the time; see PlayingAgainstType, below. Special mention goes to [[DawsonsCreek Dawson]], who somehow manages to [[spoiler:go between three vastly different personalities - a scared young man, a tyrannical fundamentalist father, and a dispassionate, wrathful angel -- with vastly different body languages multiple times in the space of ''seconds''.]]
** Jackson Rathbone brilliantly acting as [[spoiler: an [=UnSub=] with split personalities, "Adam" and "Amanda"]], in "Conflicted".
** Frankie Muniz in "True Night". Best known for his starring role in ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle'' and various B-movies, here he plays a disturbed comic book artist in a script that lets him run the gamut of human emotion. Delight, humor, horror, despair, hatred, menace; he hits them all and as a result is remembered as one of the most sympathetic [=UnSubs=] in the show's history.
** Creator/JasonAlexander in "Masterpiece". Who knew that the same actor that played the neurotically incompetent [[Series/{{Seinfeld}} George Costanza]] could play the role of a super brilliant but delusional, smug and creepy serial killer?
* HilariousInHindsight
** Creator/KeithCarradine played [[CompleteMonster serial killer]] Frank Breitkopf. He pops up later on ''Series/{{Dexter}}'' as Frank Lundy, superstar profiler.
*** The [=UnSub=] of "Exit Wounds" was played by the same actor who played a budding serial killer on ''Dexter'', who unusually for that show was surprisingly sympathetic. The character on ''Series/CriminalMinds'' was actually ''more'' of a CompleteMonster.
** Near the end of the series premiere it's briefly mentioned that Hotch has had trouble settling on a name, as the ones Haley suggested to him kept reminding him of infamous criminals (mentioned ones were Jeffrey Dahmer, Henry Lee Lucas and UsefulNotes/CharlesManson). Kind of odd how he settled on [[UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper Jack]].
*** One presumes his full given name is either John or Jonathan. Still funny, though.
*** And then JJ names her son Henry...
** Reid's line about "an evil twin and an eviler twin" ends up applying to [[spoiler:the season 9 premiere and the twist at the end of the first part]].
* HollywoodPudgy: Garcia, which [[SubvertedTrope doesn't stop her]] from providing 85% of the series's female {{Fanservice}}.
* HoYay: See the [[HoYay/CriminalMinds entire page about it]].
* IronWoobie:
** Hotch is possibly the best example of an IronWoobie on TV today. Hotch is trying to raise his son [[spoiler: after his ex-wife -- his high school sweetheart -- was murdered by the Reaper, who made him listen over the phone while she died. Hotch was so grief-stricken that he beat the Reaper to death ''with his bare hands.'']] Oh, and this was ''after'' he got [[spoiler: stabbed and possibly raped by the Reaper, and had his son taken into protective custody.]] ''And'' after that time he nearly got blown up by a suicide bomber, lost an old flame in the same attack, and had painful hearing problems for some time afterwards as a result of it shattering his eardrums.
** Reid remains calm and relatively positive regardless of:
*** Being plagued by horrible nightmares since early childhood
*** [[spoiler: Being walked out on by his father (and, later, his father figure); raised by a mother who suffered from schizophrenia and who he rarely now sees due to his work. He's also well aware that Schizophrenia is hereditary]].
*** In high school, he was [[spoiler: tricked into meeting a girl after school, only to be ambushed by the entire football team, stripped naked and tied to a pole, after which his schizophrenic mother didn't even notice he had come home]]
*** Being exposed to a never-ending stream of NightmareFuel at work, during which he doesn't bat an eye (his only {{Squick}} appears to be necrophilia)
*** [[spoiler: Kidnapped (twice), tied up, and beaten (escaping the bad guys both times due to a clever ruse, once ''while high'')]]
*** [[spoiler: Developing a drug addiction due to having been forcibly drugged by a kidnapper]]
*** [[spoiler: Shot in the leg]] and abusing his doctoral status to rate himself cleared for field duty early.
*** Once was [[spoiler: infected with anthrax, heroically protecting Derek Morgan from similarly suffering (during which time he refused pain medication due to having beaten his drug addiction).]]
*** Witnessed [[spoiler: Maeve, his first serious and long-lasting LoveInterest]] shot in front of him by her psycho stalker [[spoiler: after being forced to kiss said stalker while she watched, but never even getting to hold Maeve's hand (they communicated via payphone).]] Phew.
*** Befriended a friendly preacher, only for [[spoiler:the preacher to nearly kill him in a panic after it was learned that the preacher was in fact a corrupt pimp.]]
* LauncherOfAThousandShips: Fandom ships Reid with ''everyone''. Even half the [=UnSubs=].
* LikeYouWouldReallyDoIt:
** Season 4's "Omnivore" goes to the ads with the [=UnSub=] pointing a gun to an unconscious Morgan and telling him "Wake up, Derek. It is time to die." Back from the ads, we see the coroner carrying a body in a bag out of the house and telling the BAU to console themselves thinking that it was quick. It turns out that the body is a RedShirt, and Morgan is being attended by paramedics elsewhere. The [=UnSub=] just happens to extract gratification only if he kills people that know they are going to die.
** The Season 4 finale, "...And Back", ends with Hotch being held at gunpoint and a gunshot. The Season 5 premiere, "Nameless, Faceless", begins with the BAU rushing to a building while the police radio reports a shooting... which is completely unrelated. Hotch is already in a hospital by then.
** Like they'd really shoot [=Will LaMontagne=] in the Hit/Run season ender. They do, but he survives. [[spoiler: Then they don't even really warn you when they blow up the building he's in. He survives that too.]]
** The season 9 finale toyed with this. [[spoiler: Even before the finale aired, rumors were circulating that Gubler was leaving the show at the end of the season, and these rumors were not helped by the fact that Reid is shot in the neck at the end of part 1, and the teasers for part 2 promised that the BAU was losing a member "forever". Reid survives, and the leaving member turns out to be Blake.]]
* LoveToHate: Karl Arnold
* {{Narm}}: Frank Breitkopf's first kill scene, filmed from the victim's POV, is supposed to be horrific (the guy is a serial killer that gets off vivisecting people [[NightmareFuel that are paralyzed, but awake the whole time]]), but since there's no blood it comes as goofy. Frank's practically dancing with the scalpel and smiling like a child in Christmas.
** In the opening of "Anonymous", Garcia hands Rossi a call that turns out to be news of the death of an old friend. He's clearly shocked and distraught. Garcia, concerned, asks if she can help, and it's an emotional and well-acted scene that's undercut by the fact that she's still wearing pink kitty ears on her head.
** The shot toward the end of "A Shade of Gray" where the [[CreepyChild child villain]] is shown ominously eating Doritos while scary music plays.
** "To Hell...":
*** The [=UnSub=] carrying his latest victim around, over his shoulder. She's not drugged and her legs aren't tied, but she only flails her legs around a bit, as if she feared she was going to hurt her kidnapper.
*** When the screen goes to black in the {{cliffhanger}}, you can still hear Turner's mechanical ventilator for some seconds. It sounds like someone faking fart noises.
* NarrowedItDownToTheGuyIRecognize: Actually averted to a large degree; the show frequently has both special guest appearances and many character actors, and while they may occasionally be a suspect, they often are just there in a supporting, non-central role. When a well-known actor appears as the killer, they're usually introduced as such right from the beginning of the episode.
* NauseaFuel: Antonia Slade throwing up in Reid's hand in the episode "Devil's Backbone".
* NeverLiveItDown: No matter what she will do, the label of "JJ's (Inferior) Replacement" will haunt Seaver for the rest of her run.
** A benevolent example: Despite it being mentioned in only one episode (and in the PILOT to boot) fans always remember the Reid Effect.
* ParanoiaFuel: In addition to the "anyone can be a killer" (even [[spoiler: a school-age child or a quadriplegic with "unwitting" help]]) concept, there's also the humongous virus vault from "Amplification".
** Hey, remember Frank and all of his kills along highway routes? [[http://www.fbi.gov/page2/april09/highwayserialkillings_040609.html Yeah, there've been about 500 murders along major US highways.]] The majority of them are unsolved, and there's about 200 suspects currently. This just over the past 30 years. Who's up for a roadtrip?
** "Public Enemy". You're in a crowded public place -- a laundromat, a street corner, a church, a market -- when all of a sudden, someone comes up behind you and slits your throat. You never even know he was there. And the scary thing? You didn't do anything to him -- he killed you ''for no reason''.
** Tobias from "The Big Game"/"Revelations" spying on people through their webcams.
** "The Internet is Forever" is ''made'' of this trope.
** The [=UnSub=] who [[spoiler:was a valet and used the GPS devices in women's cars]] to find their homes.
** This show will make you want to never have any routines, ever. Because if you do, someone can learn them, they can follow you, and they can ''kill'' you (or kidnap, or rape, or any number of horrible things).
** Invoked, and perhaps lampshaded, in the show during the ending of "Paradise":
-->'''Emily:''' Well, roadside motels definitely go on my list.
-->'''Reid looks uncomprehending.'''
-->'''Emily:''' Of things. To never do again.
-->'''Reid:''' You have a list?
-->'''Rossi:''' You ''don't''?
* ReplacementScrappy: FBI cadet Ashley Seaver. And that is all we will say about it.
** Rossi started out as one for Gideon.
** Averted with Prentiss, who quickly established herself as part of the team and was well-liked by fans after effectively replacing Elle Greenaway. It remains to be seen if Alex Blake will be this or not, but there doesn't seem to be too much of a backlash against her so far.
* RetroactiveRecognition:
** The actor who played the twin sisters who are the targets of a FBI agent's obsession in "Broken Mirror" is now Morgan Brody on ''Series/{{CSI}}''.
** The Unsub in "L.D.S.K" is now Lassiter on ''Series/{{Psych}}''.
** "Derailed": Dr. Bryar is now Andy Bellefleur on ''Series/TrueBlood''.
*** And in "Open Season", one of the killers is Hoyt from the same show.
** Before Aaron Paul's breakout role as Jesse Pinkman in the critically-acclaimed series ''Series/BreakingBad'', he was Satanic cult leader Mike Zizzo in "The Popular Kids".
** A pre-fame Amber Heard plays Lila Archer in "Somebody's Watching".
*** The same episode had Peter Jacobson, who became Dr. Taub on ''Series/{{House}}''.
*** It also featured Creator/KatherynWinnick as Lila's stalker. She played Booth's girlfriend on season 6 of ''Series/{{Bones}}'' and now is the shieldmaiden Lagertha in ''Series/{{Vikings}}''.
** Jane Lynch, who plays Reid's mom, is now [[StarMakingRole extremely well-known]] for playing Sue Sylvester on ''Series/{{Glee}}''.
** Several actors who played bit parts/recurring roles on ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' are minor characters in this show. "The Thirteenth Step" has Jess as one half of a young couple on a killing spree, Garth shows up as the [=UnSub=] in "Extreme Aggressor", Lilith's second child vessel was abducted to be {{Stockholm Syndrome}}'d into a twisted Roma marriage in "Bloodlines", Lucifer's second-choice vessel, Nick, was a cop in "Brothers in Arms", and Rufus was an unhelpful police chief in "Legacy".
** Creator/AntonYelchin, now known as [[Film/StarTrek the new Chekov]] and [[Film/TerminatorSalvation teenage Kyle Reese]], appeared in "Sex, Birth, Death" as the prime suspect.
** Several actors who played characters on ''Series/{{Desperate Housewives}}'' have guest-starred on this show. Rex Van de Kamp was the defense attorney Hotch profiled in "Tabula Rasa", Zachary Young was the unsub Reid identified with in "Elephant's Memory", and Tom Scavo was part of the family the unsub was targeting in "The Caller".
* ScapegoatCreator: Though fans still blame the CBS executives for screwing with their show, recently Edward Allen Bernero has been given an earful from the fans for not doing anything (or not enough) to combat the seasonal rot.
* TheScrappy: Ashley Seaver. Dear god, Ashley Seaver.
** Elle Greenaway was not exactly a fan favorite, although the hatred toward her character is nowhere near as intense as Seaver's.
* SeasonalRot: A large portion of the fanbase thinks that Criminal Minds' sixth season went through this, considering the uneven quality control.
** The same has been said for Season Five, although mainly reserved for the second half ("100" "The Uncanny Valley" and "Mosley Lane" being peak episodes).
* SpoiledByTheFormat: Do not trust an episode in which the team catches or positively identifies an apparent [=UnSub=] by the 20 minute mark. This is particularly true of [[spoiler:the Season 10 premiere]].
** Sometimes the show uses this to its advantage. For example, in "Hostage" the (real) kidnapper is caught relatively early ([[VillainBall and easily]]), and the challenge becomes [[DefusingTheTykeBomb defusing his main victim]] and finding two others, instead.
* {{Squick}}: A ''lot'' of scenes, usually one per episode.
** The [=UnSub=]'s MO in "Hope" ran entirely on pure, undiluted {{Squick}}. He kidnaps a young girl, raises her until she becomes a teenager, then rapes and impregnates her. When she [[DrivenToSuicide kills herself]] because of this, the guy kidnaps the girl's grieving mother and tries to rape and impregnate ''her'' with another girl for him, who, had he been successful, he presumably would've raped and impregnated too. The episode seems to paint him as a ManChild desperate to have a family, but that still doesn't save him from [[spoiler: a VigilanteExecution at the hands of the mother]].
** The same episode later dials up the Squick to straight {{Nightmare Fuel}} [[spoiler:when the mother discovers the now mummified Hope.]]
* StoicWoobie: Hotch has been almost ''blown up'', suffered prolonged hearing loss and ear trauma from it, shot at, and [[spoiler: stabbed nine times by the Reaper]], and the ''most'' he ever does is wince and/or collapse. He barely even raises his voice.
** Emily, too: [[spoiler: It isn't until about halfway through season seven that there is any mention about her dealing with being almost killed by Doyle and faking her own death, and Hotch practically has to (gently) force her to talk to him about it.]].
* StrawmanHasAPoint: While she's something of a bitch for the last third of "25 to Life", Chief Strauss does make some valid points. [[spoiler: Accusing a rich and powerful businessman running for Congress (and who presumably has lots of friends) of being a serial killer with ''no'' concrete evidence is bad enough. Accusing him just after the barely-quelled shitstorm caused by Don Sanderson (who was paroled due to the judgment of a member of the same team that is accusing the Congressional candidate) is even worse. Granted, her concerns did seem to be more out of fear of political backlash against her than actual concern for the BAU.]]
** Jeremy the teenage budding psychopath from "Safe Haven" was a CompleteMonster but he may have a point that his mother deciding he was a FetusTerrible was possibly a bit harsh. There's probably some very nice people in the world who consumed their twins in the womb.
** Any character who doubts the legitimacy or effectiveness of profiling is automatically wrong. Problem is, in RealLife, there is no empirical evidence whatsoever that it works. In fact, the real FBI profilers have never actually caught a single serial killer.
*** The show never claims profiling is a substitute for forensic evidence. It is always viewed as a tool to help them figure out where to focus their attention.
*** One particular episode has a defense attorney in court doubt the BAU's work. Hotch responds by ColdReading the man. While this looks awesome - and the judge falls for it, it's not what a profiler does - Hotch had to resort to basically the same stuff phony psychics use, and had that lawyer been worth his salt, he'd have been able to use Hotch's own "performance" to discredit the entire BAU, That Hotch realized the attorney's phone vibrates in sync with results from the local race track is an astute observation, but does nothing to prove the BAU's profiles mean anything.
** The senator from "It Takes a Village" may have been a hardass, but the fact is that the BAU ''did'' go behind the government's back, defied direct orders, and launched numerous unauthorized operations, including [[spoiler: preparing to let a dangerous terrorist go free]] all for the sake of a personal vendetta. As he tells [[spoiler: Prentiss]], "You dragged the US government into a war ''you'' started, and now [[spoiler:four people are dead]]!"
** Anytime one of the team members gets abducted, the rest of the Criminal Minds drop whatever case their working on to find their taken colleague. Their bosses usually frown on this, because, well.... think of all the other murders and crimes going on in the world! Yet, the show depicts them as bad guys for looking down on the team for blowing off other cases, to get get a team member back.
*** Lampshaded and subverted when the team begins focusing on the Replicator, forsaking their other work. They admit that Strauss has a point when she orders them to go back to their cases while they wait for new information.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot:
** Reid's drug addiction subplot during Season 2. It had potential for Reid's CharacterDevelopment and writers shut the tap off.
*** Actually, the addiction is something of a subplot in the Season 3 episode "Elephant's Memory", which opens with Reid attending a meeting of "Beltway Clean Cops". He reveals that he has been drug-free for ten months but still struggles with it, especially after [[spoiler: the shooting of the teenage [=UnSub=] in "3rd Life".]] At the end of the episode, Hotch discreetly encourages him to keep going to his support group.
*** Quite a few fans at the time hated the subplot, which may be why they stopped it so abruptly.
** The aftermath of the Reaper case. Hotch is left with a son to raise on his own (or, supposedly, with help from his sister-in-law), a raging case of PTSD, and a set of higher-ups who think he should retire. None of this has been explored since "The Slave of Duty" in season five.
** Really, considering the impact that Emily's [[spoiler: fake death and time in hiding]] should have on her, not very much was made of it.
** Why wasn't the spinoff based on the JTF-12 team? The concept--having a team of profilers profiling terrorists--would have worked as a TV series (since it would have been beyond the scope of CM), it had characters that could be fleshed out and it could have been a natural landing spot for Prentiss and JJ without having to release them from CM.
** They do an episode set in Las Vegas, you'd think they would have attempted a crossover with ''Series/CSICrimeSceneInvestigation'', but nothin' doin'. Even a RedSkiesCrossover would have been interesting.
*** The team does, however, take time to [[TakeThat bash evidence technicians who screw everything up by acting like cops.]]
** "Machismo" could have been about a rough-looking female Mexican serial killer that gets away longer with her crimes in part because the police is occupied looking for a transvestite male and is not willing to admit - because of their ''machismo'' - that a woman is capable of such violence. In fact, this was ''exactly what happened'' in the real case that inspired the episode, the murders of Juana Barraza. Instead, we get an actual transvestite serial killer and the police failing to catch him simply because [[IdiotPlot they refuse to believe that serial killers can exist in Mexico]]. It seems neither Barraza nor [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_serial_killers_by_country#Mexico any of these others]] ever got caught in the ''Criminal Minds'' universe.
* UncannyValley: "The Uncanny Valley", which has an [=UnSub=] who [[spoiler: is keeping her victims paralyzed with drugs, and treating them like dolls]].
** "The Lesson", better known as "the puppet episode" (the [[https://localtvwtkr.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/criminal-minds.jpg?w=770 puppets made of human bodies]] are actually less unsettling).
* UnintentionallySympathetic: The FinalGirl in "3rd Life" begs her ex-hitman father to kill the [=UnSub=], something Reid objects to on grounds of JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope. However, given how said girl was just ForcedToWatch the [=UnSub=] rape and torture her best friend to death, combined with his lack of remorse in contrast to the HitmanWithAHeart father, many fans actually want the PapaWolf to just KickTheSonOfABitch and be done with it. [[spoiler:He does, giving said fans a reason to rejoice... [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor but at the cost of giving Reid yet another trauma in his life]].]]
* UnintentionallyUnsympathetic: Morgan may get this at the end of "Gatekeeper" when he [[spoiler:refuses to let the [=UnSub=] see his child's birth before being taken away, despite knowing that said [=UnSub=] is driven by a family-related tragedy and mental illness instead of evil or {{Sociopath}}y]]. It was likely intended to come across as a KickTheSonOfABitch moment, but when the recipient is established as a SympatheticMurderer...
* TheUntwist: When combined with the opening quote, the title of "Birthright" makes it pretty clear who the killer is.
* {{Wangst}}: While Reid had a rough life, it wasn't particularly rougher than any other BAU members... yet he proves to be the most angsty character, many times for reasons could present themselves as Wangst (perfect example: feeling betrayed that Hotch and JJ didn't tell him Emily was alive when they literally ''couldn't''). This is totally subjective, though, and he's still a great character.
* WereStillRelevantDammit: ''Somewhat'' averted in the episode "Hashtag." While it does overdose on internet trends like Selfies and Ice Bucket Challenge, it shows a deal of research on internet culture that other shows gloss over and references more prominent YouTube figures and more obscure internet phenomena like {{Creepy Pasta}}s.
* TheWoobie:
** Nathan Harris from ''Sex, Birth, Death'' turned out not to be the [=UnSub=], but he knew there was something mentally wrong with him (he was aroused by the idea of killing women, which terrified him) and got Gideon to do an analysis of his psyche. He later revealed to Reid he was feeling suicidal, and tried to kill himself in the coda before he was set to go to a mental hospital. Reid only just managed to save him.
** This gets lampshaded in the commentary for "The Fisher King: Part 2" where the term R.I.P. (Reid In Peril) Episode is coined.
** Garcia has been getting the Woobie treatment a fair bit recently, too.
** Gideon during and post-[[spoiler: "Evilution of Frank"]].
** Brooke, the IllGirl from "North Mammon."
** Prentiss [[spoiler: as she's forced to go it alone]] in "Valhalla"/"Lauren". Garcia sort of lampshades it in the former when she sees Emily isn't herself lately ("I'm just so worried about you. The flu's going around..."). Has become a StoicWoobie in the aftermath of that story arc.
** Samantha Malcolm, the [=UnSub=] from ''The Uncanny Valley''. Yes, she has kidnapped six women. Yes, she has killed three of them [[spoiler: accidentally]]. Yes, she paralyzes them. Yes, she needs a really '''big''' hug. You '''''will''''' [[TearJerker cry]] during her episode.
** And they've possibly out-{{Woobie}}d them all with Lara from "Heathridge Manor." Where to begin with her? Arm chopped off by her insane mother, forced to help her insane brother kill people, and at the end of episode it's revealed that [[spoiler:she herself has gone insane from all the trauma she's experienced... [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane or perhaps her house is evil]]]].
** Bruce Morrison, from the season 8 episode "All That Remains". [[spoiler: When your older daughter takes advantage of your potential mental disorder to frame you for DomesticAbuse, murders your wife, murders your younger daughter, and then further uses your mental state to frame you for both murders, all because [[ItsAllAboutMe she believed her younger sister was stealing attention from her]], you KNOW you're this.]]
* WTHCostumingDepartment: Whoever was behind Reid's ''reverse-mullet'' '''THING''' of a haircut in season 9 needs to be sent back to cosmetology college. It's like they decided he was too much of an EnsembleDarkhorse and were ''trying'' to kill his appeal.
* YouLookFamiliar: Jason Wiles played the [=UnSub=] in "Psychodrama" and the abducted father in "The Fight".
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