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  • Actor-Shared Background:
    • Dr. Reid is from Las Vegas like Matthew Gray Gubler and often goes home to visit his mother.
    • Joe Mantegna agreed to become the new lead actor on the show on the condition that his character be Italian, just like him. Thus, his character was named David Rossi.
  • Billing Displacement: Paget Brewster became the third highest billed actor on the show upon her first appearance in the second season, rather than receive an And Starring credit. Similarly, when Mandy Patinkin left the series & Joe Mantegna arrived in the second season, Mantegna became the highest billed actor whilst Gibson received an And Starring credit. Every addition to the cast following this would be billed by order of their first appearance on the series, with the exception of Adam Rodriguez & Paget Brewster, who received And Starring credits in season 12, after Gibson’s departure.
  • California Doubling: Almost every episode. The BAU travels around the country to solve crimes, but filming is limited to LA and surrounding areas. LA has so far passed for New York City, New Orleans, countless small towns in the Midwest and South, and even Mexico, among other places.
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    • In "Amplification," the climactic scene takes place in what's supposed to be the Washington D.C. Metro; it's the Los Angeles Metro standing in for Washington.
    • In "The Thirteenth Step", what is obviously the trunk of a palm tree can be spotted in what is supposed to be Billings, MT, where the only palm trees you're likely to find in real life are on signs for travel agencies.
    • Likewise in "Conflicted", which supposedly takes place on South Padre Island, some rocky hills can be clearly seen in the background during the rooftop scenes. South Padre is a flat, sandy barrier island along the equally flat and sandy Texas coast.
    • Averted in the Poorly Disguised Pilot that took place in San Francisco (although it's still California...)
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Lukas Haas was offered the role of Dr. Spencer Reid. He agreed to guest star as the stuttering Footpath Killerin the opening two-parter.
  • The Cast Showoff:
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    • Matthew Gray Gubler does magic tricks in Real Life; they incorporated it into his character on the show. Not to mention his talent for artwork, which has also been used in several episodes.
    • As is usual for him, Mandy Patinkin got to show off his real-life skills as a home-taught chef in at least two episodes.
    • Guest star Forest Whitaker got to show off his awesome stick-fighting skills.
  • Creator Backlash:
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer:
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    • In the Season 7 episode "There's No Place Like Home" which aired in late 2011, a newscaster says a recent tornado was rated an F2 on the Fujita Scale. Except the Fujita Scale was replaced by the Enhanced Fujita Scale in February 2006 and the rating scale changed to EF0-EF5.
    • IMDB's trivia page stated at one point that Gideon and Prentiss are the only two main characters to have died on the show. While Gideon was shown to be murdered several seasons after Mandy Patinkin left, Prentiss has never been killed off. She faked her death sure, but she returned soon afterward. She also appeared in the 200th episode, never getting killed off. However, this has since been changed to state (correctly) that Gideon died after he left the show, and that Stephen Walker is the other main character to die.
  • The Danza: Subverted. Although A.J. Cook jokes that the character was named JJ so she'd be able to remember it (being a blonde), the producers swear they came up with the name before Cook was cast.
  • Development Gag: Gideon was originally going to be named "Jason Donovan". In "Extreme Aggressor" that name appears on the cover of a book Gideon finds in a suspect's room.
  • Directed by Cast Member:
    • Recently Matthew Gray Gubler got to take the directing skills he's honed on other projects and direct episodes of the show ("Mosley Lane", "Lauren").
    • Thomas Gibson directed episodes "Gabby", "Boxed In" and "Lockdown".
    • Joe Mantegna directed the episodes "The Road Home" and "Anonymous" (which serves as a tribute to his good friend Meshach Taylor, who played Rossi's former sergeant Harrison Scott).
    • A.J. Cook directed season 14's "Chameleon."
    • Aisha Tyler and Adam Rodriguez have also directed episodes.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • Following the completion of the fifth season, the decision was made to write JJ & Prentiss out of the show, publicly citing budget cuts - although Paget Brewster would later state that the actual reason was a CBS executive demanding “new women” on the show. This decision led to A.J. Cook leaving in the second episode of the season in a plot rife with Reality Subtext about the cast & crew’s displeasure about the decision, whilst Brewster negotiated a reduced schedule of 17 episodes with instructions to kill Prentiss off at the end of those episodes, and co-showrunner Simon Mirren quit the show entirely. Following the backlash (From fans, cast & crew) over the firings, the sixth season subsequently ended on the reveal that J.J. was returning to the BAU, and it was revealed early in pre-production on the seventh season that Brewster would also be returning as a regular due to a clause in her contract being invoked by the producers.
    • As confirmed by showrunner Erica Messer, Damon Gupton was directly hired by the network to play Stephen Walker in season 12, following their dismissal of Thomas Gibson for his involvement in an on-set altercation before his departure after the end of the season.
  • Fake American:
    • AJ Cook, who plays JJ, is Canadian.
    • British actress Jayne Atkinson playing the German-American Erin Strauss.
  • Fake Nationality: Actress Lola Glaudini is of Italian and Jewish heritage, but Elle claims her mother is Cuban and she speaks fluent Spanish.
  • Fan Nickname: "Agent Mary Sue" for Ashley Seaver, by the fans who don't like her.
  • Hostility on the Set: Thomas Gibson was fired after he fought one of the episode writers while filming Season 12. As a result, Aaron Hotchner left the BAU and is Put on a Bus.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Subverted - both of AJ Cook's pregnancies were written into the show proper (JJ's sons Henry and Michael are even played by Cook's own real-life sons), and the same rules were applied to Jennifer Love Hewitt's pregnancy (and her going on a year-long maternity leave) towards the end of Season 10. The one variable is that the characters became pregnant at a later point than their respective actresses, but this is excusable given the time needed to write them in (and the fact that early pregnancy can vary to an extent in how much it shows).
  • I Knew It!: Many fans correctly guessed that Walker would be the BAU agent being killed in the season 13 premiere, given the departure of Damon Gupton.
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  • Jossed: During the summer between Season 4 and 5, a small number of fans proposed the theory that the person that shot Hotch in Season 4's final moments was not George Foyet, due to the fact that he wore his signature mask, an unnecessary measure considering that Hotch already knew his identity. The theory went that it would be revealed in the Season 5 premiere that the Reaper we saw was actually a copycat, and possibly that the real Reaper would show up as well. Of course, the shooter really was Foyet, and he gets away again.
  • Life Imitates Art: In "Cradle to Grave", the UnSub kidnaps women, hides them in his own home-made dungeon, rapes them, impregnates them, and forces them to help each other in giving birth under threat of death. While the BAU compares the perp to Gary Heidnik and Josef Fritzl, his MO is far more close to Ariel Castro, whose crimes weren't discovered until four years after the episode aired.
  • Name's the Same:
    • Billy Flynn, serial killing tap-dancing lawyer.
    • Subverted - Eric Olson, an UnSub from Season 4, is a letter away from sharing his name with Eric Christian Olsen. Probably why the show specifies his full name as Eric Ryan Olson.
  • The Other Darrin: Randall Garner (the Fisher King) is played by Charles Haid (Part 1) and Charley Rossman (Part 2), though due to the make-up and dubbing, you can't actually tell.
  • Playing Against Type: Former child star Frankie Muniz as psychotic serial killer Jonny McHale in "True Night".
  • Pop Culture Urban Legends: Following the firing & reinstatements of AJ Cook & Paget Brewster over the course of the sixth season, and in light of the producer's comments about always intending to bring JJ and Prentiss back, an alternative explanation from industry workers has appeared on several sites - that explanation being that the producers wanted to more heavily focus on Prentiss for at least part of the season and explore her mysterious past, and as part of this they needed someone to have the access that JJ's new job gave her for story reasons.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • Gideon left the BAU due to emotional distress; Mandy Patinkin left the series due to the emotional distress the role was putting on him due to his discomfort with the subject matter. Additionally, the letter Gideon left for Spencer explaining his decision mirrored Patinkin leaving letters for his cast mates doing the same thing.
      • Patinkin’s misgivings over the series glorifying horrific crimes would later be acknowledged by the writers, as David Rossi would admit that Gideon expressed worries that Rossi writing books about his time in the BAU would glorify the horrific aspects of their job.
    • JJ’s departure in "JJ" & the narrative that she was being forced to leave the BAU is just the writers voicing their complaints over the Executive Meddling that forced A.J. Cook to leave the series.
    • Emily Prentiss leaving the BAU for greener pastures in the seventh season is ultimately down to Paget Brewster’s heart no longer being in the role after being killed off in the sixth season & brought back in the seventh season due to a clause in her contract allowing the network to do so.
    • Garcia’s animosity towards Alvez over his replacing Morgan on the team is the writers making her an Audience Surrogate for fans expressing displeasure over the various changes to the cast over the course of the series.
    • Matt Simmons joining the team in season 13 is accompanied by various references to the IRT being shut down, in reference to the cancellation of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • The victim the team is working to save in "3rd Life" is played by Gia Mantegna, Joe Mantegna's (Agent Rossi's) daughter in Real Life. She later returns in Season 12 as Cat Adams' partner-in-crime.
    • The two oldest Galen children from the episode "Damaged" are played by real-life twin brother and sister Nicholle Tom and David Tom.
    • JJ's sons Henry & Michael are played by Mekhai Andersen and Phoenix Sky Andersen respectively, AJ Cook's sons and the actual result of the pregnancies that put JJ into maternity leave in the first place.
  • Recycled Set: Some of the local police stations of entirely different cities have suspiciously similar design choices and layouts.
    • Season 10's "Lockdown" has a prison that may seem strangely familiar to anyone who watched Season 6's "25 to Life," complete with the "No Profanity" warning on the wall.
  • Recycled Script:
    • Billy Flynn's origin is nearly identical to Frank's, and he has a lot of similarities to Karl Arnold/The Fox.
    • The team must have caught more serial-home-invader-family-annihilators-with-daddy-issues in ten years than there are recorded in human history.
    • In “Fisher King Part 2”, we learn Elle’s father was a police officer who died when she was young, and it’s implied in later episodes that she was raped when she was younger. Once Lola Glaudini left the show, they gave this exact plot line to Derek Morgan in “Profiler, Profiled.”
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor:
    • Jeanne Tripplehorn was let go after two seasons, due to publicly criticizing Mandy Patinkin's remarks on the series. Patinkin may have abandoned the show, but apparently he's still respected amongst the cast and crew.
    • During the filming of season 12, Thomas Gibson assaulted one of the producers, which resulted in CBS terminating him from the show.
  • Screwed by the Network: JJ's departure was a decision by CBS to cut costs in order to help create one of the short-lived spin-offs.
  • Talking to Himself: Elisabeth Harnois in "Broken Mirror", when the Davenport twins briefly talk on the phone.
  • Throw It In!: Morgan & Garcia’s flirtatious banter ultimately stemmed from Shemar Moore “feeling goofy” on one take, which was then used in the final episode.
  • Transplant: Matt Simmons (Played by Daniel Henney) moved from the cancelled spin-off Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders to the parent show in season 13 as a series regular.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The show was originally going to be called Quantico and Gideon was originally named Jason Donovan. An early version of Hotch was described as a "blond haired, blue eyed Mormon" and Lukas Haas (the guy who played The Footpath Killer) originally auditioned for the part of Reid, and might have even got it if he hadn't begun expressing doubts about doing a series.
    • When Mandy Patinkin left the show, the producer's first choice for a replacement was Harvey Keitel.
    • A tweet by the creators mentions that Reid was originally intended to be bisexual. It was scrapped by the fourth episode.
    • Originally an episode which revealed Elle had been raped when she was younger was planned, but the actress decided to leave. This was hinted at twice and explains further why she went crazy and shot the Unsub.
    • The original plan for season 11 was to have Tara Lewis as a temporary replacement for Kate, who was in maternity leave in the end of season 10, which would allow Kate to return in season 12. However, it was discarded when Jennifer Love Hewitt decided to depart than returning for season 12, which led to Lewis becoming a temporary replacement for JJ and then joining the BAU after JJ's maternal leave ended, resulting her being a Fake Guest Star for that and then Promoted to Opening Credits in season 12.
    • According to Kirsten Vangsness in a 2015 interview, the writers originally wrote Emily as a lesbian and there would've been a storyline where she had a female lover but it was reportedly nixed by CBS.
    • Walker was going to remain on the show for season 13 before Damon Gupton departed after the season 12 finale aired. As a result, he was killed off in the season 13 premiere and was replaced by Matt Simons.
    • According to Erica Messer, she considered having Mr. Scratch continue as the Big Bad for season 13 with his final confrontation being in the season 14 premiere, which would be the 300th episode but due to fears from fans that it could result in Arc Fatigue, the storyline eventually concluded in the season 13 premiere.
    • Prentiss was originally going to return on a recurring basis in season 12, but after Thomas Gibson's firing, she was upgraded back to series regular.
  • The Wiki Rule: The profile indicated that there would be one.
  • Word of Saint Paul: Matthew Gray Gubler says that Reid is mildly autistic.
  • Writer Revolt: "JJ" was an episode loaded with Reality Subtext and double-meanings considering it was the (planned) last episode for the fan-and-cast-favorite character of the same name, such as her referencing her status as being Kicked Upstairs caused by "people above their pay grade".
  • Written by Cast Member: Kirsten Vangsness co-wrote episodes "Nelson's Sparrow" and "A Beautiful Disaster" with showrunner Erica Messer in seasons 10 and 11, respectively.

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