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Trivia / Criminal Minds

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  • 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.
    • 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.
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    • Averted in the Poorly Disguised Pilot that took place in San Francisco (although it's still California...)
  • The Cast Showoff:
    • 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 Forrest Whitaker got to show off his awesome stick-fighting skills.
  • Creator Backlash:
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer:
    • 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.
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  • 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).
  • Executive Meddling:
    • JJ was written out and Prentiss' screen time was reduced for season six, due to budget cuts, leaving Garcia as the only regular female cast member. Naturally, the fans were not pleased. Especially the female fans. And neither is the entire cast and crew, as expressed with, among other things, pointed double-meaning lines in "JJ". It was made worse by bringing in a new female lead to replace JJ (though she doesn't have the same job). Thanks to the fans, they were brought back as regulars for season seven and the Replacement Scrappy went bye-bye.
    • 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. As part of this they needed someone to have the access that JJ's new job gave her for story reasons. However, experts in union contracts say that AJ Cook was cut as a regular because keeping her at that rank would mean paying her for all episodes of the season even if she was not in them, at a huge expense. Same with cutting back Paget Brewster's contracted number of episodes given that they knew she would be missing from several. But they had always left open a way to bring back Emily at any time both in story and contract.
    • More recently and 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 a minor on-set altercation before he departed after the end of the season.
  • Fake American:
    • Jayne Atkinson, a British actress - from Holdenhurst, Dorset, England - playing German-American Erin Strauss - confusing! Of course, "Strauss" is probably her married name.
    • AJ Cook, who plays JJ, is Canadian.
  • Fan Nickname: "Agent Mary Sue" for Ashley Seaver, by the fans who don't like her.
  • Hostility on the Set: Thomas Gibson got 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.
  • 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".
  • Reality Subtext: "JJ". So much it practically bleeds into the context.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • The victim the team is working to save in "3rd Life" is played by Gina Mantegna (who now credits herself as Gia Mantegna), Joe Mantegna's (Agent Rossi's) daughter in Real Life.
    • 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 is played by Mekhai Andersen and and Michael is played by Phoenix Sky Anderson, 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.
    • Bizarrely averted with Season 8's "Restoration," which features several returning characters from Season 2's "Profiler, Profiled," but not the same police station.
    • 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-anhilators-with-daddy-issues in ten years than they 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: The reason J.J. left. And the bitch of it is that in the episode directly preceding her exit, "The Longest Night", A.J. Cook does some of the best work of her career. She was even more screwed than usual: Cook wasn't let go because of ratings or a dispute with the cast or crew; she was let go because CBS was pinching pennies to make a spinoff (which failed) and was too cheap to renew her contract.
  • Talking to Himself: Elisabeth Harnois in "Broken Mirror", when the Davenport twins briefly talk on the phone.
  • Transplant: It's been confirmed that Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders regular Daniel Henney would be moving to its parent show in season 13 as a series regular, after Damon Gupton's departure.
  • 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.
    • 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:
    • In "JJ", listen very closely to the dialogue. AJ Cook was let go from the show for purely financial reasons, a decision that the cast and crew obviously reviled, and the subplot is about how her promotion is being forced by "people above their pay grade" (the network). She really lays into them in her closing monologue in place of the usual ending quote.
    • Considering how the writers, the cast and the entire fanbase hated what the network executives did, there is a general consensus that the Take That! against them was entirely justifiednote  (and one of the few times when a Writer Revolt has been fully supported by more than just fanbase splinter groups).
    • Fortunately there is a happy ending to all this as Cook became a series regular again at the start of season seven. The main reason she was let go was so the execs would have money to do that spin-off, but it got cancelled after only 13 episodes. With their funds now freed up, CBS soon rehired Cook, perhaps knowing that there would be a good chance of a sharp drop in ratings if they didn't bring her back.
    • Old habits die hard, though. But, fortunately, it was resolved before the season began.
  • 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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