‘Criminal Minds’ to End After 15 Seasons

CBS’ long-running drama Criminal Minds has been renewed for its 15th and final season, Deadline reports.

The Jeff Davis-created police procedural, launched with stars Thomas Gibson and Mandy Patinkin in 2005, will end after a 10-episode run to air during the 2019-20 broadcast season.

“It is the quintessential CBS hit. We are so proud to have aired it,” said Amy Reisenbach, CBS’ EVP current programs. “It speaks to everything we do best, which is air quality television. It’s been successful not only on air but online, in syndication, internationally for ABC (Studios).”

According to Deadline, CBS, CBS TV Studios and co-producers ABC Studios agreed to extend Criminal Minds for an additional 10 episodes to allow the series a “proper ending” after showrunner Erica Messer deemed extra episodes necessary to prevent Season 14 ending with a series finale or unresolved cliffhangers.

“We wanted to make sure Erica had the time and ability to write a season (14) finale that honors the characters and the fans,” Reisenbach said.

“We discussed wanting to keep the show in continuous production so 10 felt like the right number for us to roll straight into and give Erica enough episodes to end the series the way she wanted to.”

Season 15 will be “more serialized” than is characteristic of the drama, bringing to screen a two-part season opener as well as a “major confession” and a Behavioral Analysis Unit member in peril.

Messer said the season will bring “a very worthy adversary for the team,” especially for Joe Mantegna’s Senior Supervisory Special Agent David Rossi, as well as “another formidable villain” before these 10 episodes end “with a showdown with that person.”

The executive producer also teased enemies from past seasons could make appearances, including “one in the works right now who’s a very memorable villain,” Messer teased, “but I don’t want to say too much if it doesn’t work out with casting.”

Season 15 could also bring back fan-favorites who have since left the series, potentially including Criminal Minds-turned-S.W.A.T. star Shemar Moore.

“I am very hopeful that we can honor all of those characters who have been beloved and with this team, with the audience for years, but I don’t know what that’s going to look like; I don’t know the logistics of anything or the story,” she said.

“That won’t be shooting until the spring, so I have some time to think about it, but the hope is to be able to honor all of that history, all of those heroes who have come and gone.”

Asked if major or beloved characters would meet their end in the final 10 episodes, Messer suggested such a move is “not my instinct,” adding, “I just don’t want that to be how it ends for them. So the jet won’t crash, I can tell you that.”

Even so, Messer expects the series finale to be a “tearjerker.”

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“I think in honoring the series and saying goodbye, it’s probably going to feel like a little bit of a eulogy,” she said. “So my guess is tearjerker more than anything else, that’s how I’d describe it.”

Criminal Minds ends with its 325th episode, placing it on par with the 15-season runs of NBC’s ER and CBS’ own CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, behind only Gunsmoke (20 seasons, 635 episodes) Law & Order (20 seasons, 456 episodes) and Special Victims Unit (20 seasons, 444 episodes), and CBS’ NCIS (16 seasons, 364 episodes).