About two years ago, Criminal Minds aired its series finale, wrapping up 15 years of storytelling with "And in the End." That end turned out to be short-lived, though, as a year after the finale aired, ViacomCBS-owned streaming platform Paramount+ announced they were interested in reviving the procedural show for a prestige miniseries, with the possibility of a full-on revival if the miniseries performs well. Similar to revivals like Saved By the Bell and planned events like the upcoming CSI and LA Law revivals, Criminal Minds would feature both new and returning characters -- and now it sounds like some of the first cast deals are in place.
According to Deadline, six fan favorite cast members -- Joe Mantegna, Kirsten Vangsness, Adam Rodriguez, A.J. Cook, Aisha Tyler and Paget Brewster -- have a deal in principle to return, contingent on finalization of their contracts and on availability. Those contracts aren't ready to be finalized yet, because ABC Signature -- the show's lead studio -- has to strike a deal with executive producer/showrunner Erica Messer, or it's a non-starter. Messer has an overall deal with the studio, which makes it likely they can make a deal, but nothing is guaranteed. The Deadline story says that the two sides are "getting closer, but still not close enough for a deal to be imminent."
Criminal Minds was a huge hit at Netflix before moving to Paramount+, and remains one of the service's most-streamed series. The streamer already has The Real Criminal Minds on their docket -- an unscripted show that provides a look at the real-life criminal profilers who helped inspire Criminal Minds in the first place.
When and if talent is locked in, Paramount+ has the terms for a 10-episode season in place with ABC Signature and CBS Studios. In order for the show to happen, ABC Signature, CBS Studios, Paramount+, and Messer would all have to be on the same page.
These six actors mark most of the cast as it existed at the end of 15 seasons. Absent from the deal are original cast member Matthew Gray Gubler and Daniel Henney, neither of whom seem likely to sign on. Henney is starring in Amazon's successful Wheel of Time series, while Gubler previously suggested that he was ready to move on from his Criminal Minds character. The deal for the six is reportedly a multi-year deal that is subject to actor availability, which is a common way to do these revivals while also allowing the actors to continue growing in their career.
Back in July, Brewster said she believed the project to be dead. Earlier this week, Paramount+ chief programming officer Tanya Gills said that the project was "alive and well."
Prior to that, in April, Brewster had told ComicBook that everyone was working on deals.
"We're very thankful that they came to everyone who was in the cast for the last four seasons -- they came to all of us and said, 'would you all come back?'" Brewster told ComicBook during an interview in support of her new animated series, Birdgirl. "And every one of us who can, who isn't already signed on to another show, we've been negotiating this. We're all hoping that it would happen and that we would be on Paramount+ as a streaming show, which would be a very different platform from what we had as a CBS show on network TV. We're doing our darnedest, and everyone's trying to make this happen. We really enjoy each other, and we really enjoy how much our fans like the show. Now we have all these new fans, who have been binging it on Netflix, in a different age group. When people used to say to me, 'You're on that show Criminal Minds,' I'd say 'yeah, your grandma watches it.' Now it's a whole new generation and we have teenagers watching. It's crazy."
In Criminal Minds, an elite squad of FBI profilers analyzes the country's most-twisted criminal minds, anticipating the perpetrators' next moves before they can strike again. Each member of the "mind hunter" team brings his or her expertise to pinpoint predators' motivations and identify emotional triggers to stop them. The core group includes an official profiler who is highly skilled at getting into the minds of criminals, a quirky genius, the former media liaison who manages to adeptly balance family life and the job, and a computer wizard.