CBS announced the renewal of the long-running police procedural crime drama Criminal Minds for Season 15 in January 2019 and confirmed that the upcoming 10-episode season will be the final season of the series.
The renewal of Criminal Minds for Season 15 and the official confirmation that it will be the final season of the series came after the Season 14 finale aired on February 6, 2019.
Criminal Minds Season 14 premiered in October 2018 and became one of the longest-running scripted primetime series on CBS and U.S. television after hitting the 300-episode mark.
Criminal Minds has remained a fan favorite over the years since it premiered on CBS in September 2005. And despite having recorded a pattern of consistent ratings slip in recent years, it has been able to retain a dedicated and loyal fanbase.
Rumors that emerged ahead of the premiere of Season 14 had suggested that CBS was considering ending the series amid declining ratings. The rumors gained traction following the decision of the producers to cut the number of episodes for Season 14 down to 15 (instead of the usual 22-24 episodes). The conclusion of Season 14 came in February and left fans wondering whether the long-running series would be renewed for Season 15.
Although fans were happy when CBS confirmed Criminal Minds for Season 15, they were disappointed to learn it would be the final season of the series. However, fans quickly recovered from the shock of the sad news and are now eagerly looking forward to the upcoming season. Criminal Minds Season 15 might even witness a ratings bump as viewers who had previously stopped watching the show are now more likely to tune in to see how the final episodes play out.
with the confirmation that season 15 of criminal minds will be its final season, here’s to the one of the best television casts ive seen in a long time pic.twitter.com/7Ppegt28VU
— 🦋 (@butterflyjemily) January 11, 2019
criminal minds is really over forever after 10 episodes in season 15 huh pic.twitter.com/EcwBDZPnkL
— bella 🤙🏻❤️ (@matthewgrayfact) January 11, 2019
Ahead of the return of Criminal Minds for Season 15, we bring you everything we know so far, including the expected release date, latest cast announcements, plot updates and spoilers.
This page will also be updated over time with the latest news and information about Criminal Minds Season 15.
Criminal Minds Season 15 release date
CBS has not announced an official release date for Criminal Minds Season 15. But the network has confirmed that the upcoming season will start production this spring and launch in the fall of 2019.
All seasons of the series since inception have premiered in September or October, so fans can expect the final season of Criminal Minds to return in September or October of 2019.
How many episodes will Criminal Minds Season 15 feature?
CBS has also confirmed that Criminal Minds Season 15 will feature 10 episodes. This is the least number of episodes since the show premiered in 2005. All previous seasons before Season 14 featured 20-24 episodes. Criminal Minds Season 14 first broke the pattern with 15 episodes, and now the final Season 15 is set to feature only 10.
The 10 episodes will bring the total number of episodes since the series premiered in 2005 to 324.
Criminal Minds is likely to retain the Wednesday 10/9c slot on CBS during its final run.
Criminal Minds: Overview
Criminal Minds is created by Jeff Davis. Showrunner Erica Messer co-executive produces the series with creator Jeff Davis, Mark Gordon, Breen Frazier, Deborah Spera, Janine Sherman Barrios, Harry Bring, Edward Allen Bernero, and Gleen Kershaw.
The production companies behind the series include CBS Television Studios and ABC Studios in association with The Mark Gordon Company, Touchstone Television and Paramount Network Television.
The series is distributed in the U.S. by CBS Television Distribution and worldwide by Disney-ABC Domestic Television
Criminal Minds follow an elite team of FBI behavioral experts who track the country’s most notorious criminals.
Criminal Minds Season 14 stared Joe Mantegna, Matthew Gray Gubler, Aisha Tyler, Paget Brewster, A.J. Cook, Daniel Henney, Kirsten Vangsness and Adam Rodriguez.
CBS announced the renewal of the crime drama for Season 15 on Thursday, January 10, 2019, and confirmed that the upcoming season will air during the 2019-2020 TV season. CBS also confirmed that Criminal Minds Season 15 will be the final season of the long-running crime drama.
“It’s really bittersweet, but I’m so, so grateful to CBS for giving us this heads-up,” showrunner Erica Messer said while reacting to the news that season 15 will the final season of Criminal Minds… they respect this series and the cast and the crew and the fans enough to end this properly.”
The announcement that Season 15 will be the final season of the series did not come entirely as a surprise. The show’s declining ratings had sparked speculation that CBS would soon end the series despite its continued success online and in syndication.
The series dropped from a 1.39 average rating (18-49 demo) and 7.466 million viewers (Live+SameDay) in Season 12 to 0.99 and 5.730 million viewers in Season 13, and finally to 0.76 and 4.670 million viewers in Season 14.
The delay to confirm the show for Season 14, after Season 13 ended with a cliffhanger, sparked rumors that it was about to be canceled. Although CBS eventually renewed the series for Season 14, the abrupt decision to cut the number of episodes to 15 (instead of 22-24 episodes) signaled to fans that the network was really preparing to wrap up the series.
Fans were expecting news of the show’s cancellation when CBS announced its renewal for Season 15 but confirmed that it would be the final season.
CBS president of Entertainment Kelly Kahl told Deadline that the decision to cancel the show was to allow the network to focus more on new original series.
“As scheduling evolves and we try to get more original episodes on air, we have to cut and paste and sometimes trim episodes on some of those shows to get more originals on the air,” she said.
The drive to focus on fresh programming prompted the decision to end the series on a relatively high note amid declining ratings, and hopefully, Season 15 will see a significant bump in total viewers due to fans who had long given up on the show returning to see how it all ends.
With CBS having confirmed that filming of Criminal Minds Season 15 will start this spring, fans are looking forward to the launch of the final season of the series in September or October 2019.
Criminal Minds Season 15 trailer
CBS has not yet released a trailer for Criminal Minds Season 15.
The network debuted the first Season 14 teaser in September 2018, ahead of the season premiere on October 3, 2018.
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Thus, if, as expected, Criminal Minds Season 15 premieres in the fall of 2019, fans can expect the first teaser or official trailer to come out in August or September of 2019, and possibly even earlier.
Criminal Minds Season 15 cast
It is expected that the series’ main cast will return for Criminal Minds Season 15.
Criminal Minds Season 14 starred Joe Mantegna as David Rossi, Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss, Matthew Gray Gubler as Dr. Spencer Reid, A.J. Cook as Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, Aisha Tyler as Dr. Tara Lewis, Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia, Adam Rodriguez as Luke Alvez, and Daniel Henney as Matt Simmons.
Showrunner Messer had revealed ahead of the premiere of Season 14 that some of the main cast members were due to renegotiate their contracts.
Multiple media sources reported on February 20, 2019, that Rachael Leigh Cook (Perception) will play Max in Criminal Minds Season 15. Cook is expected to appear in at least two episodes out of the 10 episodes of Season 15.
Max, a new love interest for Reid, is described as a “quirky, kind-hearted and candid woman” who further complicates Reid’s already complicated love life by entering into an “unusual” relationship with him (after J.J. confessed her love for him in the final episode of Season 14).
The series suffered a major loss when Thomas Gibson, who played Aaron Hotchner, was dismissed from the show after Season 12. Gibson was dismissed following an on-set altercation in which he reportedly kicked a writer in the shin.
Gibson was subsequently written out of the show, but since he left, rumors have swirled about his return as Hotch. The rumors gained traction after CBS confirmed that Criminal Minds Season 15 will be the last season of the series. But given the circumstances of his exit, it seems unlikely that the showrunners would want him back.
Fans are also speculating on firmer grounds that Shemar Moore, who departed the series after 11 seasons, will return for Season 15, and that his character Derek Morgan will team up once again with his former BAU colleagues. Moore has returned to guest star on the show on a number of occasions after he left. He appeared in the Season 12 finale of the show. He also appeared in the fifth episode of Season 13.
But regardless of who returns or doesn’t return, it is expected that Joe Mantegna’s David Rossi will play the leading role in Criminal Minds Season 15.
Criminal Minds Season 15 plot and spoilers
Criminal Minds follows a team of FBI behavioral specialists who use their expertise to track criminals.
Criminal Minds Season 14 picked up from Season 13’s cliffhanger when Reid and Garcia found themselves captives of the cult leader Benjamin David Merva, played by Michael Hogan.
Season 14 ended on a happy note with the team in Washington D.C. for Rossi’s (Joe Mantegna) wedding.
Showrunner Erica Messer has confirmed that there will be a time jump of about six months between the ending of Season 14 and the start of Season 15.
Criminal Minds Season 15 will kick off with a two-part two-hour story that follows Rossi’s obsessed hunt for the Chameleon, played by Mike Moseley.
“We kick off the final ten with a two-parter, basically. Whether they’re aired at the same time or not is unclear, but it’s a two-hour story,” Messer told TV.com. “The emotional journey of our heroes [picks] up about six months after this finale has aired, and chasing the Chameleon.”
Messer explained that the Chameleon was chosen as the bad guy for the final season following Mike Moseley’s impressive performance in Season 14.
“Moseley did such an amazing job with that episode, and we just felt like that was a worthy adversary, especially given how he really shocked and rocked Rossi’s world,” Messer continued in the interview with TV.com. “We pick up with Rossi’s obsession in catching him in the final ten, and then that will play throughout, which is, you know, not a usual thing for us.”
Messer promised fans that catching Chameleon will prove challenging. Rossi’s obsession with catching the Chameleon will cause frustration for some members of the team who feel they are focusing on the wrong case.
Criminal Minds Season 15 will also pick up where Season 14 finale left off on J.J’s confession of secret love for Reid.
“I’ve always loved you,” she told Reid.”I was just too scared to say it before. And things are really just too complicated to say it now…. But you should know.”
Showrunner Messer confirmed in an interview with TVLine that Criminal Minds Season 15 will further explore J.J.’s feelings for Reid.
Although we can expect that Max’s arrival will make matters even more complicated than J.J. anticipated, we don’t yet have a clear picture of how Max will fit into what could end up a love triangle.
The fact that J.J. is married and that her husband, Detective William LaMontagne Jr., is returning for Season 15 could also further complicate the story.