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The end of an era is on the way since the cancellation of Criminal Minds, which will have run for 15 seasons by the time the final credits roll. News of the cancellation broke while Season 14 was still airing, and it came with the renewal for one final batch of episodes to wrap things up. Not all shows are lucky enough to get a bonus season while also being cancelled, and showrunner Erica Messer shared why it’s a good thing Criminal Minds got the axe the way it did:
By the time I found out, there was enough time for us to properly do a season finale and then we knew that we’d have 10 episodes to wrap up the series. I think a lot of people on this end still feel like we could keep going. I know I said that when we celebrated our 300th, 'Here’s to 400!' because I do feel like there’s an endless supply of stories to tell here. At the end of the day, it’s good versus evil and it’s an amazing group of heroes who have been invited into living rooms since 2005. I still believe that, but I also understand it’s a business. As far as that goes, we were treated with incredible respect.
Erica Messer learned that the end was nigh for Criminal Minds before production wrapped on Season 14, and her comments to ET revealed that getting the news when she did enabled her to craft an ending to the season that didn’t also have to wrap up the entire series. The 10-episode fifteenth season can bring the show to what will hopefully be a satisfying end; the Season 14 finale can focus on Rossi’s wedding as well as the danger Reid and JJ found themselves in.
The hopes for Criminal Minds to hit another milestone after making it to 300 episodes in Season 14 were unfortunately dashed by the cancellation. Erica Messer revealed in the fall that she didn’t have an endgame in mind yet; that has apparently changed. The ratings for Criminal Minds have been disappointing, and signs weren’t exactly pointing toward a long future when CBS didn’t order more episodes than the original reduced count.
Between the disappointing ratings and the fact that ABC is actually the lead studio for Criminal Minds, CBS’ decision to end the show didn’t come as a huge surprise. The news of the fifteenth season -- even if it’s much shorter than earlier seasons with only 10 episodes -- had to come as a relief to viewers, who would have learned of the end shortly before the Season 14 finale.
At this point, we can just cross our fingers that Erica Messer and Co. deliver a satisfying final season. We already know a bit about the villain, as well as one unforgettable guest star who will be back. For the final Criminal Minds episode of the 2018-2019 TV season, tune in to CBS on Wednesday, February 6 at 10 p.m. ET. For some viewing options once Criminal Minds heads into its final big hiatus, check out our midseason TV premiere schedule.