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After fifteen seasons, Criminal Minds had its final curtain call on February 19, 2020. The two-hour series finale saw the cast of the hit CBS investigative procedural without an acronym in its title give their bittersweet goodbyes to a show rooted in bleakness.
The cast of Season 15, despite a few regulars who stayed until the end, does not feature the same line-up as its earlier years, when led by Mandy Patinkin and also starring Shemar Moore. However, fans of Criminals Minds welcomed those who joined late, such as Joe Mantegna and Paget Brewster, with open arms as if they were there from the beginning.
Now that the series has reached its end, the central cast is still far from finished with their careers outside of analyzing criminal behavior. So, what is next for the cast of Criminals Minds?
Joe Mantegna (David Rossi)
In 2007, Joe Mantegna joined the cast of Criminals Minds as David Rossi. The veteran FBI agent returns to the Behavioral Analysis Unit after a 10-year retirement, bringing a different kind of investigative style and more gruff persona to the team than Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) after his departure, and considers retirement in the series finale, only to go back on that claim by the end of the episode.
The 72-year-old actor was actually known for playing several criminals in movies and TV, such as Joey Zasa in The Godfather Part III and Fat Tony on The Simpsons, before playing a guy who catches them in his most popular role to date. There is not much known to be on the horizon for Joe Mantegna in the world of acting at the moment, but he is active on Twitter and Instagram and recently made an appearance on SiriusXM’s Beatles discussion show, “Fab Fourum.” If his emotional message to the fans of Criminal Minds following the series filming wrap-up is any indication, not only will his character be missed, but he will miss playing him.
Matthew Gray Gubler (Dr. Spencer Reid)
Matthew Gray Gubler is the only actor to appear in all 323 episodes of Criminal Minds as Dr. Spencer Reid, who just may be the heart of the show. The highly intelligent supervisory special agent is one of the youngest members of the BAU and also one of its most tortured souls, having suffered from his own issues with mental health, grieving his murdered girlfriend, and even battling substance abuse following his abduction by a man who injected him with drugs that he developed an addiction to for a time.
Fortunately, the series finale gave Spencer Reid a more positive resolution and Matthew Gray Gubler a proper send-off before moving onto his next prospect, which includes starring alongside his on Criminal Minds character’s onscreen adversary Aubrey Plaza in the upcoming comedy King Knight, about a modern-day priest confronting his “prepster” past. The 39-year-old actor, additionally known for voicing Simon in the live-action Alvin and the Chipmunks films, can also be seen in the recent Netflix drama Horse Girl opposite Alison Brie.
A.J. Cook (Jennifer "JJ" Jareau)
Jennifer Jareau, or “JJ” to friends and family, was inspired to join the FBI by her future colleague David Rossi. As played by Canadian actress A.J. Cook on Criminal Minds since the beginning, JJ has seen quite the journey from the BAU’s media liaison to becoming a field agent, then leaving the team temporarily in Season 6 before returning the following year.
A.J. Cook nailed the often traumatic life of JJ because her filmography is not short on dark subject matter, from starring in a Goosebumps episodes as a teen, leading the second installment of the Final Destination franchise in 2003, and most recently playing a prescription drug addict in the 2019 indie Back Fork, co-starring and directed by her Criminal Minds onscreen husband Josh Stewart.
In terms of what she has coming up, from what Cook told Parade, it sounds like she's hoping to unplug for a bit and spend time with her family, though acting and directing remain her passion so we likely haven't seen the last of her. Rest assured, her time on the popular crime drama will remain her shining moment for years to come.
Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia)
The quirky fashion sense, flirtatious personality, and overall irresistibly fun presence of Penelope Garcia is unusual for a crime procedural series, which is why the fan favorite is such a stand-out on Criminal Minds. The hacker turned Technical Analyst for the BAU, and eventually its Media Liaison Officer following Jennifer Jareau’s field agent promotion, was portrayed for 321 episodes by Kirsten Vangsness, also the series finale’s co-writer.
In addition to her political activism on social media, Kirsten Vangsness is putting her creative focus post-Criminal Minds into several new and vastly different endeavors, including an autobiographical one-woman stage show largely inspired by the music of Duran Duran called Making It Up and taking her animated short film Curtains to film festivals around the globe. Vangsness is also a businesswoman as part-owner of the Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana, California.
Aisha Tyler (Dr. Tara Lewis)
Aisha Tyler wears a lot of hats in her career. The comedian first appeared in Season 11 of Criminal Minds as recurring character forensic psychologist Dr. Tara Lewis before becoming a series regular the following year. At the same time, she was already voicing Lana Kane on FX’s animated espionage comedy Archer, hosting both The CW’s revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and a regular panelist on CBS’s answer to The View, The Talk.
Now, having left The Talk after six years in 2017 and her stint on Criminal Minds crossed off of her list, Aisha Tyler can focus on the upcoming 11th season of Archer, appearing in films like the upcoming comedies Friendsgiving and Bad Therapy, and prolonging her directorial career with her long-awaited project Vigilante. Whether or not she will continue hosting duties and playing improvisational comedy games on Whose Line Is It Anyway? is unclear, but we would not hold anything against the busy 49-year-old for taking things one step at a time.
Daniel Henney (Matt Simmons)
Supervisory special agent Matthew Simmons was first introduced on Criminal Minds in a Season 10 crossover episode setting up the series’ international spin-off Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. When that show was cancelled after two seasons, Simmons, played by Daniel Henney, joined the BAU in Quantico as the muscle, which his military background helps achieve.
In addition to starring on Criminal Minds, Daniel Henney, a Michigan-born actor of Korean descent who got his start in modeling, also reprised his Big Hero 6 role of Tadaschi in the Oscar-winning animated film’s series spin-off. He is currently in the Czech Republic filming his next project, an Amazon Prime original show called The Wheel of Time, inspired by the series of novels by Robert Jordan.
Adam Rodriguez (Luke Alvez)
Luke Alvez, played by hispanic actor Adam Rodriguez, was introduced into the world of Criminal Minds as an FBI task force agent assigned to help the BAU apprehend a slew of serial killers following a prison escape. After one of those criminals tortured his partner Phil, Alvez was hired by the BAU to track down the man responsible, and stuck with them as a profiler ever since.
In addition to his four-year stint on Criminal Minds, Adam Rodriguez has been played recurring characters on shows like Empire and Jane the Virgin, had a small role in his co-star Aisha Tyler’s directorial debut, Axis, played Tito in both Magic Mike movies, and was a series regular on fellow CBS hit procedural CSI: Miami for 10 years. The 44-year-old actor will star in Showtime’s sequel series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, not a a cop this time, but instead a passionate union leader in 1938 Los Angeles.
Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss)
No character in Criminal Minds has seen their roles change more than Emily Prentiss, played by Paget Brewster. The former Interpol member joined the BAU in 2006 before leaving to return to Interpol as chief of the London office, only to come back to BAU and get promoted to unit chief after the resignation of Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson).
During Emily Prentiss’ time in Europe, Paget Brewster was actually starring as Frankie Dart on the final season of Community, but managed to prolong her reputation as an accomplished voice actress while still filming Criminal Minds in such projects as American Dad!, Bojack Horseman, and DisneyXD’s revival of DuckTales. She will soon be lending her voice to the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law spin-off as the title character of Birdgirl, and will appear as a live-action character in Ryan Murphy’s mini-series about aspiring actors, Hollywood, which is slated to drop on Netflix in May 2020.
Mandy Patinkin (Jason Gideon)
Before becoming the initial star of Criminal Minds in the series premiere season, Mandy Patinkin first gained notoriety from speaking the famous “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,” in the 1987 classic The Princess Bride. He abruptly left Criminal Minds after just two seasons, citing the subject matter to be “destructive to my soul and personality,” and his character, BAU Senior Agent Jason Gideon, was written off as having suffered emotional issues following the murder of his girlfriend, prompting his retirement. He was later revealed to have been murdered by an old adversary in a Season 10 episode.
Mandy Patinkin would make a triumphant return to television in 2011 as mentor to bi-polar CIA operative Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) on the highly acclaimed Showtime thriller Homeland, which is currently in its final season. In an interview with NPR in November 2019, Patinkin said that once the show is over, he would like to keep his calendar open to see what sort of new project he “bumps into,” whether it be another crowd-pleasing adventure film, another Tony-winning turn on Broadway or a new album of songs. You never know what this man of many talents will have up his sleeve next.
Your favorite Criminal Minds characters may not be fighting crime together anymore, but there is still plenty more in store from their acting counterparts in the world of entertainment. For more news and updates on the careers of the crime series’ former stars, be sure to check back here on CinemaBlend.