After a decade and a half and more than 300 episodes, Criminal Minds is getting ready to call it quits. CBS has announced that the series has been renewed for season 15, which will be its last. The show's final season will consist of ten episodes, which will give series showrunner/executive producer Erica Messer enough time to wrap things up in a (hopefully) satisfying manner.
Criminal Minds initially debuted in 2005 and has been a steady hit for CBS ever since. As it stands, it's one of the longest scripted shows currently on the air, with only several shows such as NCIS and Grey's Anatomy ahead of it. Amy Reisenbach, CBS' Executive Vice President of current programs, had this to say about the series and the decision to give it a proper conclusion.
"It is the quintessential CBS hit. We are so proud to have aired it. 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)... Its entire run, it's been an asset for the current programming department. It's performed very well against so many different types of series it's held up against Modern Family, Empire, Lost, American Idol. It has this rabid loyal fan base that tunes in every week. It's made it so successful and so dependable for us."
The hope is that the network may be able to bring back some former cast members during the final season, such as Mandy Patinkin, who departed ahead of season 3, and Shemar Moore, who is now heading up S.W.A.T. Erica Messer, who has been with the show since the very beginning, indicated that she doesn't necessarily have plans to kill off any characters in the final season saying, "the jet won't crash." As for how they're feeling? While everyone is grateful for the experience, it's understandably a sad time.
"I think everyone will be really sad, and I know this cast especially is so fond of one another, they are truly a family. Anytime anything comes to an end, there's sadness, but this is an end of an era. Since 2005, that's a long time in anyone's life and career and everything else. So I think we're all going to be sad about it for a while. We're sad that it's over, but also thankful that it happened."
The cast for the series includes Joe Mantegna, Paget Brewster, Matthew Gray Gubler, A.J. Cook, Aisha Tyler, Kirsten Vangsness, Adam Rodriguez, and Daniel Henney. CBS is currently in production on the season 14 finale and they will remain in production without a break to finish up season 15 and film the final ten episodes. When all is said and done, Criminal Minds will have produced 325 episodes, putting it in the top 20 all time for the most TV episodes for a series. They won't catch Gunsmoke or Law & Order, but it's still a very impressive run. The Criminal Minds season 14 finale is set to air on February 6. This news was previously reported by Deadline.