Warning! Spoilers ahead for Criminal Minds: EvolutionShowrunner Erica Messer breaks down the real reason Matthew Gray Gubler didn’t return as Doctor Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds: Evolution. Paramount+ brings back the fan-favorite FBI profilers, but while the majority of the main cast from the CBS show returns in the revival, the team will be missing a couple of agents. Daniel Henney isn’t reprising his role as Matt Simmons because of his commitment to Amazon’s Wheel of Time, while the reason for Gubler’s absence is a little bit more complex. For a while, there was a presumption that it was the actor’s decision to not partake on Criminal Minds: Evolution, but that may not be exactly accurate.
In a new interview with Deadline in light of Criminal Minds: Evolution‘s special two-episode premiere, Messer reveals the real reason for Gubler’s non-involvement in the revival. According to her, scheduling conflicts played a big part in Reid’s absence in the Criminal Minds revival. Read her full breakdown of the situation below:
He’s been doing other projects and a lot of those were lining up during our window. Our window of shooting was just August to December 2. It was the same with Daniel Henney, who was working on The Wheel of Time. So I wasn’t able to get them, but I could get the six other cast members. They’ve never been better. They’re so happy. Their characters took the same time off that we had in real life, with the pandemic. The world has changed since we last saw the BAU. And because of that, the characters have changed. We needed to write to the reality of our everyone’s existence.
Can Gubler’s Reid Still Return On Criminal Minds: Evolution?
Admittedly, not seeing Reid work on the new BAU case hunting down a network of UnSubs that was founded during the pandemic by Elias Voit on Criminal Minds: Evolution is disappointing. As an original cast member, the genius was also a clear fan favorite from the CBS’ run of the police procedural. His smarts and eidetic memory made him integral to the FBI cell’s operations, although the BAU has solved cases without Reid before. Aside from his professional life, his personal arc is also compelling as he was regularly subjected to challenges. He has survived multiple losses, and a prison stint, all while he was dealing with his mother’s deteriorating health.
The good thing is, since Criminal Minds: Evolution isn’t ruling out Reid’s return as technically, he is still a member of the BAU, there’s always a chance that he can come back. If anything, Messer’s latest explanation of Gubler’s absence just increased the chances that he will appear on the Paramount+ police procedural. Previously, it seemed like the actor opted not to join at all, but now, it seems like he wanted to, and things just didn’t line up for him in terms of scheduling. So perhaps if Criminal Minds: Evolution gets renewed for a season 2, Gubler can finally appear.
In the meantime, the BAU will have to track down Voit with the active team that they have now. Criminal Minds: Evolution has yet to fully explain why Reid isn’t with his team if he’s still a member, although it may have something to do with Deputy Bailey who plans to ultimately break up the FBI cell. Regardless, just as long as the show doesn’t kill the character, there’s always a possibility that BAU’s boy genius returns, even in a limited capacity.
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Criminal Minds: Evolution airs Thursdays on Paramount+