Action packed, complex and filled with memorable characters, “Criminal Minds” has been successful since it first aired back in 2005.
In celebration of the fact that it’s coming up on its final season, here are some of the most iconic moments from all the past seasons of the “Criminal Minds.”
1. Henry’s Birth
The birth of Jennifer Jareau’s first child was a monumental moment in the show, as now her newborn son has stolen the spotlight. It all starts from the Season 3, where Agent Jareau first discovers that she got pregnant by William LaMontagne, which resulted in a temporary leave from the BAU. Henry was born the following season, stealing hearts from the audience and Jaraeu’s fellow co-workers.
Throughout the seasons, Henry’s presence causes Jareau’s maternal instincts to kick in, as in a case with child poisoning in the episode “Amerithrax,” and being taken hostage and hospitalized in the episode “Run.” Despite such challenging situations, Henry’s presence created a wonderful shift in the plot of the show.
2. Haley’s Death
Haley Hotchner was formerly married to a hardheaded agent Aaron Hotchner. They separated during Season 3 when Aaron prioritized his work over his family, leading Haley to take their son Jack with her.
Haley’s death occurred during Season 5, in an episode titled “100,” and many longtime fans would agree that this is one of the most heartbreaking moments in the entire show. In this episode, Haley and Jack are being targeted by a serial killer George Foyet.
Foyet manipulates Haley by posing as a fake police officer over the phone, and then holds them hostage while talking to Aaron on the phone, who is racing against the clock, trying to get to them before it is too late. Unfortunately, Foyet shoots Haley in the neck as Jack hides upstairs, creating emotional chaos within the team of agents who are overhearing everything that is happening.
The reason this sequence of events was so memorable is because the audience witnessed the usually stoic Aaron Hotchner in tatters, clutching his ex-wife’s body and sobbing, an image that is hard to get out of the mind. Finally, Aaron safely secures Jack and manages to move on with his life, albeit shakily after these events.
3. Garcia Gets Shot
Everyone’s favorite quirky technical analyst Penelope Garcia has had her fair share of memorable moments on “Criminal Minds.” Usually, Garcia is not in the front lines alongside the other agents of the BAU; being the technical analyst, she works from behind the scenes back at the headquarters, getting the others information they need as fast as possible.
In the episode “Lucky,” an unsuspecting Garcia was shot by killer Jason Clark Battle, who managed to get close to the analyst by manipulating her to go on a date with him.
No one ever suspected Garcia to be a target for any of the criminals, as she usually never has a chance to interact with them given her position. To make matters even worse, she ended up being attacked again after being released from the hospital, proving that no one is truly safe in this business. However, to the audience’s relief, Garcia was able to take down the killer later on with the help of Agent Jareau.
4. The “Death” of Emily Prentiss
Agent Emily Prentiss was a bit of a newcomer to the show, but she still managed to fit right in given her skill on the field and knack for translations. Her determination to work alongside the BAU in their missions was noticed by the fellow workers, which is why her abrupt death in Season 6 was shocking for everyone.
To give a bit of background, the BAU had been warned that serial killer Ian Doyle had escaped from a North Korean prison, and was currently on the loose. Prentiss is warned that Doyle is coming after her, and takes as many necessary precautions as she can, including bugging her room and setting up booby traps around her home.
Unfortunately, Doyle manages to get his hands on her and keeps her hostage while recounting his horrible experiences in North Korea. What he doesn’t realize is that Prentiss has set up a ploy that has the BAU locked in on their location, and that they were on their way to save her. Enraged at the deception, Doyle attacks Prentiss, and in a scuffle manages to stab her in the stomach before escaping. The rest of the BAU are told that Prentiss did not survive the attack.
Having such a major character of “Criminal Minds” killed off like that was a huge blow to the fandom. However, it is revealed later on that Prentiss had faked the whole thing and was laying low in order to remain off of Doyle’s radar and to protect the rest of the BAU. Things were back in order, although it took some time to get there.
5. Agent Reid’s Addiction
Spencer Reid has had quite a few moments throughout the longtime series, between his socially awkward quips and his extreme intelligence. One of the most dire memories is that of Reid being held hostage by schizophrenic criminal Tobias Hankel.
This time, the criminal came up with a new torture: injecting with Dilaudid, which is a highly addictive drug that is usually used to treat severe pain. After being repeatedly injected, Reid developed an addiction to the drug. Drug addiction reached its highest level when, after Hankel was killed, Reid started going through his pockets for the remaining vials of the drug to pocket for himself.
Reid struggled with the addiction for a bit longer, often hiding in bathrooms and empty rooms to inject himself away from the others. However, it could not be hidden forever, and his fellow agents found out and encouraged him to get help. Reid was able to get clean after attending a support group, even going as far as to refuse certain types of painkillers to avoid the urge once more.
While the show is soon coming to an end, there will always be these moments that bring the fandom together to reminisce and look over. CBS is currently planning the filming for the 15th season of “Criminal Minds,” which is set to be released between 2019 and 2020.