Most of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) is back working the season-long case against UnSub Elias Voit (Zach Gilford) and his network of serial killers in Criminal Minds: Evolution. But two profilers with the team at the end of the series’ original run on CBS (2005-2020) are noticeably absent.
Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Matt Simmons (Daniel Henney) are off on assignments that Deputy Director Bailey (Nicholas D’Agosto) said to Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) in the premiere he wasn’t “at liberty to discuss,” adding, “if and when they return is entirely up to them. Sadly, we don’t have a say.” But how much will we hear about those assignments?
“I can’t talk too much about it,” showrunner Erica Messer recently told TV Insider. “We won’t hear a ton more about what they’re up to this year, but it’ll come into play next year what they’ve been doing.”
It came down to actor availability, she explained. “We wanted them both back, and they both had other projects, and we only had we had a very short window to shoot this year,” she said. (They filmed from August through December.) “It was literally logistics; we just couldn’t get them. But we are all talking regularly, and fingers crossed we can make something work out, but we’re cheering on what Matthew and Daniel are doing when they’re not with us. And so it’s definitely bittersweet that we haven’t been able to have them for the big arc this season.”
That’s also why they’ve been vague about what the missing agents are doing. Besides those initial mentions in the Evolution premiere, we’ve only heard how the others miss them and facts Reid has shared with Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) in the past, as related to the ongoing case.
“We were still hoping there might be a window, and the reality is just other projects that they’re in first position on and all that stuff,” Messer explained. “It was great that everybody’s busy, right? So we have to just celebrate that. But we have definitely missed them.”
Furthermore, the showrunner added the season doesn’t span that long. “When you look at this season as a whole, even though it’s 10 episodes story-wise, I think we only cover about six weeks,” she shared.
Criminal Minds: Evolution, Winter Premiere, Thursday, January 12, 2023, Paramount+