Already have an account?
Get back to the

Is Matthew Gray Gubler Returning for ‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’ Season 2? What the Showrunner Says

Is Matthew Gray Gubler Returning for Criminal Minds Evolution Season 2
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Matthew Gray Gubler’s absence from season 1 of Criminal Minds: Evolution didn’t sit well with fans — and many are still holding out hope he’ll return for season 2.

“It never worked out for Season 16,” showrunner Erica Messer told TVInsider earlier this month, referring to the first season of Evolution, which was the 16th season of Criminal Minds overall.

Criminal Minds ended in 2020 after 15 seasons, all of which starred Gubler, 44, as Dr. Spencer Reid. However, when the show was revived as Evolution in 2022, he was only one of two main characters who didn’t return.

Fans were convinced that Gubler was coming back for Evolution season 2 after Joe Mantegna, who plays David Rossi, shared a photo via his Instagram Story that showed Dr. Reid’s nameplate on a desk. Messer, however, confirmed that the nod to Reid was not an Easter egg about the actor returning for the new season.

Everything to Know About ‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’ Season 2: Will Spencer Reid Return?

Related: Everything to Know About ‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’ Season 2

The photographer was “walking through the BAU [Behavioral Analysis Unit] up to Rossi’s office and held on that nameplate just long enough for it to be a thing,” Messer explained.

The showrunner noted that despite their best efforts, Gubler would not be back this season. Messer shared that for a minute the Criminal Minds team thought “maybe it could have worked out” for Gubler to star on season 17 — a.k.a. season 2 of Evolution — but the Hollywood strikes in 2023 threw a wrench in that plan.

“It hasn’t worked out for Season 17. But we love him. He loves us,” Messer said. “It’s not any of that. It’s just we’ve got to find a time to make it work.”

Is Matthew Gray Gubler Returning for Criminal Minds Evolution Season 2
Courtesy of Joe Mantegna/Instagram

Reid’s desk, however, is still on set in case Gubler can fit it into his schedule in future seasons.

“But I’m keeping that desk there and I’m keeping that nameplate there. It’s always staying there as far as I’m concerned,” Messner continued. “So that’s why you saw it. You’ll see it throughout the show. It’s like, there’s his desk.”

In addition to his nameplate remaining in place, both Reid and Matt Simmons (played by Daniel Henney) are said to be on a special assignment. The ambiguous explanation would help the writers bring back the characters should the opportunity arise.

‘Criminal Minds’ Cast: Then and Now

Related: ‘Criminal Minds’ Cast: Then and Now

“Once we know we could have them, then we can play with whatever,” Messner teased. “But it’s like, until we know, it’s hard to say.”

Gubler, for his part, revealed in September 2023 that he is open to a comeback.

“I would be honored. I would absolutely love that,” he said of the series during an appearance on Ireland’s The Six O’Clock Show. “They did a newer spinoff of the show, but it was filming during a time when I was shooting something else. But I can’t wait — hopefully it will soon work out.”

Shocking TV Exits Through the Years 266

Related: Shocking TV Exits

While Gubler isn’t reprising his role as Reid just yet, Mantegna, 76, will be back as Rossi for season 2 of Evolution.

AJ Cook (Jennifer “JJ” Jareau), Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia), Aisha Tyler (Dr. Tara Lewis), Adam Rodriguez (Luke Alvez) and Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss) will also be working together to put away serial killers when the show resumes.

Us Weekly confirmed in April that Felicity Huffman will also be joining the cast as the late Jason Gideon’s (Mandy Patinkin) ex-wife, Dr. Jill Gideon.

Season 2 of Criminal Minds: Evolution premieres on Paramount+ Thursday, June 6.

In this article

Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!