Shattering the hearts of syndication-loving moms and dads everywhere, CBS announced tonight that it’s finally pulling the plug on its spritely, youthful serial killer procedural series, Criminal Minds, after a mere 311 episodes on the air. Or, rather, 325; the Joe Mantegna-starring series is currently in the middle of its 14th season, and will finish its 15-year run out with a 10-episode 15th outing set to begin later this year.
Notable especially for being the one that’s not NCIS—that’s a different one—the series will end up tying ER and CSI for longevity, and is beaten only by its aforementioned network mate, various Law & Order shows, Grey’s Anatomy, and that old reliable Gunsmoke in terms of long-running TV dramas. Along the way, it’s managed to dish out paychecks to a pretty enormous number of talented people, including Mandy Patinkin, the ever-delightful Aisha Tyler and Paget Brewster, Jane Lynch, and literally hundreds, if not thousands, of other performers across the last decade and a half. Per Deadline, CBS exec Amy Reisenbach dubbed the series “the quintessential CBS hit” while commenting on its ending, possibly underestimating just how faint the praise she was damning the series with in that statement might actually have been.
But we kid Criminal Minds, a show that never shied away from its god-given duty of giving the rest of us a bunch of pretty people and serial killers to look at on a relentlessly reliable basis. Even when the show ran into occasional staffing woes—as when star Thomas Gibson was fired for an on-set altercation with a writer, or Patinkin decided to leave, or Lola Glaudini decided to leave, or Shemar Moore decided to leave, or Jennifer Love Hewitt decided to leave, or, etc.—it kept trucking along, thanks in part to the apparently indefatigable Matthew Gray Gubler, and America’s insatiable need to watch bad killers get their just desserts.
Although it outlived two quickly murdered spin-offs (2011's Suspect Behavior, with Forest Whitaker and Janeane Garofalo, and 2016's slightly longer-lasting Beyond Borders, with Gary Sinise) Criminal Minds is survived by its own reruns, which will air on TNT from now until the heat death of the universe.