Zodiac Sign · Jun 07, 2024

Fans were disappointed by Matthew Gray Gubler's absence in the first season of Criminal Minds: Evolution, and many remain hopeful that he will make a return in the second season.

"It never worked out for Season 16," showrunner Erica Messer explained to TVInsider earlier this month, referring to the first season of Evolution, which is the 16th season of Criminal Minds as a whole.

Criminal Minds concluded in 2020 after 15 seasons, with all featuring Gubler, 44, as Dr. Spencer Reid. However, when the series was revived as Evolution in 2022, he was one of only two main characters who did not return.

Fans were certain that Gubler would return for Evolution season 2 when Joe Mantegna, who portrays David Rossi, posted a photo on his Instagram Story showing Dr. Reid's nameplate on a desk. However, Messer clarified that this reference to Reid was not a hint about the actor's comeback in the upcoming season.

"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 mentioned that despite their best efforts, Gubler would not be returning this season. Messer revealed that for a moment, the Criminal Minds team thought "maybe it could have worked out" for Gubler to appear in season 17, which is the second season of Evolution. However, the Hollywood strikes in 2023 disrupted those plans.

"It hasn’t worked out for Season 17. But we love him. He loves us," Messer stated. "It’s not about any of that. It’s just that we need to find a time to make it work."

Reid's desk remains set up on the set, with the hope that Gubler might be able to work it into his schedule for upcoming seasons.

"I'm maintaining that desk's presence and ensuring that nameplate stays right there. It's a permanent fixture as far as I'm concerned," Messner emphasized. "So, that's why it was visible to you. You'll spot it consistently throughout the show. It's like, there's his desk."

Apart from his nameplate staying put, both Reid and Matt Simmons (portrayed by Daniel Henney) are reportedly on a special assignment. This vague explanation could facilitate the return of these characters should the opportunity arise, providing flexibility for the writers.

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

As for Gubler, he expressed his willingness to return in September 2023.

“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.”

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