After 15 periods and an ext than 14 year on the air, CBS's Criminal Minds finish on Feb. 19, 2020, v an emotional and also poignant collection finale. Viewers claimed goodbye come the BAU members and also learned an ext about where the likes of Rossi, Spence, J.J., Garcia, and also Prentiss would finish up. 

The nostalgia the the finale to be further magnified with flashbacks come past characters who had left the FBI behind seasons earlier.

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One the the personalities who went back was previous unit chef of the BAU Jason Gideon. That left the series relatively unexpectedly in Season 3 following actor Mandy Patinkin's swift leave (he later referred to gift on the show as his "biggest public mistake"). Though fans acquired finality come his character in Season 10 when he was killed off-screen, a younger variation of his character, who was play by Boy Meets people alum Ben Savage, went back to the series finale.


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Gideon's spirit, who was reminiscent of the investigator in his early career, guided Rossi with advice about a case. The character's return — though unconventional — created further closure during the finale.

How did Gideon dice on Criminal Minds? check out on because that the refresher top top Gideon's fate, and how the present brought back a younger variation of himself to assist the BAU one last time.


While it's an overwhelming to think the Criminal mental without David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), the personality was brought on in Season 3 as a pseudo-replacement for Jason Gideon's exit. Once Criminal psychic began, Mandy Patinkin to be the greatest name on the actors list, and also he was the undeniable star that the show. Together the leader for the BAU, that guided the other team members, and he made the final decisions top top investigations. 


Gideon's allegiance to investigating and profiling criminals started to wane when his girlfriend buy it Jacobs (Moira Squier) to be murdered by serial killer open minded Breitkopf in the Season 2 finale. The pair had actually been dating since the end of the show's very first season, but they had actually known each other due to the fact that they were children. 

Sarah's death naturally left Gideon shaken up, and he felt guilt over the truth that she was murdered by someone the BAU was investigating. 


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In Season 3's premiere episode, "Doubt," Gideon has actually holed self away in a cabin to think about his life choices. When investigating an additional case, Gideon's choice to release an unsub leader to her death and the demise of one more young woman. He made decision to leave the BAU, i beg your pardon  Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) discovers when he goes come Gideon's cabin and also finds his gun and also a note. 

Gideon created that he had lost confidence in happy endings together a an outcome of his work and Sarah's death.


While the public eventually learned in 2012 that Gideon yes, really exited therefore rapidly since Mandy didn't choose being ~ above the show, there to be rumors for years the the character would return in some capacity down the line. This hope to be quashed in Season 10, as soon as the continuing to be BAU members learned the Gideon was murdered off-screen by an additional serial killer, Donnie Mallick (Ayre Gross).


The BAU was sent to inspection their former mentor's death, in the heartbreaking episode "Nelson's Sparrow." Gideon was found shot to death in the cabin he had actually lived in periods earlier. 


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When Gideon was eliminated off, executive producer and co-writer Erica Messer speak to TV Guide around wanting to provide viewers closure around Gideon's fate.

"Having it be this character, that we haven't watched in forever yet we're going to check out where it began with him, it simply felt right to see where it every ends because that him... That felt prefer a really nice means of honoring Gideon. We don't kill off ours heroes very often," Erica said. 


"All of our pan who've been watching because that 10 years, every one of us who've been working below 10 years and the actors who've been living these personalities for 10 years — it to be like, 'Let's give them some real drama,'" she continued. "When it access time home, the doesn't get an ext real 보다 that."  

Though Gideon never did physically go back to the BAU for additional closure ~ above his exit, the initial character was provided a send-off of species on the collection finale. 


Five years after his murder, a young Gideon payment a "visit" come Rossi to advise him on detect Everett Lynch, aka the Chameleon.

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Younger versions of Rossi and also Gideon had been featured ~ above the display before. The very first time this emerged was in the episode as soon as Gideon died, and viewers saw how the two offered to occupational together in their early careers. The was also revealed the Gideon had named his kid after Rossi's center name: Stephen. Their former bond aided Rossi deal with Gideon's fatality in the present.


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During the collection finale, the existence of young Gideon v a present-day Rossi was a very first for the series. In the flashbacks (which took location while Spencer remained in a coma complying with the explode in a vault episode), scenes from Gideon's job at the BAU were presented as well. 

Other previous characters, including Hotchner and also Morgan were additionally shown in this flashbacks, when the actors themselves did not reprise their roles. 


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