CRIMINAL MINDS: Every Episode, Every Rating

Criminal procedurals are what CBS has done best since the turn of the millennium.  CSI crackled from 2000-15 and spawned CSI: Miami (2002-12) and CSI: New York (2004-13).  Exiting procedural JAG (1995-2005) spawned NCIS (2003-), and it split off to NCIS: Los Angeles (2009-) and NCIS: New Orleans (2014-). Seeing multiplicity in crime shows and reality TV, Criminal Minds entered the fold in fall 2005 on Wednesdays at 9:00.  The series followed FBI profilers tackling complex cases.  The series received critical acclaim for writing and acting, and like any longstanding ensemble series experienced a high share of turnover.  Initially a cast of 5 lead by Mandy Patinkin, the series expanded to 8 by the 15th and final season with only Matthew Gray Gubler being the only original series member.  Lead Patinkin left after 3 seasons and was replaced by Joe Mantegna, who remained with the series through the end.

To see how Criminal Minds rated year to year against its competition, cruise through TVRG's Ratings History database as it has television data from 1950 through the present!

Seasons 1-5 (2005-10)

Seasons 6-10 (2010-15)

Seasons 11-15 (2015-20)

Criminal Minds received a hearty boost for its September 22, 2005 premiere on Thursday following CSI with a 6.5 18-49 demo.  The following week, it move to the network's less desirable Wednesday evening, housed between a weak comedy block and modestly performing CSI: New York.  Ratings shifted between 3.3-4.8, delivering an uneven pattern while demonstrating marketability for CBS.  The network invested in the series and delivered it post-Superbowl XLI in 2007 to considerable results.  The season demonstrated leveled ratings in the mid 4.0 range for most of the season.  As expected following the inflated Superbowl episode, the series shed nearly 20% of its audience in the 2007-08 season, the same year the WGA strike shortened Criminal Minds and many other series' episode orders.  

Criminal Minds remained stable for the next four seasons, despite casting changes including Patinkin's exit and dismissing series regular AJ Cook in Season 6.  Cook was reinstated and continued for the remainder of the series.  Around this time, CBS flirted with spinoffs and created Criminal Minds: Suspect behavior which was arraigned with low ratings and cancelled after 13 episodes.  Season 8 began experiencing larger declines as fewer episodes registered above the 3.0 mark for the 2012-13 season.  While Seasons 4-7 experienced stability with 0-4% drops, Seasons 8-12 became acclimatized to losses between 14-22%.  Its stable timeslot likely aided Criminal Minds against the onslaught of losses experienced by networks during its entire run, though Season 12 delivered a casting blow when original cast member Thomas Gibson was fired early into the season.  Following this season, CBS disrupted the fan base further when they shifted Criminal Minds to 10:00 to make way for David Boreanaz procedural SEAL Team.  

Only 6 episodes into Season 13, Criminal Minds fell below the 1.0 line into fractional territory and the series continued to deliver disastrous results losing 29.3% of their audience.  Cancellation rumors persisted especially as Criminal Minds: Beyond the Borders itself struggled and ended after two low-rated seasons.  During Season 14, CBS announced the series was indeed ending.  However, they opted to film 25 episodes, splitting a 15-10 ratio between two seasons.  The series returned to its former timeslot in winter 2020, finishing within 8% of the prior season's results.  Impressively, CBS managed to wrangle 324 episodes, all of which live on for fans and future viewers to enjoy.

Check out the EVERY EPISODE, EVERY RATING LIBRARY to see other shows profiled.



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