After 14 seasons on the air, it’s hard to deny that Criminal Minds is one of America’s favorite shows.
The crime drama, which follows a team of FBI criminal profilers, has been a ratings winner for more than a decade and still has legions of devoted fans tuning in to new episodes.
Which makes it hard to stomach the news that CBS is finally pulling the plug on the show, cancelling it after one final 10-episode 15th season, which is set to air later this year.
The 15-season long run will put Criminal Minds in league with other hit shows like E.R. and CSI, which ran for the same number of years. Only TV classics like Law & Order, NCIS, Grey’s Anatomy, and Gunsmoke ran for longer.
The show’s 325 episode run also means it will make the top 20 list of longest series by episode count.
Even CBS’ executive vice president of current programs, Amy Reisenbach, called the show "the quintessential CBS hit" while breaking the bad news to Deadline.
"We're so proud to have aired it," she said.
Reisenbach also revealed the upcoming final season was planned as a way to give the series closure, and let fans say goodbye to their beloved characters.
CBS has already teased a two-part opening episode which will include a "major confession" that puts a member of the BAU team in danger. They also hinted at a "very worthy adversary" for the team who will face off with them throughout the final season.
Some fans have already speculated that departed cast members like Mandy Patinkin, Thomas Gibson, and Shemar Moore could step back into their roles for special cameos in the final season.
"I am very hopeful that we can honor all of those characters who have been beloved and with this team, with the audience for years, but I don’t know what that’s going to look like," said showrunner Erica Messer.
One thing Messer knows for sure is that fans won’t be upset by needless deaths in the final stretch of the show.
"These people are family and friends to us at this point," she said about the cast of characters. "I know it’s a drama, but I’m less likely to injure or write someone off in a way that says they’re not breathing anymore."
But she still warns fans to prepare for an emotional farewell to the show and their favorite characters.
"I think in honoring the series and saying goodbye, it’s probably going to feel like a little bit of a eulogy. So my guess is tearjerker more than anything else, that’s how I’d describe it."