Criminal Minds: Which BAU members will stay and which will move on?

Criminal Minds BAU members

With the Criminal Minds series finale airing on Feb. 19, it’s time to look at how it will end for the BAU members. Who will stay and who will go?

We’re saying goodbye to Criminal Minds on Feb. 19. While it looks like one of our own’s life is on the line from the promo, there’s hope that everyone is going to make it out alive. But it’s clear that not everyone is going to stick with the BAU in the very end.

Hopefully, the entire team doesn’t disband. That wouldn’t be realistic, and I’d like to think that some of the team members are still doing the job they love and still saving people even after the series has come to an end. However, I accept that some of the team members are going to move on.

Who will stay and who will go? Here are my predictions for the Criminal Minds series finale.

Emily Prentiss — Leave

The one I’m the most confident about leaving is Emily Prentiss. During the previous episode, she was put forward for a job as the head of the FBI. Yes, it is time for a woman to be in charge, but she’s also proven that she can successfully lead a team. She’s been a friend and a leader at the same time, balancing both sides.

However, I also think that she’ll choose to head to Denver to be with her boyfriend. They made a huge step in their relationship in Episode 7, so I think that will play a part.

“Rusty” — When the BAU team travels to Denver to investigate several murders, Prentiss is forced to evaluate her relationship with Special Agent Andrew Mendoza (Stephen Bishop), on CRIMINAL MINDS, Wednesday, Feb. 5 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured (L-R): Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss and Stephen Bishop as Andrew Mendoza Photo: Screen Grab/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

JJ — Stay

During Episode 8, JJ shared that she could end up getting a promotion and moving to New Orleans. Naturally, it opens the door to her leaving the team. However, I don’t quite think that’s going to happen. At the very end of the Criminal Minds episode, Prentiss shared that she wanted to put JJ forward as the new unit chief should Prentiss move on.

This is something I’d predicted would happen. It all makes sense. JJ has routinely proven her ability to lead the team, and she enjoys a leadership role. I think she’ll end up getting the offer of the position and remain with the team.

Rossi — Leave

Another team member I could see leaving is Rossi. This is more likely after the events of the last episode. Rossi admitted that he is suffering flashbacks after the events with The Chameleon.

I get a feeling that The Chameleon is going to be caught at the end of the series finale, and that will leave Rossi with the feeling of things being complete. He’ll be ready to move into retirement, only living the cases through his novels, which he’ll write with Matt Simmons.

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Spencer Reid — Undecided

Assuming Spencer makes it out of the series finale alive, it’s hard to call which decision he’ll make. I want to say that he’ll stay. He, Garcia, and JJ are the only original cast members on Criminal Minds left, and I don’t really want to see any of them walk away from the team in the end. However, the events of the series finale may make him decide to leave.

He knows his job is dangerous, and now he has a girlfriend. He wants to make that relationship work. I get the sense that she’ll get a job offer that takes her out of the city and he’ll potentially follow. If she sticks around, he may decide it’s time to move into a less dangerous job.

However, there’s a part of Reid that clearly enjoys his work. He’s done stints as a professor before, but I don’t think he’d find the job as rewarding as being part of the BAU.

“Rusty” — When the BAU team travels to Denver to investigate several murders, Prentiss is forced to evaluate her relationship with Special Agent Andrew Mendoza (Stephen Bishop), on CRIMINAL MINDS, Wednesday, Feb. 5 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured (L-R): Adam Rodriguez as Luke Alvez and Daniel Henney as Matt Simmons Photo: Screen Grab/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Simmons — Stay

I have no doubt that Simmons will remain with the team at the end of Criminal Minds. He’s already made it clear that there are some financial difficulties, especially saving up for college for five kids. That’s how he’s ended up with agreeing to co-author books with Rossi.

But he won’t want to just be an author. He finds his work rewarding. I think he’ll end up sticking around once the series ends.


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Luke Alverez — Stay

Like Simmons, Alverez finds the job rewarding. There has been absolutely no inclining that he would leave the team, so I get the sense that there’s no way he’d just suddenly walk away. The only way he would is if an injury caused him to no longer be on the team.

“Date Night” — After a father and daughter get kidnapped, a former foe of the BAU returns with very specific demands for Dr. Reid that give a whole new meaning to the phrase “wheels up,” on CRIMINAL MINDS, Wednesday, Feb. 5 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Rachel Leigh Cook returns as Maxine. Pictured (L-R): A.J. Cook as Jennifer “JJ” Jareau and Aisha Tyler as Dr. Tara Lewis Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tara Lewis — Leave

I can’t see Criminal Minds keeping everyone on the team in the end. Out of all the others who could leave, I think Tara would be that one. She’s not been part of the team for as long and we’ve not had a Tara-focused episode this season like we’ve had with so many of the others. She just doesn’t seem to be as part of the team as all the others.

Part of me gets the feeling that she’ll be offered another job or decide that it’s time to move on. We could see her walk away from the team at the end of Criminal Minds.

Penelope Garcia — Stay

Finally, it’s all about Garcia. Is there really any other job she’d do? Despite the fact that she dislikes the gruesome parts of the job, Garcia has always felt good about the people she’s helped save. She enjoys that part of her work and has shown absolutely no indication of wanting to move on.

I think the only thing that could see her leave is if something happened to her that made it so she couldn’t work or the entire team left. She’d struggle without some of her best friends there. I just don’t see that happen, so there’s no need for Garcia to leave.

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Who do you think will stay or leave on Criminal Minds? What do you think is going to happen in the series finale? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Criminal Minds series finale airs Feb. 19 at 9/8c on CBS.

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