Where is Matthew Gray Gubler on Criminal Minds? Why was Aisha Tyler gone? It’s fair to wonder with tonight’s episode given that neither party was present in it.
For diehard fans of the show, you probably know right away when you’re going to get an episode without a beloved cast member — there will be a comment made in passing on the subject at the start of the episode. We got that tonight with both Gubler’s Spencer Reid as well as Tyler’s Tara Lewis.
Let’s make one thing clear right now: This is not meant to be a sign that either party is leaving the show anytime soon. Both Gubler and Tyler are golden until at least the end of the season. (The show’s not guaranteed to even go on beyond that.) These two actors are both beloved so we think that pretty much everyone will want to see them continue on the show for a rather long time still.
As for the reason why Gubler and Tyler are gone tonight, it mostly just has to do with a trend that we’re seeing more of with series regulars on a lot of procedurals these days — missing out on an episode here and there. Sometimes it’s a scheduling issue, whereas other times it’s just a way to have some time off to focus on some other things. Often this is worked out long before the season. This is not the first time that Gubler has taken some time away from the show at this point in the season; think of this situation as similar to Scott Caan’s occasional absence from Hawaii Five-0. This is something that just happens here and there — luckily with a large cast, it’s a little bit easier to find a way to work around the absences.
Ultimately, our final assessment is this — if a few absences allows the entire cast to be happy and stick around longer, we’re all for it. Criminal Minds is a show with long work days and an extremely long season — sometimes, it’s just nice to have a moment or two to breathe. We imagine that we’ll be seeing both Tyler and Gubler on the show again before long.