Where is Matthew Gray Gubler on Criminal Minds in episode 21 (and other episodes this season)? We know that this question is asked almost every time in which the actor is absent for episodes — often, it’s because of Reid teaching or on sabbatical.
So what’s the reason behind the scenes with the show? Much of that simply has to do with many of the show’s cast members wanting a break since 22 episodes is a very long work schedule. Often, actors are only contracted for a certain number of episodes a year with this show — given that it’s an ensemble series, it’s a little easier to do that and give some time off to the actors (we’ve seen this with Scott Caan over on Hawaii Five-0 as well). This can save the studio a little money here and there and, beyond that, it allows the cast to have a few breaks or take on other opportunities behind the scenes. We know that Gubler has in the past used breaks on the show to work on other projects.
Ultimately, we have a feeling that this is a trend that will stick around for the remainder of the series, regardless of if there is a season 14 or 15. It’s just a part of what Criminal Minds is at this point and with the shooting schedule being as long as it is, it’s understandable that people need a break. Reid’s teaching gig gives Gubler a chance to have a break.
One thing that we will say here is that we hope that in the future there are fewer episodes without the main cast members so close to the finale. We want there to be some steady momentum for the entire cast leading up to the final episode, even if there is not some sort of long-term serialized plot. (This season is a little odd — Linda Barnes was the biggest serialized story this season, but that has been over for weeks.)
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