'Criminal Minds' Star Joe Mantegna Says Goodbye to Series in Touching Letter: 'I'll Miss Playing David Rossi'

Criminal Minds will end with its upcoming 15th season during the 2019-2020 television season, and the cast of the long-running CBS drama is currently filming their final episodes after over a decade of the show being on the air.

Series star Joe Mantegna revealed on May 13 that he had shot his final scene, sharing a touching letter reflecting on his time on the series and paying tribute to those he had worked with on the show.

"I can't help but reflect in awe at what a truly wonderful experience it has been," the letter began. "As you know I came to a show already in production. I was welcomed by the cast and crew instantly, making me feel part of the team on [Day 1]. The next 12 years would be a wild and wonderful ride. Yes, I will miss playing David Rossi, and I'll miss the wonderful writing that brought him to life, but mostly I will miss seeing my fellow castmates and our fantastic crew everyday."

Mantegna joined the show in 2007 as David Rossi, quickly becoming a mainstay on the crime drama.

“The next 12 years would be a wild and wonderful ride," the message continued. "Yes, I will miss playing David Rossi, and I’ll miss the wonderful writing that brought him to life, but mostly I will miss seeing my fellow cast mates and our fantastic crew every day. It may seem a cliché to say we’re like family, but it’s so very true.”

“In 15 seasons we’ve all grown a little older, hopefully a little wiser too," he wrote. "We laughed together, we cried together, and like a family we gained and lost members along the way. Some got married, some got divorced, some had children, some had more than one! Some of our family went on to other shows and jobs, and sadly, some we lost too soon to the heavens.”

Over the course of the show, central actors including Paget Brewster, A.J. Cook, Thomas Gibson, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Shemar Moore and Mandy Patinkin have exited the series. In addition, former costar Blake Heron passed away in September 2017 at age 35.

“As I pack up my belongings from my trailer and load my car, I am satisfied with what we accomplished and proud of the work,” Mantegna continued. “An actor’s life is always changing and I’m excited for what’s next and hope that when I find that thing, you’ll come along for that ride too.”

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"In the end we owe it all to you, the fans," he concluded. "For being the most loyal, tolerant, and passionate fans we could have ever asked for. Thanks for being there."

Photo Credit: CBS