'Criminal Minds' Brings Back Surprise Character During Opening Series Finale Scene

Criminal Minds fans were in for a bittersweet surprise from one of the fan favorite BAU agents of the past during the first part of Wednesday's series finale as a young Jason Gideon (played by Ben Savage) returned to consult with agent David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) as he worked to catch the infamous "Chameleon," also known as Everett Lynch (Michael Mosley). With Rossi feeling the pressure to catch the serial killer known for cutting off his victims' faces that almost killed him a year prior, a vision of Gideon was just what he needed to track down the monster.

Prior to the finale, Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer told CinemaBlend she was thrilled to bring back Savage as a younger version of the character played most famously by Mandy Patinkin.

"Oh yeah, so great. Just to acknowledge this is where it all started before the show even began," she said. "These characters were down in a basement, creating this world. That's honoring the real FBI agents who have also had our backs throughout this entire run, and just paying respect to what they do."

Patinkin left Criminal Minds suddenly in 2007 after playing Gideon for two seasons of the CBS procedural, opening up to New York Magazine five years later about his decision to bid the show a sudden farewell.

"The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place," he said. "I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality."


"I'm not making a judgment on the taste [of people who watch crime procedurals]," he said. "But I'm concerned about the effect it has. Audiences all over the world use this programming as their bedtime story. This isn't what you need to be dreaming about."

Photo credit: CBS/Cliff Lipson