Criminal Minds/Spencer Reid

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Dr. Spencer Reid
Criminal Minds
Actor Matthew Gray Gubler
First Appearance Extreme Aggressor
Series Billing
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Basic Information

Dr. Spencer Reid is 26 years old (though when the 1st season started he was 24), he's a misunderstood genius with an intelligence that makes him a great source of information for the BAU squad; his rank there is as Supervisory Special Agent and brought in by Gideon. He graduated from school at the age of 12, has 3 Ph. D’s, shot and killed 2 men while working for the BAU and he was held hostage in the middle of a mission. Reid is considered a little autistic that may be referred to Asperger Syndrome.

He developed an addiction to Dilaudid after being kidnapped by a crime suspect, Tobias Hankle in Revelations, but his problem is solved several episodes later. He also had feelings for his partner JJ.

Character History

Spencer lived with his father and mother in Las Vegas, some time after Spencer’s mom developed schizophrenia and his father abandoned them because he couldn’t deal with this situation. While growing up he learned everything from books he read, or his mother read to him, which built the huge knowledge he posses. By the time he was 18, he thought his mom wasn’t having a good life so he took her to a mental institution, where she still remains. Reid is worried about his gene information, but so far he hasn’t developed any symptoms related to his mother’s disease.

Memorable Moments

Reid’s most important moments are named next:

Season One

  1. Episode 4 – “Plain Sight”: Reid’s birthday celebration. He turns 24.
  2. Episode 6 – “L.D.S.K.”: Spencer fails gun qualification, making him feel like a less serious member of the team, because he will not be allowed to use a gun while in the field. After a hard situation where Hotch is in danger, there is no other way than for Reid to shoot the unsub.
  3. Episode 9 – “Derailed”: Reid deals with a schizophrenic man holding hostages.
  4. Episode 22 – “The Fisher King (Part 1)”: Spencer goes back to Las Vegas and visits his mother at Bennington Sanitarium. He speaks to her doctor, Dr. Jesson, who tells him that Diana has been writing some journals (including of the cases he told her about) and reading the letters Spencer sends her daily; he also tells him that his mother is “exceptionally proud” of him. He decides to not see her but leave’s her a book by Marjorie Kemp (her favorite author) as a present.

Season Two

  1. Episode 1 - “The Fisher King (Part 2)”: Reid gets to talk to his mother in full for the first time.
  2. Episode 6 – “The Bogeyman”: Dr. Reid reveals he’s still afraid of the dark.
  3. Episode 14 – “The Big Game”: This is part one of Reid’s most memorable and impressive moments; Reid and JJ check into a suspect, things don't go the way as planned though and Reid ends up getting knocked unconcious and abducted.
  4. Episode 15 – “Revelations”: The kidnap goes to its climax in this episode, when the BAU team races to find Reid as footage of him being tortured is streamed to their computer.

Season Three

  1. Episode 2 – “In Name and Blood”: Reid’s mentor Gideon is gone, leaving behind his gun, badge and a letter addressed to him, the letter contained an apology for his actions. Hotch and Prentiss notice Reid’s drug problem.
  2. Episode 16 - "Elephant's Memory": One of the most revealing episodes from Spencer Reid. He feels related to the suspect since he experienced something similar while he was in high school; Harper Hilman once told him that the most gorgeous girl, Alexa Lisbon, wanted to meet him behind the field house but when he arrived there the entire football team was there and stripped him naked to tie him to the goal post where they left him alone


  • Spencer Reid and Matthew Gray Gubler were born in Las Vegas.
  • Reid read the book Empty Planet, by Ursula Kent when he was six. He remarks that it would take him ten minutes to reread.
  • Reid is a statistics expert.
  • Reid and Gubler have similar passions; Spencer is a Star Trek nerd and Gubler is a Star Wars freak, both love coffee in huge amounts, are magicians and wear mismatched socks.


  • Reid’s definition of love: “Chemically, it involves surging brain elements called monoamines, dopamines, norepinephrine and serotonin…” - Season 2, Episode 13.
  • “I don’t believe intelligence can be accurately quantified; I did and IQ 187, eidetic memory and can read 20,000 words per minute… Yes, I’m a genius.” – Season 1, Episode 1.
  • "This is calm, and it's 'doctor'." - Season 7, Episode 1.