Why Did Gideon Leave 'Criminal Minds'? (SPOILERS)

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Mar. 18 2021, Updated 2:08 p.m. ET

Fans of the late, great Criminal Minds are all too familiar with the story of Jason Gideon (played by Mandy Patinkin). The former unit chief and veteran FBI agent was a pivotal character for so many glorious seasons, and his departure devastated viewers worldwide.

And if you're wondering why exactly Gideon ended up leaving Criminal Minds, stay tuned, and prepare for some spoilers — if you didn't see his final episode on the show, it's juicy AF. Just remember to keep tissues within arm's reach.

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Who is Jason Gideon?

Jason Gideon — better known as Gideon — was the protégé of former profiler Max Ryan (played by Geoff Pierson). He ended up with the honorable title of senior supervisory special agent, he had a son, Stephen, and a girlfriend named Sarah Jacobs.

According to criminalminds.fandom.com, his character was loosely based on a real-life criminal profiler named John Douglas, who partially founded modern-day behavioral science. Overall, he was a good guy who was incredible at his job.

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Why did Gideon leave Criminal Minds?

OK, here we go. In Season 2, according to criminalminds.fandom.com, Gideon is on the hunt for evil serial killer, Frank Breitkopf. Frank becomes obsessed with Gideon and at the end of the season, he breaks into Gideon's house and kills his girlfriend, Sarah. 

At the beginning of Season 3, Gideon is scarred by the death of Sarah. He leaves behind his badge in an envelope because of his emotional issues brought on by the devastation.  

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But, that wasn't the last of Gideon

After Gideon turned in his badge, his former colleague, David Rossi (played by Joe Mantegna) took his place. From then on, he only gets mentioned briefly on the show.

According to Cinema Blend, viewers knew Gideon wouldn't come back as of Season 10, when he became the victim of an off-screen serial killer, Donnie Mallick. Gideon left a clue behind when he died, so Rossi and the team were able to get to the bottom of it. After that, Gideon wasn't mentioned or shown again.

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Producers say Gideon's death provided closure.

According to TV Guide, the show's executive producer, Erica Messer, said it was beneficial to see who Gideon was, and what he went through over the last several years. Viewers hadn't seen him in quite a while, but it provided good closure for his character.

"It felt like a really nice way of honoring Gideon. We don't kill off our heroes very often," Messer said in TV Guide.

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Messer continued, telling TV Guide the crew wanted to give a little gift to those who have been tuning in for the last decade.

"... It felt like after 10 years, these are things that do happen to agents who have worked together for a long time... All of our fans who've been watching for 10 years, all of us who've been working here 10 years and the actors who've been living these characters for 10 years — it was like, 'Let's give them some real drama,' Messer said, according to TV Guide.

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The loss of Gideon was devastating for Criminal Minds fans, but it put all of our questions to an end, before the show officially went off the air earlier this year.

BRB while I watch every episode pre-season 3. TBH, Gideon is forever living on in my heart.

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