1. Every character on the show has a personal trauma, and that's not an accident.
2. When Rossi shot a duck the first time he appeared on Criminal Minds, it had a very specific meaning.
Joe Mantegna filled the spot left by Mandy Patinkin, whose character — kindly and experienced Senior Supervisory Special Agent Jason Gideon — was an avid bird-watcher.
"You do the math," Frazier said.
3. Dr. Reid doesn't touch computers or have a smartphone because, despite being a brilliant polymath, he is technophobic.
4. Writer/producer Rick Dunkle briefly appears as a dead body in Season 4's "Paradise."
5. The professional timelines of these characters are frankly a little impossible.
6. Dr. Reid has an MIT degree because of a mistake.
Frazier, who wrote Season 7's "Painless," confused MIT with CalTech, and the mistake slipped everyone's notice. Extra degree!
7. "Presenting the profile" isn't a real thing.
On the show, the BAU agents stand in front of a room full of "cops dutifully taking notes," Frazier said. In reality, it would be more of a dialogue.
Clemente said the real process is "not as formal" as it is on the show — they might tweak the profile in the field, or sitting around a table, or on the phone. "If it's a dynamic case, what we do is dynamic as well," he said.
8. The actress who plays Agent Gina Sharp is Gina Garcia, who worked in Criminal Minds' casting department.
9. Cognitive interviews on the show are not very realistic.
"Jim's done it with us sometimes, like when we can't find our keys," Frazier said. "On our show, it's basically hypnosis," he continued, saying that this drives him "crazy."
"If you hypnotize a witness, you cannot put them on the stand to testify," Clemente said, adding that cognitive interviews do capitalize on some of the same memory systems as hypnosis. Frazier's key story, he said, is true: Simon Mirren, who was a producer on the show, couldn't find his car keys. Clemente pulled the shades in an office and conducted a cognitive interview. It turned out the keys were in the console of his car.
10. Garcia's character does community theater because Kirsten Vangsness is a real-life thespian.
11. In Season 8, she dates the man she shoots in the play in Season 6.
12. Because Joe Mantegna is friends with Ringo Starr, Rossi has a photo of himself and Starr on his desk at the BAU.
13. Haley Hotchner's wig wasn't really for her own safety.
It just wasn't the same.
The writers used the change to heighten tension — to show he had tracked down Hotch's wife and son, the killer tells him that Haley looks good as a brunette.