Top 20 Stars You Forgot Were on Criminal Minds

Top 20 Stars You Forgot Were on Criminal Minds
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Jesse Singer
With over 300 episodes, you're bound to forget a couple stars who were on "Criminal Minds." Our countdown includes Ben Savage, Evan Peters, Luke Perry, and more!

Top 20 Stars You Forgot Were on Criminal Minds

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Stars You Forgot Were on Criminal Minds

For this list, we’ll try to wrap our minds around all of the now famous people who appeared as either UnSubs, good guys or other characters throughout the police procedural crime drama’s impressive 15 season run.

Which performance was your favorite? Leave us a comment below.

#20: Ben Savage

As far as we can tell, Ben Savage has no familial relationship to Mandy Patinkin, and yet he has made a small career for himself in the 21st century playing Mr. Patinkin’s younger self. In 2020, he guest starred in one episode of the Showtime series, “Homeland” as a younger Saul Berenson. However, previous to that he had twice shown up on “Criminal Minds” playing, that’s right, a young Jason Gideon. And fun fact: his second appearance on “Criminal Minds” was on the show’s penultimate episode, as was his turn on “Homeland.”

#19: Amber Stevens West

Was she a stalker, a reporter, a private investigator? When we first meet Amber Stevens West in the season 10 episode “Fate,” she’s secretly following Rossi around and even when confronted she provides no answers. That is, until the next day when she reveals to him that he is her biological father. This obviously catches Rossi by surprise, but thankfully he catches up to her at the airport and is able to, at least somewhat, explain things to her. Their relationship grows and the “Greek” actress would make three more appearances on the show over the next four seasons.

#18: Jayne Atkinson

Since 1990, actress Jayne Atkinson has been in many movies and TV shows, but there are only three series in which she has appeared in 24 or more episodes. In two of her best known roles, she played Karen Hayes in 30 episodes of “24” and she was U.S. Secretary of State Catherine Durant in 38 episodes of “House of Cards.” And although she appeared in 24 episodes of “Criminal Minds” as BAU Section Chief Erin Strauss, that role is one you may have forgotten was on this talented woman’s resume.

#17: Amber Heard

You might have heard that Amber had a role in an early “Criminal Minds” episode and well… you heard correctly. At the time, both her and the show were new to the scene with Amber being only a few years into her acting career and the series being in its first, of what would end up being, 15 seasons. The actress who would one day be Princess Mera of Atlantis in multiple films in the DCEU played Lila Archer in the crime drama, who was a sexy TV actress with a killer stalker - and a crush on Reid.

#16: Frankie Muniz

Muniz is best known for his starring role as the titular “Malcolm” in the 2000s sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle.” The success of that show raised Frankie’s profile to the point where he was one of the biggest teen movie stars of the decade, with films like “Big Fat Liar” and the “Agent Cody Banks” movies. But while Muniz worked primarily in the comedy and children-friendly arena, his turn on “Criminal Minds” was anything but. Frankie went way against type as vigilante-serial-killer Johnny McHale in the season three episode “True Night.”

#15: Wil Wheaton

In “Stand by Me,” Wil Wheaton went on a hike with his three best friends to see the corpse of a local found close to train tracks. In the “Criminal Minds” season four episode, “Paradise” Wheaton’s character is the one causing a string of corpses as a motel owner slash serial killer. If you thought he was evil in his first couple appearances on “The Big Bang Theory,” that’s nothing compared to the deep, dark and disturbed force he was as Floyd Hansen on “Criminal Minds.” Using his motel as his criminal playground, this was one seriously disturbed character.

#14: Gavin Rossdale

Rossdale is obviously best known as a rockstar and member of the British band Bush, which he co-founded all the way back in 1992. You might also remember that he was married to Gwen Stefani from 2002-2016. Yes, Stefani doesn’t just like country music singers. But back to Rossdale who, although best known for his musical talents, has done a fair bit of acting over the last few decades, with roles in movies like “Constantine.” And in 2009, he starred in an episode of “Criminal Minds” as a rocker named Paul Davies with an on-stage alter-ego named Dante. His music is connected to multiple bloody killings.

#13: Rachael Leigh Cook

Two decades after taking off her glasses, letting down her hair and turning heads in “She’s All That,” Cook turned Spencer Reid’s head in the final season of “Criminal Minds.” Cook appeared in two episodes, and although she and Reid had an obvious attraction, they ran into some problems right as their romance was starting. That “problem” being an international serial killer with a vendetta against Reid, Cat Adams. But they weathered that psychopathic storm and ended her final appearance on the show with a kiss. Some fans worried that the relationship had fizzled when Reid showed up alone to the party in the final episode. But TVLine quoted a source saying that the relationship was, “intentionally left open to viewer interpretation.”

#12: Gina Torres

Gina has been working in Hollywood since the early 90s, but is probably best known for her role as Jessica Pearson in “Suits.” And currently she is saving lives as an EMS replacement captain) on “9-1-1: Lone Star.” However, the talented Ms. Torres had yet to land either role back in 2008 when she made her guest star turn on “Criminal Minds.” In the season four episode, “Normal” Gina played Detective Thea Salinas who works with the BAU team on a case involving a spree killer targeting female drivers on California freeways.

#11: Evan Peters

Fans of “The Office'' will remember Evan as Michael’s nephew who, in an effort to teach him a lesson, he spanks in front of the entire office. But for the non-”Office” superfans, he is probably best known for his roles in the “X-Men” franchise and “American Horror Story” anthology. And speaking of horrors, Peters' character in “Criminal Minds” lived a horror story of his own. Charlie Hillridge was kidnapped as a kid and held captive for years by his abductors. After years in captivity, Charlie was forced by his captors to help them commit their crimes and kidnap more victims.

#10: Robert Englund

Robert Engund made his film debut all the way back in 1974 and has continued to work in film and television for over 40 years now. But, it was, and still is, the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies that are what he is most associated with. However, as a change of pace, instead of killing people in their dreams, Englund played a detective on “Criminal Minds.” As Detective Gassner, he comes in to help the BAU team solve a number of ritualistic murders. While many people might not remember Englund’s appearance on the show, there’s a good chance some didn’t even recognize him, given that, as Freddy Krueger, he is heavily made up.

#9: Cameron Monaghan

In addition to his “Shameless” role, Cameron Monaghan played twin brothers Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska, characters who were the origin for the Joker on the “Gotham” TV series. Monaghan however is no stranger to playing disturbed characters, as he was only in his early teens when he guest starred in a season two episode of “Criminal Minds” as a young serial killer Jeffrey Charles. A difficult childhood led to Jeffrey’s resentment of other children and a desire to take out that resentment using violence. While the BAU team initially assumes an adult is responsible for the crimes, Gideon eventually figures out that Jeffrey is the unsub. Thankfully, it’s just in time to save Charles’ last victim, who we will get to later.

#8: James Van Der Beek

Of course, Van Der Beek will always be Dawson to us, but he is also a talented actor who has shown off some impressive range, and none more so than his role on “Criminal Minds.” Not only was the character of Tobias Hankel a complete 180 from Dawson, but the multiple-personality killer was also two more people than Dawson was. Van Der Beek guest starred in the most-watched episode of the show ever, which aired after the Super Bowl back in 2007. It was the first of a two-episode arc that finished up three days later, but Hankel’s character made such an impression on the BAU, especially Reid, that he is mentioned on the show multiple times in future seasons.

#7: Tim Curry

Tim Curry has the honor, if you can call it that, of having portrayed one of, if not the most prolific killer of the show’s entire 15 season run. Billy Flynn was a true psychopath who killed an estimated 200+ people over the course of his 25 plus year run before the BAU finally put an end to “The Prince of Darkness.” And yes, for all the keen-eyed and eared Tim Curry fans out there, his alias was very similar to his Lord of Darkness character from the 1985 film, “Legend.”

#6: Elle Fanning

Fanning’s first appearance on the show came on the same episode as another member of our list. Fanning played Tracy Belle, a young girl who was almost the victim of Cameron Monaghan’s young serial killer Jeffrey Charles. After being saved by Gideon and the BAU team, Tracy and her family moved to another city. Later on, in the season 2 finale when Frank Breitkopf is killing people who had, at one time, been saved by the BAU, Tracy again comes face to face with evil and is abducted by Breitkopf. Thankfully, Gideon is able to save her again.

#5: Jason Alexander

Although both end up with a criminal record, Alexander’s George Costanza and Henry Grace are two very different characters. And we aren’t just talking about the hairdo. While George is found guilty of criminal indifference and sentenced to one year in prison, Henry murders seven people and is eventually executed. Grace is the brother of a serial killer who was captured by Rossi and who makes it his mission to get revenge for that. But in the end, Rossi is able to outsmart the long-haired killer and send him away for good.

#4: Aubrey Plaza

We know Aubrey can do funny - as over 120 episodes of “Park and Recreations” showed us. But we maybe didn’t know she could do creepy until her multi-episode turn on “Criminal Minds” as international hitwoman and serial killer Cat Adams. Adams shows up in four different episodes with her eyes on revenge against BAU’s Spencer Reid. And this wasn’t the first time Plaza had worked with Reid actor, Matthew Gray Gubler. In 2014, two years prior to playing adversaries on “Criminal Minds,” Gubler and Plaza were both in the zombie comedy “Life After Beth.”

#3: Luke Perry

Perry appeared in two episodes as cult leader Benjamin Cyrus. For those of you who only saw the season four episode and remember that he died at the end, you might be wondering how he showed up in another episode later on. No, he isn’t a Zombie or a Ghost, the show didn’t become “Paranormal Minds.” Perry showed up again in the season 14 premier “300,” so named because it was the 300th episode of the series. And to celebrate the milestone, the series treated fans to a history of the show and characters and brought back a number of faces from the past, including Cyrus, via flashback.

#2: Mark Hamill

Although he is most famous for being on the light side, the side of good, Mark Hamill has had some great moments exploring the dark side. Anyone who watched “Batman: The Animated Series” will remember his standout turn as the voice of the Joker. He also explored another dark character as copycat killer, John Curtis on the eighth season of “Criminal Minds.” Curtis was an ex FBI Special Agent who blamed BAU Section Chief Erin Strauss for his downfall. Curtis does get his revenge on Strauss, but later, when cornered, blows himself up. However, as Hamill tweeted after the episode, “Where's the body?” So, maybe he didn’t die...

#1: Aaron Paul

There are probably those wondering how they forgot that the guy who played Jesse Pinkman was on an episode of “Criminal Minds.” Well, when Aaron Paul appeared on the show in 2005, Jesse Pinkman was nothing more than possibly a glimmer in the eye of “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan. Still three years away from his breakthrough role, Paul played Michael Zizzo, a suspect in a series of cult-related killings. And while Jesse Pinkman would be guilty of a number of crimes, Mike Zizzo was exonerated and let go after being interrogated.