Top 20 Times Spencer Was the Best Character on Criminal Minds

Top 20 Times Spencer Was the Best Character on Criminal Minds
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Francesca LaMantia
Spencer was consistently the best "Criminal Minds" character. For this list, we'll be looking at the doctor's funniest, most brilliant, and most triumphant moments. Our countdown includes the star puzzel, playing chess, Reid vs Tobias, and more!

Top 20 Times Spencer Was the Best Character on Criminal Minds

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Times Spencer Was the Best Character on Criminal Minds.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the doctor’s funniest, most brilliant, and most triumphant moments. Due to the nature of this list, a spoiler alert is in effect.

What’s your favorite Reid moment? Let us know in the comments.

#20: Opening Himself Up to Romance
"Somebody's Watching"

Towards the beginning of the series, Reid is shown to be fairly shy and socially awkward. So it’s nice to see him have a storyline that pushed him to open up a bit. During the “Somebody's Watching” episode, Reid is tasked with protecting an actress named Lila Archer. It’s clear that the two instantly have a connection. As they avoid the obsessive person after Lila, we get to see a whole new side of Reid. At one point, he even enjoys an unexpected dip in the pool. Their pool hangout quickly leads to a makeout session. Although their dip is ruined when Spencer brings up harsh case facts, seeing him open up to romance was very memorable.

#19: Reid Sees Henry’s Halloween Costume
“The Good Earth”

Agents Reid and JJ have always had a very special relationship. Their strong bond made a Halloween moment especially sweet. Initially, JJ has trouble getting her son Henry excited about the holiday. But the kid has a breakthrough and decides to dress up as his favorite profiler. After a great introduction, Henry walks in just like Reid. This costume reveal is far and away one of the most adorable things to ever happen on the show. Not only is Henry excited, but Reid is overjoyed that he was chosen as a role model. This scene made it clear to the doctor that he’s had a positive influence on the people around him.

#18: Saving JJ
“Truth or Dare”

While JJ was being held hostage by an unsub, the killer orders her to offer up her last words. But he’s not satisfied with just anything. The killer specifically wants her to say words that no one has ever heard her say. After JJ confesses that she loves Reid, the duo shares a meaningful look that speaks volumes. Before the killer can strike, the doctor reveals that he’s cut through his bonds and puts the criminal down. Reid’s incredible save made for an impressive moment on its own. However, the knowing look he gives JJ as soon as they’re safe really made this exchange heartwarming.

#17: Showing An Unsub Compassion
“The Uncanny Valley”

Reid’s high IQ made it easier for him to understand the twisted logic of the unsubs that the team hunts for. Along the way, he also seemed to gain the ability to sympathize with a few of the tragic villains as well. In one dark case, a woman who suffered through an extremely traumatic childhood became an unsub who turns her victims to real life dolls. Reid eventually found her while she was attempting to continue her dark practice. Instead of getting angry or threatening her, he gently talked her down. The amount of compassion he showed was remarkable. While Reid certainly didn’t approve of what she did, he proved that he fully recognized her pain.

#16: Spencer’s Screaming Prank

While a show centered around serial killers is often pretty dark and intense, the BAU squad finds moments of levity between all the trauma. This fun battle of wits definitely represents one of those lighter times. When Morgan finds out that Reid hustled him during a basketball bet, he promises vengeance. This led to an all out prank war between the two of them. Their feud in the episode ends with Reid preparing a screaming prank that makes us laugh every time. It was super fun to see Morgan bring out the fun in Reid. While we often see Reid use his genius to save the day, it was great to see him use his powers for evil.

#15: Defeating His Arch Nemesis
“Red Light”

Cat Adams is like Reid’s Joker. Not only can she match wits with the genius doctor, but she revels in the idea that their lives are forever intertwined in a battle between good and evil. During her most convoluted plot, Cat frames Reid for drug trafficking and murder and gets him sent to prison. But she doesn’t give up when the truth is exposed. Cat threatened to kill Reid’s kidnapped mother unless he plays the villain’s game. Although he loses his cool and nearly fails the game, the doctor outsmarts her and saves his mom. We’ll never forget how he celebrated his victory with one last line to Cat.

#14: Exposing a Second Unsub
“Soul Mates”

During a particularly tough to crack case, the BAU team struggled to prove that one man was behind all the crimes. But Reid made a major breakthrough. By analyzing blog posts that supposedly came from the unsub, he found small variations between entries. This led Spencer to directly deduce that there were two authors and thus two villains to worry about. His coworkers were so amazed that two of them even had a side conversation about how good the doctor is. While detectives tried to solve this one for years, only Reid could read between the lines and catch what every other detective had missed..

#13: Reid Invites Prentiss Out
“Sense Memory”

Although it was clear that Reid had special relationships with JJ and Morgan from the beginning, the doctor didn’t share as many tender moments with Prentiss at first. But that changed after she had a particularly hard time on a case that hit close to home. As Prentiss arrives at her place, Reid called and invited her to a screening of “Solaris”. She initially thought that someone put him up to it. However, Reid quickly reassures Prentiss that he called her because he genuinely wanted them to have a good experience together. With a short call, he proved that he thought about her as much more than just a co-worker. This moment of friendship between the unlikely pair was absolutely beautiful.

#12: The Star Puzzle
“Risky Business”

A classic Reid moment was kicked off when Prentiss started working on a star puzzle. When the doctor asked what it was, she gave him a poetic fable about catching falling stars. But Reid didn’t hesitate to poke holes in the logic of the morality tale. Prentiss attempted to shake off his inquiry by making a point that the puzzle itself is essentially unsolvable. However, Reid took it in his hands and put it together almost immediately. If anyone but Reid was in this scene, his actions would come off as ridiculously annoying. But his obliviousness here made the star puzzle moment charming. And as Reid’s team points out, there are worse games to play with him.

#11: Cracking a Complex Cipher
“The Angel Maker”

Nothing beats the power of Reid’s nerd brain. When the BAU team had an unsub that could only be found by unraveling coded letters he wrote to his girlfriend, they relied on the doctor. He initially admitted that he’d need to clone himself just to get close. However, Reid stepped up to the plate and made it his mission to crack it. By using multiple texts and math, he’s able to decipher the code and show his work. Both the audience and the characters were blown away by how he solved and explained everything. Even Prentiss needed to touch his face to make sure he wasn’t actually just a super advanced robot.

#10: Becoming a Godfather

Reid and JJ have always had a very special relationship. They’re the best of friends and she’s the only person that ever calls him “Spence”. So it’s really no surprise when JJ asks him to be godfather to her son, Henry. After a particularly harrowing experience putting together hazy pieces of his past, Reid still manages to show up for his best friend in the hospital after she gives birth. In this moment we get to see just how much Reid and JJ really love each other. Many believe that Morgan and Garcia are the best best friends on this show, but we argue that Reid and JJ give them a run for their money.

#9: Undercover

When a ring of hitmen is targeting the BAU, Reid goes undercover as a husband looking to kill his pregnant wife to flush one of them out. But Cat has her own trap set for the team. What happens next is a 30 minute battle of wits between two geniuses. Watching Reid go head to head with a fellow mastermind over the fate of the team keeps you on the very edge of your seat. The power goes back and forth between them, and just when it seems like Reid may have met his match, he turns the tables on Cat one more time. Reid called it at the very beginning. He always wins.

#8: Sleight of Hand

Reid is a man of many talents, but he’s not necessarily the first guy on the team you think of when you need someone for a one man rescue mission. Elle is taken hostage along with other passengers on a train by a mentally ill man who believes the government is spying on him. When the rest of the team wants to storm the train, Reid insists on going in alone. He may not have the physical prowess of the others, but Reid uses his own magic to resolve the situation - literally! He uses a magic trick to remove a “chip" that the man believes is in his arm. It’s Reid’s kindness and compassion that wins the day.

#7: Playing Chess

Reid might not have Morgan’s outgoing personality, or Hotch’s strong but silent demeanor. But all of us Dr. Reid fans swoon at his understated charm. So we were all excited when Reid found someone else that could appreciate him just as much. Unfortunately, it was tragically short lived. When Maeve is captured by her stalker, Reid pulls out all the stops to get her back. He even gets himself captured and plays along with the stalker in order to try to free Maeve. Unfortunately the stalker kills her anyway. Even though Reid is unsuccessful in trying to save her, we get a lot of great character development out of this moment.

#6: Taking Down a Shooter
“Elephant’s Memory”

When the rest of the team want to open fire on a teenage boy threatening them with a gun, Reid handles the situation with more of a delicate touch. The boy is out for revenge on the kids that once ruthlessly bullied him, and when the jig is up, he’s willing to go down in a hail of bullets, but Reid isn’t having any of that. Feeling a certain level of empathy with the killer, Reid risks his own life to save him. He stands in between the boy and his team's guns to talk him down. No one is dying on Reid’s watch.

#5: Anthrax Scare

One of the best things about Reid is just how protective he is. He’s always putting others’ well-being above his own. When Reid is exposed to a new, more powerful strain of anthrax from a secret lab, Reid wastes no time in putting himself in mortal danger in order to solve the crime and prevent anyone else from getting hurt. Reid locks himself in the lab, keeping Morgan out and refusing to come out himself until he both finds a cure and the bad guy. Even when he starts showing symptoms, Reid stays, against his friends’ wishes and, as usual, saves the day.

#4: Slaying Past Demons

Some people don’t handle being taken down and arrested by Reid as well as others. You remember that episode where Reid and Prentiss go undercover in a cult to discover if the leader is taking advantage of the underage women there? Well, in the show’s 300th episode, Reid is held hostage by the same cult, and they are out for revenge. He is forced to help free one of their leaders from custody to save Garcia from being killed. Naturally, his super brain is always at work though, and he comes out on top in the end.

#3: Reid vs Tobias

Reid’s super brain strikes back yet again when he’s captured by a new serial killer with multiple personalities. Reid is physically beaten, emotionally battered, and shot up with drugs. Yet through all that he still manages to keep his wits about him and send a cryptic message to his team letting them know exactly where to find him. Who knew Reid would hold up so well under torture? But then again we should know better than to underestimate him. This is another classic badass Reid moment.

#2: Passing His Gun Qualification

Even in this early episode of the show, Reid was already surprising us. After failing his gun qualification for field duty, Reid is pretty let down, but he proves himself more than ready to take on armed bad guys when he and Hotch find themselves held hostage. Hotch can’t get to his weapon, so he creates a scenario where Reid can reach it without tipping off their captor. He single handedly takes out the bad guy and saves himself and Hotch in the process. No one can deny that he passed his gun qualification after a slick move like that.

#1: Spontaneous Profile

There are many moments throughout this show where Reid’s intellect saves the day, but this one might just be the best. When Reid and Hotch are stuck alone in a cell with a death row inmate who plans on killing them as a backwards way to stay his execution, Hotch's response is to stand up to his intimidation. But Reid has a better idea. He creates a profile on the spot to convince the killer that he sympathizes with him, and that he will be spared, buying them enough time until the guards return. We bet it would have been awesome to see Hotch pummel that guy, but watching Reid simply talk their way out of the bad situation was even better.