Criminal Minds: 10 Best Spencer Reid Quotes

Fans are thrilled with the revival of Criminal minds and look forward to seeing their BAU team again. Although Matthew Gray Gubler, who plays Dr. Spencer Reid, wouldn’t be returning to reprise his role, fans love revisiting their favorite Dr. Reid moments.

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Reid has no problem reminding people how smart he really is, often inadvertently reminding the team how intellectual he is with an offhand commentary on a given topic, leading him to say great things.

When asked if he was a genius

“Yes, I am a genius.”

Matthew Gray Gubler as Spencer Reid in Criminal Minds

When asked by a victim’s husband if he was a genius after hearing about his three doctorates, Reid is hesitant to say yes, instead he conveys that he doesn’t believe “intelligence can be precisely quantified”, but after a pause he says this line.


With an IQ of 187, the aforementioned three doctorates to his name, an eidetic memory, and the ability to read 20,000 per minute, the fact that he’s a genius is certainly no hidden detail about Spencer Reid. His genius is one of the things fans love about him. This quote is an example of Reid knowing he’s a genius and not being afraid to let others know.

When he doesn’t want a handshake

“It’s actually safer to kiss.”

Spencer Reid waving awkwardly

Reid’s reluctance or refusal to give handshakes to people he meets can be seen everywhere Criminal minds. Fans have their theories as to why Reid would rather wave than shake hands, the most popular being that he’s uncomfortable with physical contact with strangers. Others think it’s due to one of the many times Reid was nearly killed in Criminal minds. After contracting Anthrax in Season 4, he became more aware of bacteria and viruses that could be contracted through physical touch.

Whatever Reid’s reason for avoiding handshakes, viewers appreciate details like this that make him a well-developed character. Also, the fact that he offers a kiss rather than a handshake to a police captain is quite an entertaining moment. This quote shows Reid’s propensity for being unintentionally hilarious.

When he makes a distinction

“Sometimes for an artist the only difference between madness and genius is success.”

Spencer Reid speaks while gesturing with his hands

Reid often says things that really make the viewer think. This line comes from an episode where a graphic novelist unknowingly becomes one of the BAU suspects. Garcia says the graphic novelist is a genius at his job, but Morgan disagrees and Reid delivers this thought-provoking quote.

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For fans of the 1997 James Bond movie tomorrow never dies, this quote might sound a bit familiar because a similar thing is said in the movie. That the line in Criminal minds is meant to be a nod to this film is unknown, but it proves that Reid is a character with an intellect that leads him to say powerful and thought-provoking things at the right time.

When he had to beat his father

“I kept getting a doctorate”

Matthew Gray Gubler as Dr. Reid in Criminal Minds

When Hotchner suggests that “there are many ways for sons to defeat their father”, Reid offers this as an example of how he defeated his father. When Spencer Reid was young, his father left him and his mother, Reid grew up thinking his father didn’t want him anymore and abandoned them.

Everyone handles the abandonment of a father figure differently, Reid gets a new doctorate. Reid is often the butt of the joke due to his high intelligence and habit of misunderstanding references, but this line shows that Reid is capable of delivering a good joke. While the context of this line has quite a sad background, the line itself is hilarious.

When he had a fan

“I never have normal fans.”

Dr Reid looking through glass in an interrogation room

When one of his fans becomes a suspect determined to outsmart him, Reid utters this phrase while staring into the one-way mirror.

Reid fans are pretty diehard and the Criminal minds the writers are well aware of this. Although this quote is said in the context of a fan turned killer, Criminal minds viewers can’t help but think this is a slight nod to actual Reid fans and/or fans of actor Matthew Gray Gubler. This line, a subtle example of meta-comedy, is certainly one of Reid’s most iconic quotes.

When he didn’t understand the reference

“What is Twilight?”

Matthew Gray Gubler as Spencer Reid in Criminal Minds

While Reid is incredibly smart, he’s not the most pop culture savvy TV character to ever grace the screens. In an episode involving an artist with a vampire character, Garcia tells Reid and JJ that a vampire fan’s laptop password was “Cullen” and Reid asks that question.

Dr. Reid has proven himself to be a genius time and time again, but when it comes to popular trends, he may be a bit behind the times – nothing proves that more than him not knowing what the novel and series of very popular movies dusk East. Reid is also completely serious, which makes this line so much fun.

When he gave Rossi a fun fact

“Contrary to popular belief, beheading is not that easy.”

Dr. Reid and Agent Rossi in Criminal Minds

Sometimes Reid’s fun facts are anything but fun. In Season 5 Episode 19, a suspect beheads his victims and while chatting with the medical examiner and Rossi, Reid gives this quick little fact.

It’s pretty safe to say that this line from Reid is odd. Rossi comments on the peculiarity of the phrase when responding to Reid’s fact with “You don’t often hear the words ‘popular’ and ‘beheading’ in the same sentence.” Because Reid remembers everything he reads, he’s full of facts that sometimes aren’t very helpful. His habit of sharing facts like this, regardless of the circumstances, brings great comic relief to an otherwise grim situation.

When he corrected a popular idiom

“Actually, it’s more like looking for a needle in a pile of needles. A needle would stand out in a haystack.”

Dr. Reid and Agent Morgan in Criminal Minds

During a stakeout with Morgan in Season 1 Episode 4, Reid says this line in response to Morgan citing the popular idiom “we’re looking for a needle in a haystack”.

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This expression has been used countless times to explain the difficulty of a task, but it’s typical of Reid to correct an idiom hundreds of years old. Reid knows Morgan uses the idiom to express how difficult it will be to find the suspect, but chooses to correct him anyway, which makes this quote even funnier.

When he boasts of having saved Elle

“I totally saved your life. And I’m sure it was caught on camera.”

Reid in Criminal Minds: Elephant's Memory

When Reid successfully speaks to a suspect who had taken a train hostage with Elle included, Elle tells Reid that he “probably” saved her life and that’s what Reid said in response.

Reid is often the officer found disparaging the suspect and empathizing with him. Reid is an excellent profiler and is able to read people very well, which makes him good at empathizing with suspects. Reid isn’t always the one to make a physical move to take down a suspect as he prefers to use his wits. So when he saves Elle, he has to make sure she knows about it, which makes this quote both wholesome and funny.

When he reminds the Senate committee that he is a doctor

“It’s quiet, and it’s Dr.”

Dr. Spencer Reid in Criminal Minds

This fan-favorite quote comes from an episode where the BAU is questioned by the Senate committee. Reid says this when Senator Cramer mistakenly refers to him as an agent when telling Reid to calm down.

Reid is no stranger to people who mistakenly call him “Agent”, but what makes this time different is that Reid normally corrects the person politely. Reid is often more socially reserved and rarely pushes back against authority. This quote is out of place for Reid due to how indelicately he delivered it. This line is an example of how sassy Reid can be, especially when pushed, and it’s definitely one of those quotes Criminal minds fans will always remember that.

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