Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) is the youngest member of BAU on the television series "Criminal Minds." Reid is a genius who graduated from a public high school in Las Vegas at the age of 12. He holds a PhD in Mathematics, Chemistry and Engineering, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology. Reid continues to work toward a degree in Philosophy. He has an emetic memory, an IQ of 187 and is purported to read 20,000 words per minute. Unit chief Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), a sort of mentor and close confidant of Reids, always introduces him as Dr. Spencer Reid so people will take him seriously even though he is still very young. Reid has a good working relationship with the team and is godfather to the son of Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A.J. Cook).
Reid was born in Las Vegas, in 1980. His mother, Dr. Diana Reid (Jane Lynch), a college professor of 15th century literature, was diagnosed with schizophrenia after being affected at a crime scene when he was still a small child. A neighbor had beaten another man to death with a baseball bat and when Diana went to investigate, she got blood on her clothes. Reid's father, unable to cope with the day-to-day reality of her mental illness, abandoned the family. Reid was constantly bullied when he was still in school, and tells the story of being tied, naked, to a goalpost for the entire school to see. His mother had read to him non stop, and naturally he too read a lot of books to feed his hunger for knowledge. When Reid was 18, he had to make the decision to either let his mother continue in the unhealthy lifestyle she was living, or to have her move into a mental institution. He chose the latter even though it was difficult for him. Guilt over putting her there and never visiting, as well as concern about her schizophrenia possibly being genetically inherited, motivates Reid to write to her daily, and try to keep up a relationship.
Lacking most social graces, Reid is given to performing physics-based magic tricks that are quite impressive. He has a good memory for statistics and easily recalls anything that he has read or seen. However, oddly enough, he tends to forget some things that are only mentioned. Reid is talkative and known to fixate on occasion. The team tries to keep him in line, but he still cuts into conversations and even offhandedly tries to change the subject. He is somewhat oblivious to his own behavior.
In the episode "Revelations", Reid is kidnapped by a profile subject who is a killer with multiple personalities. The killer, Tobias Hankel (James Van Der Beek), who has alternative personalities that include his abusive father and the angel Raphael, drugs Reid with narcotics and tortures him for two days. Reid is left with an addiction to the painkiller Dilaudid but manages to beat it and attend addiction support meetings, designed specifically to treat and support addicts who work in law enforcement.
"I know what it's like to be afraid of your own mind."
"Isaac Asimov wrote: 'in life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.'"