Will we get more details about Rossi and Strauss’ relationship on Criminal Minds?
Yup. Following Strauss’ return in last Wednesday’s episode, you can expect a few offhand comments about their hush-hush fling in the coming weeks. But executive producer Erica Messer tells us that their relationship will really come into play in the final two episodes of the season. “You will see a little more of it,” she says. So more scenes of them coming out of hotel rooms? “Or going into one!” Messer teases.
Are we going to see Beth again this season on Criminal Minds?
That’s the plan. Barring a scheduling conflict with Scandal, Bellamy Young will be back in the same episode the features the return of Hotch’s brother Sean (Eric Johnson). A case will bring the BAU to New York, where, if you recall, both Beth and Sean are based. So will the two meet? “We’ll see,” executive producer Erica Messer teases. “You’d think he’d introduce his brother to his girlfriend.”
Criminal Minds | SPOILER AHEAD! This is what my emailbox looked like this morning: A huge stack of “Is Reid’s girlfriend really dead?!” I for one didn’t think that was in doubt, and it isn’t — and here’s the tale behind the tragic twist. “We pitched a story where we’d introduce a unique love interest for Dr. Reid and it would end in tragedy,” showrunner Erica Messer explains. And make no mistake, the dark wrinkle had Matthew Gray Gubler’s blessing. “Matthew agreed the only way to tell this story was if she died in the saddest way possible,” Messer says. And while Maeve’s murder — in front of the beau she’d only just set eyes on — abruptly ended this week’s hour, Reid’s reaction/mourning “will be the emotional anchor of episode 813 and it’s the arc for Reid’s character for the rest of the season.”
Now that JJ’s not going undercover anymore on Criminal Minds, what will she be doing? — Nancy
ADAM: JJ will have “a lot of emotional stuff” coming up involving her family, executive producer Erica Messer tells us, but don’t worry — it won’t be anything like last season finale’s bank hostage fiasco. “It’s really more about the home life,” Messer says. “We didn’t want to make her any kind of victim when the whole team is under attack. There’s some very nice family story lines with her.” As for that aborted undercover episode — which will be directed by Thomas Gibson —now the BAU will try to solve the case of two missing teenage girls whose mother went missing a year ago.
1. A villain for all season: As previously reported, the unsub, who will keep “leaving bodies in his wake,” will be revealed in Episode 16, when he and the BAU will come to a head. That does not mean he will be caught or killed. “He will likely be our ultimate case later in the year, if not the finale,” Messer says. “We’ve got it mapped out and things can always change because they haven’t all shot, but for the most part, we know what we want this guy to end up as.” The dark room scenes of him developing shots of the BAU will cease soon, but the reason for the shots is tied to his connection with one or more members of the BAU. “You’ll learn the connection later on,” Messer teases. “When you find out, that will be the reward at the end of the season. … But we don’t want the repercussions to be too much. We want to live with these characters for a long, long time and we don’t want anything so bad that they can’t bounce back from it.”
2. More singular baddies? Though they’re not even done with their first stab at a recurring antagonist, the producers are already considering doing another season-long unsub next year. “It would depend on what happens with this one,” Messer says. “I think it’s the kind of thing that gave us something excited about, especially in the eighth season, and I can see us doing one again.”
3. Stop playing telephone: Reid’s geneticist-turned-consultant-turned-gal pal will be unveiled in the 10th episode, which is coincidentally directed by Gubler. “That was not planned. We line our directors up [first] over the summer and then the writers go back, and it just worked out that way,” Messer says. While her face will be revealed, Messer declines to specify if this means Reid will finally be face-to-face with her and who is playing her. “We just all felt like if we don’t have to put it out there and have Reid fans weigh in on it before we see her, then that’s how we wanted to go about it,” she says. “What we all liked about it was that it didn’t look like anything we’d seen and we felt like only Reid would be able to have this kind of relationship, where you haven’t met the person and that for the first time, you’re excited in that emotional way. Reid’s an excitable creature, but you’ve never seen him excited about making a phone call or getting a phone call. He’s got this new thing in his life, and how great is that?”
4. Danger zone? Reid’s girlfriend, of course, isn’t just any ordinary lady. She’s also vaguely hiding and/or running away from someone. Messer promises answers to her “baggage” in the 12th episode, but naturally, the BAU will eventually get involved later in the season. “It wouldn’t be Criminal Minds if they didn’t!”
5. Undercover blown: Producers had planned an undercover story line for JJ (A.J. Cook) starting with the 15th episode, which will be directed by Thomas Gibson, but they’ve put a pin in that for now to concentrate on the season-long unsub. “There’s a lot going on with this season-long unsub that it felt like it was butting up against that story,” Messer says. “We didn’t want to be confusing with that because it wasn’t going to be that guy who had her and it seemed like if there were two bad guys out there targeting our people, it would be overwhelming. We’re probably looking at [the undercover arc] for next season.”
6. “Profiler, Profiled” Part 2: The 19th episode will be a sequel to Season 2’s Morgan-centric “Profiler, Profiled,” in which we learned Morgan (Shemar Moore) was sexually abused by his mentor Carl Buford (Julius Tennon) while he was in a youth center. “He goes back to Chicago and the center and it’s going to be about him battling his demons,” Messer says. “It brings back memories and the case is somewhat related.”
7. No Prentiss for now: Messer rules out a visit from Prentiss (Paget Brewster) this season, but hopes for one in the future. “We’d love to have her come back, but I don’t think it will happen soon,” she says, adding that she hopes to delve more into the backstory of Blake (Jeanne Tripplehorn) in the second half of the season. “I think she’s fitting in so well and I want our fans to know more about her and her Skype relationship with her husband. Jeanne had big shoes to fill and she’s doing a great job.”
The matter of this season’s big bad — a serial killer replicating the MOs of captured unsubs — will soon be revisited. And considering how collectively smart the BAU team is, don’t expect this stealthy stalker to go unnoticed for too much longer. “I think you’ll see that it gets put together pretty quickly,” Joe Mantegna tells me. “And it’s going to be something that I think the fans will appreciate because it gives you that other impetus of like, ‘OK. Now where are we going with this thing?’” Also on the horizon at the CBS crime drama is what A.J. Cook calls a “really big JJ episode,” directed by Thomas Gibson. “I think that after we got to see her kick some serious ass in the season finale, they were like, ‘Oh, we didn’t know you were good at that’ — so we’re going to see her kick a little more ass,” Cook reveals. “We’re also going to see her do something we’ve never seen her do before that may get her into trouble.”
For one, “There’s a mysterious woman in his life,” the actor/sometime director told TVLine at CBS’ Fall Kick-Off party on Tuesday night. Pressed to elaborate on the seeming romance, Gubler would (could?) only say, “It’s very intriguing…. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s a uniquely done story of love, I might say. Or maybe not. I don’t know.”
Criminal Minds is welcoming a Designing Women favorite who hasn’t been seen in some time. Meshach Taylor, who played Designing’s lovable ex-con Anthony Bouvier, plays a homeless Vietnam vet who helps the team identify a killer.
“Meshach has been a friend of mine for 41 years,” says Joe Mantegna, who pitched the idea along with his assistant. “We started our careers together back in the early ’70s in the musical Hair. We’re godfathers to each other’s children.” Mantegna says the November episode will explore his character’s military past. Adds co-star Thomas Gibson, “We learn the two were old platoon buddies who lost touch with one another.”
By the way, Gibson will direct this season’s 15th episode, which finds J.J. (A.J. Cook) in peril when her character goes undercover. “It’s going to be pretty badass,” teases Cook.
Question: Any Criminal Minds scoop to speak of? —Rachel
Ausiello: Though we knew that newcomer Jeanne Tripplehorn’s Agent Alex Blake has a checkered professional past with Strauss, it turns out she also has ties to a BAU favorite. “She and Reid knew each other, in academia, so they are very close friends,” Tripplehorn tells us. “He’s a bit more on the nerdy side than she is, but they are two brains that really get along. They have a beautiful friendship.”
Have any of your friends ever taken their video game obsessions a little too far? In an upcoming episode, the gang investigates two twenty-something brothers who are completely addicted to gaming — to the point where reality and fantasy blur, and the guys kidnap a group of high school students to play out their video game fantasies in real time.