'Criminal Minds' Casting Update: A Return to Romance?
Criminal Minds fans: Do you remember when showrunner Erica Messer teased that one of the agents would be getting a new love interest this season? Well, the speculation can now cease. Former Dirty Sexy Money star Bellamy Young will play Beth, a museum curator who will run into Hotch (Thomas Gibson) while he is training for a triathlon.

Earlier this year, Messer spoke about wanting the widower to get a fresh start after the death of his ex-wife and first love Haley (Meredith Monroe), back in season 5. Messer also said that Hotch has been 'going through the motions' for a while now and she would like to see him smile once again. Will Young's Beth be the one to bring a little light back into this single father's life or will their relationship merely be a stepping stone to a happier Agent Hotchner?

When news of this new love interest was first mentioned, there were some fans who were hoping that Hotch would not be the agent in question, preferring that the show explore the subtext between Hotch and fellow agent, Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster). But Brewster and Gibson have both refuted the idea in the past, with Gibson saying that Hotch is not the type to get involved with anyone he works with.

Many fans back up that position, insisting that even if Hotch and Prentiss were to develop feelings for one another, neither would put their career at risk to pursue a romance. A match between the two would be especially difficult since they not only work together, but Hotch is Prentiss' supervisor. And though both characters have bent or even broken the rules in the past, this is a line many believe the characters simply would not cross.

Still, some Hotch/Prentiss fans continue to hope that their favorite duo may 'see the light' one day and thus, wish for Hotch's new romance to be quickly nipped in the bud. After all, the BAU is a tough gig and has caused the end to all three of Rossi's marriages, as well as Hotch's first marriage to Haley. And with Young already set to co-star in Shonda Rhimes' latest television venture, Scandal, it is possible that Hotch's new relationship will go the way of a May-December romance.

What are your feelings on a possible inter-team romance? Did you predict that Hotch would be the one to get a love interest this season? Are you excited about the news or would you rather see the show focus on the team dynamic or Hotch's relationship with his son, Jack? Speaking of romance, are there any other BAU agents you would like to see venture into the dating world?

Criminal Minds airs Wednesday nights at 9/8c on CBS.

Megan Cole
Contributing Writer

(Photo courtesy of CBS)