The last nine episodes of Criminal Minds
season 12 will be a double-edged sword for Spencer Reid fans. The show will focus heavily on Reid, but unfortunately that's only because he is being investigated for murder charges. The latest Criminal Minds
episode "Spencer" launched the new serialized story about Spencer Reid that the show has been building up to for a while. Criminal Minds
showrunner and co-writer of "Spencer," Erica Messer, sat down with TVGuide
to talk about the new arc and what fans can expect.
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This Reid arc is something that has been in the works for a while for Messer. She explained in the interview that she started planning the arc with the actor who plays Reid, Matthew Gray Gubler, and her co-writer for "Spencer" and Criminal Minds
series regular, Kirsten Vangsness, about the time they were writing Shemar Moore out of the show.
During the course of working on Moore's exit episode, with both Gubler and Vangsness, Messer decided that Spencer needed to have a big storyline in season 12. "Matthew has been on the show all 12 years and was looking for challenges, and creatively as storytellers, we all are, and it felt like by season 12 we've earned the right," Messer explained. "I think our fans crave for when we dive deeper into our characters. It all seemed to be happening at the same time. Matthew was the perfect character for this."
Though Messer says she planned to pursue the story arc regardless of whether Jane Lynch could return as Reid's mother, it has been a blessing to have her come back. Lynch will appear in episodes 19 and 22 of the season, the showrunner confirmed. Messer also believes that Lynch and the connection that Reid has to his mother is what makes the storyline resonate emotionally.
"It's heartbreaking. I love it," Messer said of Reid's desperate desire to cure his mother's Alzheimer's. "It feels relatable in a way for people who have loved ones who are suffering and can't do anything to help them or they do everything they can to help, but it might not be solvable."
Messer didn't confirm or deny that it really was Mr. Scratch who drugged Spencer and killed the nurse, Rosa. She left the possibility open for Scratch to be seen again and explained, "It's all sort of us unfolding over the season ... The goal for us is we want all eyeballs on this story. It's such a challenge and a different thing for us to do. We're really curious. I don't think fans will be able to turn away with sweet Dr. Reid in this kind of jeopardy."
Messer went on to tease that the BAU team will try their hardest to get Reid proved innocent of the crime even if they can't represent him legally. "They will basically do everything in their power. Nobody wants to do anything that would cause the BAU to get investigated, but at the same time, some characters make some choices that maybe they've never had to make before," Messer said. "Or if caught, they would say, 'I did it that and I would do it again if it meant I would save my friend.' It kind of allows the entire team to look at their actions differently because one of their own is in trouble."
Messer said we've already seen some of the lengths the team will go to save Reid. Prentiss lying about the recording to get Reid out of the Mexican prison will come back to haunt her, apparently. "I feel like she would do anything in her power at that moment to get him out of that Mexican prison," Messer explained. "He was going to get transferred to a really bad place. I'm cheering her on when she says, 'I never recorded it.' I'm like, 'Yeah, you tell him!' [Laughs] But that's also technically not OK. It's that fuzzy gray area of, what would you do? I think we all think we would play it on the up and up, but the reality is a lot messier."
So what do you think? What lengths do you think the BAU will go to save their friend? Who do you think really killed Rosa? How do you feel about Prentiss lying to protect Reid? Are you excited or worried about the new storyline?