With only three episodes of Criminal Minds season 12 left to go, Reid’s still in prison and still putting together what happened in that motel room in Mexico. He did make progress during his last conversation with Tara, remembering that Mr. Scratch drugged him, but then he said that she told him it was “time to go” and she walked out of there and wanted him to chase her. “It wasn’t Scratch who framed me,” he explained. “It was a woman.”

Assuming we can trust that memory, who is that woman? It seems more likely than not that it’s going to be someone recognizable from a previous episode, and Gia Mantegna is reprising her role as Lindsey Vaughn in the final three episodes. When TVLine asked showrunner Erica Messer about her return, all she said was “that’s a bit of a spoiler.” Could Lindsey be the one who framed Reid?

Related: Criminal Minds Season Finale Spoilers: Reid Battles a Former Enemy, We Know Why Derek Returns

Who Is Lindsey Vaughn?

Lindsey was introduced back in season 3’s “3rd Life,” when she and her friend, Katie, were kidnapped. (Katie was killed.) She warned her kidnapper, “What you do to me will be nothing compared to what my dad will do to you,” and when her father, Jack, found them, Lindsey urged him to kill him. Jack ended up doing just that, and the two were still in witness protection at the episode’s end, with Lindsey using her best friend’s name.

Why Lindsey Might Have Framed Reid

It does seem like Peter Lewis has to be involved in some way because Messer also told TVLine, “I would not rule Scratch out” just because of what Reid remembered and that he will be involved until “the last frames of the finale.”

It could be as simple as Mr. Scratch using and drugging her. She could just be the one who was in that motel room because Mr. Scratch was looking for someone to use from one of the team’s old cases and she’s the one he picked/found.

But could it be that Scratch didn’t even need to drug Lindsey for her to work with him? After all, she was the one who was urging her father to kill her kidnapper — and glaring back at Reid when he tried to talk Jack out of it. “You swore to your wife you’d protect Lindsey,” Spencer reminded her father. “Listen to what she wants. She’s begging you to kill somebody right in front of her. What do you think your wife wanted you to protect her from? … Your life has been about violence, and if you do this, Lindsey’s will be too.”

Jack did take the shot, saying that the “violence” would end “tomorrow,” but we don’t know what happened to those two after the end of the episode. Did Jack turn over a new leaf? Does it matter if he did? After all, Lindsey wanted her father to kill her friend’s killer right in front of her.

Maybe she didn’t like that Reid was trying to change her father and she remembers him trying to talk him down in the school bathroom that day. Maybe something happened after the case that we’ll find out about during the course of this investigation.

Related: Criminal Minds Recap: Does Reid Remember What Happened in Mexico?

What Could Lindsey Be Doing in Her Return?

Here’s what we know: Gia Mantegna is in the three episodes remaining in the season, “Unforgettable,” “Green Light” and “Red Light.” The logline of the penultimate episode reveals that “Reid fears his mother has been abducted,” while the synopsis of the season finale teases that Reid is “caught in an impossible scenario” and “must square off with an old nemesis.” Could that “old nemesis” be Lindsey?

While Reid’s mother is not listed in the guest cast for “Green Light,” Lindsey’s father (Fredric Lehne returning as Jack) and a US Marshal are. Could Jack still be in witness protection? Could Reid remember Lindsey in Mexico in “Unforgettable” and the team tracks him down in “Green Light” when they look into Diana Reid possibly being abducted?

Could Lindsey be aiming to take away Reid’s parent like she may think Reid took hers — or at least the parent she knew him to be if he did in fact decide to “protect” Lindsey in the way Reid said his wife wanted him to?

What’s also interesting is that Beth Riesgraf’s Maeve Donovan is listed in the guest cast for the finale, and since she’s dead, the only possible way for her return has to involve Reid being drugged, like he was in Mexico. Could that happen when Reid faces off with his nemesis?

Who Else Could Have Framed Reid?

But maybe Lindsey isn’t the one who framed Reid. Maybe she wasn’t in the motel room. Maybe someone else was, and that person’s identity (and likely return) has been kept secret and out of the guest cast lists for upcoming episodes. So who else could it be?

There’s Cat Adams from “Entropy.” After all, she did promise Reid that when she got out of prison, she’d remember his name. It’s probably a good idea for them to just check every so often that she’s still behind bars, especially after those convicts escaped last year.

Mr. Scratch could have also found a random woman and drugged her. (Maybe even someone who looks a bit like Lindsey to keep them distracted looking in the wrong direction?) After all, what better way to make it harder on the team than to have it be someone Reid’s never seen before?

Maybe it was Scratch and Reid’s memory is just still foggy.

And why not end with a (really) crazy theory: Elle Greenaway. Who knows what happened to her? Scratch could have gotten to her.

How do you think the season’s going to end for Reid? What do you think brings Lindsey Vaughn back into the picture?
Criminal Minds season 12 airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.

(Images courtesy of CBS)


Meredith Jacobs

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

If it’s on TV — especially if it’s a procedural or superhero show — chances are Meredith watches it. She has a love for all things fiction, starting from a young age with ER and The X-Files on the small screen and the Nancy Drew books. Arrow kicked off the Arrowverse and her true passion for all things heroes. She’s enjoyed getting into the minds of serial killers since Criminal Minds, so it should be no surprise that her latest obsession is Prodigal Son.