Change is the norm for the BAU, especially in the more recent seasons of Criminal Minds, and season 13 saw the team gain a new member right after it lost one in Scratch’s finale cliffhanger trap. But fortunately, it looks like Matt Simmons is going to fit right in after the end of the IRT.

As Prentiss put it in “To a Better Place,” IRT’s loss is the BAU’s gain — and the move is a good one for Simmons as well.

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Simmons Was the BAU’s Fail-safe in the Scratch Investigation

The season premiere had to deal with the aftermath of the last season’s finale cliffhanger, and with Mr. Scratch responsible and very much in the picture, that had to be the focus of “Wheels Up.” And it was.

But at the same time, Matt Simmons had to be introduced as someone who could continue to help the team — he appeared last year in “Spencer” when Reid was arrested in Mexico, as well as in season 10’s “Beyond Borders,” which served as a backdoor pilot, so even those who didn’t watch the spin-off would recognize him — and who had a valid reason to appear when he did with the priority being to find Prentiss and stop Scratch.

Fortunately, he succeeded in both regards. Stephen Walker had been brought in last year specifically for Scratch, and in order to make sure Peter Lewis couldn’t hack his way into their files on him, Stephen kept his records off-site and updated Prentiss and Rossi through hard copies. Simmons was their fail-safe, someone not part of the BAU who knew in case of an emergency, a.k.a. exactly what happened. That was why Garcia called him in when she lost the team at the beginning of the premiere. And with Scratch someone who could get into his victims’ heads, they needed to have something that he wouldn’t be able to mess with, something he couldn’t hack or plan for: someone not part of the BAU and therefore not necessarily on his radar.

Not only that, but Simmons could also serve as an objective party when it came to Scratch since he himself hadn’t been targeted, and for that reason, it was smart to have him working alongside Garcia in the premiere, especially with most of the rest of the team in the hospital or Scratch’s prisoner.

Simmons Isn’t Just Some Random Agent Joining the Team

After last season introduced us to two new faces when Luke and then Stephen joined the team, it was a welcome change for this year’s new member to be someone fans have seen before. We didn’t need another new guy. As already mentioned, even if you didn’t watch Beyond Borders, Simmons did appear in two Criminal Minds episodes. The team knows him and how he works.

And his first scene in the premiere with Garcia made it clear that this is someone she knows and trusts; with the team being targeted, after she lost their signals, she wouldn’t call just anyone.

His first two episodes with the BAU have shown that he has the experience, so he not only easily slid right into his spot on the team, but he also knows what he’s doing, which allowed him to assist on cases while the rest of the team took time off following the close of the Scratch investigation.

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IRT Went Down and … That’s It?

Considering the spin-off series had two seasons, I expected a bit more about what happened to the IRT than it “went down” and since then, Simmons had been waiting for his new assignment, but that’s all we got when it comes to what happened to the unit. There’s a sense that it’s just not important why Simmons is now available to work with the BAU just as they’ve lost a team member, but just that he is. The show no longer exists, so the unit no longer exists, but it did, and because of that, Simmons has the experience to be part of the team and can say things like his first case with the BAU was “like riding a bike.”

Still, we then get the joke that he’s used to a slightly larger plane (the IRT’s plane was a lot bigger and nicer than the BAU’s, given that they needed to bring everything with them), but considering the same amount of time (one line) was spent on that as stating the end of the unit, it shows that what happened is just not considered all that important. (Unless, of course, it come up at a later time, but it does seem like something that should have been addressed in Matt’s first episodes with the team.)

Simmons Loves Being Stateside

Simmons joining the BAU is not only their gain, but it’s good for him as well, as he mentioned in episode 2. He’s now stateside instead of constantly traveling internationally, which means he gets to spend more time with his family. I was pleased to see that mentioned, given that his family was brought up and seen several times on Beyond Borders.

What do you think of Simmons joining the BAU so far? Are you happy to have him on board? Is there anyone or anything else from Beyond Borders you’d like to see pop up on Criminal Minds?

Criminal Minds season 13 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.

(Image 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.