Criminal Minds: Evolution Showrunner Reveals How Garcia's Love Life Will Stay 'Complicated' Next Season

Garcia excited in BAU office on Criminal Minds: Evolution
(Image credit: Paramount+)

During the lengthy (but not devastating) wait between Criminal Minds’ CBS end and its streaming debut on Paramount+, many viewers were under the impression that Kirsten Vangsness’ tech whiz Garcia and Adam Rodriguez’s Alvez would be spending some of that time together between the sheets. But Evolution very quickly snuffed out those sultry theories by revealing they’d kept things more friendly than flirty after a single date. And it then upped that ante by pairing Garcia up with Ryan-James Hatanaka’s Tyler Green, her vengeful, Sicarius-duping informant. And it sounds like her morally dubious situation will get even stickier when Season 2 arrives. (Or Season 17, depending on how you’re counting things.)

Showrunner Erica Messer has confirmed that fans will be seeing more from Tyler when Criminal Minds: Evolution returns. And while some of it may have to do with Zach Gilford’s serial killer ringleader (and possibly the whole “Gold Star” mystery), it’ll also involve Garcia’s romantic interests. Here’s how the crime drama’s big boss put it to TV Insider:

I know! We sort of set them to be there’s no way these two would ever like one another to oh my gosh, not only do they like one another, this is all happening. So the plan is to have RJ come back and it’ll be a little more complicated because they’ve had this relationship and it’s something we haven’t really been able to play on the show before because we always stayed away from team members having relationships beyond like a familial type thing. Of course JJ [AJ Cook] and Will [Josh Stewart] and we have Will around a lot, but that’s different.

Not only was there a spark between the two, but Garcia totally gave Tyler the best sex of his life, and nearly put him in a catatonic state after doing so. But as Messer hinted at, Criminal Minds characters beyond JJ (and Rossi, every so often) aren’t always so well equipped to balance romantic relationships and instincts with job duties and stressed-out mindsets. Of course, that’s essentially why work flings, as regretful as those might be, are so commonplace. (Even in real life, as evidenced by certain former GMA3 anchors.) Aisha Tyler’s Lewis knows all about how up and down those can be.

But guess what? Those who were hoping for Alvez and Garcia to stick it out are in luck. Or, at the very least, they’ll be able to clutch onto those hopes for a bit longer, as Erica Messer said the creative team will be tangling Kirsten Vangsness & Co. up a bit within a love triangle. In her words:

Garcia and Tyler Green had this secret relationship, it got discovered, things went sideways. She stood up for herself and said, I can’t be with somebody who’s gonna do this, but when we have him come back, it’s gonna make her question all of that. “Is this my person?” will definitely be something she explores this year. And then Alvez is like the sweetest and I love them together so much, so it’ll be an interesting little triangle with them.

This sounds about as far from a sleazy sex-fueled triangle as it gets, with Garcia pondering a worthwhile future with someone like Tyler, all while Alvez is all smiles sitting in the dugout. I do love that Garcia is in the driver’s seat of her own romances, though, as opposed to the other way around. In that sense, I’m not sure who I’d rather see her with in the long run. Wouldn’t want to mess up the dynamic with Alvez by taking things too far too quickly, but his chemistry with Garcia is obviously more built up than what she’s got with Tyler. 

I suppose in the end, the most important thing is for her to date someone that currently has zero ties to any unidentified serial killers. Also, zero ties to any incarcerated serial killers whose cases are still actively affecting one or more BAU agents. It’s not that limiting a specification, I’d think.

While we’re on the subject of love triangles, with AJ Cook’s JJ and Josh Stewart’s Will being brought up already as well, fans with Paramount+ subscriptions are no doubt hoping for Matthew Gray Gubler to return to the franchise as Reid. Which would almost definitely involve some kind of romantic foibles, even if JJ and Will’s relationship seems as strong as ever. He even got shot! In the vest, but still. 

To that end, Erica Messer did say the show will embrace any availability that Josh Stewart can provide, given his busy career. So what would happen if he couldn’t return and Gubler could? Hmmm? It doesn’t matter, because this is about Garcia’s happiness, dammit. 

Should Kirsten Vangsness’ Garcia keep getting hot and heavy with Tyler Green, or does Alvez deserve another shot? Someone mod a fighting game with those two facing each other, and let me know who wins. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.