Did Criminal Minds' Insane Finale Cliffhanger Just Do What We Think? Here's What The Showrunner Says

criminal minds season 12 finale cbs

Warning: spoilers ahead for the Criminal Minds Season 12 finale.

Criminal Minds went through some pretty big changes in Season 12, what with the writing off of Hotch and the imprisonment of Reid and the huge threat of Mr. Scratch. If any of us thought that such a wild season would come to a quiet end, the finale proved us very wrong. The episode ended on a huge cliffhanger that has almost the entire BAU team in quite possibly mortal danger. The BAU rolled right into a trap from Mr. Scratch, which resulted in a huge car crash that has left a lot of important lives in jeopardy. Showrunner Erica Messer has spoken out about whether everybody will be back for Season 13, saying this:

I hope so! That's always the trick of those kinds of endings. If we do make a change, chances are it would be because of that accident. The writers start June 5 and that's something we'll hit the ground running with, with what happens after that accident.

Well, that's not very comforting, Erica Messer! Her comments indicate that the current plan is to bring everybody through the accident alive, but she's also quite open about the fact that the writers haven't plotted out the beginning of Season 13 just yet. In fact, there's the better part of a month before writing on Season 13 gets into swing. If a member of the cast decides to leave the show between now and then, it sounds like Messer won't hesitate to write him or her off via fiery car crash.

The last couple of seasons have shown that Criminal Minds can carry on even without key members of the cast. We lost Derek Morgan at the end of Season 11 when Shemar Moore chose to move on (although he turned up in the Season 12 finale), and we lost Hotch at the beginning of Season 12 after Thomas Gibson got the boot. Surely we can go on without Walker or Rossi or Prentiss, right? Right?!?

Erica Messer went on in her chat with TVGuide to elaborate on whether everybody could return for Season 13, saying this:

I love this group. If I've learned anything in all these 13 years it's you can't truly prepare for anything. So I can't say yay or nay to that. I don't have all the control there, but I certainly hope so. I love the whole gang. I certainly hope we know by June 5 when our writers' room starts back up. We can't really move forward until we know the answer to all those questions. We've certainly started seasons before with actors' deals not done, but they were always in a good faith negotiation place, which I feel like is happening this year as well.

The good news is we don't have to worry about Reid or Garcia as we move into hiatus, as neither of them were in one of the SUVs that were wrecked in Mr. Scratch's trap. Hopefully we don't have to wait all the way until next fall to figure out who of the others will definitively escape the wreck. Luckily, CBS has already renewed Criminal Minds for Season 13, so we will find out what happens next, even if we have to wait a few months for the reveal.

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Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).