Spoilers ahead for the January 28 episode of FBI: Most Wanted on CBS, called "Caesar."
FBI: Most Wanted showcased a new side of Agent Sheryll Barnes with the Barnes-centric "Caesar," which saw her resume an old undercover identity to catch a dangerous gang leader by the name of Cleo. Returning to this undercover identity meant revisiting somebody she'd cared about but used to close the case, and it wasn't easy on Barnes. Fortunately, "Caesar" also revealed who Barnes has waiting at home for her: a loving wife and adorable daughter.
Despite her tumultuous life of traveling and tracking the most wanted fugitives on the FBI's list, Barnes' home life seems stable. Her wife is a professor of law at Columbia and her daughter couldn't be much cuter. Few primetime procedurals will allow main characters to be good parents with healthy marriages unless a tragedy strikes, and even fewer would give a main character a same-sex relationship like Barnes' on the FBI spinoff.
Roxy Sternberg, who plays Barnes, spoke with CinemaBlend about FBI: Most Wanted and said this regarding Barnes' healthy family life with her wife and daughter:
I think it's important for television, full-stop, no matter what the sex, ethnicity, race, or whatever. I think it's important to see these family backgrounds and ultimately we've all come from a family, we all come from one, so why aren't we showing it? It should be included into the storyline even though that's not the main premise of the show. The main premise of the show is this fugitive task force hunting down criminals. So I think it's important.
FBI: Most Wanted may more or less be a procedural under the uber-successful Dick Wolf banner, but that doesn't mean there's not room to show what drives the characters even if it doesn't necessarily come up when they're in the middle of chasing down a fugitive. As Roxy Sternberg pointed out, Barnes' relationship with her wife isn't just important because it's same-sex, but also because Barnes has a healthy family dynamic.
Most Wanted can get very dark; what's not to love about a glimpse at a family with two loving moms and their daughter during breaks in the intensity? TV doesn't always make room for characterization like this, and fans now know a lot more about what Barnes has in her life to drive her. Roxy Sternberg elaborated on the importance of Barnes' relationship:
So Barnes has a wife and a daughter and I think there should be more relationships like this shown on television. I don't think it's necessarily a topic that light needs to be shined on it. I'm just sad and disappointed that there aren't more of these relationships shown on television.
Barnes' same-sex relationship and dynamic with her daughter seemingly creates one of the most stable family units of the whole FBI: Most Wanted team, although it's still early in the series' run. Of course, Barnes' job all but guarantees that their marriage isn't without its bumps along the way, and it's entirely possible that some difficulties are on the way if she gets pulled too far into cases moving forward.
Her wife might not have been thrilled if Barnes had shared every detail about the case in "Caesar," which reunited Barnes with a woman she'd clearly loved. That relationship seems pretty definitively over since Barnes had to reveal her status as an undercover FBI agent and the case was closed when Cleo was convinced to turn herself in.
Roxy Sternberg shared whether she'd be interested in FBI: Most Wanted revisiting this particular case:
Absolutely. As an actor we only dream of having storylines that have a lot of depth to them so that we can tap into our emotions. I think this was a great one for me. I had a lot of fun exploring a range of different emotions and if I'm given that opportunity again, I will be very happy.
Will FBI: Most Wanted revisit what went down during "Caesar" for Barnes? Only time will tell on that front, but Barnes' family life will likely continue to impact her on the series. Even if they don't appear on a weekly basis, fans know now that Barnes has a wife and daughter at home, and they can see her decisions in a new light.
See what happens next for Barnes and the rest of the FBI: Most Wanted team when new episodes air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS, following new episodes of FBI at 9 p.m. ET.
And who knows? Maybe FBI and FBI: Most Wanted can cross over with the Dick Wolf series over on NBC some day. The networks were reportedly eyeing a crossover over the summer, and FBI showrunner Rick Eid said he'd be "open to the possibility" if the stars aligned. For now, crossovers between FBI and FBI: Most Wanted are far more likely.