Criminal Minds Boss Teases Episode 150, Weighs In on BAU Romance and the [Spoiler] Rumor

This Wednesday at 9/8c, CBS’ Criminal Minds uncorks a memorable 150th episode – no easy feat, given the vast array of sorid subject matter already served up in the years gone by. TVLine invited showrunner Erica Messer to reveal how she found a new twist to mark the landmark occasion, weigh in on some fans’ most fervent wish and share a taste of the Season 7 finale.

TVLINE | Our readers have been very much looking forward to Episode 150. What opportunity did you see here, with this landmark outing?
It’s interesting because with our 100th episode, Hotch went head-to-head with the Reaper, and we didn’t have a story like that for the 150th. One, because you’re not really going to get any better than Hotch versus his nemesis, and two, because the Prentiss version of that happened last season and culminated in the premiere this year. So by the time we get to the 150th we didn’t want to manufacture something, so we looked at what we do every week, which is use our wits to save a victim who’s been in captivity since at least the end of Act 1. We took that and put it on its head and said, “What if this time around a victim actually has an unsub [in captivity], and the victory will be if the team can get her to not kill somebody?” And whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

TVLINE | And the unsub in question, he’s been re-attacking his previous victims?
Yes, we picked an unsub that we’ve never dared to do before, and it seemed like a perfect way to have this woman (played by Birds of Prey‘s Dina Meyer) who believes she been victimized by this man (The Shield‘s Jay Karnes) turn the tables on him.

TVLINE | Beyond the case at hand, would you call this an almost a Prentiss-centric episode, if only because the B-story has her meeting with a therapist?
We have the story with the therapist where she is sort of dealing with the fact that she had a guy [Ian Doyle] who re-victimized her. So she definitely has those beats in it, as far as our bookends go.

TVLINE | What comes out of those therapy sessions? How might she change?
It remains to be seen, because we know what she’s really good at is doing what she needs to do to survive, and right now she needs to be in the BAU. That gives her all the solace she needs, so she will say and do anything to make that happen.

TVLINE | Regarding that new beat in the Prentiss story, do you almost feel like the transitions the show had to go through last season actually ended up reinvigorating it?
It’s such a tricky thing, because I believe it did – and yet that’s something that I would never wish any other show to have to go through. But yes, I think it allowed us to start fresh in Season 7, and it’s rare that you ever get to do that.

TVLINE | Have you been making a concerted effort this season to give us more “family” and personal moments, by capping episodes with a team dinner or drinks…?
We have now become such a family after six, seven years of solving crimes and saving lives together, it makes sense that we “go have pizza.” I feel like we’ve been able to earn that. I think at this point everybody knows what everybody’s favorite food is, and anytime we can show that, I think, is really good.

TVLINE | But you’d probably stop short of ever having an episode with no case at all.
I don’t think that anybody would ever let us go there, but when I watch shows on cable, they can do that. On The Killing, there was that episode where [Linden’s] son is missing, and I was like, “Oh my god, that’s so great! The whole episode is about that and not the case at all.” I don’t want to say “never” here, but… maybe!

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TVLINE | Turning to Hotch and his new romance: Whenever I’ve run by Thomas Gibson or Paget Brewster some fans’ desire for a Hotch-Prentiss hook-up, the recurring line has been, “He’s not ready.” And here he is finally dipping his toe back into the dating pool. Why now?
Partly because it feels like it’s been a respectable amount of time, not only since he’s been divorced but since [ex-wife] Haley’s death. I think that for Hotch, there might have been many times he went for a run and women smiled at him and he didn’t notice, and this time he did. That says to me it’s because he’s ready to see it. We didn’t go the Prentiss route right now because she’s not ready; she has a lot of healing to do. I know a lot of people out there want those two together, and it’s not to say it will never happen, because in many ways trusting one another and being there for each other in the field when it counts speaks volumes about relationships. But for right now, they’re not ready for each other.

TVLINE | Not that you’re producing The Bachelor here, but if the day comes for a workplace romance, would you say it’s more organic for Hotch to go with Prentiss versus JJ [were she to become single]?
Yes. Yes.

TVLINE | Should we worry at all that Beth, when Hotch first met her, came off a bit stalker-y? Could she be a future unsub?
No. [Laughs] No. Don’t worry.

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TVLINE | Any early thoughts on what your season finale is going to be?
We’ll see, because it will be cast-dependent on a guest role. Episode 20 will be written by Breen Frazier, and he’s introducing a character that may come back and be the problem for us in Episode 24.

TVLINE | Will the finale be typically cliffhangery? Explosive, even?
We’re still sort of playing around with that, because I think people are used to that with us. The SUV blow-up ended Season 3 and it turned out to be none of us that got hurt, so…. We’re still sort of tossing ideas around.

TVLINE | And speaking of the finale, this rumor pops up now and again, but it seems to have a bit more weight now given the success of Homeland on CBS-owned Showtime: Is Mandy Patinkin guest-starring as Gideon in the finale?
Again, I never want to say never, but that’s not in the cards for right now. It’s just a rumor.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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145 Comments
  1. Ariel says:

    I have never watched Criminal Minds for relationships. I watch for the crime solving and hopefully some good profiling though that hasn’t been as awesome lately as it was in years past. I also watch for character arcs. They have great character arcs (not romantic ones but ones where the characters deal with the impact the job has on them because that’s a job that gets under your skin and into your nightmares). What they really need to do is focus more on the individual character arcs, at least one awesome one per season that’s related to what the job does to them be it specific events from the job or the impact of the job on whole. What they also need is to get into some more hardcore profiling like they once did. It seems that the profiling aspect has become kind of cookie cutter almost CSI like in one mold fits them all with a little change here or there, which is sad because before last season they had so many truly unique and interesting profiles. Now they feel way to similar that it’s lost what made it truly awesome. I can’t be the only one that feels that way. The show needs to get back to basics of what it was in earlier years, which was a much better character driven drama. More character and zip shipping.

  2. polatrix says:

    We want a Prentiss/Morgan relationship! :) It was a lot about them in the season six,thought, he was there for her at every moment, he obviously has a crush on Emily!What about Morgan´s face when she came back from the death?For me, that is a big evidence. Hotch and Prentiss has a co-workers relationship, nothing else. They have never been that close.
    (sorry for my english)

  3. rae says:

    i think if hotch had to be with anyone.. it has to be prentiss.. i think they look good together :D so hotch and prentiss ? i support it!

  4. Dolores says:

    One thing is for sure the writers realy need to start pushing these actors out of thier comfort zone by doing something that would take them out of the mold of the pre set format they have each week. some real hard core acting

  5. cherie foy says:

    HI MY NOT GONE TO WATCING IS SHOW I HATE PAGET AND THOMAS I HATE THEY YOU THINK YOU THEY TO TOGETHER I HATE I WANT THE GFONE WAY NOT COME BACK IAM GONE TOON FORMUAL ONE LIKE MARK WEBBER

  6. cherie foy says:

    I HATE YOU ALL ON CRIMINAL MINDS AND NOT GONE TO.WATCH IT MORE I HATE PAGET AND THOMAS I NOT OK FOR YOU NOT FOR ME PLSAE CBS GET THOMAS OUT OF THE SHOW I HATE PAGET SHE I WHAT HER TO LEAVE AND NOT COME BACK AND THOMAS YOU NOT MAN I LIKE I LIKE MAN ON FORMULA ONE HIS NAME IS CALLED MARK WEBBER IS A REDBULL THE TEAM OF FORMUAL ONE I LIKE YOU MARK

    • Carley says:

      I donnt know why so many people are freaking out over this. Its not that big of a deal if they do put Hotch and Prentiss together. Its just another storyline. Its not like it effects your lives so get over it. Plus its better than getting rid of any of the team. And I am not a shipper for anybody on the show, im just telling it how it is.

    • Renee says:

      DON’T WATCH CM THEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO WATCH MARK WEBBER….WHOEVER THE HELL THAT IS….

  7. Ben says:

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    I just wanted to say I like CM!

  8. Flora says:

    Erica is right when she says now is not the time for a Hotch Prentiss romance and she is right about not ruling it out completly. Things can change and why shouldn’t she leave things open, in case they do? What if Paget Brewster gets fired again? Or what if Thomas Gibson wouldn’t return say for season 10? Since there is a large group of fans who do like to see Hotch and Emily get together, I could see it happening that if one of them is no longer one the team they have them going out on a date and yes, even kiss. Maybe in the final episode.

  9. Amy says:

    Well said Cari.

  10. cherie foy says:

    HI THOMAS YOUR FANS SIDE TO ME NOT LIKE FORMUAL ONE BUT .I LIKE IT BUT THEY SIDE .HO YOU THINKING YOU I LIKE YOU I DO NOT LIKE YOU WHNT YOU TO.GONE NOT COME BACK

  11. Chris says:

    ummm….no there are many shippers for H/P. There is a way of making this relationship work without ruining the show. The two characters would be very mature about it and we wouldn’t even have to see them in bed to know they have a romantic relationship. I’m sure these writers can be mature about it too. Depending on how it is done, it could ruin the show (for some people) but saying that it absolutely will just comes from people who don’t want them together or don’t want any romance. We can’t say it will ruin it, and we can say it won’t. I’m fine with it either way. Also, a lot of people say they will stop watching if certain things happen, but a real fan won’t stop watching no matter who leaves. (not that you said you would) :)

  12. Zascha says:

    I would love for Gideon to come back!
    Gideon was such a great part of CM, and it felt kind of empty when he left the show. I think there’s definitely room for Gideon on the team.
    After a looong time I’ve finally gotten used to Rossi – I didn’t like him at all in the beginning – but now I do. But I still prefer Gideon over Rossi.
    Greenaway should just stay away from CM for ever, never liked her and never will.

    But I don’t understand what you mean with Hotch/Prentiss? I’ve seen all the episodes several times, and I get the feeling that there’s more like a father/daugther bond between them? Maybe it’s just me who’s crazy hehe. :-)

  13. ciara says:

    Ya whoever said Morgan/prentiss retro when she came back he was sooo distraught he may welk have ignored her and had another cobbz ah well Emily Morgan nice name :P

  14. Apolline says:

    I just found this thread. I agree with the idea of Hotch and Prentiss together. They would make a great couple and I’m not especially fond of his new love interest (I keep forgetting her name, it’s a sign). But it’s too bad… Emily will leave :((
    As for Rossi, I absolutely LOVE him, he’s great and so dedicated to the team and to the individuals he meets. He’s a very attractive man, he has undefinable charm and would make a good husband, even if he already got married 3 times! I would like him to finally settle down with a loving wife. I don’t mind if she’s a little younger than him, he has an Italian Don Juan side after all. Just kidding!!!!!!! But I imagine him in a stable marriage with maybe one kid, a little girl with big dark eyes, like Daddy. It would be good for him. Maybe I dream a little too much because… Rossi… it’s Rossi (as told by Emily in “Profiling 101″). I would like him to show us again his recipes, I love Italian cuisine, even if it’s very simple indeed. It’s not that easy because the simplest things are sometimes the most difficult to make. True no?
    OK I digress now, I just wanted to say hello and that I’m a big big fan of Criminal Minds!!!!!!!!!!!!