Criminal Minds season 12 is at present doing a wide array of different things, and one of the most exciting ones is their decision that they no longer have to follow a strict procedural model anymore. They’ve got this new freedom to mix things up, and to try a wide array of different things.
Specifically, we’re seeing this breaking of the mold happen with the Spencer Reid character as played by Matthew Gray Gubler. He brought his mother Diana home, and then the events of the episode “Spencer” played out where we eventually saw him get arrested and then transferred over to America in order to better await his future fate. Hopefully he makes it out of the situation okay, but that’s not quite the focus of this article in the first place. Instead, we’re thinking more in terms of who could end up getting a long-form arc of their own.
Is this something that the show should entertain? Absolutely. For one, we know most of these characters really well, so seeing them outside of the procedural format enables them to maybe explore some avenues that even they don’t often get to. Also, it gives the show something exciting to promote, and adds a further incentive to watch live. With a pure procedural, there’s more of a sentiment that you can miss an episode or two and it won’t end up having much of an impact on the overall show as a whole. That is not something that remains true in this case, so there are several characters who could benefit mightily from such a move. For season 12, we’re focusing specifically on some of the longtime cast members — or at least people with a few years on their resumes. Maybe when we get around to season 13 (provided it returns), we can get more to Adam Rodriguez and Damon Gupton.
Paget Brewster – The character of Emily Prentiss may be leading the BAU at this point, but it feels like she still deserves more individual time in the spotlight than she’s getting. Therefore, this arc could serve more as an opportunity to get to know more of her life now, what makes her tick, and some of what she’s getting out of the BAU now. We also want to see her challenged; having Mr. Scratch focus on her is one way to do that.
AJ Cook – Wouldn’t it be great to see JJ stranded from the team, and forced to fight back heroically. We’re not saying that she gets tortured in the same way that we’ve seen in the past, but instead challenged maybe with a deep-cover mission or something in a remote part of the country where she ends up getting stranded. Allow us to see more of her extraordinary training!
Joe Mantegna – This would be fun, just because Rossi has such a measured approach by and large to how he takes on criminals. Give him another rival beyond Tommy Yates who lasts for a couple of episodes — we’re sure that there will be plenty of carbonara made to help the crime-solving process.
Kirsten Vangsness – If you can get Garcia out into the field somehow, or maybe underground working on a hacking mission that separates her from the team, it could be exciting. What’s great about her as a character is that she represents such an underdog story since she’s not someone used to being out on the front lines.
What characters from Criminal Minds, whether it be now or in the future, do you want to see have some of their own separate arcs? Now is the time to share some of your thoughts in the comments! (Photo: CBS.)