‘Criminal Minds’ season 12, episode 1 review: Mr Scratch targets Hotch, BAU team

Criminal MindsWe’re not going to sugar coat it: “Criminal Minds” season 12 is going to be a very different show. We have lost two major players since last season in Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson, but there is still a strong team to help transition us into new stories and new team members. Will the new cast members fit in with this group as seamlessly as Moore and Gibson did for the viewers? That’s a lot to ask for, so we are mostly hoping that they can hold their own and bring us some solid stories. Originally there was going to be a heavy focus on Mr. Scratch this season, but with the ties he has to Gibson’s character we aren’t sure that this is still going to be the direction the show takes. The main thing we are curious about is how Gibson is going to exit the show… let’s see if they start the wheels turning on that in tonight’s premiere.

When we last saw our group, there was a major prison break with 13 serial killers on the run – now they are down to 5 with the help of an agent named Luke. Rossi offers for him to stay on and work with them to continue helping them bring the killers in and he agrees, especially when one of the victims comes into the hospital with the words “BAU” carved into him. Someone is coming after our team… and it looks like it’s Mr. Scratch. This is the man that we saw hit Hotch really hard in the past, so will he be coming after the whole team or is this about Hotch? When they get to the scene of a crime, there is a victim there saying Hotch’s name… and his name is carved into her forehead. This is personal for Mr. Scratch, but this is also personal for Luke. When Luke was chasing one of these killers before, he caught this man carving up his last partner.

Most of the team really likes working with Luke, but Garcia is giving this guy the cold shoulder or at least trying to. She talks briefly about her “super hot boyfriend” when pushed and after embarrassing herself she flees the scene as he tries to continue the small talk. Does Garcia have a small crush on him or does she have a past with him? After tonight’s case, Luke is offered a full time position, so these two are going to have to find a way to get along.

We only have one episode left with Thomas Gibson and after watching tonight’s intense premiere, we are having a difficult time seeing this series without him. Speaking of change, we love Luke and his strange, awkward relationship with Garcia. Does he make her nervous or is she resisting the idea that there could be a replacement for Morgan and is pushing him back? This is something we would love to see explored this season. Episode grade: A

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