To say that there was a lot of controversy surrounding Criminal Minds season 12 would be an understatement. We had already lost Shemar Moore in season 11 which was bad enough on its own, but at least his leaving the show wasn’t surrounded in controversy.
We lost Thomas Gibson after he was let go by the network for an incident that happened with one of the writers, so when we went into season 12 they had only film a couple of episodes that would have had him in it, but the second episode was all about JJ, so he really wasn’t present in that either. Then when it came time to have the character leave the show he wasn’t brought back for any sort of proper goodbye so a lot of fans have had a really hard time swallowing that pill since Thomas Gibson has been such a huge part of the show since the beginning and there are many fans out there that didn’t agree with him being fired in the first place. So season 12 started off on a bit of a rough footing with this major shake-up in the cast.
Then we got into the big story this season that left viewers polarized and that’s the story of Matthew Gray Gubler’s Spencer Reid. He was framed for murder that he didn’t commit and we spent a good portion of the season watching him in jail, deteriorating, while his mother suffered alone without him. Normally, Criminal Minds as a show that is very procedural and we get a case of the week where fans can jump in and out of episodes as they please and they know exactly what they are going to get. Here at CarterMatt we like to call that TV comfort food and shows like Criminal Minds provide that familiarity week in and week out. This season they tried to do something a little more serialized with Spencer story and while the material was quite good (we’re sure for Gubler it was cool to have a story all about him) it was seriously hard to watch some of these episodes. While this show in general is very hard to watch (it is Criminal Minds after all) this is not a show that typically focuses on the main characters more than the case of the week, so this was a very different season then we’ve seen in the past from the show.
Many viewers were not a fan of the season, because of the change in format, but we’re not one of those people. We actually really liked Spencer’s story, because he’s a character that we’ve always been heavily invested in (us nerds have to stick together, right?) so more screen time for Gubler is better for us. Even more than that this was easily his best performance and that’s why he ended up on our CarterMatt staff picks for the Emmys this year (which you can check out over here).
So now that Criminal Minds season 12 came out on Netflix on Friday there’s been a lot of discussion on whether or not to check this season out or give it a re-watch. We’ve seen a lot of fans out there that have been hashtagging #nohotchnowatch all season, and didn’t watch the season, but for the people who did we feel that they got a really great story as well as a new characters that we have grown to love quite quickly, like Luke (Unfortunately we’ve already lost Damon Gupton – he won’t be returning for season 13, but he was great too so he’s worth watching for this season).
For us we feel that even though the show deviated away from its procedural mapping and Thomas Gibson is no longer on the show, this is still a season that is definitely worth checking out. As we mentioned Gubler has a very strong story with a lot of meaty material and it gives us a chance to really see just how good an actor he is. We’ve always known that he’s got some serious acting chops, but Criminal Minds doesn’t always give him the best material to be able to show that and this season they really did. If you only watch one episode from season 12 make that episode be the finale (spoilers ahead). They brought back Spencer’s biggest nemesis, Cat Adams, who had been playing a deadly game with him this season and at all unfolds in that incredible finale. Aubrey Plaza has been one of the best villains that we’ve seen on this show and first time we saw them together in season 11 it instantly became one of our favorite episodes of the entire series. Match that with the finale of season 12 and there’s some very special chemistry that’s going on between these two actors that gives us different layers to Spencer that we’ve never really seen before.
So if you’re able to move past the fact that Gibson is no longer on the show, this season was really great and it is definitely worth checking out on Netflix. Oh and did we mention that there’s a guest appearance from Shemar Moore in the finale? That’s worth checking out all on it’s own – we promise it’s worth it for that reunion with Garcia.
Are you going to be watching or re-watching Criminal Minds season 12 on Netflix? leave us a comment in the box below and tell us about your favorite episode of season 12 or if you plan on watching it this summer? If you’re looking for more scoop on Criminal Minds head on over to the link here and we’ll hook you up. (Photo: CBS)