When Criminal Minds season 13 premieres on CBS this fall, it makes sense that Spencer Reid will be suffering still. He went through hell over the course of season 12, trying to handle some of the trauma of his time behind bars and also helping her mother deal with her difficult condition.
Moving into season 13, some things are absolutely better. For one, Spencer is now out of prison and now with the BAU again! There is an element of normalcy to his life that wasn’t there previously, but there will also still be chaos and plenty of it. He’s going to have to deal with what happened, and similar to some other traumas, it’s possible that we could see this spiral out of control for him at some of the most inopportune times.
In previewing some of what Reid’s struggle could be on this season further, show executive producer Erica Messer passed along the following to TVLine:
“just went through a major crisis, and we don’t want to pretend that never happened … At the same time, we don’t want to dwell in that experience. But you will see shades of how he changed, I would argue, for the better. A little of the innocence is gone, and yet he’s still the lovable, brilliant Dr. Reid. We’ll get the best of all worlds there.”
Ultimately, the challenge with a show like Criminal Minds is that it is incredibly difficult to fundamentally change a character given that he’s someone who is so rooted in fans’ memory at this point. If you alter him too dramatically, you do find yourself in a situation where he won’t feel like the same person. That’s especially tough for some of the viewers who are watching the show in syndication and would not necessarily understand why this version of Reid is different. Yet, at the same time you have to make the events of the past matter. It’s the sort of struggle that you see with any procedural.
Reid is also far from the first Criminal Minds character who has been forced to find a way to move on after dealing with some significant trauma. After all, remember that we’ve seen some pretty terrible things befall both JJ and Garcia on the show in the past — basically, if you’ve had an episode of Criminal Minds named after you, you’ve probably gone through some serious stuff. We’d love personally to see a story or two that featured Reid interacting somehow with someone from his prison past; it’d help to pay this story forward without completely altering the show in the present.
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