Criminal Minds interview: EP on Jane Lynch’s return, Reid & JJ moment

Criminal MindsThe Criminal Minds season 15 premiere has now come and gone, and there was a lot of emotional stuff that transpired. Reid and JJ had a heart-to-heart about their feelings after JJ almost died while out in the field; in that, she acknowledged that Reid was her first love, but also made it clear that she loved Will and her family also and was not leaving them. It was a complex situation that led to Reid having a conversation with a temporarily-lucid Diana (Jane Lynch) about his future. While she was kind about JJ, she also encouraged Reid to not wait around for some hope that may not come. Instead, she wanted him to go out and live his life.

In the aftermath of this episode, check out what executive producer Erica Messer had to say to CarterMatt about some of these big moments, plus also the decision to leave Everett Lynch dangling out there and also the nostalgia that will be present through out the rest of the final season.

New Criminal Minds video! We also have a video discussion about the season 15 premiere that you can watch below; Be sure to subscribe to CarterMatt on YouTube so you don’t miss our weekly videos all about Criminal Minds (posted every Wednesday after the episode) and check out our show playlist.

CarterMatt – What was the reason for leaving Everett Lynch still out there after the first two episodes?

Erica Messer – We didn’t want to catch him at the end of the second hour because we only have ten. This is great — we get to do more of a serialized show, which is rare for us! Yet, we didn’t want the team losing every week for ten episodes. Bad guys are still doing bad things, and we have these other cases as well. Let’s make sure he’s still out there so that when we get to the two-hour finale, it feels like we’ve really earned that. We were able to have fun and arc out the bigger Chameleon story and still sprinkle in a lot of bad guys.

I loved the payoff to the Reid – JJ story. What went into having it play out the way that it did?

After that first hour [where JJ was shot], it’s like ‘life is so precious, we have to talk about this. I love you, you’re my friend, you’re so much to me. But, I have a husband and I have kids and that’s my life and I love my life.’ I think you forgive anybody who might have been mad at JJ. We were trying to be really protective of her and her relationships; she has this life that Reid doesn’t have.

Was it fair that she said that? In the writers room, half of the writers were like ‘no, she doesn’t mean it. She’s just saying what she needs to in order to get out of that.’ But, if you ask the crew, the actors, a lot of people said ‘oh, she totally meant it! Of course she did’; then, another actor would be like ‘no, she didn’t mean it. She just had to say it.’ It’s one of those things — who’s right and who’s wrong? We’ll never truly answer that in a way. There was obvious truth to what she said, but did she say it just to get them out of there? Either way, we wanted to protect her and him and their relationship from anything that could have made them disconnect.

By the third episode, she’s back at work and everyone’s trying to get back to normal.

How important was it that you were able to bring Jane Lynch back, and that Reid was able to have this moment with his mother where she encouraged him to live his life?

It was one of those dangling storylines we wanted to be able to connect. Reid’s mom is obviously such a huge influence on him and a gift anytime that she can be on. Stephanie SenGupta wrote that episode and we all really wanted to see Reid, who is in a moment of needing care-giving as opposed to being the caregiver, have a heart-to-heart with his mom.

One of the things that research had turned out was that there are always improvements and setbacks in any sort of degenerative disease. Just when Reid thinks his day can’t get any worse, he gets a call and is expecting the worst because why wouldn’t he? The surprise is that she’s actually lucid — she’s completely my mom right now, to the point where she can actually give me advice. That’s just something we’ve all been craving for him, and it felt like there was no better time to do it than now.

On the page, it had just felt like such an avalanche on Reid — first it was JJ, and then it was his mom! Stephanie and I are both working moms, and we were like ‘that’s life! It happens’ (laughs). It’s not easy. One bad thing happens and then you get another call. The nice surprise was that she was doing well and she could give him some comfort.

Is there anything else that you’d like to say about the remaining episodes? Are there any other characters from the past turning up?

It’s really a gift for the fans — especially those who have watched all along. In the last two hours of the series, they will be reminded of moments they’ll be able to remember. They’ll know what season it was, who wrote it, who directed it (laughs). It was truly a gift to say ‘we’ve all been in this together. We’ve all played a role in this show.’ We so appreciate the love and support we’ve gotten from the press and the fans; we wouldn’t be able to do this without them. Any little gift that we could give them to acknowledge that, we did in these final ten.

Related News Be sure to get some additional information on Criminal Minds, including more scoop on what’s next

What do you want to see on Criminal Minds following tonight’s premiere?

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