Criminal Minds Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer can sum up Season 9 in one word: backstories. 

"That's our focus this year," she tells TVGuide.com. "We're telling backstories and origin stories. We want to give everybody some insight into our heroes because we give insight to the unsubs every week. We're going to hit 200 [episodes] and it feels like, 'Let's tell the audience things they never knew before.'"

That involves an old beau for Garcia (Kristen Vangsness), The Reaper (C. Thomas Howell) and Haley (Meredith Monroe) returning (but not from the dead), and filling in the blanks of JJ's (A.J. Cook) year in the State Department during Season 6 — with some help from new BAU section chief Matt Cruz (Esai Morales), with whom she worked there. What's the deal with those two? How does Garcia's ex come back into the picture? Get the scoop on the season below:

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