Joe Mantegna Joe Mantegna

Rossi is getting a blast from the past on Criminal Minds — and we're not talking about his second wife.

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While Wednesday's episode (9/8c, CBS) will feature a flashback to the second Mrs. Rossi, it's another new lady in Rossi's (Joe Mantegna) life that will have fans talking. As seen in the exclusive sneak peek below, Joy (Amber Stevens), an aggressive reporter, comes by the BAU and makes Rossi's mouth hit the floor when she tells him she's his daughter.



Is Joy actually Rossi's flesh and blood? That remains to be seen. But the story line came at Mantegna's suggestion, according to executive producer and showrunner Erica Messer. "We sit down with [the actors] every summer and talk about ideas, and Joe came in and said, 'I'd really like it if Rossi had this other thing going on,'" she tells TVGuide.com. "We kicked it around and landed on something really great."

Mantegna had long wanted to meet another of Rossi's three ex-wives, ever since his ALS-afflicted first wife Carolyn, with whom he had a son who died shortly after he was born, committed suicide in Season 7. Messer says they didn't want to introduce another ex too soon and needed a different way to come about it. After Joy's bombshell, Rossi looks back on his romance with her mother in — where else? — the City of Light. "He's forced to remember a time many, many moons ago in the '80s when they were living in Paris. You'll see a different Rossi," Messer says. "The joke is that Rossi this playboy now, but there's something sweet when you see them together back then. It's a Rossi we don't know."

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Messer hopes fans will see a different Rossi as well via Joy, who will — spoiler alert! — remain in the picture after Wednesday's episode. "It will be a little bit of a thread throughout the year. It's an unexpected connection and he's navigating his way through it the best he can," she says. "We'll pick up on it again in Episode 12. It's nice, other layer to Rossi that will hopefully be refreshing and interesting."

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS.

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