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Criminal Minds Sets Up an Unexpected Romance for Final Season

Um, are we okay with this?

Megan Vick

[Warning: The following contains spoilers from the latest episode of Criminal Minds.]

Criminal Minds closed another chapter on Wednesday night with the Season 14 finale, but has opened the door on a very unexpected romance.

This week's case took the BAU to Los Angeles to solve a series of seemingly random murders. The unsub was a man who was sent to prison for a crime he swears he wasn't responsible for and became determined to make everyone who lead to his sentencing pay after his release. J.J. (A.J. Cook) and Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) ended up being held hostage when they first tried apprehend him, and during their captivity J.J. confessed that she's always loved Reid.

She was being held at gun point and being forced to tell the unsub something she'd never told anyone, but did she make it up under duress or was it a true statement? The answer to that burning question was left unanswered as the team gathered for Rossi's (Joe Mantegna) wedding back in Washington D.C. So while the episode was essentially a happy ending, fans are left wondering if two of the O.G. team members have been secretly in love the entire time we've been watching the show.

Luckily, showrunner Erica Messer was on hand to help clear up some of the confusion and tease what the team is planning for Criminal Minds' upcoming final season.

Matthew Gray Gubler and A.J. Cook, Criminal Minds

Matthew Gray Gubler and A.J. Cook, Criminal Minds

Cliff Lipson, CBS

This was a big emotional twist, and honestly, I don't know how I feel about it. I love it, but I also feel bad about it. Is that what you want fans to be thinking when they see this confession from J.J?
Messer: It's one of those things where we even had many discussions in the writers room about it, with the actors about it, and we all feel that way. We all feel really conflicted about it. And we thought, "That makes a good story."... Did she tell the truth or not in that moment? And some people are adamant that she told the truth. Some people are adamant that she didn't. And I was like, "Well, if it's an argument where nobody can be proven right or wrong, that's kind of interesting." But I'm with you, I feel conflicted about it. I think because we're so protective of our characters, us as the writers and also the actors themselves. We just didn't want anyone angry at anyone else basically. I don't want anyone being angry at J.J. for saying that or feeling like that's not fair for her to say or something, whether it was true or not. You never want Reid to seem sad, and if that made him sad in any way, then that's going be tough. I know the audience likes both of those characters so much and the hope is that they'll continue to and be on this journey with us in the final 10.

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Does J.J. and Reid's storyline mean we're gonna see more of J.J.'s husband next season?
Messer: Oh yeah, for sure. We will see more Will LaMontange. We will definitely see more.

Will it be a storyline through the final ten episodes or is it something that will have to get addressed sooner rather than later?
Messer: It'll addressed sooner rather than later, but it will be something that we deal with in the first two episodes of the final ten [episodes]. We always strive to add another layer to our characters, and this did that for both J.J. and Reid.

Speaking of the final 10, I read that you said that it was gonna be more serialized than we've ever seen Criminal Minds before. Can you tell me a little bit more about what that means and what we can expect from this final season?
Messer: We kick off the final ten with a two-parter, basically. Whether they're aired at the same time or not is unclear, but it's a two-hour story. The emotional journey of our heroes [picks] up about six months after this finale has aired, and chasing the Chameleon. We haven't broken the end of the series yet but, ideally, we're catching that guy. Mike Moseley did such an amazing job with that episode, and we just felt like that was a worthy adversary, especially given how he really shocked and rocked Rossi's world. We pick up with Rossi's obsession in catching him in the final ten, and then that will play throughout, which is, you know, not a usual thing for us.

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That covers how Rossi, J.J. and Reid are being emotionally tested, but can you talk about how the others are gonna be affected by this case, and how it goes deeper with them as well?
Messer: It ends up bringing a little bit of frustration to some of the other team members thinking, "We're spending a lot of time maybe chasing the wrong case. This might not be related to the Chameleon."... It tests the boundaries of our crime fighting just a little bit. And the camaraderie that we usually see gets a little testy, I would say. But, ultimately, we're all on the same team and we're the good fighting evil, and that wins all the time. So even if we don't catch them when we wanna catch them, we're gonna not stop until we do.

Can you share a few things from your final season like wish list of things that you are hoping to all squeeze in in these last ten episodes?
Oh my gosh. There's so many, it's really hard. We're hoping to revisit other guest characters who have really made an impact on our heroes, good or bad. I can tell you we are shooting with Jane Lynch right now so that was high on my wish list and we were able to get her, so that's good. There's just so many. There's so many things to tie up and to think about and to hope for in their future that the list just keeps growing. I feel like every time I check something off, three things get added to it. So, it's hard.

Criminal Minds will return to CBS next fall.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation)