Once the dust that comes with pulling Prentiss “out of the grave” settles, CBS’ Criminal Minds will take a breath and use some of its seventh season to explore the more personal side of the hard-working BAU agents.
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“Every time we can reveal another layer of one of our characters, all the better,” executive producer Erica Messer told TVLine Tuesday at a Paley Center event tributing the crime drama (which returns Sept. 21). “We study how everybody else ticks, how all the bad guys tick, and I want to be able to study our heroes, too. And this season, we’ve earned that. It’s seven years, so I think it’s time we get to do that.”
For one, A.J. Cook shared with us that the show will revisit William LaMontagne Jr., the onetime New Orleans detective whom viewers first met in Season 2, and in Season 4 emerged as the father of JJ’s baby. Third Watch‘s Josh Stewart will again reprise the role.
“We’re going to see her baby’s daddy and her baby again, which my actual real-life son will be playing,” said Cook. “So it’ll be fun. We’re definitely going to see into her personal life and what’s been happening there.”
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Speaking of love interests, as first reported by TVLine, Homicide: Life on the Street‘s Isabella Hofmann will guest-star as Rossi’s first wife, in a two-week arc beginning with Episode 5.
“It’s going to be special in really bittersweet way,” Messer previews. What, no warm, fuzzy rekindling of an old romance? “It’s the Criminal Minds version of that,” notes the EP, “so it has to be a little bit darker, right?”
Joe Mantegna, who had been lobbying for any of Rossi’s three (!) exes to make a showing, says the storyline “exceeded my expectations,” adding: “When you’re on a show for seven years, I think the fans appreciate something that deals with the personal aspects of the characters.”
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And then there’s Reid, whose past history of drug addiction will again be addressed. “It’s territory that we don’t want to go over again because we feel like he’s been there and done that,” Messer allows, “but it’s also defined who he is. So we have to explore that.”
In addition, Matthew Gray Gubler told us that his alter ego’s mysterious Season 6 headaches are “still lingering, as headaches are wont to do.” But as for his own wishes for Reid’s personal life, Gubler wants him to go back to school.
“I’d like to see him become like an adjunct professor at a community college,” says the actor, “and start teaching people something totally unrelated to criminology.” (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)