Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds: Ten Things to Know About the Season 13 Premiere 

Daniel Henney (Special Agent Matt Simmons) and Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia)

The Season 12 finale of Criminal Minds had the BAU team rushing to capture the illusive Mr. Scratch when both SUVs that they are riding in are T-boned in a lethal accident that may not have been an accident at all.

From the promo for the Season 13 premiere, it can be seen that Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) was seriously injured and taken to the hospital. Since she was sitting on the passenger side, she must have been among the most severely injured, so her fate remains in limbo, as does that of the rest of the team David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), “JJ” Jareau (A.J. Cook),  Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler), Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez) and Stephen Walker (Damon Gupton).

Safe are Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) and Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), who were not in the SUVs, so it is up to them to carry on the hunt for Mr. Scratch while the rest of the team recovers, especially now that Reid is being reinstated to the BAU, but with conditions that we will learn about when the episode airs.

“Every week is still the darkest thing, the darkest nightmare from which they have to try to rescue innocent victims,” executive producer Breen Frazier tells Parade.com. “It’s always a challenge to find that and to find the new spin on your worst nightmare, but 13 years in, we still do it.”

Joe Mantegna (David Rossi), Adam Rodriguez (Luke Alvez), and Aisha Tyler (Dr. Tara Lewis)

Joe Mantegna (David Rossi), Adam Rodriguez (Luke Alvez), and Aisha Tyler (Dr. Tara Lewis) (Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Here are five things to know about Season 13: 

No. 1. Who’s Coming: Daniel Henney joins the cast as Matt Simmons, an ex-Delta soldier and former International Response Team member from Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, who will join the team. He is available because the IRT has been disbanded.

No. 2: Who’s Going: Damon Gupton has exited his role as Stephen Walker, so it is looking as if he will be a victim of the car crash.

“It’s no secret that Damon Gupton left the show,” Frazier says. “Fortunately, he is on Black Lightning. We could not be happier for him. But it was necessary for the story because the crash was so violent that it was one of those things that we had to do in order to make the story work.”

No. 6. Mr. Scratch: The Big Bad Mr. Scratch (Bodhi Elfman) is back. Well, actually, he never left. Executive producer Erica Messer hints that his fate will be revealed this season.

No. 4: Who’s Missing: Following the car crash, one of the members of the team is missing. It has not been revealed yet, which one it is, or whether or not Mr. Scratch has them.

No. 5.  Dr. Spencer Reid: Reid will be suffering from PTSS — Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome — and he will find that his mental skills aren’t as acute as they were previously. In the first episode back, “Wheels Up,” a problem he might have solved in 60-seconds prior to his incarceration now takes him an hour.

“You see the long term impact that prison has had on his character,” Frazier says. “It felt like this incredible opportunity to show new sides of Dr. Reid. That sort of imprisonment, especially false imprisonment, takes a toll.”

No. 6: J.J. Prentiss: J.J. also deals with stress from the car crash. She and her husband Will (Josh Stewart) take stock of their lives.

“We’ve found that people love J.J. and Dr. Reid,” Frazier says. “When they were into things, there was: Is it going to be a love interest thing happening? Then they evolved into a brother/sister thing and people like that. They like seeing those two characters take care of each other. So that’s what we have on deck for them.”

No. 7. Penelope Garcia: “She’s scared to death, she doesn’t know what to do,” Vangsness tells Parade.com. “She’s called a friend, Matt Simons, at the IRT. He has just lost his job. She doesn’t even really know it. He’s come back. He’s come to help her solve the issue.” 

No. 8. Emily Prentiss: We get to see how Prentiss really assumes the role of team leader and struggles with that in the wake of Aaron Hotchner’s (Thomas Gibson) departure. 

No. 9. Directing: Aisha Tyler, Joe Mantegna, and Mathew Gray Gubler will all be directing episodes this season. 

“It’s the best,” Vangness says of being directed by a fellow cast member. “They know the shorthand. It’s all good. Yeah. It’s the best.”

Adam Rodriguez as Alvez with Roxy

Adam Rodriguez as Alvez with Roxy (CBS)

No. 10. Roxie Returns: Luke Alvez’s dog Roxie makes a comeback in Episode 7. 

The Season 13 premiere of Criminal Minds airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT — a new timeslot — on CBS.

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