This week marks the grand finale for the 14th season of Criminal Minds on CBS. It’s been another long season of criminal investigation for the BAU Team and Wednesday’s episode proves to be no different! Despite the upcoming celebration of Rossi’s wedding the team must first thwart a plot that puts team member’s lives in danger and reveals some difficult emotional truths.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to Executive Producer and Showrunner Erica Messer ahead of the latest episode to discuss the 14th season as a whole, her favorite moments on the show and what to expect in Wednesday’s latest chapter.
MW- Good morning Erica how are you doing today?
EM- Hi Matt! Doing well!
MW- Fantastic, congratulations on another successful season of Criminal Minds in the books by the way! What’s your biggest take away from this season?
EM- This year we really tried to service Luke Alvez, he was kind of a new character we didn’t get to know much about. One of the episodes called “Luke” was able to dive into him. Then of course there’s the veterans of the show who have been here for so long, what can we learn new about them? Thy’re friends, there’s no secrets, they know everything about each other – but what if they don’t?
What if there’s something on the good side of things, for example Rossi’s best man is Johnny Mathis! It’s kind of awesome [laughs]. Then there are some more emotional revelations that happen throughout the finale itself.
MW- And through all of that character development, what was your favorite moment from this latest season?
EM- I feel like it’s the happy times. It would probably be after the wedding when you see our heroes dancing and smiling and having a great time. Those moments of levity are so rare in the work that team does, to end another big season of catching bad guys, to be able to take a breathe and laugh together are always my favorite moments. I find myself smiling at the screen watching them all dancing and cheering on Rossi getting married. I feel like it gives the audience a little peak into who they would be if we were lucky enough to go have dinner with these characters. It’s probably my favorite every year where they get those moments to be happy!
MW- Those moments do seem to come few and far between as the show deals with a lot of heavy material. How do you all as a staff come up with the content for each episode in terms of new crimes for the team to tackle?
EM- When the show first started it was based more on real cases. Some serial that you knew about and some on strange crimes that we would make a serial. Now it’s less about that because we’re at over 300 episodes so it’s more about someone may have read something that they want to tell a bigger story about. Quite often we find a way! Even if it’s not traditional, I think that’s one of the great things about the show is that we deliver a few episodes a year that are a little bit off.
They might not be a serial crimes always but they may be so strange they require the attention of the BAU or it’s a missing person’s crime which might not technically be on the team’s watch but they’ll look into it because it involves children. This year Bruce Zimmerman wrote an episode where it was like a modern day Pied Piper using these online videos and that’s really bizarre, right? How does that work? The kids are going to get hypnotized? But he was fascinated with the old Pied Piper story and how to make it modern, and he did it!
All of the writers come from a different angle. Sometimes what scares me might not scare them and what scares them doesn’t scare me. Luckily we’re telling stories to a really broad audience and it works for them as well. Sometimes people aren’t afraid of the big, bad, scary monster – they’re more afraid of the online predators. It just varies but thankfully we’ve been able to make it work all these years.
MW- The proof is there, 14 seasons strong so clearly you’re all doing something right!
EM- Thanks! [laughs]
MW- Last question before we go but we have the season finale this week, Rossi’s wedding – what can viewers look forward to this evening?
EM- Well, without giving a spoiler – we’re going to dive into the emotional lives of our heroes in an unexpected way and that will be through the cliff hanger element taking us into the final 10 episodes.
MW- Nice to know there’s another big pay off on the way!
MW- Well thank you so much Erica and I look forward to speaking with you next year during season 15!
EM- That sounds great! Thanks Matt!
Tune in as Criminal Minds airs its 14th season finale this Wednesday, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.