Is this the beginning of the end?
Criminal Minds wraps up its 15-season run on Wednesday, and that means change may be coming for the BAU. As the team continues to battle one of their most formidable unsubs, Everett Lynch (aka The Chameleon), Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) invites them over to his place for the first time in… ever for a low-key evening of Chinese takeout and beer.
But it’s not just a chill hangout among friends and co-workers as Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) drops the mini bombshell that she may be moving on from the BAU. Get those tissues ready, friends. “An opportunity has presented itself to me and it is in the Silicon Valley…,” Garcia’s voice trails off in ET’s exclusive clip from the first hour of the series finale, before she details the new position which sounds tailor-made for her.
“That sounds perfect for you,” says Alvez (Adam Rodriguez). “You get to do all the good work at the BAU without the gore.”
“Are you trying to get rid of me?” Garcia asks, prompting Alvez to reassure her that he’s not. “I don’t want to go anywhere. This is my home… the BAU is and come on, we’re family.”
“Yeah, we’re family,” Alvez nods, “and our relationship to each other is not bound by wherever we show up to go to work.” With friends like these, who even wants to ponder leaving the BAU? Watch ET’s exclusive sneak peek above to see what happens next.
“We wanted to write this finale as fans of the show and also as a thank you to all the fans who had been watching. And so, the most important thing was to get our tone right, to not go completely off-book and do something that doesn’t feel like the 325 hours of TV that people had been watching,” showrunner and executive producer Erica Messer tells ET of co-writing the final hour with Vangsness. “In doing that, we really wanted to explore how far we’ve all come in the last 15 seasons.”
“One way to do that was right off the bat in the teaser where Reid gets up the elevator and walks into the bullpen, as he’s done hundreds of times, and yet this time he’s taken back to a memory from the finale of season one. In that he gets to see all the players that were with him in the early days of this journey, that were with all of us in the early days of the journey: Morgan (Shemar Moore), Elle (Lola Glaudini), Hotch (Thomas Gibson), Gideon (Mandy Patinkin),” Messer teases.
“That was one of many little winks we gave to the audience of, ‘We remember because we were here too. We remember the team before the amazing eight-member team that we have today. It started like this.’ Honoring that history of the series was a really important thing for us to do and then being able to have a roller-coaster ride for our last hour of TV was really important as well.”
The two-hour series finale of Criminal Minds airs Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
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