Season 6 has been rough for Criminal Minds with cast changes upon cast changes - upon even more cast changes. After the dust settled, the prayers of fans have been answered and A.J. Cook is returning to reprise her role as Jennifer “JJ” Jareau for the foreseeable future.
Of course… that's not all. As Criminal Minds ends its sixth season, one thing has absolutely been made clear: anything CAN and Will happen.
After the BAU stumbles on a country-wide human trafficking ring, while searching for two missing persons, the team must work overtime to bring down this unsub. As Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) warns that the BAU faces possible staff changes, everyone assumes the worst.
When a certain familiar face walks through the door, shocked cannot even being to describe their expressions.
In an attempt to almost mimic the real-life drama surrounding the series, the Criminal Minds season 6 finale, entitled "Supply & Demand," awkwardly forced the return of A.J. Cook as JJ, while simultaneously delivering a somewhat interesting, yet entirely unfulfilling, storyline.
Changing the tone of a typical Criminal Minds episode, a car crash with dead bodies in the trunk sets the location for the BAU’s traveling. Before leaving, Hotchner gathers the remaining BAU members and informs them that there are changes coming to the team.
As a whole, Criminal Minds tends to deliver storylines that transcend that of the generic police procedural. With a cast of superb, yet ever dwindling, actors and a talented writing team, it’s hard to believe that Criminal Minds would implement the return of J.J. in such an overt and completely disconnected manner.
While the transition and subsequent cliffhanger will surly right itself in terms of quality, this isn’t the first time that Criminal Minds has re-introduced familiar characters. Considering that fact, one would have expected the return of J.J. and Hotchner’s relocation would have been weaved into the finale’s storyline. Unfortunately, like many of television’s favorite series, the overall story and episodic plot are mutually exclusive. Acceptable? Yes - but it’s not ideal.
With the inclusion of a proverbial human trafficking ring, Criminal Minds served to once again raise the barrier for what can be expected on primetime television. Although, as the Criminal Minds season 6 finale progressed, both the reasoning behind the so-called human trafficking ring and the eventual reveal was extremely underwhelming.
As the movies Taken and Hostel have somewhat paved the way for illusive human trafficking storylines, it would have been unoriginal to simply mimic their famed storylines. Unfortunately, the evolutionary nature of this specific human trafficking ring feels all but ridiculous. Even though the reasoning for any UNSUB to commit crimes may be unique unto itself, it’s hard to believe that there’s an underground world of people willing to pay to see someone murdered – and what were they bidding on if everyone watched?
While it’s true that almost any criminal act could logically be probable, the complete reveal of the intent of the human trafficking ring served to contradict everything that fans have been unwittingly learning while watching the series. For the main UNSUB, the focus was on power and money, but there wasn’t an active of enough role for those willing to pay to see someone murdered. Even the voyeuristic nature that Criminal Minds has seen in past antagonists wouldn’t apply since the notion of a large group and contact with others would be contradictory to someone of that nature.
Upon its conclusion, the manner in which the storyline was concluded was acceptable, but nowhere near as emotional as the producers had intended it. With a transition to the return of J.J. to the BAU, the eventual reveal felt somewhat important as “the possible change in the BAU” storyline was rarely touched upon in the series finale.
Using Hotchner possibly leaving the BAU as a cliffhanger was interesting, but like I mentioned previously, it all presented itself at such a quick pace towards the end that the actual weight of Hotchner possibly leaving was all but lost.
Given Criminal Minds’ past year of problems behind the scene, one has to give the series some type of leeway in regards to how they choose to develop the future of the series. As cast changes continue to happen, it can’t be easy to find a solid foundation to build the needed seasonal story-arcs. While it’s likely that the series will once again find itself next season, one can’t help but wonder whether or not Criminal Minds has run its course.
…and don’t think I didn’t notice that open-ended storyline that would have Garcia leave the BAU.
Criminal Minds airs Wednesday @9pm on CBS
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