'Criminal Minds' Boss Previews Tense Season 14 Finale and Bittersweet Wrap-Up (Exclusive)

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Is Criminal Minds ending season 14 on a... gasp, happy note?

On Wednesday's finale, titled "Truth or Dare," the BAU team members prepare to celebrate Rossi's (Joe Mantegna) big wedding day to Krystall (Gail O'Grady). But before they get there, they travel to Los Angeles to investigate a series of fatal shootings in broad daylight in following violent car crashes. As you can imagine, things escalate to the point where two of the BAU's very own, Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and JJ (A.J. Cook), find themselves in extreme danger as hostages with an armed suspect. 

In ET's exclusive sneak peek, Rossi, Lewis (Aisha Tyler), Simmons (Daniel Henney) and Detective Murad (Marco Sanchez) scramble for a plausible Plan B to get Reid and JJ to safety without risking their lives. "We've got two of our best agents in there," Rossi says with desperation. "We need to trust that they'll keep things under control until we can find a way in." Unfortunately, that may be too optimistic on Rossi's part.

Showrunner and executive producer Erica Messer reflected on the season, telling ET that it was imperative that they dive into the core characters' lives outside of the workplace, especially with the final season fast approaching. 

"As we knew that we were getting on in years, we started asking, 'Can we tell these stories with a personal twist?' We don’t always get the opportunity to do that because in a 22[-episode] order, that’s a massive amount of work to do and not everybody is going to get their shot at their story," she said. "This year, we were really able to do it."

"With Rossi, introducing Gail last year as Krystall and knowing that they really sparked, we wanted Rossi to get it right this time, so we knew from the beginning of season 14 that we wanted the season to end with his wedding," Messer previewed. "We weren’t sure if that was going to be the series or season finale, and when we found out it was a season finale, we ran with it. Of course, JJ and Reid have a lot going on. It's been nice to dive into these final 10 episodes knowing it’s the final 10, but making sure every single one has an impact on our heroes in some way."

When word came down in January that the upcoming 15th season would be Criminal Minds' last, it was important for Messer that the perennial bubble show be able to plan its farewell. 

"By the time I found out, there was enough time for us to properly do a season finale and then we knew that we’d have 10 episodes to wrap up the series," Messer said. "I think a lot of people on this end still feel like we could keep going. I know I said that when we celebrated our 300th, 'Here’s to 400!' because I do feel like there’s an endless supply of stories to tell here. At the end of the day, it’s good versus evil and it’s an amazing group of heroes who have been invited into living rooms since 2005. I still believe that, but I also understand it’s a business. As far as that goes, we were treated with incredible respect."

Criminal Minds wraps up season 14 on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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