Criminal Mindskicks off its 15th and final season with a two-hour premiere on Wednesday, and one massive question to answer: After JJ's (A.J. Cook) finale bombshell that she's secretly been in love with her longtime friend and BAU colleague, Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), things were left in an awkward place between the two characters. With the new season picking up six months after the events of the finale, is it finally time for JJ and Reid to lay everything out on the table?
As executive producer and showrunner Erica Messer promises, JJ and Reid will be forced to face the aftermath of JJ's love confession -- said under duress, to be fair -- in the first two episodes of the season.
"We wanted to write to that immediately, and not let it be the elephant in the room. It was a big reveal," Messer tells ET of the season 14 finale shocker. "It's funny. Half of the people think that she was just saying what she had to in the moment and half the people believe that she meant what she said. Even the actors on the show, even the writers in the room... everybody felt it could have gone either way, but it almost is irrelevant whether she meant it or not, it was said. And so, we have to acknowledge what was said."
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'Criminal Minds' Sneak Peek: JJ and Reid Are in Danger in Season 14 Finale (Exclusive)
In ET's exclusive sneak peek from the first hour, JJ and Reid team up to investigate the scene of the latest crime that has the consumed the BAU. While the two agents keep their conversation strictly professional, there is a moment (or two) of awkward tension that one can only presume comes to a head later on.
"I believe these two are two of the closest characters. They are literally in life-and-death situations all the time and people get close and the lines get muddy," Messer says. "And not many people could say the things that they can say to one another."
"I think just acknowledging that -- we almost say it's like being in the trenches together, people who are in law enforcement or in those life-and-death scenarios -- it's hard to judge what's right and wrong in those moments, and what to say," she adds. "It was a big bombshell and it was one that we definitely had a lot of conversations about in the room before we wrote it."
Criminal Mindskicks off its final season with a two-hour premiere on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
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