Showrunner Erica Messer also previewed Rachael Leigh Cook's new character, Maxine

By Eric Todisco
January 09, 2020 06:00 PM

Criminal Minds delivered an emotional and unforgettable moment during its 15th and final season premiere on Wednesday.

The two-hour premiere saw JJ (A.J. Cook) profess her love for Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) after he saved her life when she was shot in a parking garage. After JJ pulled through in the hospital, the pair got another chance to share their feelings, and this time, both parties admitted they were in love with one another.

However, JJ said that she also loves her husband, Will, so she and Reid decided that they would continue to be “best friends.”

Showrunner Erica Messer spoke to TVLine about the episode and JJ and Reid’s emotional conversation — and if it will bring about a romantic relationship between the duo.

“It will never be discussed the way it was discussed in [the premiere], but there will still be sort of ‘knowing looks’ and moments through the end,” Messer said.

JJ and Reid
| Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty

Sadly for fans shipping JJ and Reid, Messer confirmed that the show will be introducing a new character, Maxine (Rachael Leigh Cook), who will be a love interest for Reid.

“This was our version of giving Reid a shot at some kind of romance, which has always been a big sticking point with the show,” Messer said. “I think that creatively, people wanted to go down that path with him, but realistically introducing a new love interest for anyone can become difficult because you have to give it this ‘energy’ that takes away from the crimesolving of the week.”

“But again, it was one of those things on the wish list of, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we saw Reid meet somebody who’s worthy of him?’ ” she added. “Our hearts are still with Maeve so much, because Reid’s heart is with Maeve, but when that love was taken from him it felt it would be nice to give that character a shot at love again.”

Rachael Leigh Cook

Messer said that Cook, 40, will make her debut as Maxine in the Jan. 22 episode, titled “Saturday,” and will return again in a later episode.

CBS announced in January 2019 that the police drama series would be coming to an end — but promised an “epic final season” in the works. The 15th season will feature 10 episodes.

The series was created by Jeff Davis and premiered in 2005.

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on CBS.