Much to the frustration of its avid fans, "Criminal Minds" season 11 left off with a cliffhanger, so it is likely that the upcoming season 12 will pick up on that cliffhanger as well as introduce some changes. One of these may include the replacement for Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), who the team lost during the finale for the last season.
"Criminal Minds" executive producer Erica Messer confirmed that the team would need a new addition to the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). The team had suffered a great loss, but with the prison breaks that recently transpired, and the notorious criminal Peter Lewis at large, a fully functioning BAU would be a great necessity.
Messer pointed out to TV Guide: "We don't want a shrinking cast. We want to have people in the field. Given that we have to go out and catch criminals of the week and these serial killers out there, it feels like we can't be an agent down this year. We have to be full-steam ahead."
However, the EP added that they have no idea as yet who that addition could be, although the casting has already been set in motion. She added that they have a number of candidates in mind, but was concerned that no one would be able to commit to availability at such short notice. Messer did say that "Mr. Scratch" would have to be a part of the next season, at the very least to have the idea of him existing for the show.
Messer reflected, "Everything else will be the fun of getting the writers together and to say, 'If we could bring back anyone in the last 11 years, who would you want it to be?'"
Some speculations came out based on a look-back to the season 11 crossover between the show and "Beyond Borders," taking into account the rise in the show's ratings that it brought. It is believed that the next season may feature another crossover, anticipating an encounter between Thomas Gibson and Gary Sinise in a future episode.
The release date for the upcoming "Criminal Minds" season 12 has not been announced so far.