After ending season 11 on a cliffhanger, fans of the CBS procedural Criminal Minds won’t have to wonder what’s going to happen next. According to Variety, the show has been renewed for a 12th season after initially being left off CBS’ long list of renewals back in March.
The renewal shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of the show. The season 11 finale, which aired on May 4, was watched by 8.84 million people and had a rating of 1.8 in the key demographic, according to TV by the Numbers. Criminal Minds is also CBS’ second-highest rated drama, only behind NCIS, according to TV by the Numbers.
Part of the reason it takes so long for Criminal Minds to be renewed each season is because the show is produced by both CBS and ABC Studios, meaning that both networks have to agree to the terms. The late in the game renewals have become common practice for the show the last few years.
In the season 11 finale, Hotch (Thomas Gibson) was arrested at the beginning of the episode and the rest of the team had to deal with an attempted prison break as they tried to prove Hotch’s innocence. In the final moments of the episode showed the team getting messages saying there had been another prison break, where some of the previous unsubs (unknown subjects, or the bad guys and gals in each episode) from past seasons escaped from jail.
Now that the show has been renewed for its 12th season, viewers will get to see the aftermath of the prison break, similar to how the third, fourth and fifth seasons ended on cliffhangers that were resolved in the first episodes of the next season.
Season 11 of Criminal Minds featured the departure of longtime cast member Shemar Moore (Derek Morgan), who was an original cast member. Moore’s character left the BAU after his character was kidnapped and tortured and his character’s wife was shot while she was pregnant with their son. Moore’s character was written off the show with the potential for him to return in the future.
Also in season 11, fan favorite character Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) made an appearance in the March 30 episode to help the team with a case. Brewster’s episode aired a week after Moore left the show.
While the fate of the original Criminal Minds has been determined by the CBS and ABC executives, the fate of its most recent spinoff, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, has yet to be decided by the network. In fact, CBS has yet to pick up any of its new shows from this TV season yet. The first spinoff of Criminal Minds, which was called Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior lasted only a season before canceled.