Note: The following article contains spoilers for the Criminal Minds season 14 finale.
Criminal Minds viewers, have you picked your jaws up off the floor yet after JJ's shocking admission in the season 14 finale?
If not, we couldn't blame you, since JJ (A. J. Cook) genuinely changed the entire dynamic of the series while trying to get out of a hostage situation with Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler).
In this week's episode, a twisted UnSub was manipulating people to cause car crashes, then shoot the driver. So when cornered, he forced JJ to confess her deepest secret to Reid - which was that she was madly in love with him.
As usual, the duo managed to take down the UnSub, and JJ later assured Reid she was only trying to tell the killer what he wanted to hear. But is that really the truth?
Breaking down the unexpected turn of events with TVLine, showrunner Erica Messer said she was initially opposed to the idea of JJ and Reid ever becoming a couple.
"What’s funny about all of this is the pitch came to me from the writer’s room, and I’m so 'mother lion' about all of the characters, so my immediate reaction was, 'That’s not going to work, they’re siblings. No, they’re siblings, they’re siblings," she remembered.
"And then the room kept pitching me, and I had written in [Episode] 300 about that time that Reid invited her to the Redskins game and other people were sort of trying to pair them up as a couple…
"We had longer conversations about it, and I thought, well, you know these people have been in the trenches together - not literally, obviously, but as far as work goes, it’s life or death quite often, and who are we to say who gets close and who doesn’t get close?"
Messer went on: "I’ve talked to plenty in law enforcement, and there’s a bond there that defies a traditional definition. And so, I just kind of fell more in love with the idea that, yeah, it’s messy and it’s weird, and 'I’ve loved you for a long time', like, that’s just the truth. We’re going to dive into that in the first two hours [of season 15] because we can’t leave everybody hanging and then pretend it didn’t happen.
"It’s definitely a huge driver for the first handful of episodes that will help add layers to those characters again."
Asked whether she believed JJ was really only bluffing about her feelings for Reid, Messer admitted: "It’s so funny, taking a poll of people, half of them think she was lying because we set up in the very beginning when they’re playing poker and she says, 'I’m a better liar than you think'.
"So, half of the people think she’s lying, and half of them think she was telling the truth, but 100% think he loves her too, so that’s where it’s hard. Everybody is like, 'Oh, of course he loves JJ, that’s no secret'.”
"We already knew we would have to keep chasing Michael Mosely [aka 'The Chameleon'], and that’s great for a final 10, but emotionally, what are we coming back for?" she explained. "This felt like a really interesting, surprising way to go.
She went on: "The truth is, we had a long conversation with Matthew and with AJ and just said, 'Here, this is what we’re thinking of doing. Do you have any objections to this?' And they were all for it."
Criminal Minds airs on CBS in the US and Sky Witness in the UK.
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