'Criminal Minds' Season 7 finale: Emily's exit and a BAU wedding, plus what's next for the show
Which is only natural. The BAU takes down killers every week, but it's not often that one of their own gets married and another decides to leave the team.
We've known for a while that Paget Brewster was leaving the show at the end of this season, and the show did a pretty decent job of grounding Emily's departure within the character. She never completely recovered from the Ian Doyle situation, and she needs to separate herself from the current job to really put it behind her.
PICS: TV Exits: Saying good-bye to familiar faces
It also seemed very much in keeping with the character that Emily tried to keep it quiet during J.J.'s wedding to Will, which was of course the other big finale moment for the show. Right from the suspiciously normal and happy scene at the top of the first hour, "Hit," we had a feeling J.J. and Will were in for a very tough day, and sure enough, Will got caught up in the robbery and was used as a pawn by the ringleader ( Tricia Helfer, icy as can be). But they got their happy ending, and that's something fans can take into the offseason.
So where will "Criminal Minds" go in Season 8? For starters, executive producer Erica Messer says she hasn't given up hope that Brewster will come back for an episode or two.
"If we could ever bring her back and have a few episodes next season, we would love to do that and be able to tie up where she's gone and what adventures she's having," Messer says. "We'd like to believe that wherever she is and whatever Agent Prentiss is doing, she's still seeing that team and she's still having brunch with the girls, still doing those kinds of things as much as possible."
Emily got an offer to run Interpol's London office in the finale, but Messer says the writers didn't want to have her make a snap decision. The show "may land on that" as an explanation of where Prentiss went, but nothing's been decided yet.
Messer also says no decision has been made about adding a new cast member to replace Brewster, and she can see both sides of the argument for doing so.
"There are talks of doing that," she says. "I can see this team going on as they are, because one of the hardest things for all of us writing it and fans is to introduce a new person to that roundtable. It's such a family. It's unlike most shows in that sense that changing out characters can be a really difficult thing to do, and we've learned that."
If a new character does join the BAU, "it will be someone who is worthy of being on the BAU. I think that was a little tricky in the last introduction of a character" -- Rachel Nichols' Ashley Seaver last season. "She was so young ... it's OK for that to be Reid [ Matthew Gray Gubler], because he's super-special genius boy, but it's hard to make excuses for that when we've said for so long that it's such an elite group."
What did you think of the "Criminal Minds" finale, and would you like to see a new character next season?