Will ‘Criminal Minds’ Return for Season 14? The Procedural Is Headed Towards A Stressful Cliffhanger

Michael Yarish/CBS

Everyone loves an unsolved mystery, based on the countless “whodunit” shows on TV right now. Police drama Criminal Minds does exactly what the show’s title suggests by diving into the minds of criminals to solve cases. The Virginia-based FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit has spent 13 seasons analyzing suspects and drawing conclusions about behavior. The season ends on April 18 with two unconnected hour-long episodes, but will Criminal Minds return for Season 14? Unfortunately for fans of the long-running series, there's no simple answer to this question right now.

Per TV Line, the CBS procedural series hit a series low in ratings this season. But Criminal Minds retains a loyal fanbase, despite a few major lineup changes. Damon Gupton, who played Stephen Walker, left the show after just one season, per Deadline. Daniel Henney made the jump to the prime show with his character Matt Simmons, after Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders was axed by CBS. Regular cast members Paget Brewster, Joe Mantegna, A.J. Cook, and Matthew Gray Gubler, among others, have stuck around.

CBS has not made a renewal announcement at this time, though it did renew 11 series the very day of the Criminal Minds finale, per The Hollywood Reporter. But showrunner Erica Messer is optimistic that she will get a chance to continue the current story. Messer confirmed to CBS Pittsburgh that the season will end with an enormous cliffhanger. She said:

“The first hour is a standalone episode about The Hum in Taos, New Mexico. It’s a really interesting phenomenon. It’s a low frequency that has been know to drive people mad. Our finale is not connected to that episode at all. It brings back Dr. Reid [Gubler], who has been gone for two episodes on a sabbatical. He’s back and looking for an FBI agent who has been missing for over a year. There is another big surprise before a cliffhanger that will surprise a lot of viewers.”

If Criminal Minds returns for Season 14, the season opener would be the shows 300th episode. In the same CBS interview, Messer said that she hopes the milestone coinciding with a new season will be additional encouragement for CBS to renew the popular show.

The show's official YouTube account released two sneak peek videos of the final episode of the season, “Believer.” In the first clip, team discusses how former FBI Special Agent Owen Quinn (James Urbaniak) left his career because he forced evidence to match an “unsub” whom he believed to be a serial killer. The second clip focuses on Jennifer “JJ” Jareau (Cook), a known worrywart, who is concerned about Reid keeping secrets after he was off the grid for some time. Neither clip points to a clear cliffhanger, however.

Criminal Minds on YouTube
Criminal Minds on YouTube

Messer jokingly apologized for the impending drama in an interview with The Herald Democrat. She said that she wanted to cause a stir and put several of the main characters in harm’s way. It’s a bold move that may make viewers angry, if the show is cancelled because they will never see the how the story arc ends. The aftermath of Reid and B.A.U. Unit Chief Emily Prentiss (Brewster) apprehending Agent Quinn could be tough on fans. “Expect the unexpected because I don’t know if we’ve ever quite ended a season the way we’re ending this one," Messer warned. "I’m sorry in advance for any stress I cause anyone.”

The April 18 CBS renewal announcement included good news for procedurals Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver, Blue Bloods, Bull, and the NCIS: Los Angeles and New Orleans spinoffs. The network knows that its strength lies in this genre, so there's still hope that Criminal Minds will continue to be a primetime cornerstone.