warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

"Criminal Minds" Season Eight: 8 Things To Look Forward To

Kathy Zerbib |
September 26, 2012 | 10:32 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

How will Agent Alex Blake fit in with the tight-knit BAU? "Criminal Minds", CBS Wednesdays at 9 (Image: CBS)
How will Agent Alex Blake fit in with the tight-knit BAU? "Criminal Minds", CBS Wednesdays at 9 (Image: CBS)

1. Jeanne Tripplehorn as “Alex Blake”

Though we fanatics mourn the departure of Paget Brewster’s character “Emily Prentiss” (again), Jeanne Tripplehorn’s arrival as “Alex Blake” reassures us the show will not be negatively impacted by this loss. As the newest member to the BAU team, Alex is portrayed as a go-getter with a Berkeley background, recruited as a rookie at 24-years-old. She assumes an immediate role within the team and barely has a trace of a beginner about her.

2. Aaron Hotchner and Beth Clemmons

Last season, we were treated to a softer side of Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner when we were introduced to his new love interest, a triathlon runner named Beth Clemmons. Late in the seventh season, Hotch introduced her to his son Jack – a huge step in their new relationship. Though she was not in the premiere, it will be interesting to see how the couple progress (or fall apart) in the eighth season. Hopefully, Beth will not be targeted by his enemies like Hotch’s last wife was!

3. More Elaborate Killers

If there is anything “Criminal Minds” does best – though it is really impossible to pick just one thing – it is the way in which they formulate their killers. The killer in the season eight premiere was a taste of the twistedness to come this season. Every time, the show tries to overdo itself by presenting more cruel and calculated characters to challenge the beloved BAU team and, every time, the team manages to rally together and capture the unsub (short for unknown subject) in the end.

4. Penelope Garcia Versus Alex Blake

Within the first few minutes of the premiere, a rift begins between Penelope and Alex. Penelope is obviously feeling insecure over the new girl, a strong replacement for her close friend Emily. Alex is headstrong and clearly runs by her rules. Perhaps Penelope sees a lot of Emily in Alex. Alex is also a lot more serious than Penelope is. It is evident from the start that these two will be character foils for each other. Despite Penelope asking Alex to start over, there is definitely still tension lingering. Expect drama from Penelope’s insecurities and maybe a little showdown mid-season?

5. Jennifer Jareau’s Family Life

In the season seven finale, Jennifer “JJ” Jareau marries her long-time boyfriend Will LaMontagne Jr, with whom she has a young child named Henry. The married life is new to JJ and seeing how her family unit cultivates will be interesting. “Criminal Minds” fanatics are hoping this young family stays together, no matter how tough a case may be. After all, in the last season finale, Will came extremely close to dying and another risk would just be too cruel on JJ and Henry.

6. Derek Morgan Getting a Bigger Role

Though Derek Morgan is in every episode and has a pretty firm role in each case, he has not had too much of a dominating presence. “Crimanal Minds” fanatics are impatiently waiting for more of his personal life to shine though. Perhaps the time has come for a serious love interest? Or a return of one of the women from seasons’ past? Or, better yet, anything else that propels him from backseat character to frontrunner alongside Hotch. This season could be his time.

7. Dr. Spencer Reid’s Antics Masked?

Spencer Reid, the lovable doctor, is a great source of comedic relief for the show. As usual, his character’s quirky awkwardness makes him one of the most popular personalities on “Criminal Minds.” However, he was not too prominent on the season premiere and was barely relevant on the case. Alex noticeably overshadowed him with her own genius mind, but the hope is alive that Spencer will return as the top head of the team.

8. The BAU’s Stalker

Finally, did anyone else catch that last minute of the premiere, when pictures of the cast were being developed in a mysterious darkroom?! Expect some more development on that little incident as it unfolds. This season is already off to a very dramatic start!

Tune in every Wednesday at 9 on CBS, after “Survivor.”

Reach Staff Reporter Kathy Zerbib here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.