Criminal Minds left fans with quite the serious cliffhanger involving two fan-favorite characters in mortal danger, which was resolved during the season 14 premiere.
The episode, which also served as the long-running crime procedural's 300th episode resolved the tense cliffhanger quickly, which fans will remember involved Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) having to choose between helping the Believers cult free their leader Benjamin Merva (Michael Hogan), or see the death of Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangness).
The premiere kicked off almost immediately after the events of the finale, finding Garcia and Reid abducted by the Believer cult, and the rest of the BAU being tasked with finding the cult leader and helping their friends back to safety.
"They feel like two incredibly important pieces to our team, who won't be available if they're held captive. They won't be available to help us solve the case, which is crazy," Messer told TV Guide. "The challenges we're coming up with now are, 'Gosh, if we have two of our MVPs sitting on the sidelines here, what can we do? What clues do they possibly leave behind for us to help find where they're being held or how we help to solve this case without them?' It's one of the first times, I think, we've ever been without, truly, truly without the help of both of them."
The landmark 300th hour of the series also showed a quick recap of the series in its opening seconds, including some highlights featuring some of our favorite characters from the series, which executive producer Erica Messer told Entertainment Weekly recently was an ode to the show.
"It's acknowledging the talent and history of those people," she said.
The 14th season of Criminal Minds will consist of 15 episodes, at least per its initial order, as Messer teased to TV Guide ahead of the premiere it will be a challenging season for many of the core characters.
"It's kind of a season of reflection in a lot of ways because we're not just in 300 where we're looking back at where we started, but all the characters are definitely going to have episodes this year where they're challenged in a way, either at home or at work, that is going to change their characters a bit and add more layers to them," Messer told the outlet.0comments
"I think at the end of the season we can probably look back and say it was a character study of our team," she added.
Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.