‘Criminal Minds’ Renewal: Season 12 Is On The Way As CBS Places 22-Episode Order

Fans of Criminal Minds were left hanging a bit after the Season 11 finale, as CBS had not yet announced whether they planned to renew or cancel the show. Many viewers felt confident that the series would return for Season 12 in the fall, but the last episode this spring had to be done without knowing for certain. Now the network has made a decision, and this one will be good news for fans.

Despite having to say farewell to Shemar Moore’s character of Derek Morgan during Season 11, the show is continuing. According to TVLine, CBS has renewed Criminal Minds for Season 12. Not only is the show returning, but it got a full 22-episode order, sources indicate. The ratings have remained strong for the series, so the renewal does not come as a complete surprise. However, CBS had already renewed quite a few of their shows earlier in the spring, leaving everybody hanging on this one.

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Reports indicate that despite the strong ratings, financial issues were a concern and were central in causing a delay in a decision by CBS. Now, it seems, the network was able to negotiate a lower licensing fee that paved the way for a Criminal Minds renewal. It is likely that Moore’s departure gave the series a bit of financial wiggle room as well. This spring brought a new spin-off for the series with Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders starring Gary Sinise. So far, however, the network has not made a decision regarding that series.

Having the finale air before a renewal or cancellation announcement was made is nothing new for Criminal Minds, and the writers clearly had some plans as they put the Season 11 finale together. The team may have resolved the issue with Hotch being framed for making a terrorist threat, but a massive prison break involving three different states forced the team to quickly shift from backyard partying to a focus on work yet again.

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As executive producer Erica Messer told TV Guide, the writers felt as if it was time to do a season finale cliffhanger again, as they hadn’t done one for a while. Viewers are used to seeing the team gather together in a backyard to unwind as a finale plays out, but this time, everybody got a bit of a shocker that sets the stage for what comes next. Messer teases Criminal Minds spoilers that it looks like it will be a different and fun year ahead for the team and for viewers, and everybody will be anxious to see what comes next.

The action will pick up in the fall with where things ended this week, with Mr. Scratch and a dozen other serial killers on the run and the BAU team determined to track them down. Fans will have to stay tuned for a bit yet to get more solid Criminal Minds spoilers regarding the storylines on the way and who the show will cast as guest stars to fill these serial killer roles. However, there is plenty of action ahead, and it sounds as if the writers are anxious to get cracking on yet another round of action for the show.

Will you be tuning in to watch Season 12 of Criminal Minds next fall now that CBS has officially renewed the series? Do you think the cast and writers can keep finding ways to tell fresh stories, or is it time to wrap things up?

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[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]