Criminal Minds: It Takes a Village was the opening show of the series’ 7th season, and it was intriguing. It was, however, different from most shows in its recent past because in essence it was a clean up show, a wrap up of the mess the producers and network got the program into last year.
Shocking to both cast and fans, last year, the show announced it was downsizing by eliminating the characters of Jennifer ‘JJ’ Jareau as played by AJ Cook and Emily Prentiss as played by Paget Brewster. A lot of things took place and eventually they brought Brewster back up in status, but at the same time, the damage had been done. She was free to work pilot season.
By the end of the year, it was clear that they’d messed up big time. Fans were unhappy, the cast was confused, and the show needed its mojo back. In a convoluted plot, Prentiss was killed, in pretend fashion only, with just a couple of people knowing the truth. Off she went on her own to another country. Meanwhile, Jareau was forced to accept a position in Washingon D.C. That seemed stupid to me at the time, but that was the story.
However, in a weird twist, at the very end of the final show, she agrees to come back after being asked by David Rossi (Joe Mantegna’s role). Neither in that show nor in this opener was it explained why on earth she was forced to take the job she didn’t want and then was just about to walk away and return a few months later. I’m not complaining; the team needs her. Probably the biggest surprise is that her role on the team now seems to be in the field and action oriented version the team communication specialist she was before.
So, this hour wraps everything up. Prentiss makes her magical return, which creates a bit of short term tension as everyone adjusts. The team is back up and running with no real attention paid to the government downsizing. Oh, it was mentioned and used in the plot, but the team was together (last season was a contract season, too, so I think this was a way to explain anyone who perhaps did not resign).
I liked the show. How could I not enjoy a network having to eat its bad decision and devote an hour to making it right?