Warning: This article contains spoilers from the Season 11 finale episode of Criminal Minds
"Criminal Minds" Season 11 ended on a cliffhanger of sorts with Hotch saying, "We have to catch him again... along with 12 other murderers." Now that might give you a fair idea about how the season finale ended and what lies in store in the next season.
The episode ended with BAU getting the news that 13 serial killers, including Peter Lewis, escaped during a series of prison breaks. Interestingly, re-catching unsubs is what will make the next season "really fun and different," according to showrunner and executive producer Erica Messer, who co-wrote the finale episode with Breen Frazier.
"It's funny — Breen and I were just working on it yesterday," Messer told TV Guide when asked what Season 12 looks like at the moment. "All the writers are on hiatus until June, but we wanted to get a jumpstart on what we think the shape of the season will be."
Talking more about what fans can expect from the upcoming season, the showrunner said: "It's going to be a really fun, different year. I think, creatively, we're both really excited. I feel like with our amazing fan base who watches every week, you can get away with a little more serialized storytelling than when we started the series."
"We're excited to catch these bad guys all over again. Some we will have known, like Mr. Scratch, and others will be bad guys that maybe some of the team hasn't caught before. That allows us to have some creative license. And of course there will be our case of the week that may or may not be running parallel with catching a guy who escaped. I feel like, going into Season 12, we've had more opportunities for stories than we've had in a really long time."
Weighing in on the fact that Season 12 of "Criminal Minds" has not been officially announced as yet, a pretty confident Messer said, "They'll [the network] let us know right before upfronts, before they announce it to everybody. There are discussions being had that are above my pay grade, so I don't know when we'll hear, but I can tell you that creatively we're all incredibly excited for Season 12. We're just waiting patiently."
Fans can expect "Criminal Minds" Season 12 to premiere on Sept. 28, 2016, since all the earlier seasons were premiered around the same time.