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Criminal Minds Showrunner Justifies That Season 15 Finale Casualty

Since its debut in 2005, fans consistently tuned into the gruesome cases that the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) dealt with on "Criminal Minds." The procedural crime drama wasn't afraid to push the limits of network television, as the BAU were often after some of the worst criminals — ones that would make many of the bad guys of "NCIS" look like saints in comparison. With a penchant for unexpected twists — especially in the area of the saddest character deaths – "Criminal Minds" also had a little problem pulling the rug from under fans.

That's why when the Season 15 episode "And In The End" premiered, fans may have held their breaths until the credits rolled. Before the current return of the series, with "Criminal Minds: Evolution," Season 15 was meant to mark the complete end of "Criminal Minds." It's a recipe for the series to go out with a huge bang, even at the cost of a beloved character. And including the dangerous serial killer, the Chameleon (Michael Mosley), only increased the expectancy that someone wouldn't make it out of the series' end. As fans will likely remember, the Season 15 finale offered a specific BAU demise. And while it might have caused some head-scratching, showrunner Erica Messer did offer some insight about the explosive casualty in the episode.

The BAU's jet explosion gave the finale its necessary bang

One of the familiar hallmarks of "Criminal Minds" was the method of transportation for the BAU: the unit would use a private jet to fly them around while working on investigations. Although it's technically not the most accurate depiction of lavish police resources, the jet's constant use made it synonymous with the rest of the team, almost as if it's a full-fledged character on the show. So what better way to mark its importance and produce a memorable impact than with a fiery sacrifice?

As "Criminal Minds" producer Erica Messer told TV Insider, that was the line of thinking when the jet finally exploded in the Season 15 finale. Messer added that besides giving the show a significant death without using any of the main cast, the timing of using the jet in one final epic moment was just right. "Blow up or crash are things we had talked about with the jet for a long time," Messer told TV Insider. "It had never felt like the right time to do it, but this felt like we had to do it. It was somebody good, our jet, having to be sacrificed to take out the bad, and once we made that call, it felt right."

The jet does play the hero in its final moments. While the Chameleon tries to fly away, agents shoot at its leaking fuel, giving "Criminal Minds" an action scene more in tune with the "Die Hard" series. It was also regarded as a tragic moment behind the scenes as Messer noted how sad the "Criminal Minds" team felt while watching the scene in another interview with Entertainment Weekly. Fortunately, the jet — and the BAU team — made a comeback on "Criminal Minds: Evolution."