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Criminal Minds: Evolution's Showrunner Never Seriously Considered Killing Rossi

Crime drama fans held their collective breaths at Season 1's conclusion of "Criminal Minds: Evolution" when it answered the question of whether or not mainstay character David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) would survive past the rolling credits. Just when it felt like viewers would experience a memorial episode at the beginning of the upcoming Season 2, they heard Rossi's desperate screams, declaring, "I'm here! I'm alive!" Rossi fans felt much relief as the character, who has been part of the "Criminal Minds" world since 2007, declared himself still breathing, confirming the character's continuation. 

For those who thought this could be the end of Mantegna's run on the hit series, showrunner and executive producer Erica Messer explains that wasn't even a thought. When Messer spoke to Entertainment Weekly, she was asked if her team considered the possibility of killing off Rossi, simply based on the fact that main character deaths have become much more common in drama series nowadays. She explained that even though there was no way they would actually do it, it was their responsibility to at least bring it up. "We said it because we had to say it," she revealed.  

This loyalty seems to be based on admiration of Mantegna and his longevity on the show, although she thinks he would have been fine with that plot twist. "But we love Joe way too much to ever do that. But if Joe had said to us, 'Look, I want to come back and I just want to do a year and I want to leave,' I'm sure he would've been all good with going out like that." The act would've been shocking for fans, but not because they weren't used to it. 

Rossi escaping death doesn't mean he's fully safe

Shocking character deaths on TV series are in no way rare these days and it seems as if no acting job is safe, no matter how well-known the performer may be. In the original run of "Criminal Minds," the show killed off Mandy Patinkin's Jason Gideon at the start of the 10th Season, which affected fans even though the character hadn't been around since the start of Season 3. Showrunner Erica Messer explained that no matter who the character is, writing this type of tragedy isn't easy. "We have a hard time ever killing any of our heroes," she said. "I mean, with Gideon, it was season 10 that we did that, and people were upset." This just proves how much of a personal connection both fans and writers can develop over time. 

Messer went on to reveal that due to the impressively long run the show has had, these emotional bonds will always be a factor. "So it's not a path we like to take very often because these are our friends at this point. This team is really like family, so we don't want to do anything unnecessarily to hurt them." When it comes to Joe Mantegna's Rossi, however, it's that certain longevity that may have brought out a positive reaction from some fans if he did not actually survive this past season. Including this revamped stretch of the ongoing series (which is technically in Season 16), a curveball like Rossi's permanent exit may inject some life into what some viewers may feel has become a stale series.