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The Criminal Minds Season That Divides Fans Isn't What You Think

Even though it ended in 2020, fans of CBS crime procedural Criminal Minds still have a lot to say about the show. Whether they are loving on their favorite Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) moments, coming clean about the episodes they just can't stomach, or getting into it over who they'd pick forĀ the best combination of Behavior Analysis Unit team members, Criminal Minds fans love to get on Reddit and talk shop. But they aren't always gushing about the show when they do.

For instance, one fan recently opened up a can of worms when they took to the show's subreddit to vent about an aspect of the series they don't like. By "one aspect," we mean an entire season, and by "don't like," we mean absolutely cannot stand. User u/TimeoftheFox started a thread titled "Anyone else absolutely HATE season 12?" in which they aired their grievances with the aforementioned season, which they categorized as "so hard to get through."

The post facilitated a wide ranging discussion about season 12 that didn't end with everyone in agreement. Here's what Criminal Minds fans had to say about what they loved and loathed in this controversial season .

Fans can't agree on Reid's prison storyline

One of the most hotly debated aspects of season 12 was a multi-episode storyline that saw Dr. Reid being arrested in Mexico on suspicion of murder. While it was certainly a unique plot for the show, some fans found it difficult to watch the lovable Reid stuck behind bars.

In their initial post, u/TimeoftheFox said the storyline was "just so.... Awkward." User u/amycochran134 agreed and commented, "I love [Gubler] but the storyline was ugh and it's not fair to him or the other characters that he has to deal with all the personal torture."

But several other fans didn't see it that way. User u/Superb_Lime_1734 wrote in to say, "I feel like it's an unpopular opinion, but I LOVED S12 personally and really liked the prison arc." User u/TvManiac5, felt similarly, writing, "I actually loved s12. I think it was the best storyline they did with Reid all throughout."

User u/megan_6724 also defended the Reid prison storyline for one particular reason: "I mean the storyline allowed for Aubrey Plaza to return so it was all worth it in the end for me lol. Her on-screen chemistry with [Gubler] is off the charts."

It's fitting that they brought up Aubrey Plaza, who made a return in season 12 as hitwoman Cat Adams, as the characters who did and did not appear in the season also led to some differences of opinion.

Criminal Minds' cast changeups left fans conflicted

In addition to Reid spending a significant chunk of the season stuck in prison, season 12 also ushered in an era of Criminals Minds that saw the exits of longtime series stars Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson, who played Agents Derek Morgan and Aaron Hotchner. On the other hand, it introduced new characters, including Agent Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez), and brought back old favorites like Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), who returned to take over the role as BAU Unit Chief.

For user u/Roxas559, season 12 doesn't hold a candle to previous seasons for one specific reason: "the show just doesn't feel the same without Hotch." Even avowed Prentiss enthusiast u/ChocolateTeapot003 wrote, "I love Prentiss as unit chief don't get me wrong but it was sad losing [Hotch] too."

While some fans had a hard time loving season 12 because of who they lost, user u/sabertoothdiego was too busy focusing on what they'd gained. "I have a deep, burning love for Alvez," they wrote. "I don't care how s**t episodes are if it means I can drool for him." Fair enough!

Speaking of the episodes, there was one thing that most fans could agree on, and that's the overall dip in quality of the show's weekly crime investigations.

The one thing about season 12 of Criminal Minds that fans do agree on

While fans disagreed on a lot of aspects of season 12, they were fairly unified in their criticisms of the unsub storylines of the season. In the post that kicked off the whole discussion, u/TimeoftheFox wrote, "It felt like they didn't do any profiling at all, they just were able to put the puzzle pieces together fast enough to catch the un-sub."

That view was shared by season 12 haters and defenders alike. User u/itsafraid started their comment by declaring, "I was expecting the worst from S12 due to all the negative hype here, but found it perfectly cromulent." However, even they had to concede, "The unsubs were very disposable though."

User u/namskyplanead had a very specific criticism of how the series started to handle its investigations in season 12. They noted, "I found the quality of the episodes to go downhill when the writers made the decision to introduce us to the unsubs before the [BAU] found out... ruined the major charm of the series for me."

For u/ClearBlue_Grace, the issues go far beyond season 12. "The unsubs get f*****g ridiculous as the show goes on," the argued. "I hate to say it, but I wish the show ended at like season nine... as I watch later seasons, I find myself rolling my eyes at a lot of storylines and unsubs."

Even though we wish it was over something more positive, we're just glad to see there's one thing about Criminal Minds season 12 that fans agree on.