Friday, May 16, 2008


When “Criminal Minds" ends its turbulent third season Wednesday, one of the show's seven FBI profilers will explode. Of course, who and why is a big, cliffhanger secret to be revealed next season. But the upcoming big bang is a fitting conclusion to a season in which the behind-the-scenes drama rivaled that of the show's on-screen investigators as they chased 19 episodes' worth of serial killers.

"I think we're now in Season 3.3," said actor Thomas Gibson, who plays Aaron Hotchner, the head of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, echoing the sentiment of other actors and producers who feel the season's fits and starts have made it seem as if three TV seasons -- not 10 months -- have passed.

But despite the writers strike and the sudden loss of one of the show's main stars at the beginning of this season, the CBS crime series has performed well and is one of the Top 25-rated shows in broadcast television. The Wednesday-night program has consistently drawn over 12.5 million weekly viewers this season by managing to retain much of its audience despite facing the toughest competition on television: Fox's "American Idol," which is often referred to as "The Death Star" for its merciless ability to kill off opposing programming.,0,3027444.story