Criminal Minds first look: Jane Lynch returns for 'intense' Reid storyline

When CBS' Criminal Minds resumes Season 12 on Wednesday, Feb. 1, a familiar face will at long last resurface — Jane Lynch, playing Spencer Reid's mother Diana, as seen in this exclusive first photo.

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The first of Lynch's multiple upcoming appearances "kind of resets for us where Reid is with is with his mom and her struggle," showrunner Erica Messer tells TVLine. (After being admitted to a groundbreaking Alzheimer's treatment study, Diana was found wandering in a Vegas casino, having been dropped from the program due to budget restraints.)

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Before making her second on-camera encore in Episode 20, Diana will play a role in the Reid-centric Episode 13, which was co-written by Messer and cast member Kirsten Vangsness (who recently told us the hour was a "course changer" for the BAU's resident genius).

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Having previously collaborated on the episodes that killed off former BAU agent Jason Gideon and paved the way for Derek Morgan's exit, Messer affirms, "It turns out [Kirsten] and I go big. It is absolutely a change of course [for Reid] — a journey, for him and for the team, that I would argue we never even imagined would happen. And yet it happens, and we're along for this ride. And it's an intense one."

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