Putting a loved one in danger (and killing him or her off) on a procedural drama is a common (and easy) move, and it’s a good thing that Criminal Minds chose not to go that route with Kristy Simmons in “Ex Parte.”
Not only would her death have happened in a similar way as another team member’s significant other’s, but this episode also showed why her and Matt’s relationship is one that deserves to be highlighted (not in a tragic way) and showed that she’s not a damsel in distress and is instead a character we should see more of in the future. She’s already been in significant danger once. Let’s not do it again.
Haven’t We Seen (and Heard) This Before?
The 100th episode of the series saw the team rushing to save Haley from The Reaper, but they (including her ex-husband, Hotch) were too late and could only listen as she was shot and killed.
In “Ex Parte,” Kristy’s smart moves to help the team ultimately lead to the UnSub dragging her off and putting her in front of the camera to be the next hostage he shot and killed, and while he didn’t know who was watching (or that she’s the wife of one of the agents on the case), the similarities are there. Killing her off in that moment would have meant the team once again being helpless to do anything while one of their own lost a family member.
We’ve also already seen an agent have to get the hang of being a single father. That’s another storyline we don’t need to repeat. Yes, procedurals can sometimes get predictable and repetitive, but this is not an instance where Criminal Minds should be.
Let’s Cross Ways to Kill Kristy off the List
Not only did we not need to see another loved one killed off in a way that’s comparable to a previous character’s death, but we also don’t need to see a family member in danger because of an agent’s job or a case again. That rules out having her taken or killed because of a future case of the BAU’s (or even a past case of Matt’s), so let’s not have a new Reaper or Mr. Scratch surface who decides to target Kristy.
What I did like about “Ex Parte” is that Kristy wasn’t in danger because of who Matt is or even the BAU. It wasn’t even about who she is. It was about the law firm where she’d just started working. Her job has already put her in significant danger once. We don’t need to see that happen again, only with a tragic ending.
Besides, her job putting her in danger is obviously very, very rare. Simmons mentioned that he and Kristy have a plan for the kids in place in case something happens — but to him, not her. They never planned for their roles to be reversed (though it’s possible that changes after what just happened.)
She’s the Brains, He’s the Brawn (and Brains)
“Ex Parte” highlighted Matt and Kristy’s relationship, with their conversations at home that bookended the episode, showing them enjoying bits of normalcy (he didn’t want to upgrade his phone, but when he decided to after the new one saved her life, she said that meant that she was right) and even their interaction at the law firm. Once he got the upper hand with the UnSub who had had a gun to his wife and had him in a chokehold, Kristy was the one to remind him who he was, so he threw the man to the side for the FBI to take into custody.
While some of the hostages were happy to just sit around and wait (or failed to trick the UnSub), Kristy managed to hide her bag with Matt’s new phone inside and then get to it to call 911. She even set it up for the BAU to have eyes on the inside (allowing them to identify the UnSubs) and wisely took one of the wireless earbuds, so she could hear the team. That move of hers helped save her life, as Tara was able to coach her through talking to the UnSub just as he was about to kill her, to distract him just enough.
What we saw from Kristy in this episode was enough to make me want so see more of her. It would’ve been a shame to kill her off just as we started to get to know her.
What do you think? Are you happy that Kristy survived “Ex Parte”? Do you want to see more of her in the future?
Criminal Minds season 13 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Criminal Minds Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of CBS)