Criminal Minds is about to make a killer change to the way it depicts one of its heroes.

For the first time ever, the CBS show — and recent People’s Choice Award winner — will get really personal with one of its core characters and take him or her “on a journey they have never been before,” teases executive producer Erica Messer. The drama will expose something in the character’s personal history that has a profound effect on his or her professional life.

“This is something our team has never had to deal with,” Messer tells EW exclusively. “After 12 years of telling stories about our heroes, we are entering into the unknown. We are not a serialized drama and yet the back nine of season 12 will be heavily serialized. I think the audience will be shocked that we went in this direction with one of our heroes. They won’t see this coming.”

Sadly, Messer won’t say which actor it will involve (Joe Montegna? A.J. Cook? Paget Brewster? Kirsten Vangsness? Matthew Gray Gubler?). But the storyline will kick off Feb. 1 when Jane Lynch returns to the show to reprise her role as Reid’s mom. “It’s one of those things that will certainly open so many doors for us,” teases Messer of the upcoming plot point. “We will still have a bad guy of the week. It’s not like this show will suddenly become a soap opera. But there will be a storyline running through every episode of the back nine that will be unlike anything we have ever done.”

Criminal Minds, which was named Favorite TV Crime Drama earlier this month by the People’s Choice Awards, generally eschews any serialized stories. Its biggest to date involved a character named George Foyet (C. Thomas Howell), a vicious (as if there’s any other kind?) serial killer.

What do you think will happen? Sound off below!

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

Criminal Minds

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