Criminal Minds, Joe Mantegna

Adam Taylor/CBS

Wednesday, Sept. 25.: Prepare for some backstory!

Criminal Minds returns for its ninth season on that date, and star Joe Mantegna revealed to us he'll be going behind the camera when the CBS hit procedural returns. "I'm going to direct one next season," Mantegna exclusively told E! News at the 2013 Monte Carlo Television Festival.

We also chatted with the fan favorite about what viewers can expect from the upcoming season, which includes learning more about all of the characters' past and "secrets" and about the series' longevity...

After his time in Monte Carlo, Mantegna told us he's planning on meeting with the creative team "to try and have some input on some storylines," but said, "The writers are so good that we all give them free reign. I take my job seriously playing David Rossi, and they take their job seriously writing this show. Where they're going to lead us, I don't know. I didn't know how the season was going to end this year and I loved it. I thought it was dramatic, shocking, all those things. The only thing I would hope for is they explore the personal sides of all our characters, all seven characters, and we've been doing that."

He continued, "I hope for more of that, I think the fans deserve it. They've been following the show for eight years and they deserve to know everything they can about the characters."

Of David's backstory, Mantegna teased, "We've already learned he's had three former wives and that he lost one of them. We know about his military background. Beyond that, we'll see. There may some more other secrets that are unveiled, as well as things about all the other characters."

VIDEO: Shemar Moore talks about the finale's big death!

And though there was talk last summer that season eight could have been the series' last, Mantegna is confident Criminal Minds isn't going off the air anytime soon.

"I don't think it will be the last season," he said of the upcoming season. "Look, I've been around long enough to know what has value and this show has tremendous value. It's still doing well in the United States and in Europe; it's like The Beatles. The show has incredible strength, it just does. That's not a vanity statement, it's fact. So why would it not be renewed again? We're going to do this season and we're going to do next season, and you heard it from me. If it doesn't happen next season, you can say, 'Oh, Joe Mantegna, he's crazy.' But I said earlier this year that we were coming back when everyone was saying 'Oh, I don't know if we're coming back.'  Please, it's still a business and business is doing very well. You don't stop a good business, that's capitalism. So will be around next season? Yes, I think we're good. I've been on The Simpsons for 20 years. Ten years of Criminal Minds is nothing!"

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