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Season Two [Premiere] 

Aired On: Paramount+

Release Date: 06/06/24
Crime. Drama. Mystery.

"The BAU probes a deadly Gold Star conspiracy while serial killer Elias Voit's custody transfer leads to a complication in their backyard. Facing their biggest threat yet, the team cannot remain unscathed from the mind-bending consequences."


For nearly two decades, Criminal Minds has featured an evolving cast of investigators of the “BAU,” an elite squad of behavioral analysts for the FBI chasing some of the worst criminals in the United States. 

The show started in 2005 on CBS, spawned two spinoffs, and was recently resurrected on Paramount+ with the sequel series Criminal Minds: Evolution

Throughout those 16 original seasons, I was blissfully unaware of Criminal Minds — other than the basic title and fact that it existed alongside similar shows like Law and Order, The Mentalist, Bones, Castle, Numb3rs, or … you get the point. 

Recently, for an assignment, I watched some of the original episodes, the 2020 original series finale, the 2022 sequel, and the first two episodes of the latest season. And now, I’ll call myself something of a convert. 

Picking up in 2024 with season two of Criminal Minds: Evolution, the BAU team has just foiled Elias Voit (Zach Gilford), a particularly wretched serial killer. Voit is now behind bars and veteran FBI agent David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) is free from his captivity. There is a celebration, but it’s short lived because, of course, there’s always another case. 

This season, the new big bad is “Gold Star,” a brutal killer who lurks in the shadows and always seems to be two steps ahead. He has some sort of military background, but little else is known — other than the fact that he is quickly amassing a sizable body count. 

Once again, the BAU is tasked with solving the case. The catch this season is that Voit might be key to unlocking the mystery of Gold Star, so the agency has to work with him through his captivity in a maximum security prison. 

Gilford is riveting to watch in the role — a master manipulator and chameleon in the mold of Hannibal Lecter. While the BAU questions Voit, desperate for answers as Gold Star continues his killing spree, the cat-and-mouse game is flipped on its head — and it’s hard to tell who is the cat and who is the mouse. 

There’s a fantastic sequence in the second episode where FBI agent Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez, a series regular since season 12) takes over questioning. Voit eventually convinces Alvez to turn off his audio and get close enough for a whisper — and whatever Voit says sets the agent off into a fit of rage. It’s a trope, to be sure, but the two actors pull it off beautifully. 

AJ Cook, an original cast member who plays FBI agent Jennifer Jareau, directs the episode and nails the tension and manipulation in the scene. 

There are enough hooks in the new season that I plan to continue watching, and I expect longtime fans will be hooked as well.

What Paramount+ has given the show, along with a second life and better production values, is a streamlined format that focuses on a single 10-episode arc per season. Aisha Tyler (who has played Dr. Tara Lewis since season 11) also pointed out in recent interviews that the streaming format allows for more blood and cursing. To paraphrase, she’s said someone who stumbles across a dead body probably wouldn’t be saying PG kinds of things. 

So, the show is a little more cinematic and a little grittier, but it keeps the major concepts and most of the long-time cast members. 

For the uninitiated, Criminal Minds: Evolution offers a captivating crime thriller, a seasoned cast with a ton of chemistry, plus an engaging returning villain and an intriguing new big bad. What’s not to love?

Now is the perfect time to jump into Criminal Minds: Evolution on Paramount+.



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