How many episodes will there be in ‘Criminal Minds: Evolution?’

Criminal Minds CBS
Image via CBS

True crime is all the rage these days with countless podcasts, books, television shows, and more exploring the genre. Ahead of its time and the true crime popularity wave was the CBS procedural television show Criminal Minds. This one-hour drama was created and produced by Jeff Davis. It ran for an impressive 15 seasons, starting on Sept. 22, 2005, and ending on Feb. 19, 2020.

The show tells the story of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) of the FBI which works to profile criminals in order to help apprehend them and stop their crime sprees. The world has been a much scarier place since the BAU stopped fighting crime, but never fear the gang is getting back together again to solve another case.

Criminal Minds: Evolution premiered on Paramount+ on Nov. 24. Let’s explore what we know about the new series including how to watch it, when new episodes are out, the plot, the cast, and how many episodes to expect.

How to watch Criminal Minds: Evolution

The only way to watch this incarnation of Criminal Minds is to stream it on Paramount+ which requires a subscription. There are so many streaming platforms out there these days that it can be a challenge to keep up and afford them all. A subscription to Paramount+ with ads is $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year. You can opt to not watch commercials and pay more, $9.99 a month or $99.99 a per.

The good news is there is a one-week free trial for new users so it is possible to binge the first 4 episodes in that time.

When are new episodes released?

New episodes of Criminal Minds: Evolution are released each Thursday. The series premiered on Nov. 24 with two episodes. There will be a midseason break after the release of episode five on Dec. 15. The show will resume on Jan. 12 with the release of episode six.

What is it about?

Even serial killers had to find something to do during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately for humanity, they were not content just baking banana bread and clapping nightly for first responders and hospital workers. Instead, one unsub built a team of serial killers for nefarious purposes when the world returns to normal.

The official synopsis states: “As the world opens back up and the network goes operational, the team must hunt them down, one murder at a time.”

What are the reviews like?

Reviews are mostly positive, with some wanting more darkness and gore on the show since it switched from primetime to streaming. Decider’s Adam Rodriguez stated: “Overall, Evolution honors what made the original series great and accomplishes the laudable feat of adding depth to characters that fans have already known for over a decade.”

Variety’s Joshua Alston writes: “Evolution is a lively and competent extension of a recently ended series, but little more, and it’s certainly not a leap forward.” Entertainment Weekly’s Kristen Baldwin states: “Nobody comes to Criminal Minds for complexity and nuance. Showrunner Erica Messer knows that her viewers want something very simple and satisfying: Good conquers evil in under an hour. No doubt millions of Criminal Minds fans will be happy to soak it all in.”

Who will be on the cast?

Many cast members returned to reprise their roles.  Joe Mantegna returns to play David Rossi. He is joined by A.J. Cook reprising her role as Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia, Aisha Tyler as Tara Lewis, Adam Rodriguez as Luke Alvez, and Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss.

Notably absent is original cast member Matthew Gray Gubler’s Spencer Reid and season 13 addition Daniel Henney’s Matt Simmons. Best known for his loveable role as Matt Saracen on Friday Night Lights, Zach Gilford joins the cast, this time as the bad guy.

How many episodes to expect

Criminal Minds: Evolution is also being called simply season 16 of the show. Regardless of what you call it, there will be a total of 10 episodes for the audience’s viewing pleasure. The team will need to catch the bad guy by then because it is uncertain if there will be any more. There were talks of a real-life docuseries to go with Evolution but its fate is currently uncertain. Deadline originally reported the series would be released in 2021 but so far we have not seen it.

Loyal fans of the Criminal Minds realm should not be too worried though. Their beloved series was revived just two years after it went off the air, so there is definitely hope that this Evolution is not the last audiences will see of the team. To hedge their bets they should definitely stream the series multiple times to help with ratings.