Criminal Minds S1-13
It takes a special set of skills to get into the mind of a criminal. And that’s exactly what makes the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit so interesting on action series Criminal Minds (2005-current, Seasons 1-13 are now on Showmax).
It’s exactly as gritty and dark as you’d expect from a procedural about hunting serial killers. And while there are cast changes (as you’d expect) over the seasons, the core element keeps you hooked: understanding something that is impossible to understand.
The show creators didn’t just put together a story and hope it works. They consulted real-life FBI agents to get insight into how they investigate and hunt their perps (called “unsubs”) and why they’re doing what they’re doing. The terminology is accurate too, with the cast training in official FBI procedures, including shooting official firearms.
The cases being investigated are also somewhat rooted in real-life crimes that have been committed, whether it’s the killer targeting homeless people in Season 2, a cannibal in Season 3 or the serial stalker who hunts children in the woods in Season 6.
“I read the pilot and it was a woman locked in a cage,” explains Mandy Patinkin, who plays Senior Supervisory Special Agent Jason Gideon (Mandy is best known as Saul Berenson in Homeland). “I asked myself: you can’t do that every episode! How long would that be interesting? Yet it has remained interesting from day 1.”
To give you an idea of how disturbing Criminal Minds can be, Mandy quit in Season 3, saying that the content was just too dark for him, especially when women and children were the targets.
IMDB rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 88%