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Review of 'Criminal Minds' 17.1-17.3

The Elusive Profile

By Paul LevinsonPublished about a month ago 3 min read

Criminal Minds: Evolution is back on Paramount Plus with its new season (17, if you count the original Criminal Minds on CBS). I saw the first two episodes last week and they were excellent.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

The story picks up two weeks after the events in the Season 16 finale. Elias Voit, the mastermind networking serial killer from last season, is in jail, but his capture has taken a toll on our heroes. Rossi is hallucinating conversations with Voit, Emily's on a razor's edge, but the BAU is mobilized to the find the Gold Star killer, whose moniker was introduced at the end of last season.

The only thing that's clear about who and what Gold Star is, well, is that Voit is not Gold Star per se. Or, to be more precise, he couldn't be the person who actually killed any of the victims in the first two episodes of this new season, because he was behind bars all the time. Emily thinks Gold Star may be a killer out West, but when she says we're ready to deliver the profile to the local police, Rossi tells her no, we're not. As always, the BAU is rent with disagreement, as well as the FBI Director wanting to get rid of them, but they manage to move forward.

As in the last season, the use of explicit language is refreshing and realistic. I could do, though, without the explicit gore, but that's just me. And as long we're talking about how streaming has liberated television from network prudishness, a little nudity -- for our living characters -- wouldn't be bad, either, just sayin'.

The serial killer -- in this case, Voit -- being a necessary but ever dangerous ally of law enforcement is of course something we've seen already with Hannibal Lecter. But Zach Gilford as Voit was a great addition to the show -- even though every time I hear or write the name I think of Chicago PD -- and it's great to see him back in this new season.

Speaking of which, I'm hoping to see Spencer back before this season is over as well.

***

I'd say the most provocative element in the provocate episode 17.3 of Criminal Minds: Evolution up on Paramount Plus yesterday is the team's discovery of a site on the dark web, "BAU Gate".

Actually, they've known about the site since 2014. But AI has souped up the site with ultra-convincing fake porm, and the star of that porn is Jennifer Jareau, which makes sense, given that she started with the BAU as its media spokesperson. Emily doesn't want Luke -- who was told about this by Voit in words we couldn't hear in episode 17.2 -- to tell JJ about this, but of course he does. And in one fell swoop, Criminal Minds manages to stay cutting-edge current, bringing AI dramatically into the story, and in a way that ties together many of its numerous threads.

Numerous intersecting threads is what Criminal Minds is becoming increasingly all about. There's Voit and his family, connected via Voit to Gold Star, and now Voit as an Internet demon tells the BAU about BAU Gate. Also in episode 17.3, Emily is arrested by local police because a conspiracy nut -- who believes Paul really died in the 1960s and was replaced in The Beatles by someone else -- lies about Emily attacking him. What this has to do with Voit or BAU Gate is not clear, but you never know.

The specific case that draws David and Tara on a plane out West apparently has nothing to do with the above nexus, and the team finds that refreshing. I'm not sure about that. Maybe it would be better if everything was connected. On the other hand, it's good to see the BAU get an unambiguous win or two in the midst of the web of complications that is increasing drawing them and us in.

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About the Creator

Paul Levinson

Novels The Silk Code, The Plot To Save Socrates, It's Real Life: An Alternate History of The Beatles; LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up; nonfiction The Soft Edge & Digital McLuhan, translated into 15 languages. Prof, Fordham Univ.

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Comments (3)

  • Canuck Scriber L.Lachapelle Authorabout a month ago

    Excellent review, sounds interesting! I'm happy to subscribe to your work.

  • Vicki Lawana Trusselli about a month ago

    Love Criminal Minds.

Paul LevinsonWritten by Paul Levinson

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