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Criminal Minds: Evolution on Paramount+: What Time It Begins, Cast, Trailer, and Everything to Know

The BAU Team is taking Christmas off, but they'll be back to finish things up in the New Year

Tmera Hepburn, Megan Vick

Criminal Minds has returned as Criminal Minds: Evolution. Prentiss (Paget Brewster), Rossi (Joe Mantegna), Alvez (Adam Rodriguez), J.J. (A.J. Cook), and Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler) are once again hunting down serial killers at the BAU, and the premiere brought Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) back into the fold. Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Simmons (Daniel Henney) are still missing in action, but you hardly have time to miss them because the crew have their hands full with the most elusive unsub they've faced yet.

His name is Elias Voit, and he's played by Friday Night Lights alum Zach Gilford. Criminal Minds: Evolution will explore what happens when a serial killer is forced inside for two years by a pandemic and creates a network of likeminded killers to expand their deadly reach. 

The first two episodes of the season premiered on Paramount+ on Thursday, Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving Day), at 12 a.m. PT/3 a.m. ET. The first episode also aired on CBS at 10 p.m. ET on Thanksgiving, after the kids have gone to bed. New episodes will drop on Paramount+ every Thursday until the mid-season finale on Dec. 15. Then the series returns on Jan. 12 and will continue weekly until the Criminal Minds: Evolution finale on Thursday, Feb. 9.

Here's everything we know about Criminal Minds: Evolution so far. 

Kirsten Vangsness, Criminal Minds: Evolution

Kirsten Vangsness, Criminal Minds: Evolution


Criminal Minds: Evolution schedule

If you're looking for new episodes over the winter break, you'll have to wait. Criminal Minds: Evolution is taking a hiatus after a mid-season finale on Dec. 15. But never fear, the show will pick up again on Thursday, Jan. 12 and run through Feb. 9, 2023.

Showrunner, executive producer, and writer Erica Messer revealed the release date at Paramount+'s Television Critics Association (TCA) panel on Sept. 21, confirming the first two episodes of the revival would be released on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24, exclusively on Paramount+. The first episode also aired on CBS during a special broadcast premiere on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Criminal Minds: Evolution trailer

We have a trailer, people! Paramount+ dropped an official trailer for the revival on Nov. 4, and the series looks creepy AF. The serial killer is on the loose, and and the BAU team is ready to call in backup. "This is the biggest case we've ever had," Rossi says.

New Criminal Minds series title

On Sept. 9, Paramount announced the series would be known as Criminal Minds: Evolution. The name seems like a good indication that the series will be heading in a new direction.

"The series never stopped evolving during its run, and we are beyond excited to bring it back into a new era with new stories for a new generation of viewers at Paramount+," said Nicole Clemens, Paramount+'s President of Original Scripted Series. "Erica [Messner], the whole cast and creative team are building a season full of new twists that we are sure will electrify audiences." 

Criminal Minds: Evolution cast     

It just wouldn't be the same without the familiar faces that we came to know and love over the course of 15 seasons, so luckily most of them will be back for the revival— not all of them, though, which we'll get to in a moment. 

Paramount+ announced Friday Night Lights alum Zach Gilford as the first new cast member to be joining the series in a recurring role throughout the season. Gilford is trading in his good-guy persona and will play Elias Voit, an analyst for a cyber-security firm who has a dark side and an obsession with death. Unlike past unsubs, Voit will be explored in an ongoing arc for 10 episodes. "To tell a slightly different story [about this unsub] is really exciting," star Paget Brewster told journalists on Sept. 21. 

Main cast

Notably missing from the cast list is fan favorite Matthew Gray Gubler, who will not be returning as genius FBI Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid in the first batch of episodes. He and Season 13 addition Daniel Henney (Special Agent Matt Simmons) couldn't make their schedules work to be series regulars for this season, but the door is open for them to return in the future. 

Showrunner Erica Messer said that Spencer and Matt are mysteriously absent but "not forgotten" this season, according to TV Line. "Dr. Reid's and I believe Matt Simmons' desks are still there, still have stuff on it…," she said. "Like, if any of you went back [to the office after the pandemic], you still have stuff on your desk that was there for two years. So we're definitely playing that. But [Spencer and Matt] are not gone gone." Hopefully they'll be back for Season 2.

Criminal Minds: Evolution storyline

This fresh new series will pick up where the original left off and is set in post-Covid-19 times. Unlike the cable TV show, the streaming version will follow one storyline across the whole season, instead of a new case in each episode. The official logline says the FBI's elite team of criminal profilers will come up against their greatest threat yet, an unsub named Elias Voit who has used the pandemic to build a network of other serial killers. Now, as the world opens back up, the network goes operational, and our team must hunt them down, one murder at a time.

Where to watch Criminal Minds: Evolution

Criminal Minds: Evolution will be available to stream on Paramount+. In the meantime, you can stream all original 15 seasons on Paramount+, with 12 of those seasons also available on Netflix.