Criminal Minds: Evolution will premiere with two episodes on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, showrunner, executive producer, and writer Erica Messer revealed during Paramount+'s virtual Television Critics Association presentation on Wednesday. Following the debut, new episodes will drop weekly on Thursdays until the midseason finale on Dec. 15. The 10-episode season will then return Jan. 12 with new episodes weekly until the big finale Feb. 9.
Set during the COVID-19 pandemic, the revival brings back original and beloved criminal profilers David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler), Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), JJ Jareau ( A.J. Cook), and Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez) as they come up against their greatest threat yet: an unsub who has used the virus to build a network of serial killers.
Michael Yarish /Paramount+ Aisha Tyler, A.J. Cook, Adam Rodriguez, Kirsten Vangsness, Paget Brewster, and Joe Mantegna in the new 'Criminal Minds' revival
As the world opens back up and the network goes operational, it's up to the BAU to hunt them down.
"Everybody's in a very different place," Messer teased of Evolution in EW's Fall Preview. "We've got Prentiss, who has now been promoted outside of the BAU unit chief. Rossi has taken her place as unit chief, but he's going through a big thing, so he's kind of in all five stages of grief when we meet him in the first two episodes. Alvez has been trying to help out raw scenes, sort of stay local for a while and handle those cases, while JJ and Lewis have answered every single consultant call that they've gotten in the last year, which means plenty of nights away from home."
"The word from above, the bureaucrats, is, 'Do more with less,'" she continued. "I think we can all relate to that as well. Our teams have been downsized and everybody's still got the same amount of work to do."
Monty Brinton /Paramount+ Joe Mantegna in the 'Criminal Minds' revival
And while notable faves — including Matthew Gray Gubler's Spencer Reid, Shemar Moore's Derek Morgan, and Mandy Patinkin's Jason Gideon — will be absent from the series, Messer promised that "they haven't gone away."
"Their desks will still have stuff on them," the showrunner said. "I don't know if any of you have gone back to the office, but it's a weird experience because whatever was important to you in March 2020 is still sitting on that desk and must not have been that important because it's still sitting on that desk, so we want that connection still with Dr. Reid... but if and when they return, it's up to them. It's dependent on their schedules. I can't promise anything right now. But it's the hope."
Criminal Minds: Evolution premieres Nov. 24 on Paramount+.
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