Everything To Know About Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2

Paramount+ already renewed the revival of CBS’ long-running crime procedural.

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Joe Mantegna as David Rossi, Aisha Tyler as Dr. Tara Lewis, and Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss in ...
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Just less than two years after Criminal Minds ended its 15-season run on CBS, the popular procedural returned for a Paramount+ revival series, Criminal Minds: Evolution, in November 2022. The drama ranked among their top five original series, per the streaming service, prompting showrunner Erica Messer to start talking to the writers about “where to take Season 2” — even though Paramount+ had yet to order one. “Hopefully there will be good news on that in the new year, but we can’t stop thinking about it,” she told Decider in December. “The writers are officially talking.”

Those conversations weren’t in vain: Paramount+ renewed Criminal Minds: Evolution for Season 2 on Jan. 12. “We’re thrilled to bring even more twisted storylines to our loyal fans of Criminal Minds: Evolution with the order of another season,” Paramount Streaming chief programming officer Tanya Giles, said in a statement, noting that fans had “quickly embraced this new season with its more serialized elements.”

In the revival’s 10-episode first season, the same BAU criminal profilers from the original series faced an UnSub named Elias Voit (Zach Gilford) who used the pandemic to build a network of other serial killers that the team must hunt down one by one. Heading into the Feb. 9 season finale, Voit was holding Rossi (Joe Mantegna) hostage, complicating an already-tense race against time for the team. Days before the episode dropped, TVLine teased that the finale opens with an unexpected flashback and ends with two “good guys” taking a bullet and at least one body bag.

Now that viewers got the answer of who died in the tense season finale, here’s what to know about Criminal Minds: Evolution’s Season 2 return.

Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 Cast

Spoilers ahead! In addition to Mantegna, the original stars who reprised their roles in the first season included A.J. Cook (Jennifer “JJ” Jareau), Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia), Aisha Tyler (Tara Lewis), Adam Rodriguez (Luke Alvez), and Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss). Though Paramount+ referred to Gilford as only having a season-long arc, Messer confirmed that he will return as Voit/Sicarius, who was arrested in the season finale, next season.

“We’re hoping to have Zach a lot in the season and sort of treat him — the simplest way to say it — as our Hannibal Lecter. He knows information about Gold Star,” she explained to Variety. “The team is already a little bit hip to it, because Lewis and Prentice told Rossi that Gold Star wasn’t in the report, and it should have been because Bailey was acting weird when he said it. So they’re already sort of hinting at. What is Gold Star? Voit knows what Gold Star is, because he said it out loud and they heard him say it out loud. So he is using that knowledge as power in his captivity.

Michael Yarish /Paramount+

Though Deputy Director Doug Bailey died in the Season 1 finale, actor Nicholas D’Agosto could still appear in Season 2 in flashbacks. “Ideally, we’ll be able to bring Nick back to play Bailey, and do some scenes that we had not had an opportunity to see in Season 16,” Messer added. “Like, when does he get the download on gold star and all that kind of stuff? Hopefully his schedule will line up with ours.”

The series explained the absence of fan-favorite characters played by Matthew Gray Gubler (Spencer Reid) and Daniel Henney (Matt Simmons) by vaguely saying they were off on secret assignments. Messer teased to TV Insider in December that “it’ll come into play next year what they’ve been doing.” The actors’ schedules are ultimately what prevented them from participating, meaning a Season 2 comeback isn’t necessarily out of the question.

After all, Messer wanted them back for Season 1, but only had “a very short window to shoot” the series. “It was literally logistics; we just couldn’t get them,” Messer added to the website. “But we are all talking regularly, and fingers crossed we can make something work out, but we’re cheering on what Matthew and Daniel are doing when they’re not with us. And so it’s definitely bittersweet that we haven’t been able to have them for the big arc this season.”

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Though Shemar Moore left his role as Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds in 2016, the actor, whose character had a special relationship with his “Baby Girl,” Garcia, wouldn’t rule out a comeback either. “Would I go back to Criminal Minds and flirt with my Baby Girl and chase down UnSubs? Sure, alright,” Moore revealed to Entertainment Tonight in October 2022. However, he’s currently starring as Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson in CBS’ S.W.A.T. “Hondo kinda busy,” he joked.

The Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 Plot

The finale also introduced the “Gold Star” mystery, which fans can expect to see play out in Season 2. “I can’t say a whole heck of a lot about it right now because we are in the writers’ room for this second season [of Evolution] and Gold Star is shifting a little bit in our conversations,” Messer recently explained to TV Insider. “But I can say that Voit clearly thinks knowing that phrase is going to be helpful for him in some kind of negotiating. And then the bigger mystery is, why does he know that? What is it that got our dear beloved deputy director killed? There’s not a whole lot of clues you could look for from previous seasons, but there will be some things that we introduced in [Season 1] that will come into play regarding Gold Star for later.”

Messer also teased that she plans to open the second Evolution season with Voit looking at the mystery person who walked into the interrogation room in the finale cliffhanger. She added, “We purposefully wanted to leave that cliffhanger feel of who could it be. Is it somebody we’ve never met before? Is it somebody who’s — we’ve never met the director of the FBI, we’ve only met the deputy director. So we have a plan and we hope the plan works, but we also have a lot of backup ideas that we’re talking about right now that we’re all super excited about.”

Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 Potential Premiere Date

Production is slated to take place sometime in 2023, though an exact filming start date is currently unclear. The first season reportedly filmed from August through December 2022, meaning the team was still finishing up the back half of the season when the revival premiered that November. Because it only took three months after filming began to drop the premiere episode on Paramount+, fans shouldn’t have a long wait for the second installment once production officially gets underway.

This post will be updated as more Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 details become available.

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