Advertisement

Criminal Minds Season 17: Everything We Know About Casting, Storyline, Release Date and More

Criminal Minds Season 17: Everything We Know About Casting, Storyline, Release Date and More
Criminal Minds Season 17: Everything We Know About Casting, Storyline, Release Date and More

Criminal Minds fans received their first unexpected treat when it was announced back in July 2022 that the long-running CBS crime drama was being revived for a 16th season, dubbed Evolution and to stream exclusively on Paramount+.

More from TVLine

And then, midway through Evolution‘s run, the series was renewed for another season. When might it premiere, and what all do we know about this ostensible 17th (or is it second?) season?

Criminal Minds: Evolution found the BAU’s elite profilers going up against “their greatest threat yet” — Elias Voit, an UnSub who had spent the COVID pandemic cultivating a network of serial killers. The team in question was comprised of franchise vets Paget Brewster (as Prentiss), Joe Mantegna (Rossi), A.J. Cook (JJ), Kirsten Vangsness (Garcia), Aisha Tyler (Tara) and Adam Rodriguez (Luke), while Friday Night Lights vet Zach Gilford played the aforementioned Elias.

The Season 2 (or is it Season 17?) pick-up came in January 2023, just as Criminal Minds: Evolution returned from a holiday break. “We love the show,” Tanya Giles, chief programming officer of Paramount Streaming, told TVLine. “Obviously it’s a franchise that we are very, very partial to.”

Here now is everything we know about the next season of Criminal Minds….

WHO IS RETURNING?

WHO IS RETURNING?
WHO IS RETURNING?

Everybody in the main cast is coming back,” Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer told TVLine during a February 2023 finale post mortem Q&A.

Social media posts shared by the cast in mid-January 2024 confirmed that Brewster, Mantegna, Vangsness, Tyler and Rodriguez are indeed all back at the BAU.

WHO WILL NOT BE RETURNING?

WHO WILL NOT BE RETURNING?
WHO WILL NOT BE RETURNING?

Will LaMontagne Jr.’s cancer scare during Evolution‘s first season was inspired by a similar ordeal that cast member A.J. Cook’s real-life husband Nathan went through in 2019. Luckily for JJ’s husband, it turned out he only had a treatable, inflamed thyroid, so “next [season], hopefully, he’s going to be OK,” said showrunner Erica Messer. “But he’s not necessarily out of the woods forever.”

That “not necessarily” now carries a different weight, in the wake of franchise vet Josh Stewart sharing on X in January that “sadly, my days of playing Will LaMontagne Jr. are over.” He added a note to inquiring fans, “You guys have been the absolute best.”

(Paramount+ reps did not respond to TVLine’s request for comment on Stewart’s social media post.)

HAVE WE SEEN THE LAST OF ELIAS VOIT? OF TYLER GREEN?

HAVE WE SEEN THE LAST OF ELIAS VOIT? OF TYLER GREEN?
HAVE WE SEEN THE LAST OF ELIAS VOIT? OF TYLER GREEN?

Though Voit was outwitted and captured in the February 9 finale, he last was seen as a prisoner receiving a VIP visit from… someone… who clearly is curious about his knowledge of Gold Star, a top-secret something that the U.S. government clearly has been keeping on the way-down low.

“You have not seen the last of Elias,” Messer told TVLine, explaining in other interviews that she envisions Voit as sort of the revival’s Hannibal Lecter character.

Indeed, Zach Gilford, who plays Voit, will be back as a series regular — as will Ryan-James Hatanaka, who played person of interest/Garcia’s person of interest Tyler Green.

“[W]e really liked giving Garcia that messy relationship,” showrunner Erica Messer told our sister site Variety in February 2023. “We just completely bought that she would break up with him after that betrayal, but that maybe it isn’t over. Maybe this is her person. We want to keep exploring that.”

WILL REID AND SIMMONS RETURN FROM THEIR ‘ASSIGNMENT’?

WILL REID AND SIMMONS RETURN FROM THEIR ‘ASSIGNMENT’?
WILL REID AND SIMMONS RETURN FROM THEIR ‘ASSIGNMENT’?

It was established very early on in Evolution that Special Agents Spencer Reid and Matt Simmons (played by OG cast member Matthew Gray Gubler and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders transfer Daniel Henney) were away on an undisclosed “assignment.”

“It’s a little bit of a mystery what Reid and Simmons are up to,” showrunner Erica Messer told TVLine ahead of Evolution‘s debut, “but they’re certainly not forgotten…. [They] are not gone gone.”

Regarding the actors’ absences, Messer said back then, “Our hope is that the team members we ended the series with on CBS will be able to come back and play at some point, but everybody does have other projects.” (Henney, for example, has been busy filming The Wheel of Time.)

Speaking again with TVLine in February 2023 and with a look ahead to Evolution‘s next season, Messer said, “It’d be amazing” to get Gubler and/or Henney back. “I’m not giving up hope on that. But I do know that everybody has these lives outside of our show, and that’s the tricky part. We shoot [10 episodes] in such a short little window, whereas before with a 22[-episode] order and nine months of shooting I’d feel confident to say, ‘We’ll find a way to get them in.’”

WHAT WILL THE STORYLINE BE?

WHAT WILL THE STORYLINE BE?
WHAT WILL THE STORYLINE BE?

At the time TVLine last spoke to Messer, the writers room for the new season had only been open for a few days. But this much is known:

* The aforementioned Gold Star mystery will be revisited. “It’s sort of like, ‘We thought we knew everything, we thought we know all about the [Sicarius] network and Voit and all this stuff.’ So for Voit to drop that bomb, and to have it mean something to [ill-fated FBI deputy director] Bailey, it’s our jump-start into the next season, for sure.”

* Whereas Evolution‘s maiden run focused on Voit, a singular UnSub, “We’re going to do a hybrid” the next time around, Messer told TVLine. “In the first four episodes [we’ve outlined] so far, two are a little bit serial[ized], and two are not.”

WILL PRENTISS GET A PERSONAL STORYLINE?

WILL PRENTISS GET A PERSONAL STORYLINE?
WILL PRENTISS GET A PERSONAL STORYLINE?

Franchise front woman Paget Brewster had requested that Emily Prentiss not have a personal subplot — specifically no romance — during Evolution‘s first season. “She was like, ‘Prentiss is married to her work, let’s embrace that,’” showrunner Erica Messer explained to TVLine.

But for the upcoming season, “Yup. We sure do” have a Prentiss story on tap, Messer told us. “Absolutely.”

WHEN WILL EVOLUTION SEASON 2 PREMIERE?

WHEN WILL EVOLUTION SEASON 2 PREMIERE?
WHEN WILL EVOLUTION SEASON 2 PREMIERE?

Though the new season was greenlit back in January 2023 (and the writers room opened up not long after), what was then just a looming Writers Guild strike slowed the procedural’s roll.

Originally, a source told TVLine, the new season was to start shooting in April 2023, but then the studio got nervous about a possible WGA strike, so they put a pin in pre-production. “June” was penciled in as the new start date, but the WGA strike soon enough became a reality, kicking off on May 2 and lasting 148 days.

SAG-AFTRA also went on strike (in mid-June), so that was two guilds that needed to hammer out new deals with the AMPTP before cameras could even think about rolling on anything.

Finally, series front woman Paget Brewster shared that filming would begin on Jan. 16, so mayyyybe we will get a summer 2024 release — or later?

HOW MANY EPISODES WILL SEASON 2 BE?

HOW MANY EPISODES WILL SEASON 2 BE?
HOW MANY EPISODES WILL SEASON 2 BE?

Though there is nothing close to a guesstimated premiere date for Evolution‘s new season, showrunner Erica Messer confirmed for TVLine back in January 2023 that fans would be getting another 10 episodes.

Eventually.

Want scoop on Criminal Minds: Evolution, or for any other TV show ? Email your question to InsideLine@tvline.com, and it may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line!

Best of TVLine

Get more from TVLine.com: Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter