Criminal Minds TV Poster Image

Criminal Minds

Entertaining crime drama's violence is too grim for kids.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Network: CBS
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2005

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Crime solving, team work themes. 

Positive role models

Agents are devoted to the pursuit of justice, treat each other with kindness and respect. 


Brutal murders using weapons, drownings, torture; bloody crime scenes. Child molestation, rape. Death penalty a theme. 


Some innuendo, often crime related. 


"Hell," "damn," "ass."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking, drugs used during crimes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Criminal Minds is a long-running series crime procedural full of brutal, realistic depictions of violence, including torture, shootings, horrific murders, and bloody casualties. The themes range from sex crimes and mental illness to plane crashes and capital punishment. Words such as "damn," "hell," and "ass" are frequent, and there's some social drinking. On occasion, criminal behavior is connected to drugs. Aside from the gruesome crimes, the team of detectives treat each other like family and sometimes add some light humor to bleak plot lines.

What's the story?

CRIMINAL MINDS follows a team of FBI psychological profilers as they track down mentally disturbed serial killers. Led by agents such as Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), and, later, David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), the profilers use some traditional methods, such as interviewing suspects, as well as advanced forensic techniques. However, the hallmark of this group is its encyclopedic knowledge of the human mind and patterns of behavior. Through hard work, the use of new technology, and plenty of lateral thinking, they are able to read the minds of the killers and predict their next moves.

Is it any good?


Like most good crime dramas, the long-runningbseries offers detective stories full of interesting details and lots of suspense. Despite the lack of originality and endless violent moments, it has garnered over a decade of loyal fans. It's inspired some spin-offs, too: Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. 

Over the years characters played by actors such as Jeanne Tripplehorn, A.J. CookJennifer Love Hewitt, Damon Gupton, Emily Prentiss, and Aisha Tyler have come and (sometimes) gone. But the show’s longevity is due to the compelling narratives and has become a pop culture favorite thanks to its insertion of notable quotes that summarize the significance of each episode. If you crave this sort of entertainment, Criminal Minds is worth tuning into. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the amount of  violence in crime dramas. How realistic are these program's story lines? Is violence exaggerated for the sake of dramatic tension, or is it merely reflective of the world we live in? What draws viewers into plots that are essentially designed to disturb them?

  • How does Criminal Minds compare with other crime dramas on television? Does it do anything differently to distinguish itself from similar shows? How do the characters demonstrate perseverance and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Premiere date:September 22, 2005
Cast:Joe Mantegna, Shemar Moore, Thomas Gibson
Character strengths:Perseverance, Teamwork
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Criminal Minds was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bySuperreveiwer..maybe June 22, 2013

Commonsense Gave it a bad Rating

OK so, quality: It said the show was a normal crime show, but has it's unique qualities. They put themselves in the position of the criminal..... and they don't use highly unrealistic "gadgets" to solve murders. Positive messages/role models: The team works very cooperatively, and they try to avoid using violence. Violence/gore: Ok, this is a biggie, but like I said, the team tries to avoid violence. The crimes, however, are very violent.. and often the bodies/death can be gory. Sex: Office relationships.. though not much... crimes include rape, and other stuff like that. Language: None of the 'big words', but still intermittent language. Drinking drugs Smoking: small amounts of social drinking, some crimes involve drugs, one episode had poisoned wine.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 10 years old August 20, 2011

i love this show

I love this show and i hav been watching it since i was like 9. there are great people on this show and the victims are just people laying down with ketchup all over them. i am so addicted
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 17 years old Written byCriminal_Minds September 26, 2011

Deserves more than two stars!

I personally adore this show! The characters are just show awesome and the way they all work together to solve these crazy, shocking crimes is fantastic. Yes, Criminal Minds doesn't really hold back on the gore(tamer than what you'd see on CSI though). Probably the worst/goriest episodes for me were when they showed severed heads(eww) yeah...they don't hold back much, but if you look past that, it is NOT like most police procedurals out there! Instead of focusing on the crime, they focus on the Criminal. they get inside their mind and make a profile for them, to predict their next move and to save the next victim. Good mostly triumphs evil in this show, though unfortunately, it takes a few victims to make that happen. all in all, The team is full of highly intelligent people, who you will love! Fantastic show, love it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence