Criminal Minds

TV review by
Elliot Panek, Common Sense Media
Criminal Minds TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Entertaining crime drama's violence is too grim for kids.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 40 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 168 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Crime solving, team work themes. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

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."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking, drugs used during crimes.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5, 11, and 16-year-old Written byNoah G. November 26, 2017

Truly depends on the maturity of your child

I have been watching this show from the beginning and let me tell you, it is one roller coaster of a show. Not only are the characters captivating, if you love... Continue reading
Parent of a 9, 14, and 16-year-old Written byMimi9496 October 24, 2010

Ok for older teens... just have to make the decision based on YOUR child

I actually like the Show Criminal Minds... yes, while it is true that some of the incidents they investigate are violent... and that is concerning... I watch WI... Continue reading
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... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byThreeDaysGracesGirl October 30, 2010
Oh my God, what is this author's problem?
This show's even better than Law and Order! And that's saying something.

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. 

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

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

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

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

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate