Criminal Minds



Formulaic crime drama’s violence is too grim for kids.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Most episodes end with “bad guys” being brought to justice, but every now and then, they get away. The show also portrays the world as a generally dangerous place where violent acts are commonplace.

Positive role models

The central characters are intelligent professionals and work hard to put criminals behind bars and protect innocent people. Some of the character's backgrounds are soap opera-ish, i.e. victimized by horrific child molesters, parents who were serial killers, details that seem thrown in for shock rather than given sufficient dramatic weight on the show.


Gritty, realistic depictions of injury and murder involving weapons and torture, but with minimal blood. Some crimes have a sexual element. In some cases, children are harmed.

Not applicable

Use of terms like “damn,” “ass,” etc.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Rare social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this crime drama fuels its weekly plots with realistic depictions of violence and often places characters in situations of severe emotional distress. There aren't a large number of on-screen deaths, and blood is usually kept to a minimum, but characters can be seen begging for their lives -- which can be equally troubling. Some of the killers are sexual predators, and characters sometimes use words like “damn” and “ass.”

What's the story?

CRIMINAL MINDS follows a team of FBI psychological profilers (led by Joe Mantegna) as they track down mentally disturbed serial killers. In their detective work, the profilers use some traditional methods, such as interviewing suspects and the now-omnipresent forensic techniques made popular by CSI. However, the hallmark of this group is their 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 move.

Is it any good?


All of this should sound awfully familiar, as Criminal Minds is undeniably derivative of popular crime procedurals like CSI and Numb3rs. (And, somehow, it even inspired its own spinoff -- Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, which airs right after it in back-to-back fashion.) Yet on Criminal Minds, the recurring characters we see week to week routinely fail to be compelling, thanks to underdeveloped relationships and dialogue that isn't much more than a pastiche of witless banter and hackneyed truisms.

Of course, mature viewers who crave the built-in suspense of the crime-drama formula and don’t mind the hopelessly wooden writing, might make Criminal Minds part of their weekly fix -- and that’s fine. Just know that it’s a weak brew compared to shows that do it much better.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the show’s level of violence as it relates to the content. How realistic are the program's storylines? Is violence exaggerated for the sake of dramatic tension, or is it merely reflective of the world we live in?

  • How does this show compare to other crime dramas on television? Does it do anything differently to distinguish itself from similar shows?

  • Why are crime dramas so popular, despite their grim depictions of modern criminals? What draws viewers into plots that are essentially designed to disturb them?

TV details

Cast:Joe Mantegna, Shemar Moore, Thomas Gibson
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Criminal Minds was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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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
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


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