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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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.
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. Cook, Jennifer 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?
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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.