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How Long After Criminal Minds' Series Finale Does Criminal Minds: Evolution Take Place?

"Criminal Minds" may have ostensibly closed its last case when the beloved procedural series wrapped up its roughly 15 year run in 2020, but it didn't stay dead for long. Premiering in 2022, the Paramount+ series "Criminal Minds: Evolution" continues the story of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit team. There's no reboot, spin-off status, or other caveat to be found here either. For all intents and purposes, "Criminal Minds: Evolution" is a plain old revival of the classic series.

The sequel series largely picks up with a focus on the same cast and premise as the final season of the original show, though audiences may quickly find that some things have changed in the time between the two projects. Notably, Matthew Grey Gubler's Dr. Spencer Reid is not in "Criminal Minds: Evolution," nor is Daniel Henney's Special Agent Matt Simmons, and audiences are finding other well-known characters like Joe Mantegna's Special Agent David Rossi in very different situations from when they signed off in "Criminal Minds" Season 15. Essentially, everything feels familiar yet different — and the new status quo may prompt some viewers to wonder just how much time has passed in-between the original show and this revival.

It's been three eventful years for the BAU

"Criminal Minds: Evolution" features a sizable jump forward in the "Criminal Minds" timeline, with its first episode taking place three years after the series finale of the original show (via The AV Club). The gap resembles the real-world amount of time that passed between the two productions. "Criminal Minds" Season 15 wrapped up with its finale in February 2020, while "Criminal Minds: Evolution" kicked off in November 2022 (via IMDb). All in all, it was a transitional period of just over two-and-a-half years.

Of course, the reasons for the time jump run deeper than simply mirroring how much time passed between the two shows. The main plotline of "Criminal Minds: Evolution" sees the BAU team living post-COVID lives and, crucially, discovering that a network of serial killers has been secretly operating throughout the early years of the pandemic. This premise necessitates a time jump, as the events of the original "Criminal Minds" came to a close somewhere around the in-universe year of 2019.

All in all, a three year time jump is a decent middle ground for "Criminal Minds: Evolution" to hit. The narrative isn't flung so far forward that viewers won't recognize the series, but enough time has passed to spice up the status quo. While it may be the next chapter of the "Criminal Minds" that fans know and love, viewers may be caught off guard by how much has changed between the new series and the classic one.