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Criminal Minds: Evolution Fans Are On High Alert As Bailey Becomes More And More Suspicious

Paramount+'s "Criminal Minds: Evolution" confronts the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit with their toughest foes yet — even among their supposed allies. While the team currently has their hands full with the deadly criminal network of Elias "Sicarius" Voit ("The Midnight Club's" Zach Gilford), they also have to confront an ambitious new antagonist at the FBI itself. Deputy Director Doug Bailey (Nicholas D'Agosto) is introduced in the series premiere as Emily Prentiss' (Paget Brewster) superior, who's also responsible for separating the BAU as an ill-conceived cost-cutting measure. The show even forces him to bare the cross of fan-favorite Spencer Reid's absence.

In just the first few episodes, Bailey has taken every possible opportunity to obstruct the progress of the BAU's Sicarius investigation, hoping to prove the unit obsolete in order to consolidate multiple departments. In simpler terms: all he cares about is money and power. Nicole Pacent's Rebecca Wilson even theorizes that Bailey has his sights set on a cabinet position in the near future, and is using his current position to make a name for himself. With each backhanded maneuver, Bailey seems ever more suspicious — and fans are starting to question not only his motives but his very allegiance to law and order.

Reddit users hate Doug Bailey

"[Doug Bailey] is a rat," wrote u/Vacanus on the r/criminalminds subreddit. "He's the real psychopath here." It's a strong sentiment to carry for a character, which is arguably a testament to both the show's writing and Nicholas D'Agosto's performance. "I can't help but like him," admitted u/Annber03, "simply because I like the actor ... I like Bailey and Emily's interactions especially, it's fun to see them battling back and forth as they are." As formidable and arresting an antagonist as he may be, to categorize him so extremely as a "psychopath" is quite the leap — yet u/Vacanus is far from alone in their assessment.

"Absolutely agree with ... Bailey being a psychopath," said u/crazygranny. "Little weasels like him thrived in management over the last few years. The greed in them loved the $$$ that happened with the lower overhead due to loss of staff and they just have no soul." It's a fair point to bring up, given how hungry the character is to slash budgets for an ineffective form of "efficiency."

Even u/Annber03, for all their praise, feels his character is becoming a major threat. "I definitely feel like there's more to Bailey's role here than meets the eye ... It wouldn't surprise me if he turned out to be a bigger obstacle than the BAU initially believes him to be." Though it's likely he'll remain an increasingly frustrating force of bureaucracy, some believe — and, perhaps, hope — that the character will take a more drastic, murderous turn.

Could he possibly the BAU's biggest threat?

Some fans have gone so far as to suggest that Doug Bailey might be a murderer himself. u/Trumpologist posited, "Could Bailey be one of the usubs. Maybe his thing is killing other killers. Would tie up loose ends." It would be a pretty outlandish plot development for a quasi-realistic show such as "Criminal Minds" to reveal that the Deputy Director of the FBI is secretly Dexter Morgan. Still, it seems as though some fans would prefer something absurd rather than his current, all-too-familiar characterization. "There has to be a bit of a twist," wrote u/canyonoflight.

u/Thorfan23 also felt Bailey was repetitive, comparing his projected arc to that of former BAU Section Chief Erin Strauss (Jayne Atkinson). "[Revealing that Bailey is a killer] would be a different approach rather than just having him be a male version of Strauss who starts as a hindrance/enemy but then turns out not to be so bad after all," they commented. It's unlikely that Bailey will turn out to be a serial killer, as tantalizing as that theory sounds. That being said, there's plenty of time left in the first season of "Criminal Minds: Evolution" for the story to drive the character in a new, interesting direction.