Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 Cast, Showrunner, Possible Plotlines And More Details

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

When CBS' original "Criminal Minds" was canceled, longtime fans weren't the only ones who were disappointed. According to showrunner Erica Messer, none of the actors or crew behind the scenes wanted it to end either. "None of us wanted it to end creatively," she told Deadline. "We felt there were plenty more stories to tell. The cast was in such a groove and everybody loved being here." Luckily, it didn't take long for talk to begin about bringing the show back. "In February of 2020, the last episode aired on CBS," she said. "Late summer of 2020 is when I got the call asking if I'd want to do another version of Criminal Minds."

Moving "Criminal Minds: Evolution" to Paramount+ changed the show for the better, with Messer explaining that they used to have to drastically cut anything that was deemed unnecessary when the show was on CBS, which meant lingering emotional moments were often the first to go. "You get to be in the creepy moments longer and be in the emotion longer [on streaming] than you would on broadcast." 

The subtle changes, as well as a new structure of one plot (and one Unsub) followed throughout the season — Elias Voit (Zach Gilford) and his serial killer network — went over well with fans. An announcement that a second season has been greenlit wasn't a surprise. Here's what we know so far of "Criminal Minds: Evolution" Season 2.

When will Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 be released?

While the 10-episode Season 1 of "Criminal Minds: Evolution" wouldn't air its finale until February 9, 2023, Paramount+ eagerly announced on January 12 that it had renewed the reboot/revival for a second season. In a statement from Paramount, the network said the show "is now one of the service's top five original series and has driven the overall franchise to see an increase of nearly six times in month-over-month viewership."

However, filming for Season 2 was put on hold due to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, but once the writers' strike came to an end, the "Criminal Minds" writers' room got cracking in October 2023. Then after the actors' strike ended a month later, star Paget Brewster took to X, formerly known as Twitter, and gave an exciting update on the future of "Evolution." "We start filming mid-January at a break-neck pace to get episodes to you ASAP!" the "Criminal Minds" start tweeted. "We all hope you will watch and love them!" When the second season does finally arrive, you can expect 10 episodes, just like Season 1.

What is the plot of Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2?

When it comes to a plot for Season 2, showrunner Erica Messer has teased different ideas, but the one thing she's firm on is that the name "Evolution" is now officially part of the show's title. "The word itself is sort of constantly defining what the show has done. It's evolved. The characters have evolved. Our running time has evolved, right? Everything is new," she told TV Insider. "We called it 'Criminal Minds: Evolution,' so that in future seasons, it could still have that name."

Messer has also suggested that while Season 1 definitively resolved with the capture of serial killer Elias Voit, some dangling plot threads may be explored next season. "We wanted a satisfying ending to this 10-episode run, but we also wanted to set up the promise of more to come, so it has both of those elements," she explained. There's also the late-Season 1 moment of a meeting between Voit and a very high-ranking official, which certainly has something to do with the killer's knowledge of the secrecy-shrouded Gold Star program. Messer also hinted that there were thousands of people who'd talked to or messaged Voit, and uncovering those connections may figure into the plot of Season 2.

At any rate, Season 2 of "Evolution" will harken back to the formats of both of its "Criminal Minds" predecessors, utilizing episodic and serialized elements. "In the first four episodes so far, two are a little bit serial, and two are not," Messer revealed. As far as subplots, Will LaMontagne (J.J.'s husband) will deal with the after-effects of the health crisis suffered in Season 1, while Prentiss will get a personal life storyline, too.

Who is starring in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2?

Joe Mantegna (Rossi), A.J. Cook (J.J.), Kirsten Vangsness (Garcia), Aisha Tyler, (Dr. Lewis) Adam Rodriguez (Luke Alvez), and Paget Brewster (Prentiss) — all cast members who were also part of the original CBS series — will return for Season 2 of "Criminal Minds: Evolution." "Everybody in the main cast is coming back, they all had a contract to come back," showrunner Erica Messer told TVLine. Zach Gilford may return, as Messer would like to see his character, murdering mastermind Elias Voit, recur in the future as a Hannibal Lecter-like figure. "You have not seen the last of Elias," Messer hinted. 

Erica Messer is still hopeful that Matthew Gray Gubler, who portrayed Dr. Spencer Reid for 15 years, and Daniel Henney, who played Matt Simmons for five years, will return in the future. "We are all talking regularly, and fingers crossed we can make something work out," she told TV Insider. "But we're cheering on what Matthew and Daniel are doing when they're not with us. And so it's definitely bittersweet that we haven't been able to have them for the big arc this season." 

Messer hopes to bring back BAU associate and possible romantic figure Tyler Green, played by Ryan-James Hatanaka. "There's a very great chance that we will be seeing Tyler," Messer told Variety. "We just completely bought that [Garcia] would break up with him after that betrayal, but that maybe it isn't over."

Who is the showrunner for Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2?

After building a resume as a member of the writing staffs of beloved early 2000s TV serials like "Alias," "The O.C.," and "Charmed," Erica Messer joined "Criminal Minds" in 2005 during the procedural series' first season. She would be credited with authorship on 52 episodes of the series in all, both as a staffer and eventually head writer, and she'd also be promoted to supervising producer, executive producer, and finally showrunner.

Messer remained the major creative voice and authority figure on "Criminal Minds" until it ended its 15-season run in 2020. When Paramount+ ordered a revamped revival of the franchise, Messer was brought in as showrunner, with her contract finalized before any of the actors even signed on. Having successfully steered "Criminal Minds: Evolution" to streaming success in Season 1, Messer will return as showrunner on Season 2. 

Where to watch previous seasons of Criminal Minds and Criminal Minds: Evolution

Deadline reported that a major reason why Paramount+ wanted a "Criminal Minds" revival — and so soon after the original series' final episodes aired on CBS in 2020 — is because it's a huge success on streaming. Not only is "Criminal Minds" a well-known show and franchise with a cast of faces made familiar by a 15-year network run, but it also produced well over 300 episodes. That's a lot of content, and one that will take a lot of time for old and new fans alike to work their way through.

All 15 seasons of the original "Criminal Minds" are available as part of a subscription package to Hulu. Those same episodes can be purchased individually or part of a whole season on Amazon's Prime Video streaming service, which also carries Season 1 of "Criminal Minds: Evolution" on a pay-per-installment basis. And as "Criminal Minds: Evolution" is a Paramount+ original, the first season is ready to stream on that service, along with the 15 seasons of the 2005-2020 "Criminal Minds."