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Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 - What We Know So Far

When CBS's original "Criminal Minds" was canceled, longtime fans weren't the only ones that 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 the continuation throughout the season with unsub Elias Voit (Zach Gilford) and his serial killer network, have gone over well with fans, so the announcement that a second season has been greenlit wasn't a surprise. Here's what we know so far.

When will Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 be released?

While the 10-episode Season 1 of "Criminal Minds: Evolution" doesn't air its finale until February 9, Paramount+ already announced on January 12 that it was renewed for a second season. In a statement from Paramount, the network said that 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." The statement shared that filming for Season 2 will begin in 2023. There's no word yet on a release date.

"Fans have quickly embraced this new season with its more serialized elements," said Tanya Giles, chief programming officer of Paramount Streaming. "There are still many dark twists and turns yet to come for the BAU this season and we can't wait for fans to see what's in store." The new format of solving murders every episode while tracking down main antagonist Elias Voit really helped increase viewers for "Criminal Minds: Evolution," as fans of the dual styles were drawn into the show. The show streaming on Paramount+ helped catapult the series into even more homes.

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 — the one thing she is 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 Season 1 will have a definite resolution, but there will be some aspects that are undetermined so that they can 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. She also hinted that there were thousands of people that had talked to or messaged "Evolution" antagonist Elias Voit, and finding those connections may figure into Season 2.

Who is starring in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2?

Joe Mantegna, A.J. Cook, Kirsten Vangsness, Aisha Tyler, Adam Rodriguez, and Paget Brewster — all cast members who were also part of the original CBS series — are expected to return for Season 2. It's unclear if Zach Gilford will return or if his time on the show is done after Season 1.

Many actors in the show also took to social media to announce the renewal, with Aisha Taylor posting several articles on Instagram, writing "This is a series of haphazard screen shots to inform you that the mind games will most definitely continue." Joe Mantegna also posted a renewal photo on Instagram, as did Kirsten Vangsness, who wrote "My every pore brims with appreciation to work with such fireballs of camera magnetism."

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." 

Hopefully next season we get even more familiar faces returning.