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Criminal Minds: Evolution Needs To Kill Off Rossi And We're Not Sorry

With the season finale of "Criminal Mind: Evolution" officially in the rearview mirror, many are still hailing the streaming revival as one of the series' best run of episodes to date. True to its title, the latest season of "Criminal Minds" wasn't quite like any that had aired before. Some might even argue the inaugural run of "Evolution" was downright daring in its season-long deep dive into the twisted world of a single unsub. The long-awaited advent of more realistic foul language had fans in stitches, and a renewed vigor on the gore front helped make this season of "Criminal Minds" one for the books. "Evolution", of course, also came out the gate with many of the key original stars in tow, with even the work of the "Criminal Minds" lifers feeling revitalized by the series' newfound narrative ambition. 

Ambition aside, though, not everything has been perfect. The reinvigorated "Evolution" still regularly indulged in some of the more groan-inducing narrative tropes that dogged the show throughout its network tenure. The good news is series creatives can easily flip the script on at least one of those tropes in the coming season. And we're not at all sorry to say they can do so by killing off David Rossi.

After 16 seasons of death-dodging shenanigans, the game feels comically rigged on Criminal Minds

Okay, so we'll dive more into the necessary death of David Rossi in a moment. Because to understand why Rossi has to die, we must first understand why the "Criminal Minds: Evolution" team needs to kill him. To understand that, we need to take the "Criminal Minds" creative team to task for continuing to indulge in one infuriating narrative trope they just can't seem to quit — putting a BAU team member in mortal peril only to let them walk away with their life.

Over the course of the series first 15 seasons, such storylines were an almost comically regular occurrence on "Criminal Minds," with pretty much every single member of the BAU (as well as many of their immediate family members) getting captured by a vengeful unsub who somehow manages not to kill them. Heck, "Evolution" even managed to tap into said trope twice in the course of its own abbreviated 10-episode run, with the BAU team emerging with little more than a few bumps, bruises, and emotional scars.

Given the BAU team's superheroic penchant for surviving such mortal games, it's clear those games are almost unjustly rigged. This would be less of an issue if the "Criminal Minds" team didn't so often revisit this trope. But knowing the game is rigged means the stakes are never as high as they should be in the "Criminal Minds" realm. If series creatives want to raise the stakes moving forward, they've got to unrig the game, and there's only one way to do it. 

Killing a BAU heavy like Rossi is a matter of Evolution for Criminal Minds

If "Criminal Minds: Evolution" wants to level the mortal playing field moving forward, the stakes indeed need to be the same for the heroes as they are for the killers and their victims. Leveling that particular playing field means death must come to the BAU. To be clear, this will not require a "Red Wedding" sort of bloodletting. No, one single death would very much do the trick here, and there's really no reason the "Evolution" creative team shouldn't embrace the idea of killing a central team member.

Now, before you clap back about the death of one-time BAU boss Jason Gideon (Mandy Pantinkin), let's agree once and for all that his death, while tragic, was also a total a cop-out in that occurred off-screen, and several seasons after both the actor and character had made their series exit. No, the only way to properly balance things out on "Evolution" is to kill one of the perennial BAU mainstays, and to do it in full view of the fans.

The good news is that the first season "Evolution" narrative proves the show is ready to take such a risk. Make no mistake, breaking from the "creep of the week" format to spend a full season getting to know big bad unsub Elias Voit (Zach Gilford) was nothing short of series-altering for "Criminal Minds." If the series wants to evolve even further, finally letting an unsub get the better of a BAU heavy would be evolution incarnate. And Rossi is a fitting sacrifice.  

Rossi would be a game-changing kill in the Criminal Minds landscape

Yes, it has to be David Rossi who dies. And not only because procedural history dictates that the murder of a beloved, aging hero is among the best ways to shake-up a narrative. No, Rossi has to die because at this point it's not enough for "Criminal Mind: Evolution" to simply kill off an older character. At this point the creative team needs to make it hurt. And few deaths would hurt more than that of our dear Agent Rossi.

As portrayed by Joe Mantegna, the stout-hearted Agent has become more than a key player in the "Criminal Minds" landscape over the years — he's essentially become the father figure of the entire BAU. So much so it's hard to imagine the unit functioning without him. Rossi already retired once, of course. And upon his return, it often looked like busting bad guys was starting to wear thin for the recently-widowed agent. So when his old-school detective skills led him to the door of Elias Voit, creatives seemed primed to take on the nasty business of putting Rossi out to pasture the old-school way.

Frankly, the timing was right to take Rossi off the board. Series creatives even crafted a pitch-perfect scenario to pull the proverbial trigger. But they ultimately copped out in vintage "Criminal Minds" fashion, leaving Rossi to fight another day. It wasn't just a missed opportunity, it was a glaring mistake that undercut much of what made "Evolution" unique. With a new season in the works, there's still time to correct it. Given the circumstances, killing Rossi might be the only way to ensure that "Criminal Minds: Evolution" actually lives up to its title.