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The Local Police Detail That Has Criminal Minds Fans Scratching Their Heads

In the pantheon of crime procedurals, no television series offered up minds quite so criminal as the ones portrayed on "Criminal Minds." "Those minds," fans muttered to themselves at the end of each episode, shaking their heads in disbelief. "Always getting up to one brand of criminality or another."

Luckily for the citizens of the "Criminal Minds" universe, the good people of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit were always around, serving as the last line of defense between work-a-day Joes and the quiet guy in their neighborhood sewing a work-a-day Joe suit in his basement. Yes sir, the show's heroes were always around and on the case, no matter what backwater town's police department required their help.

After fifteen years of episodes, fans on the /r/CriminalMinds Reddit forum noticed something peculiar about said police departments. Pretty uniformly, and from sea to shining sea, not one of the local PDs seemed capable of solving a single murder without a bevy of main characters there to hold their hands.

Criminal Minds had a problem it needed to cop to

"Local PD seems useless in every case," Reddit user RigRogue pointed out in a post, holding fictional local law enforcement's feet to the fire. The main characters, they continued, would "deliver the profile to a room of uniforms and detectives and they never help. Once in a blue moon, but hardly ever."

It's a fair point. The setup of a typical episode of "Criminal Minds" can, in many cases, be put down to "the BAU travels somewhere, feeds the local constabulary a pile of exposition, and then proceeds to do everything themselves anyway." It's not that there isn't a reasonable explanation for it — as user gt201 points out, the stars of the series are "delivering the profile to us, the audience. Local PD is just a plot device" — that thin blue fourth wall between viewers and a familiar cast of characters tasked with selling the audience on a plot in 42 minutes or less. Still, it's fun head canon to imagine a world where no crime, however small, can possibly be sleuthed away at a local level without the intervention of federal authorities. Maybe the chaos of this constant in-universe Purge will be explored further when "Criminal Minds" returns for its limited series revival sometime in the indeterminate future.