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The Biggest Similarity Between Criminal Minds And The X-Files

Of all the shows that hit the small screen in the 1990s, "The X-Files" stands out as one of the most groundbreaking of its era. Combining the hallmarks of police procedural dramas with fantastical elements, the show chronicles the adventures of FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) as they solve cases of the weird and otherworldly variety. Without "The X-Files," shows such as "Grimm," "Angel," "Fringe," and "Supernatural" might not exist. However, the influence of the spooky procedural can also be found in shows that don't veer into paranormal forms of storytelling.

Like "The X-Files," "Criminal Minds" has also found great success among fans of the police procedural genre. With 15 seasons prior to its cancellation and another expected to arrive on Paramount+ in the near future following its revival, it's one of the longest-running live-action shows to emerge in the 21st century. The overall story follows the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit as they track down serial killers and other twisted individuals. You won't find any aliens or ghosts in "Criminal Minds," but there are still similarities between that show and "The X-Files" that are worth mentioning, including one that stands out from the rest.

Both shows feature the 'black sheep' of the FBI

"Criminal Minds" and "The X-Files" share a few similarities, especially in regard to how cases are carried out. For example, both shows chronicle the so-called black sheep agents of the FBI and the way in which they profile their suspects and targets during each investigation. If Mulder and Scully existed in the "Criminal Minds" universe, they'd probably be part of the BAU. 

It so happens there is one episode of "Criminal Minds" that seemingly confirms the similarities between both procedurals aren't coincidental — while highlighting the aforementioned black sheep aspect of the series' agents. In Season 13's "Last Gasp," Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler) conducts a therapy session with two FBI co-workers who resemble Mulder and Scully. It turns out that the pair are in treatment for their dysfunctional behavior, stemming from the fact that one of them keeps proposing "outside the box" theories that pertain to the paranormal.

The nods to "The X-Files" don't stop there, either. In what is clearly a reference to the sexual tension that's existed between Mulder and Scully in the past, the dysfunctional "Criminal Minds" agents end up getting it on. While the scenes are played for laughs, they were clearly put in there to acknowledge how "The X-Files" informed "Criminal Minds."