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The Biggest Similarity Between Criminal Minds And Mindhunter

In a genre as crowded as crime dramas, standing apart from the rest of the pack is not an easy thing to do. "Mindhunter," however, managed to do just that when it premiered on Netflix in 2017. The show received critical praise (via Rotten Tomatoes) for its character development and visual appeal. It's not exactly a surprise, considering the talent behind it, with acclaimed director David Fincher serving as an executive producer. "Mindhunter" centered around the establishment of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit and their study of serial killers, offering viewers a chilling crime drama experience.

Similarly, "Criminal Minds," which ran for 15 seasons on CBS and will soon be revived on Paramount+, focused on serial killers and the FBI agents who caught them. Unlike "Mindhunter," however, "Criminal Minds" took a more streamlined, network television approach to solving crimes and rarely delved into serialized storytelling. Still, both series surrounded the FBI and their attempts to stop and catch killers. One would think this is the facet that makes them similar, and that is definitely one factor that links them together.

However, there is one big similarity that stands above the others, and it's one that ties directly into each show's title.

Criminal Minds and Mindhunter both explore the minds of killers

It's probably no shocker to any viewer of both "Criminal Minds" and "Mindhunter" that both of these shows focus on the minds of serial killers, and this is definitely the biggest similarity that both shows share. Still, beyond that, both show the consequences of what happens when an FBI agent dives too deep into the mind of a killer. For "Mindhunter," viewers get to witness Holden Ford's (Jonathan Groff) mental health slowly deteriorate as he interviews more and more serial killers and pretends to empathize with them. It's a storyline that plays out through both of the show's seasons and it's a rich example of how dedicated "Mindhunter" could be to character development.

"Criminal Minds," on the other hand, was a lot more of a procedural than "Mindhunter" was, but it still took the time to show viewers the effects of catching killers could have on the mind. Characters experienced nervous breakdowns and other forms of mental illness during their time in the FBI. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) was even kidnapped by an unsub at some point and forced to deal with the mental aftermath of such a traumatic experience. While one could argue that "Mindhunter" pulled this off better, given its slow-burn approach and serialized narrative, both series took their own approach to getting into the minds of serial killers and the consequences for the ones who did so.