Why FBI: Most Wanted Cases Can Get 'Pretty Disturbing'

fbi most wanted cbs
(Image credit: CBS)

FBI: Most Wanted launched on CBS in midseason to task the best of the best federal agents with chasing down the most wanted criminals wherever necessary, and viewers have seen that the FBI spinoff isn't afraid to get dark. While there are notable similarities between FBI and FBI: Most Wanted, the spinoff (which launched as a backdoor pilot in FBI's hit Season 1) already stands on its own after only three episodes, and star Roxy Sternberg shared with CinemaBlend why Most Wanted can get "pretty disturbing."

When asked what airing in the 10 p.m. ET hour means for FBI: Most Wanted as opposed to 9 p.m. ET for FBI, Roxy Sternberg said this:

I would say definitely that our break between the two means that we can go a little bit further with the gore, with the darkness of the storylines. I think definitely one thing that's different between the two shows in terms of the tone is that there's two of them, there's five of us. So I think that reads a little bit differently in terms of the way we communicate. There's a lot more of us. The storylines, they get very dark and most of the storylines are based on true stories, which is pretty disturbing. Ultimately, we deal with the worst of the worst criminals, and so I think the storylines are slightly darker.

The five-person team of FBI: Most Wanted, including Roxy Sternberg as cop-turned-FBI agent Sheryll Barnes, faces different challenges than the primary two leads of FBI, and those Most Wanted challenges can get a lot darker in the last hour of primetime on Tuesday nights. As Sternberg noted, true stories of crime can be "pretty disturbing," so the Most Wanted cases ripped from the headlines are disturbing as well.

Interestingly, the "most wanted" of FBI: Most Wanted (which shares a character with its parent series) so far have had at least slightly sympathetic backstories to add some shades of gray to their status as among the worst of the worst. That hasn't meant happy endings for all involved so far in the series, but the show isn't all doom and gloom despite its darkness in the 10 p.m. hour.

When FBI: Most Wanted debuted as a backdoor pilot in the second half of FBI's first season, it did so in the 9 p.m. hour, meaning that viewers expecting more of the same in the solo show may have been in for a surprise. That said, when asked if the direction of Most Wanted shifted from the backdoor pilot to its launch in early January, Roxy Sternberg shared her perspective:

No, I don't think it has shifted. I just think we've been able to touch upon a lot more because we've been given now 16 episodes. We've been given the opportunity to go into our characters' backstories. I think with the backdoor pilot, we were only lightly touching on things, obviously because we were only given one episode, but now we're able to delve a little bit deeper. I don't think the direction has shifted, I just think it's gone a little bit further.

FBI: Most Wanted is only three episodes into its first season, but it could have a long future on the small screen. Shows that fall under the Dick Wolf banner often have long lives, with Law & Order: SVU over on NBC still running after more than 20 seasons, and his Chicago series are going strong as well. CBS ordered a spinoff from FBI surprisingly early in its run; hopefully the Eye Network has the same kind of faith in Most Wanted as it gets going.

See what happens next for Roxy Sternberg's Barnes and the rest of the team with new episodes of FBI: Most Wanted on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS, following new episodes of FBI in the winter premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).