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Spoilers ahead for the April 28 episode of FBI: Most Wanted Season 1, called "Grudge."
The latest episode of FBI: Most Wanted Season 1 saw cyber-stalking turn into real-life murders, and the team had to track down a hacker on a mission for revenge against those he thinks wronged him. The case followed the normal (if somewhat disturbing) Most Wanted formula for the most part, but "Grudge" delivered some backstory with Hana and her stalker, and Kenny stepped up to try and support her. Still, I was left with the sense that Most Wanted could have been more, and I think crossovers could do the trick.
When FBI: Most Wanted premiered in early 2020, it created a two-show shared universe with FBI, and the shows got one big two-part crossover before FBI came to an early end. Things changed for the FBI shared universe in the Season 2 finale of FBI, however, when Chicago P.D.'s Tracy Spiridakos moved from NBC to CBS for a guest shot as OA's partner.
With Upton's appearance, the two-show FBI universe suddenly became part of a six-show Dick Wolf universe, comprised of FBI, FBI: Most Wanted, Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and Law & Order: SVU. That six-show universe is poised to be comprised of seven shows thanks to another series in the works at NBC. But what does this mean for FBI: Most Wanted?
At this point, I would argue that FBI: Most Wanted is by far the most procedural series in the Dick Wolf lineup, and arguably even more procedural than FBI Season 1. With a large ensemble and no real established set, Most Wanted doesn't feel very grounded, and it took me longer than I care to admit to actually learn all the characters' names.
The characters are most interesting when there's some kind of conflict between them -- good or bad -- that forces growth, and for personalities to establish themselves. What better way than to bring in some characters from the other Dick Wolf series, or sending some Most Wanted characters to FBI or SVU or Chicago P.D.?
The Most Wanted characters could become more distinct and developed up against existing characters from other shows, all of which have been running longer than FBI: Most Wanted, even if FBI only has one year of seniority. Closer ties to other shows in a shared universe could help ground a series that is always moving, and perhaps even grow the Most Wanted audience.
Crossovers historically result in boosted ratings, with fans of one show watching another for the sake of an ongoing story. Tracy Spiridakos' guest appearance as Upton on FBI brought some Chicago P.D. fans over to CBS for an episode, and Upton's episode proved that crossovers can technically be on a relatively small scale while still packing a punch.
Chicago P.D. could work without Upton for an episode or two, whereas Upton on FBI was a big deal. The characters of One Chicago frequently appear on shows other than their own. Alana De La Garza appearing on both FBI and FBI: Most Wanted proves that the CBS branch of the Dick Wolf shared universe can share characters a la One Chicago. Why not more frequently? I would even take phone call scenes between two shows.
Sharing characters could help Most Wanted establish itself, and maybe even make me wish I'd learned Kenny's name a lot earlier rather than referring to him as "Kellan Lutz's character." Unfortunately, my pitch for more crossovers between FBI: Most Wanted and the other Dick Wolf shows comes as FBI: Most Wanted is currently the only one of the six Dick Wolf shows still airing new episodes.
FBI Season 2 ended weeks ago, and the NBC series wrapped early as well. Neither FBI nor Most Wanted have even been renewed for the 2020-2021 season, which is a far cry from the renewal orders One Chicago and SVU got over on NBC. For now, you can catch new episodes of FBI: Most Wanted on CBS Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET.