The TV universe is now at a point where a show getting cancelled sometimes just means it will be off the air for a year or so before getting picked back up on a new platform. ViacomCBS is going that route with Criminal Minds, which is flipping from its former home at CBS over to a new streaming home with Paramount+. The crime drama's return will mix familiar characters up with some new faces, but the cast and streaming service aren't the only big differences that viewers will notice.
Criminal Minds is very much known for delivering a slew of creepy, effed-up unsubs for its BAU crew to study and then capture, and that tradition carried on all the way through the series' then-finale. But we probably shouldn't expect to see a revolving door of twisted murderers throughout the revival season, as Paramount+ confirmed that the characters will be following a single case from beginning to end (via TVLine). So that means the crew will likely be dealing with one of its most formidable foes yet – sorry, Chameleon – since they obviously won't be catching the unsub immediately.
This somewhat new direction for Criminal Minds is actually feeding off of how former showrunner Erica Messer geared things in a more serialized way in later seasons. Granted, the show still managed to work cases-of-the-week into the fold, but there were several storylines that were expanded to extend across multiple episodes, with Matthew Gray Gubler's Reid taking on some of those plotlines.
Of course, Criminal Minds viewers probably won't see Kirsten Vangness' Garcia making her return, seeing as how the writers had her leaving the BAU for a less dark and depressing gig. And it's still up for question whether or not J.J. and Reid's fan-favorite non-romance will be further explored in new episodes, though the writers seemed to put a cap on that in Season 15.
There's actually another cool change that Criminal Minds fans can expect when the revival hits Paramount+. This time around, the long-running drama will be paired up with a follow-up show titled The Real Criminal Minds, a companion series that will feature a real-life ex-profiler who will examine actual FBI cases. It hasn't been confirmed yet, but it's likely the show will be hosted by a Criminal Minds cast member. This would be an excellent time for former cast member Shemar Moore to return to the CM universe in a way that likely wouldn't take up too much of his time away from CBS' S.W.A.T., especially since he didn't return for the finale.
Though shows like Last Man Standing and Brooklyn Nine-Nine also went through cancellations that were later reversed by other networks, both of those comedies followed most of the same beats that they did before. But by shifting over to a season-long mystery for Paramount+, Criminal Minds might feel like a completely different show, depending on how many new cast members are around.
Let us know in the comments below which Criminal Minds stars you hope to see the most whenever the show returns for at least one more season. And, of course, stay tuned to see when that season will actually make its way to streaming audiences.