Criminal Minds is back. Criminal Minds: Evolution, a revival of the original series that aired on CBS from 2005 to 2020, premiered Thanksgiving Day on Paramount+. (The first episode also aired on CBS.) The first of 10 new episodes picks up with the members of the BAU somewhat scattered, but they quickly come back together in the face of a new challenge that will see them tracking a devious mastermind over the course of the entire season.
“Just Getting Started” also answered some big questions that long-time viewers likely had heading into the the new show, including what Garcia has been up to since leaving the FBI (and whether she ever went on that date with Luke), why Reid isn’t on hand to help with the new case, and what’s going on with the team’s jet.
[Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Criminal Minds: Evolution series premiere, “Just Getting Started.”]
‘Criminal Minds’ reveals the outcome of Garcia and Alvez’s dinner date
Adam Rodriguez as Luke Alvez and Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia in ‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’ | Paramount+
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In the Criminal Minds Season 15 finale, Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) opted to leave the FBI behind. That prompted Agent Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez) to ask her to dinner, now that they would no longer be co-workers.
Naturally, fans were curious about what exactly happened on that date, and if it led to a serious relationship between the two. Well, the Evolution premiere revealed what went down, and it isn’t great news for those who were shipping Garcia and Alvez. Apparently, the date happened, but it was a dud.
Alvez shows up unexpectedly at Garcia’s apartment to ask for her help locating a missing girl. He’s interrupted a meeting of her Anglophile baking club (um, how do we join?). At least one of her friends knows all about their history, as she whispers something in Garcia’s ear as she leaves.
“One dinner, three years ago,” Garcia says aloud. “We thrive as frenemies.”
“We’re friends,” a confused Alvez says. “Why do I have to be your enemy?”
We also get an update on what else Garcia has been up to since leaving the BAU. She’s created a secure and safe social media site for kids and “banned the 24-hour news and doomscrolling.” She’s in a good place mentally and doesn’t want to get pulled back into the dark world of hunting serial killers. But we have a feeling she won’t be able to hold out for long, especially once she learns that someone has used her “unhackable” site to target victims.
‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’ addresses Spencer Reid’s absence
Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler] in ‘Criminal Minds’ | Matt Kennedy/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images Studios
Many Criminal Minds fans were disappointed when they learned that Matthew Gray Gubler would not be returning as quirky FBI agent Spencer Reid in Evolution. (Gubler wanted to focus on other projects, his co-star Paget Brewster told Looper.) Also not returning is David Henney as Matt Simmons. Henney is currently starring in Prime Video’s The Wheel of Time, which meant he wasn’t available for the revival.
The Criminal Minds: Evolution premiere briefly addressed the absence of both characters. Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) has received a promotion in the interim between the series’ original end and when the arrival begins. She’s managing multiple teams, including the BAU, and dealing with stressed out agents and a stretched budget. (Joe Mantegna’s David Rossi, meanwhile, is heading up the BAU, though he’s been MIA lately due to a personal crisis.) While trying to convince the FBI’s deputy director to provide her more resources, Prentiss mentions that Reid and Simmons aren’t around.
“Without the help of SSAs Reid and Simmons…” she says.
“Sorry, I’m not at liberty to discuss their assignments,” the deputy director replies. “If and when they return is entirely up to them. Sadly, we don’t have any say.”
So, we don’t know exactly what Reid and Simmons are up to, only that they’re out of the picture for now. But for fans holding out hope that they’ll see either character again, all is not lost. Both are still around – albeit off-screen – which means they could possibly appear in a future episode.
Did the BAU get their jet back?
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In the original Criminal Minds, the agents hopped around the country on a private jet. Over the years, the plane became almost as much of a character on the show as the BAU agents themselves. So, it was definitely a sad moment when, in the season 15 finale, they were forced to shoot down the aircraft in order to take down The Chameleon (Michael Mosley).
Unfortunately, in the Criminal Minds: Evolution premiere, the BAU agents are still plane-less. Early in the episode, Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler) mentions that the bureau has benched their jet.
“What’s the over-under that we get that back this year?” Alvez asks.
“It’s looking bleak, my friend,” she replies. “Very bleak.”
So, it looks like the team will be flying commercial, at least for now.
New episodes of Criminal Minds: Evolution stream weekly on Paramount+.
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