‘Criminal Minds’: Elle Fanning Appeared in an Oft-Forgotten Role

by Megan Molseed
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Dakota Fanning’s little sister, Elle Fanning has been showing up in a variety of film and television appearances since 2001. Her big-screen debut came in 2001 when she portrayed the young version of her sister in the Sean Penn drama I Am Sam. But, who remembers the longtime actress showing up as a young girl in the second season of Criminal Minds? In fact, Fanning made two appearances as a character named Tracy Bell that season.

It is in the second season Criminal Minds episode titled Boogeyman when Elle Fanning portrays Tracy, a young Ozona Texas native. In this episode, the Criminal Minds Behavior Analysis Unit (BAU) travels to the Texas town to investigate a series of child murders. In this installation, Tracy walks home with another child, Jeffrey Charles (Cameron Monaghan). But, it turns out, Tracy is walking right into danger as she is unaware that Jeffry is the one who has been murdering the children. The killer is luring Fanning’s Tracy Bell into the woods to be his next victim.

Thankfully, Tracy gets away when she injures Jeff and takes off to find a hiding spot. Then, just as the killer is about to find Tracy, the Criminal Minds BAU comes to the rescue. Shaken from this experience, the young girl and her family move to Virginia.

Fanning Revives Her ‘Criminal Minds’ Character In Another Frightening Case

Later that season, Elle Fanning returns to Criminal Minds when another killer, Keith Carradine’s Frank Breitkopf is targeting individuals who have been rescued by the BAU in other cases. Frank kidnaps Tracy, but the team once again saves the young girl.

It’s a pretty impressive feat to have even just one memorable performance such as Fanning’s in a popular series like Criminal Minds. So, to have two episodes under her belt was a big resume builder for young Elle Fanning.

The Young Actress Moves On To Some Big Screen Roles

Over the next few years, Elle Fanning landed a variety of more prominent roles on film. In 2011, Fanning appeared in Matt Damon’s We Bought a Zoo and the Sci-Fi thriller Super 8. She then went on to land a co-lead role as Sleeping Beauty in the 2014 hit Maleficent.

Most recently, the longtime actress can be seen portraying Empress Catherine II in Hulu’s The Great. This role even earned the actress a Golden Globe nomination. Next, Fanning is portraying Michelle Carter in Hulu’s The Girl from Plainville. This biopic features Fanning portraying a young woman who has been convicted for involuntary manslaughter following her boyfriend’s death.

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