‘Criminal Minds’ Has Striking Similarities to Another Popular Show

by Maria Hartfield

Crime drama reigns supreme as one of the most popular television genres with Criminal Minds at the forefront. The long-running police procedural came to an end in 2020 after five successful years on-air. The series centers around a team of FBI special agents as they work to bring some of the most dangerous criminal minds to justice. Similarly, other shows like The Blacklist follow suit with a twist on crime specialists and how they work to find the world’s most wanted.

Since both Criminal Minds and The Blacklist are crime drama thrillers, it makes sense that the two series would share a myriad of similarities. However, each show presents its own take on the overall narrative, creativity, and character storylines. So, why compare the two? One standout reason why both series have achieved their level of success is due to their affiliation with the FBI.

Isn’t it interesting that both Criminal Minds and The Blacklist feature at least one main character as an FBI profiler? Criminal Minds showcases an entire team comprised of a variety of criminal profilers. The group of highly trained and experienced professionals determines the inner workings of each suspect. Then, they paint a picture for the local authorities in order to help show them what kind of person they’re looking for.

The one big difference between Criminal Minds and The Blacklist

The Blacklist takes a different approach opening with Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) at the start of her career as an FBI profiler. Before Keen can truly sink her teeth into her newfound career, she ends up working directly with the task force. This occurs after criminal mastermind Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) shows up and basically forces Keen’s hand.

Lining up the two shows side by side, the storylines are completely different. Criminal Minds opens with a different case every episode. Each opening scene consists of a team of agents working together to determine what type of person could be behind the different crimes within each episode. On the other hand, The Blacklist follows Agent Elizabeth Keen from episode one. Keen ruthlessly tracks down dangerous criminals with the help of a criminal turned informant, Red Reddington. As the plot thickens, viewers find out Red may play a larger role in Keen’s personal life as he discreetly reveals hidden information about her past.

It’s true, the narratives for Criminal Minds and The Blacklist are mostly different. However, their end goals remain the same. Keen, Red, and company alongside specialists at the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) won’t stop until they successfully infiltrate the minds of the killers in order to put them behind bars.

Catch all seasons of Criminal Minds now streaming on Paramount+. All eight seasons of The Blacklist are available on Netflix and Peacock.