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Criminal Minds is one of the most popular crime dramas on television right now. Unlike several crime dramas, this show doesn’t feature a lot of gore, which makes it a better show for most. Not only is the acting phenomenal that it really has you wanting to binge, but for those interested in crime history, law, or anything else will be enamored by the stories and diving into the minds of the various types of criminals.

The show explores the effects of different mental illnesses and other mental issues like PTSD. Plus, Criminal Minds is also home to one of the most beloved characters in all of crime drama history, Spencer Reid. So, if you’re a newcomer or a long-time stan, here are some of the best episodes of Criminal Minds that you need to check out.

55. “True Night” (Season 3, Episode 10)

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

One of the best episodes of Criminal Minds is True Night, an episode in the third season that has a comic book theme, as it focuses on the killings of a comic book creator, Johnny McHale played by Frankie Muniz. The team is brought to Los Angeles to investigate a string of seven brutal killings over a two-week span. Reid, the beloved agent, determines that these murders are an ‘overkill’ due to the way they’ve been killed, but thankfully are able to start narrowing in on the perpetrator.

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54. “Empty Planet” (Season 2, Episode 8)

Empty Planet sees a man sending ominous phone messages before detonating pipe-bombs. The team must figure out who is responsible behind these bombs. And when a robot-logo carved on one of the bombs comes back to FFT, an anti-technology-group with a violent record, they have to figure out if it’s the team’s doing, or if someone is working on his own to create these violent killings.

53. “The Popular Kids” (Season 1, Episode 10)

When popular high school student, Adam Lloyd, is found dead in the woods in McAllister County, Virginia, the team look into the killing. Soon, the murder investigation grows into a search when a young woman names Cherish Hanson is missing. Now, the team must do everything in their power to find the unsub and the missing woman before her fate ends up the same as the others.

52. “Faceless, Nameless” (Season 5, Episode 1)

Dr. Barton, a trauma surgeon, receives a note from someone signing it LC saying that his fifteen-year-old son will be killed. However, if LC is not allowed to carry out this mission, he will instead kill one other person every day until Jeffrey is dead. The team has to figure out who LC is, and stop him from either killing his son, or any other victim that crosses his path.

51. “Jones” (Season 2, Episode 18)

Another great Criminal Minds episode is Jones that follows a serial killer on the loose in the French Quarter. The killer not only relays the murders to through letters with lead investigators on the case, but also shares similarities with Jack the Ripper. This is one, like many, episodes where watching the team profile the unsub is not only haunting, but incredible.

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50. “The Big Game” (Season 2, Episode 14)

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

The Big Game follows millionaires Dennis Kyle and his wife Lacy who were slaughtered in their suburban Atlanta home. The killer called in the call themselves and said they were about to kill the ‘sinners’ who possess too much, and even after police arriving within 5 minutes, they were too late. The team assumes that the unsub imagines himself as an archangel, puring the world of their ‘sins’, and must do what they can to stop him before killing anyone else.

49. “Rock Creek Park” (Season 10, Episode 18)

When the wife of a prominent Congressman disappears, the team investigates and comes to consider his adversaries and political enemies as potential suspects of the abduction, or possibly murder. When a ransom is requested, the team has to wade through the conflicting stories of the Congressman and his associates to find the truth and save his wife.

48. “The Good Earth” (Season 8, Episode 5)

With four separate incidents to work through, four separate men go missing, having never reached their destination. The most recent man, Terry Rodgers, doesn’t fit the bill as a victim as the rest are totally different profiles. The team must work through the profiles, find the bodies, and connect the dots to prevent the fifth missing man from being harmed.

47. “Heathridge Manor” (Season 7, Episode 19)

Emma Baker, a Medford, Oregon math teacher, goes missing, and after thirty-eight days is found dead miles away. When she’s found, so are some clues about the killing and the motive, Reid believing to be some type of satanic connection. When another victim is discovered, the team must figure out who the perpetrator is.

46. “Elephants Memory” (Season 3, Episode 16)

When Jordan, a teen girl, and her father are killed by a bomb planted in their house, two cops arrive at the scene but are soon shot down by someone with a fully automated weapon. When the team arrive, they learn more about the killer and his association with Jordan.

45. “Memoriam” (Season 4, Episode 7)

When Reid is continually having nightmares, he goes to Las Vegas to dive deeper into them, especially the one with his father, William Reid, who abandoned him and his mother when he was just a child and a murderer himself of six-year-old Riley Jenkins. This is a great episode for those that not only enjoy Reid and his story but want more personal stories and take a break from the crimes that they show.

44. “Somebody’s Watching” (Season 1, Episode 18)

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

When Gideon and Reid are in town to conduct a seminar on profiling, LAPD detective Owen offers to give them a ride and suggests sticking around with them due to some cases within the filming industry. A stalker case escalates rather quickly and turns into a murder case when someone considers another person a danger to his idol, rising Hollywood star, Lila Archer.

43. “Derailed” (Season 1, Episode 19)

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

When the team are called to work with Teddy Bryar, a former physicists and now delusional psychotic who has hijacked an El Paso to Dallas train, the team rush to the scene. Teddy doesn’t negotiate with anyone who isn’t of high authority, and is egged on by his delusion, which he names Leo. When the team learn that there is an FBI agent, Elle, on board, they hurry to find a way to communicate.

ALSO READ: 55 Best Episodes of Criminal Minds

42. “Profiler, Profiled” (Season 2, Episode 12)

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

When Derek Morgan visits his mother in Chicago, he stops by the grave of a teenager who he found at the age of 13, but this time he’s arrested as a suspected serial killer and the team has to come together, dive into the secrets and profile of the actual suspect and prove Derek’s innocence.

41. “Damaged” (Season 3, Episode 14)

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

Another great episode of Criminal Minds is Damaged, which follows Rossi who determines that the case that haunts him has gone unsolved too long on its 20th anniversary. The team horns in on his investigation despite his displeasure.

40. “Mayhem” (Season 4, Episode 1)

Mayhem follows the subway killings who the team believe were conducted by several people as part of a larger terrorist plot, and is just a test to work on a bigger, wider mass attack soon to come. But when more people get hurt, the team must figure out if it’s worth the risk while trying to stop the potential second wave.

39. “Minimal Loss” (Season 4, Episode 3)

Minimal Loss follows Reid and Prentiss who enter a Christian cult’s community ranch to investigate a anonymous tip about child molestation. Moments after they arrive, the state police begin a raid on the place which quickly turns into a Wave Siege-like standoff with Reid and Prentiss being held captive by the cult’s militia.

38. “The Tall Man” (Season 14, Episode 5)

When the team dive into a spooky local ghost story of the Tall Man, the team realize there are clues that it provides when two people go missing in the woods. JJ reluctantly returns to her hometown to help dig up some more information, which triggers some emotional flashbacks to age 11 and her older sister’s tragic death.

37. “Oedipus Wrecks” (Season 16, Episode 5)

One of the best Criminal Minds episodes that you can watch is Oedipus Wrecks in season 16, the most recent season. It follows a connection that forces Dep Dir. Baily to ask the team to take a case involving young DC socialites bitten by a sadistic unsub. But when the case turns political, the team finds themselves in the crosshairs of a high-powered senator.

36. “Just Getting Started” (Season 16, Episode 1)

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

When a family annihilator abducts a teen girl, the team works the case on either side of the country to save her. But an unlikely connection to a mysterious kit leads to a bigger investigation and at the center of it is Penelope Garcia.

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35. “No Way Out” (Season 2, Episode 13) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

The BAU team interviews a prolific serial killer, Frank, who has committed crimes for over thirty years. He first drugs the victims, disables them, and takes a part of their ribs. Once he has murdered them, he dumps the bodies in a remote location. BAU is looking at how he has been able to stay under the radar for so long and what his next move is. 

34. “Mosley Lane” (Season 5, Episode 16) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

This episode is about a child abductor who has been similarly abducting children for the past eight years. A familiar face comes up in the office from a mother believing her son is still alive. Her son was the first child abducted eight years ago when he was eight. The BAU noticed striking similarities between the abduction cases and started narrowing down suspects. 

33. “Lauren” (Season 6, Episode 18) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

In this episode, Prentiss is on a mission to track down her old nemesis Doyle and kill him. She ends up going missing without letting the team know. The BAU starts piecing together where Doyle is, which means Prentiss isn’t far behind from finding Doyle. Doyle is dangerous, and Prentiss doesn’t realize what she has done when she crosses him. The team must track down Prentiss before it is too late. 

32. “Parishville” (Season 11, Episode 6) 

Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds
Credit – IMDb

In this storyline, the BAU team is presented with an overwhelming pool of suspects and can’t figure out how to narrow it down to a smaller list. The crime occurs in a small town in Florida where there are 2,000 sex offenders. While the BAU is trying to track down a killer, one of the team members is offered a promotion, which means leaving the BAU and is faced with a dilemma. 

31. “Anonymous” (Season 10, Episode 12) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

In this twisted case, a serial killer calls the team to report a crime before the murders are committed. The killer shot the victims carefully as if he didn’t want them to die fast and drag the death out longer. 

30. “Believer” (Season 13, Episode 22) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

When Quinn is found by Reid locked in a storage unit. Quinn broke protocol on a case leading him to leave his job as an FBI special agent. He asks the BAU for help on the topic of finding the unsub he named the “Strangler.” They question Quinn, his family, and his colleagues, trying to find the truth about what Quinn is telling them about the strangler. 

29. “The Job” (Season 11, Episode 1) 

Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds
Credit – IMDb

Hotch is conducting interviews when one of their own quits the BAU team. The rest of the team is working on a case where they have two men dead: a drug dealer and a suburban dad, different lifestyles, different cities in two days.  A third killing happens, which paints a clear picture for the BAU; there’s not just one suspect but multiple people involved in the crime. 

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28. “The Bunker” (Season 13, Episode 6) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

Four young professional women end up missing in this case. They are all successful in their careers. A young lady contacted the team about her teenage sister, who disappeared five years ago. The BAU team tries to connect the recent cases and the teenage girl’s disappearance to find t e killer. 

27. “The Capilano’s” (Season 13, Episode 17) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

A young boy witnesses the killing of his father by a man dres ed as a clown. There have been similar killings in other small towns that have the locals shaken. Garcia discovers more cases in Colorado that are tied to this case. The team works to help Dylan with his trauma in the hope that they can get more information on what happened.

26. “The Pact” (Season 8, Episode 2) 

Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds
Credit – IMDb

Two murders are committed an hour apart from ea h other in different cities. The BAU thinks there are two killers connected to the case. The method of killing is similar, but the victimology is different. The episode is filled with exciting events that build up throughout the episode. 

25. “Doubt” (Season 3, Episode 1) 

At a college in Arizona, three female students are found dead. They have been brutally stabbed, and the team thinks they have caught the killer when a security guard fits the profile. However, another killing happens, leading to many arguments within the team, and they started hating their abilities. 

24.  “JJ” (Season 6, Episode 2) 

In this episode, a teenage girl go s missing while on vacation. The BAU team believes two young men have done something to the girl. JJ deals with the young girl’s parents, who refuse to leave the police station until they get answers. 

23. “And in the End” (Season 15, Episode 10)

Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds
Credit – IMDb

Dr. Reid suffers from a brain injury after an encounter with Everett Lynch. He ends up experiencing hallucinations and is visited by ghosts from his past. You will see if Dr. Reid improves or not. 

22. “Hashtag” (Season 10, Episode 7) 

This killer has a more modern take on his murders and is targeting social media influencers and then photoshopping pictures of the prey he has his eyes on. All the crime scenes have a hashtag symbol with suggested similarities. To solve this crazy case, they will need to pull out all their resources. 

21. “Hamelin” (Season 14, Episode 12)

This case involves a father seeking revenge over his three children’s abduction. During the investigation, the BAU figured out that the kidnapper was someone the children knew, and they had dark motives.

20. “300” (Season 14, Episode 1) 

Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds
Credit – IMDb

The BAU took down a cult leader over a decade ago. The cult resurfaced with a new leader Benjamin and so f r, he has killed 299 people. He has his eyes set on Reid. The BAU needs to figure out how the old case is connected to this new one. 

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19. “Conflicted” (Season 4, Episode 20) 

Two male college students are raped and murdered while on vacation. The team found out that the men were lured by a woman but raped and killed by a man. Reid digs deeper to find out the truth by reading between the lines of the case. 

17. “Sex, Birth, Death” (Season 2, Episode 11) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds
Credit – IMDb

In Washington, D.C the prostitutes are in danger when several of them are found murdered. A high school student is a suspect as the team continues investigating. They are getting pressure from political figures to keep the case low. 

16. “Hit” (Season 7, Episode 23) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

This is the season 7 finale episode, and the team encounters a gang of serial killers who rob a bank. Garcia can identify a few robbers, but the one robber she can’t identify is doing all the killings. The team soon realizes the leader has a group working on the outside and needs to figure out the motives before more killings happen. 

15. “Demons” (Season 9, Episode 24) 

The BAU team faces a life-or-death situation when they unravel a corrupt organization. This episode grips t e audience as Reid finds himself in serious condition aft r a shootout. We see a fellow team member decide to leave the BAU. 

14. “Extreme Aggressor” (Season 1, Episode 1)

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds
Credit – IMDb

The BAU travel to Settle on a mission to capture the person responsible for the four missing women. One of the women’s bodies is found in a remote area, and the BAU race against time to find the other three women before the killer takes any more lives. 

13. “The Replicator” (Season 8, Episode 24) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

T is episode is a dramatic phenomenon where a former FBI agent becomes a serial killer. The plot is bad on revenge, and the killer starts to copycat crimes the BAU has previously solved.  The stakes rise when the killer comes after one of the team members leaves the episode in such a perfect ending for an exciting season.  

12. “Mr. Scratch” (Season 10 Episode 21) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

The BAU is struggling to handle three different murderers. A fourth murder case pops up that links each of the cases. The BAU tries to find the suspect controlling the four murderers’ minds with a dangerous drug. 

11. “Entroy” (Season 11, Episode 11) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds
Credit – IMDb

Reid goes undercover to take down a high-profile assassin. His blind date is a women name Cat. She is more intelligent than she leads Reid and the BAU team to think. Soon Reid comes clean about their intentions to each other, and it is worth watching what happens next. 

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10. “Date Night” (Season 15, Episode 6)

An old enemy of the BAU team resurfaces, Cat. She demands to go on a date with Reid, and for him to comply, she kidnaps his girlfriend’s sister and father. You are left at the edge of your seat, wondering if the team can solve this case and if there will be a happy ending. 

9. “Zugzwang” (Sea on 8, Episode 12) 

In this suspense episode, Reid’s girlfriend Maeve gets kidnapped by her stalker. The team comes together to help Reid. The BAU finds shocking facts about Maeve that even Reid himself didn’t know. 

8. “Amplification” (Season 4, Episode 24) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds
Credit – IMDb

Many people visiting a specific park die from anthrax poisoning. When the team investigated more, they fou d that it is a highly sophisticated strain of anthrax that someone with a background in science can only develop. Things turn for the worse as one of the teammates gets infected. 

7. “Penelope” (Season 3, Episode 9) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

This is one of the many thrilling episodes where we see Penelope Garcia battling for her life when she is shot outside her building. s the BAU team works to solve the case, secrets start to unfold about Penelope and what she d es outside of work. The killer knows that Penelope is still alive and will stop at nothing until she is dead. 

6. “True Genius” (Season 7, Episode 11) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds

This episode features a killer who has been murdering since 19 4 named the Zodiac Killer. The BAU travels to the San Francisco Bay area, where the series of murders took place We see Reid doubt his abilities as he approaches his 30s, wondering what he has achieved in his life so far. 

5. “L.D.S.K” (Season 1, Episode 6) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds
Credit – IMDb

In this episode, we see the BAU scrambling to nail down an expert sharpshooter w o goes after individuals during the day. When the killer is in law implementation, things get frightening for the serial killer. You will see entertaining comments between Agent Hotch and Spencer Reid. 

4. “The Fisher King” (Season 1 Episode 22) 

The story is in between two episodes. Criminal Randall Garner, who has a mental illness, contacts the BAU to save a woman with little to go on. The vacation ends abruptly for the BAU as they are on a quest to solve this case. This episode will keep you at the edge of your seat as it takes an unexpected turn. 

3. “Revelations” (Season 2 Episode 15) 

Dr. Spencer Reid gets kidnapped and tortured by a religious fanatic serial killer named Tobias. Tobias has a split personality disorder caused by his abusive father, who was Bible-obsessed. Reid suffers from flashbacks while he is kidnapped from when he was drugged as a child.

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2. “100” (Seas n 5, Episode 9) 

55 Best Episodes Of Criminal Minds
Credit – IMDb

The Reaper, one of the most dangerous villains and serial killers, re-emerges after being in hiding for 11 yea s. The Reaper plans to go after Hotch and his entire family, and the BAU team comes together to try and protect the family before it’s too late. The roller coaster of emotions you will experience watching this episode will have you screaming at the TV.

1. “Masterpiece” (Season 4, Episode 8) 

A narcissistic maniac features in this episode who calls himself Professor Rothchild approaches the BAU team and turns himself in for murdering seven people. He gives them proof of the crime scenes and states that another five people’s lives he kidnapped are at stake if they don’t listen to what he has to say and give him what he wants. 

What Is Criminal Minds?

Criminal Minds is a popular crime drama created and produced by Jeff Davis. The series premiered in 2005 and finalized in 2020 but was brough back in 2022 and will continue.

The story follows a group of criminal profilers who work for the FBI as members of its Behavioral Analysis Unit, or BAU. The team uses behavioral analysis and profiling to investigate crimes and find the perpetrator.

How Many Seasons Are in Criminal Minds?

Currently, the show has 16 seasons as of 2022 with a 17th season on its way.

How Many Episodes Are in Criminal Minds?

As of right now, there are a total of 333 episodes in the series.

Where to Watch Criminal Minds

All 16 seasons of Criminal Minds can be found on Paramount Plus! Hulu only has part of the series.

About Paramount Plus

There are two memberships that you can get if you subscribe to Paramount Plus. The first is just the essential plan, which is $5.99 a month or $59.99 a year. It gives you access to the full Paramount Plus Library as well as your CBS news channel.

The Paramount Plus membership with Showtime is $11.99 a month or $119.99 a year and gives you everything within the essential membership, but doesn’t have ads, unless you’re watching Live TV, and allows you to download shows, and gives you both the CBS channel as well as the Showtime channel.

Paramount Plus does give you a 7-day free trial as well if you’re not sure if you want to commit.

Shows Like Criminal Minds

Law & Order: Running for 22 seasons now, Law &Order follows a murder that is tracked down from two separate vantage points. The first half of the show follows the investigation of a crime by the police, while the second half follows the prosecution of the same crime in court.

NCIS: This show has 21 seasons and follows the cases of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s Washington, D.C. Major Case Response Team.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: A more comedic look into the lawn, this show has 8 seasons and follows the exploits of Det. Jake Peralta and his diverse, lovable colleagues as they police the NYPD’s 99th Precinct.

Sherlock: Running for only 4 seasons, Sherlock is a quirky spin on Conan Doyle’s iconic sleuth who pitches himself as a “high-functioning sociopath” in moder-day London assisted by Afghanistan War vet John Watson.

The X-Files: Running for 11 seasons, this show follows two FBI agents who investigate strange and unexplained phenomenons.

The Mentalist: Running for only 7 seasons, this show follows famous “psychic” who outs himself as a fake and starts working as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigate so he can find “Red John”, the madman who killed his wife and daughter.