Criminal Minds

10 Best Episodes of Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds is a crime drama show that follows an elite team of FBI profilers as they attempt to analyze the country's most twisted criminal minds. The show first aired in 2005 and is now available on Paramount+. With 17 seasons, it can be difficult to know which episodes are the best. That's why we have ranked the best episodes of Criminal Minds so you can get the most out of the show.

From the pilot episode to the series finale, Criminal Minds has offered fans many memorable episodes. From thrillers to heart-breaking moments, it’s hard to pick the best ones. Luckily, we have compiled a list of the best episodes ranked from top to bottom.

Whether you are a fan of the show or just getting started, our list of the best episodes of Criminal Minds will help you get the most out of this amazing show. So settle in for a thrilling ride with Criminal Minds as you watch some of the best episodes the show has to offer.

Written by Sophie and last updated on dec 20, 2023.

PS: The following content contains spoilers!

PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!

Criminal Minds - S7E23

#15 - Hit (1) (Season 7 - Episode 23)

The BAU team faces a terrifying challenge in the episode “Hit” as they come up against a gang of serial-killing bank robbers in Washington, D.C. The team has to quickly come up with a plan to negotiate the situation unfolding inside the bank, with the stakes rising even higher when one of their own is taken hostage by the criminals. The episode promises to be an intense and thrilling ride as the BAU team has to work against the clock to save their colleague and bring the criminals to justice.

The team has to battle against time to save their colleague while also trying to take down the criminal masterminds. With the clock ticking and emotions running high, it’s up to the team to use their wits and expertise to take down the criminals and save the day. It’s sure to be an intense and action-packed episode as the BAU team faces off against the ruthless serial-killers. The episode will no doubt be full of suspense, drama, and thrills as the team does their best to save the day.

The episode was rated 8.10 from 558 votes.

Criminal Minds - S5E16

#14 - Mosley Lane (Season 5 - Episode 16)


In Criminal Minds episode Mosley Lane, the BAU is called to Ashburn, Virginia, to investigate a predator who has been abducting children over the past 8 years. The team is tasked with profiling the criminal to uncover the identity and motives of the kidnapper.

This episode of Criminal Minds is a particularly sad one, as the team is trying to prevent the abduction of more children. However the episode is made more enjoyable by the inclusion of actor Evan Peters, who performs a powerful and engaging role in the episode.

The episode was rated 8.10 from 590 votes.

Criminal Minds - S3E9

#13 - Penelope (Season 3 - Episode 9)

In the episode Penelope of the show Criminal Minds, the BAU continues the search for an attacker. Meanwhile, one of the team members is fighting for their life. During the investigation, they soon discover that the assailant could be someone close to the investigation.

The episode focuses on the team as they continue to search for the attacker. With one of their own fighting for their life, the team is determined to find the attacker and put an end to their reign of terror. During their investigation, the team must be cautious as they could be dealing with someone close to the case. It is a suspenseful episode as the team races to find the attacker before it is too late.

The episode was rated 8.10 from 648 votes.

Criminal Minds - S8E24

#12 - The Replicator (2) (Season 8 - Episode 24)


In this thrilling episode of Criminal Minds, the BAU is faced with a terrifying situation when the Replicator, a serial killer targeting the team, zeroes in on one of their own. With the team member's life at stake, the BAU rushes to uncover clues and identify the killer before it is too late. Meanwhile, the team is also tasked with investigating a string of deaths in Manhattan that are tied to apparent ecstasy overdoses. As the investigation unfolds, Hotch makes a shocking discovery - his estranged brother, Sean, is caught in the middle.

The team must unravel theReplicator's motives before it is too late, while also finding out what role Sean plays in the deaths in Manhattan. With time running out, the BAU must use all their skills and knowledge to prevent a tragedy. With the lives of the team and Sean on the line, will the BAU be able to outwit the Replicator and save the day? Watch this exciting episode of Criminal Minds and find out.

The episode was rated 8.11 from 367 votes.

Criminal Minds - S1E22

#11 - The Fisher King (1) (Season 1 - Episode 22)

The team from Criminal Minds is in the midst of their vacation when they each receive a strange and cryptic clue from a psychopathic killer. This challenge forces them to put their vacation on hold and save his next victim. As the episode progresses, the team discovers that this killer is playing a deadly game of cat and mouse, and they must discover the clues and save the next victim before it's too late.

The episode is full of suspense and excitement as the team races against the clock to save the victim. The ending is particularly nerve-wracking as the team must make a difficult decision that could potentially cost lives. The episode is a timeless classic, as it has been watched multiple times and never gets old. The plot is captivating and the suspense keeps the viewer enthralled. An unforgettable episode, The Fisher King (1) is sure to leave a lasting impression.

The episode was rated 8.14 from 713 votes.

Criminal Minds - S1E14

#10 - Riding the Lightning (Season 1 - Episode 14)


In the episode "Riding the Lightning" of Criminal Minds, FBI profiler Gideon is tasked with interviewing a couple on death row for serial murders. After the interviews, Gideon suspects that the woman is actually innocent and he has only two days to prove it. He and his team work tirelessly to find the evidence they need to prove the woman's innocence and save her life.

The episode highlights the importance of standing up for those who are unable to stand up for themselves. It also emphasizes the idea that the work we do for others and the world is what remains and is immortal. The episode shows the power of selfless fighting and how it can have an incredible impact on the lives of others.

The episode was rated 8.15 from 762 votes.

Criminal Minds - S2E23

#9 - No Way Out: The Evilution Of Frank (2) (Season 2 - Episode 23)

This episode of Criminal Minds starts off with a bang, as the team's own Gideon is suddenly thrust into the role of target by the prolific serial killer Frank. With the BAU team's leader now in danger, they must profile both Frank and Gideon in order to find them. As they frantically search for clues, they must also prepare themselves for the possibility that Gideon may not return.

The tension in this episode is palpable, as the team must use every tool at their disposal to locate Gideon and Frank. With their usual methods of investigation and profiling not yielding any results, the BAU must think outside the box in order to find their missing leader. As the minutes tick away, the team members must face the reality that Gideon may not survive this encounter with Frank.

The episode was rated 8.17 from 593 votes.

Criminal Minds - S3E20

#8 - Lo-Fi (Season 3 - Episode 20)


In the episode Lo-Fi, the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) of the FBI is faced with one of its toughest cases yet. The team is called to New York City to determine if a series of random shootings is the work of one serial killer or a team of killers working together. This episode of Criminal Minds is sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats as they watch the BAU team investigate the shootings and determine if they are the work of one killer or several.

The BAU team must carefully assemble the pieces of the puzzle in order to put an end to the random shootings. They go through the evidence and interview witnesses in order to gain further insight into the case. Viewers will be captivated as they witness the BAU team’s detective work and their determination to put an end to the random shootings. This thrilling episode will keep viewers guessing until the very end as they try to figure out if the shootings are the work of one serial killer or multiple killers.

The episode was rated 8.18 from 606 votes.

Criminal Minds - S4E18

#7 - Omnivore (Season 4 - Episode 18)

In the episode Omnivore of the show Criminal Minds, Agent Hotchner revisits the first case he worked at the BAU when details come to light that one of the deadliest serial killers in New England's history has resurfaced after a 10-year hiatus. This killer is known for their cunning and calculating nature, making them a particularly daunting opponent for the BAU. Hotchner must work quickly to determine the killer's motive and put an end to their reign of terror before they have a chance to strike again.

The BAU team is put to the test as they attempt to profile the killer and uncover the secrets behind their long silence. With the help of technology and advanced investigative techniques, the team races against the clock to assemble the pieces of the puzzle and put a stop to the killer's spree. In the end, Hotchner and the BAU must rely on their collective experience and intuition to solve the mystery and bring the criminal to justice.

The episode was rated 8.19 from 559 votes.

Criminal Minds - S6E18

#6 - Lauren (Season 6 - Episode 18)


The episode "Lauren" of Criminal Minds was an incredibly intense one that left fans of the show with a heavy heart. As Prentiss takes on Ian Doyle, JJ receives an unexpected call and returns to help. With emotions running high, viewers were left unsure of what the outcome might be.

The intensity of the episode was too much for many fans, and they were left in fear that their favourite show was coming to an end. Luckily, the show was able to make up for it in season 7. In the end, the episode was a success and fans could rest easy knowing that the show could finally get back to solving cases without the Doyle arc.

The episode was rated 8.21 from 592 votes.

Criminal Minds - S9E24

#5 - Demons (2) (Season 9 - Episode 24)

This episode of Criminal Minds was incredibly intense and heartbreaking. The investigation in Texas revealed a deep web of corruption and Garcia had to save her friend. Throughout the episode, the team had to face difficult challenges and investigate a mysterious set of circumstances that put their friend in danger. The intensity of the episode was palpable, and the emotions of the characters had the audience on the edge of their seats.

The plot was so gripping that it kept viewers in suspense until the very end. The team had to use their skills and quick thinking to bring justice to the situation and to save their friend. This episode was full of twists and turns and even had moments of heartbreak as the team faced the darkness of the corruption they were investigating. The ending left viewers with a sense of satisfaction, but also with a heavy heart.

The episode was rated 8.21 from 767 votes.

Criminal Minds - S2E15

#4 - Revelations (2) (Season 2 - Episode 15)


Criminal Minds’ episode “Revelations (2)” is a two-part special in which the BAU team races to find a serial killer and save Reid, who is being held captive and tortured. As Reid’s tortured body is broadcasted on the internet, we get to learn about his troubled childhood as he drifts in and out of consciousness.

This episode left many with a heavy heart. It revealed the horror of someone being tortured and the trauma of Reid’s childhood. It was a powerful episode, highlighting the importance of empathy and understanding. As the show’s quote states, “Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow-creatures is amusing in itself.” This episode showed us the importance of respecting the life of others.

The episode was rated 8.23 from 672 votes.

Criminal Minds - S7E24

#3 - Run (2) (Season 7 - Episode 24)

The BAU team continues to pursue a set of bank-robbing serial killers, and with one of the team still a hostage, they must work quickly to diffuse an explosive situation. Meanwhile, wedding bells ring for one of the BAU and Prentiss ponders her future. This episode is one of the best that viewers have ever watched. It has a good balance of both working the case and exploring the characters, which made for a satisfying season finale. Emily and Will both gave amazing performances and the episode left viewers feeling three times more connected to the characters than before. Furthermore, JJ's fight scene was a highlight of the episode.

The double episode was surprisingly well-liked, as viewers usually do not like two-parters. The writers managed to make each episode unique, while still maintaining a compelling story. The finale was an emotional roller coaster with plenty of action and suspense. The case had a big target in the Nation's capital, and the team had to work quickly to save the hostage. The ending was an incredible conclusion to the season and left fans wanting more. Overall, it was a highly entertaining and memorable episode.

The episode was rated 8.29 from 313 votes.

Criminal Minds - S4E26

#2 - ...And Back (2) (Season 4 - Episode 26)


The BAU team is on a mission to track a serial killer who is preying on the vulnerable, such as junkies, prostitutes, and the homeless in Detroit. In this episode, an agent's life is in peril as the team leads the investigation across the border into Canada.

In this episode, viewers can expect a typical Hollywood reaction from a cop in the beginning, as well as the usual "psychoshit, sniveling" and "you have to feel sorry for the criminals" narrative. The ending of the episode leaves many questions unanswered, such as why the tragedy happened in the first place and how many more times the BAU team can look into the abyss before they no longer recover the pieces of themselves this job takes. As the episode ends, it is clear that the consequences of the investigation are far reaching and will forever alter the lives of the innocent people affected.

The episode was rated 8.30 from 529 votes.

Criminal Minds - S5E9

#1 - 100 (Season 5 - Episode 9)

In this intense episode of Criminal Minds, the BAU team races to help Hotchner find The Reaper and save his family before it's too late. The tension in this episode is almost palpable and really keeps the viewer on the edge of their seats. The stakes are high as the team must act quickly and strategically to rescue Hotchner's family and capture The Reaper, all while trying to stay one step ahead of the clock.

The Reaper has already proven to be a formidable enemy, so the team must use all of their experience and knowledge to take him down. Every second counts, and the team is forced to make split-second decisions that could have major consequences. This episode is sure to leave viewers on the edge of their seats, as the team's fate hangs in the balance and the future of Hotchner's family hangs in the balance. With so much at stake and suspense at every turn, this episode of Criminal Minds is sure to be a thrilling and memorable ride.

The episode was rated 8.43 from 650 votes.

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