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Why Has “Criminal Minds” Been Trending Recently?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Drexel chapter.

Gen Z and Millennials everywhere seem to have a weird obsession with true crime and the minds of killers. I mean, at the very least I have a weird obsession with those things, as do my friends. What I do know is that this weird obsession has materialized into a spike in popularity of the already well-known show Criminal Minds. Criminal Minds has been around for quite some time now with the first episode airing September 22, 2005. The fictitious show surrounds the lives of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). Every episode focuses on a new case that the team investigates and solves by the end of the episode (unless it’s a season finale. Those are some killer two-parters!). Episodes are typically 40-45 minutes but tend to grab viewers’ attention throughout the whole thing, always making people come back for more. 

The demand for Criminal Minds has been increasing in the US, shooting up 21.3% from March to July. TikTok has undoubtedly played a huge role in the sudden popularity boost. Criminal Minds has always been a popular show (making it through 15 seasons proves that) but with younger generations still watching primarily the Disney Channel when the show first aired, it’s reasonable that younger people hadn’t realized the show’s appeal until recent years. There are 15 seasons of Criminal Minds, 12 of which are available on Netflix. This accessibility and extensive content make it easy for new and younger viewers to watch the show and continue watching it over a longer time span rather than finishing it after a quick binge.

TikTok uses an algorithm that over time personalizes a “For You” page just for you. It takes into account who you follow, what videos you like, what sounds, hashtags and filters are associated with the videos you like, etc. This has played a part in  Criminal Minds themed videos spreading around like wildfire. If a video with the Criminal Minds hashtag was to be liked by lots of people I follow (or even just one or two people, but people whose interactions on TikTok are most similar to mine) it’s fair to say I’d probably end up seeing the video too. The content is never-ending, and #criminalminds alone has 1.7 Billion likes just on TikTok! 

Person holding an iPhone running TikTok
Photo by Solen Feyissa from Unsplash

It’s always been popular for girls on TikTok to make videos about celebrities they find attractive. From what I can tell, the beginning of the Criminal Minds resurgence on social media capitalized on Gen Z’s infatuation with Matthew Gray Gubler and his portrayal of his character Spencer Reid. Videos that focus on MGG and his character quickly grew into videos focusing on the whole show; whether they be POV videos, inside jokes about the show, fan edits, or commentary on the plot. Hopefully one of these days Matthew Gray Gubler will catch on to the new fandom wave and join TikTok. I’m sure he can follow in the footsteps of his former co-stars Kristen Vangsness who portrayed the beloved Penelope Garcia, and Mandy Patinkin who played Jason Gideon, who have both joined the app and become content creators themselves. 

I watched the majority of Criminal Minds in 2016 but ended up stopping because I realized I was wasting so much of my free time sitting in front of my TV. It wasn’t until 2019 when I decided to get back into the show again. I still haven’t watched seasons 13-15 yet since they aren’t available on Netflix. While picking back up three years later may seem like a long gap, the last episode of Criminal Minds aired on February 19, 2020. This goes to show that the hype has the opportunity to last even longer with viewers looking for places and ways to watch every episode that isn’t as easily accessible while hoping that one day Netflix picks up the recent seasons. The newest episodes aren’t even a year old yet!

Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

If you aren’t a frequenter of the show, every episode ends with the characters either on the jet-ride home or already back home. The show wraps up with a quote read aloud in a voiceover style by one of the actors. It doesn’t always have anything to do with the episode, but it’s always something to make you think. On that note, to end your reading in true Criminal Minds fashion, I’ll leave you with your own thought-provoking wrap-up quote.

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.” – Robin Williams

Photo by Nils Nedel on Unsplash

I'm Natalie, a pre-junior at Drexel University! My major is Legal Studies - Business and I minor in Communications with a journalism focus. I've always had an interest in writing and am pumped to share some articles with anyone who's willing to read them. I'm passionate about helping others and hope that in a few years I'll earn my J.D. and be able to help those who need it with my career. I'm also a huge hockey fan (go Flyers!!!) and have a part-time podcast about the NHL called Nat's Hockey Heads.
Her Campus Drexel contributor.