Is ‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’ Returning for Season 18? Everything We Know So Far

Adam Rodriguez as Luke Alvez, A.J. Cook as Jennifer ‘JJ’ Jareau, Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss, Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia and Aisha Tyler as Dr. Tara Lewis in 'Criminal Minds: Evolution' Season 17 Episode 5
Michael Yarish / Paramount+

If there’s one thing that now 17 seasons of watching the profilers of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) hunting down serial killers and the like has taught us, it’s that there’s no shortage of UnSubs out there.

Criminal Minds, after running 15 seasons on CBS (2005-2020), returned with a new iteration, Evolution, in 2022 on Paramount+. In this revival, the BAU continues to do what they do best, but as the first two seasons have shown, there’s also one major UnSub they’re searching for (Zach Gilford‘s Elias Voit in the first, Gold Star in the second).

But will the Paramount+ drama be back for more after Season 17? Read on for what we know about the show’s future, and keep checking back for updates.

Will There Be a Season 18?

Yes, the show has been renewed! A third season of Evolution and 18th overall of Criminal Minds was picked up by Paramount+ on June 5, one day ahead of the second and 17th (depending on how you count) premiering.

Who Will Star in Season 18?

That is unknown. Season 17 stars Joe Mantegna (David Rossi), A.J. Cook (JJ Jareau), Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia), Aisha Tyler (Dr. Tara Lewis), Zach Gilford (Elias Voit), and Ryan-James Hatanaka (Tyler Green), with Adam Rodriguez (Luke Alvez) and Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss). Gilford and Hatanaka joined the series for the revival, with the rest part of its original run. A post on social media from Brewster (which you’ll see below) does seem to confirm that she will be back, but we’ll have to wait and see how this season ends for all the characters.

How Will Season 17 Set Up Next Season?

After Season 16 ended with Voit teeing up the Gold Star mystery, will the same happen with the next finale? “This season will end on a cliffhanger, for sure, but it’s less of a direct mystery like Gold Star was this year. It’s more of a, ‘uh-oh, now what?’ cliffhanger,” showrunner Erica Messer told TV Insider.

Could Past Characters Return?

That remains up in the air and all comes down to scheduling, so chances are we wouldn’t know anything until much closer to filming (or after it’s already started). Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Matt Simmons (Daniel Henney), who were both with the BAU when the original run ended, have been off on an assignment we know nothing about. Speculation began ahead of Season 17 that Gubler was returning because of a photo of Reid’s name plate on social media, but Messer explained to us, “I’m keeping that desk there and I’m keeping that nameplate there. It’s always staying there as far as I’m concerned. So that’s why you saw it. You’ll see it throughout the show. It’s like, there’s his desk.”

What’s going on with Reid and Simmons will remain as it is now (vague). “Once we know we could have them, then we can play with whatever. But it’s like, until we know, it’s hard to say,” the showrunner said.

Season 18 could also see a return from Josh Stewart as JJ’s husband, Will. Prior to Season 17, he wrote on social media that his days of playing the character were “over.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean for good. “We’ll figure out what that means for future seasons. But for this year, the timing, none of it worked,” according to Messer, ahead of the Season 17 premiere (and renewal).

When Will Season 18 Begin Filming?

This summer, according to Brewster. “We start back up for 10 more episodes of @criminalminds in late August SO IT’S GOING PRETTY GREAT !!! Thanks to all of you,” she wrote on X (formerly Twitter) in response to a fan asking “how’s it going” on June 7.

When Will Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 18 Premiere?

That is unknown. The first Evolution season premiered November 24, 2022 (filming began in August that year), and the second just debuted with the first two episodes on June 6, 2024 (filming began in January of the year). That means with Season 18 filming beginning in August, new episodes could possibly premiere as early as winter 2024, though an early 2025 date might be more likely.