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Criminal Minds

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Can you believe this one? Criminal Minds is a smart, procedural crime drama that’s not produced by veteran Hollywood mogul Jerry Bruckheimer or his New York-based counterpart Dick Wolf. The show is game of cat and mouse, with the right blend of intelligence and action and a little less of the gore that Bruckheimer tends to focus on, and the legal stuff that made Wolf a TV legend. This show focuses on what exactly makes a killer or other criminals, well, cukoo.

Criminal Minds has a lot in common with the mid-90s NBC series Profiler, which introduced the TV world to criminal psychology. But while latter show focused on the ESP-like “gift” of its star, Criminal Minds relies on intelligence and the study of criminal behavior.

In the pilot episode, viewers are introduced to the team: Special Agent Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), the FBI’s leading criminal analyst. He’s just returned from medical leave -- his last assignment of hunting down a killer didn’t turn out so well. Viewers, though not given any real details, learn that his mistake cost the bureau six agents. Ouch.