Criminal Minds and its unsuccessful run of spin-offs

The Criminal Minds franchise spawned two spin-offs, namely Suspect Behavior and Beyond Borders, each failing to surpass two seasons: below we will look at why.

For any network with a popular flagship show, it is common for them to consider expanding the world of the franchise, and CBS was no different when it came to its flagship series at the time, Criminal Minds.

The network attempted to broaden the Criminal Minds’ universe with two spin-offs.

First, it was with the introduction of the Forest Whitaker fronted Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior in 2011, and then, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders in 2016.

However, not only did the series not last as long as their predecessor, but they also failed to surpass the second season greenlight for reasons that wilted down to poor ratings.

What was Criminal Minds?

Criminal Minds first premiered on CBS in 2005. The series was created by Jeff Davis, and at the time of its introduction, it served as an original take in the crime procedural drama series category.

The premise of the series was, according to IMDb, “The cases of the F.B.I. Behavioral Analysis Unit (B.A.U.), an elite group of profilers who analyze the nation’s most dangerous serial killers and individual heinous crimes in an effort to anticipate their next moves before they strike again.”

The original series, which subsequently spawned two unsuccessful spin-offs, concluded its 15-season run in 2020, when CBS cancelled the show.

Criminal Minds and its unsuccessful run of spinoffs

Criminal Minds, during the late 2000s and early 2010s, served as one of CBS’ flagship shows.

Therefore, it is normal for a network to look at capitalising on the matter through the introduction of spin-offs in order to expand on the commerciality of the franchise.

It came as no surprise when CBS introduced the first spin-off in 2011; Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. The spin-off was created by Edward Allen Bernero and Chris Mundy, who also produced Ozark.

The premise was, “On the streets of San Francisco a team of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Behavioral Analysis Unit use profiling to catch some of the most horrific serial killers and unidentifiable subjects.”

After Suspect Behaviors one-season run, in 2016, Erica Messer and Erica Meredith created Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.

The premise was, “An international unit of the FBI charged with coming to the aid of, and solving crimes involving, American citizens in foreign countries.”

Beyond Borders enjoyed a two-season run, and primarily, its demise was different than that of Suspect Behavior. Below we look at what caused the spin-offs to not be able to capture fans as the original did.

Why did Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior end?

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior did not work on changing its premise. Instead, it is argued, the series hinges its success on its star-studded casting, with Oscar winner Forest Whitaker in the title role of Sam Cooper, and the supporting cast as well as the main cast featuring comedian and actress Janeane Garofalo, Michael Kelly, and Kirsten Vangsness reprising her beloved role as Technical Analyst, Penelope Garcia.

Unfortunately, the spin-offs failed to even make it past the first season before it was confirmed that it was cancelled.

This is because despite the anticipation and buzz which carried the series to its first episode, by the second episode, the ratings had almost halved and were never able to pick up thereafter.

Why did Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders end?

In light of how Suspect Behavior failed, CBS was more tactical with the roll out of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.

Just before the first episode, in 2015, Criminal Minds hosted a crossover episode to introduce the show and help bolster support.

In 2016, Beyond Borders then aired its pilot episode which marked the beginning of the series’ demise. The show was criticised for its alleged racial and xenophobic undertones, along with its unrealistic take on issues.

However, the first 20-episode season seemed to have proven successful with viewers, and as such, it was renewed for a 13-episode season two.

The continued backlash and a drop in viewership numbers resulted in the cancellation of the series when CBS revealed its list of new and renewed shows for the new year.

Why did Criminal Minds end?

The cancellation of Criminal Minds in 2020, put an end to a 15-year run of the CBS popular crime procedural drama series. While there are a number of factors that contributed to the cancellation of the series, primarily, ratings can be blamed for this fact.

This is because by the end of the series, it had failed to make the top 40 most watched television shows. A feat which was initially easy for the show, topping the rankings at the height of its success.

Coupling this factor with rising production costs, continual changes in casting, and a change in the television industry with the influx of video-on-demand platforms – the end of one of the longest running crime drama series was three to four years in the making.

Final thoughts

Networks and recent paid-subscription video-on-demand services have made it a trend to capitalise on successful original series by introducing spin-offs.

CBS is no different in this regard, with one of the failed attempts by the network being the expansion of the Criminal Minds franchise.

In 2011, CBS introduced Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, a series that failed to survive its first season due to poor ratings following the first episode.

The second attempt was in 2016 with Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, which was cancelled after two seasons due to the criticism and backlash and drop in ratings.