As a title, Legal Minds: Evolution refers not simply to how a brand new UnSub upped his sport through the pandemic, but additionally the modifications that the sequence itself has undergone for its rebirth on Paramount+.
Reporting to this point on Legal Minds: Evolution has recurrently labeled it a “revival,” however having screened the primary two episodes (of 10), I can attest that, sure, it is that. After which some. We catch again up with pleasant faces nonetheless fixing crime for the FBI’s Behavioral Evaluation Unit, however the very acquainted, predictable rhythms of the 42-minute procedural that aired on CBS for 15 seasons/320-plus episodes are gone, at the least within the early goings.
As a substitute, scenes and moments get to breathe because the crime drama stretches its legs on streaming. Time is made to verify in on the brokers at residence, and never in some “very particular episode” method. Troublesome conversations amongst disagreeing colleagues are had, as a substitute of glossed over following a industrial break. Kill scenes will not be a lot extra graphic, however extra intense.
However most notably, not everyone seems to be doing so nice post-pandemic.
When Evolution premieres on Thursday, Nov. 24 (with its first two episodes), it’s clear that it has not been enterprise as regular for the BAU these previous few years. Emily Prentiss (performed by Paget Brewster) as Unit Chief is recurrently locking horns with bureaucrats who worth anti-terrorism efforts far, far above the searching of pesky serial killers. Due to finances cuts, investigations are now not workforce efforts (and don’t even ask in regards to the jet); as a substitute, once we decide again up with the likes of David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) and Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler), they’re one-man bands that may solely hope to check notes with a cross-country peer over a late-night telephone name. (Rossi particularly has apparently been a bit obsessive about a serial slayer of households; had been that the one demon he’s coping with….) And but they, together with JJ Jareau (A.J. Cook dinner) and Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez), proceed to combat the nice combat. Although in some instances, to the detriment of private relationships.
Brokers Spencer Reid and Matt Simmons are conspicuously MIA (however do advantage mentions), whereas keyboard warrior Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) is, very a lot by design, wholly divorced from the BAU, having traded these darkish, darkish workdays for one thing a lot lighter and brighter. This newfound calling has emboldened the character in an overdue means, so watch out when you attempt to bark orders at her.
The promos for Evolution trumpet the truth that the brand new, season-long UnSub, Elias Volt (Friday Night time Lights‘ Zach Gilford), spent his pandemic grooming acolytes of a form, scattered throughout the nation. The BAU, nevertheless, doesn’t have entry to Paramount+ press releases and trailers! As a substitute, the brokers at first are stymied by some seemingly unrelated instances, till the curious contents of a hidden transport container slowly, progressively begins connecting some dots.
I’d not go so far as to say that Legal Minds: Evolution is the product of “What if Legal Minds and a status cable drama had a child?” However that wouldn’t be too far off. It’s simply splendidly totally different, in assorted ways in which longtime viewers could not have realized they needed. From the camerawork to using anamorphic lenses, to, sure, the utterance of the occasional expletive. (You simply know who will get one of many first cusses.) Showrunner Erica Messer clearly noticed a possibility right here to take a identified amount and elevate it, so as to add texture and tough edges that the regular rotation of Circumstances of the Week didn’t afford her.
At one level whereas screening the early episodes, I shared on the TVLine workers Slack, “Guys, the Legal Minds revival has NO enterprise being this good.” But it surely kinda is?
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: Legal Minds has advanced.