How Accurate is the Show Criminal Minds to the Real BAU?

Lily Spooner

Criminal Minds is a popular police procedural series that sets its focus on the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit for the FBI). In the show, an elite team of ̈criminal profilers” study the behaviour and psychological profile of an unknown criminal, an ¨unsub.¨  How accurate is the TV version of the BAU to the real thing?


The BAU is different from the show. Criminal Minds makes up the job, criminal profilers.  The actual BAU doesn’t even have it. In the show, these criminal profiler ́s examine who the ̈unsub ̈ character is and the crimes they could potentially commit. The criminal profilers then confront these possible ̈unsubs ̈ and often make an arrest. The closest thing to a criminal profiler is the BAU criminal psychologist. 


Criminal psychologists are not as action packed as criminal profiles. Rarely, do they go on the scene of a crime, unless necessary, and are never in the line of fire. Criminal psychologists are not even allowed to make arrests. 


Criminal psychologist́s spend 90% of their job at a desk and only 10% in field work. 


Criminal psychologists mainly work with previously arrested criminals to determine criminal behavior. If field agents need extra help with catching a criminal, they can speak with a criminal psychologist to help predict the perpetrator’s next move. 


Field agents are another side of criminal profilers. They are the ones who go on scene and catch the criminals. 


So overall, the tv series, Criminal Minds ̈criminal profilers ̈ are just a more exciting mix between a field agent and a criminal psychologist.