Top thirty criminal procedures, #5: Criminal Minds

IMDB link.

Basic premise: The FBI tracks down serial killers by thinking like them.

Why it’s here: Rich characterization for all the parts; every character is fleshed out and crucial to the plot. Matthew Gray Gubler is a scene stealer (even if eidetic memory is overused in modern fiction, with him it works). They turned Tim Curry from loveable, cheesy villain into outright monster. Plus, Xander from Buffy!

Why it isn’t higher: If this show has a flaw — and I’m not sure it does — it’s perhaps an over-reliance on Gubler’s character for plot exposition. Again, it’s not so much this show deserves to be #5 as the top four deserve to be top four.