Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 premiere recap: "Gold Star"

Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 1 gave us some information on who Gold Star is. How did the show set up the latest unsub?
L-R: Joe Mantegna as David Rossi and Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss in Criminal Minds: Evolution, episode 1, season 17 streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo Credit: Michael Yarish /Paramount+
L-R: Joe Mantegna as David Rossi and Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss in Criminal Minds: Evolution, episode 1, season 17 streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo Credit: Michael Yarish /Paramount+ /

The Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 premiere certainly didn't skip a beat to ensure we understood what Gold Star was! Plus, how did Elias Voit fit into all of this and how was Tyler Green brought back into the fold? Let’s go into what happened in episode 1, “Gold Star.”

While the team was together to celebrate Garcia’s birthday, Emily was on a fact-finding mission. She had looked into cases that had the words "Gold Star" attached and discovered three murders that occurred, all involving men of different occupational backgrounds.

Their eyes had been gouged out and they were shot with bullets etched with a gold star on the casing. Emily arrived at a new crime location where a police officer’s wife was murdered. Don Bertoli was in a catatonic state and couldn’t provide Prentiss with any information on what happened.

Emily finally told Tara about the case and as they filled Garcia in on the details, they learned that someone had requested information on the case. It was Rebecca Wilson, who was apparently getting information for someone at a supermax prison.

The team found out that Rebecca is consulting with Elias Voit on the Gold Star case with the cooperation of FBI Director Ray Madison. Only Bailey and Madison knew about the Gold Star killings, but somehow Voit was aware of it. While Voit didn't admit to it, it was hinted he must have communicated with Gold Star at some point. Madison had gone to visit Voit, who wanted a deal to have his Sicarius charges dropped in exchange for information that would lead to the Gold Star killer’s apprehension.

Finding this out had the team angry, especially Dave, who was already going through post-traumatic stress in the wake of his abduction. Even though they tried to talk to Don Bertoli again, he killed himself after coming out of his catatonic state.

How can the BAU make working with Elias Voit turn the tide in their favor?

After Luke realized that Don’s behavior seemed like someone who was possibly trained in psy-ops, he suggested bringing Tyler Green in, despite the circumstances of their last meeting. Even though it was awkward for everyone, Green was able to give the team information on how the victims were connected.

They all had a connection to finances, in which money was sent to an offshore account. Two other possible targets were connected to the bank, but before the team could get to them, they were murdered.

The Director confronted Dave and Emily, who refused to work with Voit. However, Dave decided to do so anyway, having a plan to fall back on that could help the team. He told them this later, reminding them of when Ted Bundy helped with the Green River case but also ended up incriminating himself in his own murders.

Dave felt this option may help them to show the Director and Attorney General that Elias Voit needs to be in prison for life. Only time will tell if this truly helps.

All in all, the first episode of Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 did a great job in bringing us up to speed on the characters. Emily still has guilt over the death of Doug Bailey while Rossi is still healing from his own trauma. Plus, Tara is still navigating her recent breakup with Rebecca Wilson, especially in light of her consulting the man that was responsible for numerous murders.

Despite this, Rebecca still wants to help the BAU keep him in prison. Will this be possible? Is there a chance for reconciliation between Rebecca and Tara? What about the situation with Garcia and Tyler Green? There is so much to look forward to with the new season and episode 1 set things up perfectly!

Make sure to watch season 2 of Criminal Minds: Evolution every Thursday on Paramount+. The season 2 finale will air in August, here's the full release schedule.

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