Ranking FBI: Most Wanted seasons from worst to best

As FBI: Most Wanted moves into season 5, here's a look at how the past four seasons rank for fans!

"Execute" - When a hacker triggers a car crash that kills a family of three, the team races to hunt him down as his ransomware demands escalate and his chilling final target becomes apparent, on FBI: MOST WANTED, Tuesday, Nov. 24 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured (L-R) Julian McMahon as Supervisory Special Agent Jess LaCroix, Keisha Castle-Hughes as Special Agent Hana Gibson, Nathaniel Arcand as Special Agent Clinton Skye, Kellan Lutz as Special Agent Kenny Crosby
"Execute" - When a hacker triggers a car crash that kills a family of three, the team races to hunt him down as his ransomware demands escalate and his chilling final target becomes apparent, on FBI: MOST WANTED, Tuesday, Nov. 24 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured (L-R) Julian McMahon as Supervisory Special Agent Jess LaCroix, Keisha Castle-Hughes as Special Agent Hana Gibson, Nathaniel Arcand as Special Agent Clinton Skye, Kellan Lutz as Special Agent Kenny Crosby /
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When FBI became a smash hit for CBS in 2018, the network wasted no time planning a spin-off.  FBI: Most Wanted got the typical “backdoor pilot,” which worked so well that it was made into a regular series.  It followed the Fugitive Task Force, led by Jess LaCroix (Julian McMahon) as they hunted wanted criminals, including murderers, terrorists and more. 

The show has endured a lot of cast turnover in its four-season run yet still retains a great aura of action and drama that sets it apart from the other FBI shows.  With Season 5 underway, it’s a good time to look back and rank the past FBI: Most Wanted seasons.  Some were better than others in handling the action, but it shows how far the show has come to be a big success. 

4. Season 1

After a “backdoor pilot” on FBI, the show found its groove pretty fast in its freshman year.  The early episodes were typical “case of the week” stuff with some unique turns before moving to personal storylines.  The biggest was focusing on Jess and his handling of his daughter Tali growing up amid other problems.

The show was good mixing in the cases although the first season was cut a bit shorter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It can also seem a bit lacking in both the drama and the actual writing compared to later years.  Yet the chemistry was always there with touches like Jess and Clinton getting along amid other storylines.  So while only 14 episodes, this first season set a nice tone that the rest of the show would follow. 

3. Season 3

One thing about FBI: Most Wanted Season 3: It was never boring.  That started with the crossover with the other FBI shows, with Crosby shot and then leaving the team.  Kristin Gaines joined, bringing a unique new vibe to the cases with her past. 

There were exciting pieces like a shooting at a Christmas mall and hunting a horse thief.  Of course, the big moment was the shocking death of Jess, a brutal change for the show that led to Barnes leaving for a bit.

The arrival of Remy Scott brought a new air to the show with his leadership style.  It culminated in a finale that also served as a goodbye to Ortiz.  Like the team, viewers had to get used to all the changes, but they came together for a good season, even if it was a pretty chaotic one to keep up with. 

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"Execute" - When a hacker triggers a car crash that kills a family of three, the team races to hunt him down as his ransomware demands escalate and his chilling final target becomes apparent, on the second season premiere of FBI: MOST WANTED, Tuesday, Nov. 17 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured (L-R) Nathaniel Arcand as Special Agent Clinton Skye, Kellan Lutz as Special Agent Kenny Crosby, Julian McMahon as Supervisory Special Agent Jess LaCroix Roxy Sternberg as /

2. Season 2

Despite being only 15 episodes long due to the pandemic, season 2 stands as a good one for the show.  That was despite Clinton leaving, although Ortiz proved to be a more than capable replacement.  There was also the good long-standing arc of the troubled relationship between Jess and his dad (Terry O’Quinn) that played out in several episodes.

Some great highlights included Amy Carlson popping up as bounty hunter Jackie Ward and the introduction of Sarah, whose growing relationship with Jess was wonderful to watch.  There was great bonding between Crosby and Hanna, and Ortiz grew close to the team.  It all ended in a wild cliffhanger, so while it was a short run, this season was a good step up for the show. 

Iron Pipeline
“Iron Pipeline” – When a family of four from New York is found dead in a Georgia motel room, the Fugitive Task Force investigates a connection between the victims and the sale of illegal firearms. Also, Barnes struggles with Remy’s leadership style upon her return from maternity leave, and Remy and his sister plan for their mother’s care, on the fourth season premiere of the CBS Original series FBI: MOST WANTED, Tuesday, Sept. 20 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and /

1. Season 4

After all the chaos of season 3, season 4 settled into a nice groove, starting with the introduction of Ray Cannon.  It was fun seeing the early clashes of Barnes and Remy and Barnes getting used to her new boss’ style.  Each agent got a spotlight, such as Gaines facing her past being tortured by drug lords and Barnes with some home issues.

A major highlight was Hanna being abducted and the trauma haunting her for a bit.  That included making a huge mistake trying to catch an online predator that made her realize she was going too far.  There were also ups and downs with Remy’s love life and the exciting crossover with the other FBI shows.

The season also tackled long-range tales like the premiere showing a man losing his daughter in a mass shooting, and several episodes later, his wife was shown going down a conspiracy rabbit hole over it.  There was also the plotline of Remy hunting for his brother’s true killer, leading to an emotional finale.  It was a great year that pushed the show to new heights, focusing on the characters as much as their cases. 

FBI: Most Wanted seasons 1-4 streaming on Paramount+ and Peacock.

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