Criminal Minds: Evolution, the reboot of the popular crime drama police procedural series, premiered exclusively on Paramount+ with the first two episodes on Thursday, November 24, 2022. It is the sixteenth season of the long-running crime drama series.
Many Criminal Minds alumni have reprised their pivotal roles in the latest season of the series, including Joe Mantegna as David Rossi, Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia, A.J. Cook as Jennifer "JJ" Jareau, Aisha Tyler as Tara Lewis, Adam Rodriguez as Luke Alvez, and a few others.
However, there are some significant cast members who will not be making their return to the show's sixteenth season, Criminal Minds: Evolution. One of these cast members is Gail O'Grady, who played the vital role of David Rossi's wife, Krystall Richards.
On the very first episode of Criminal Minds: Evolution, it was disclosed to the audience that Gail O'Grady's character Krystall Richards had passed away a year before the series' brand new season began. Thus, the character won't be seen in the series any longer.
Criminal Minds: Evolution's Joe Mantegna finds this new change "interesting and challenging"
Criminal Minds: Evolution is set in 2022, two years after the events of the fifteenth season and in the aftermath of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In the first episode of season 16, titled Just Getting Started, the audience can see that David Rossi is consumed by his loss and painful grief after his wife's death and has put all his focus into work. Other BAU members can be seen getting more and more concerned about Rossi's wellbeing.
Details behind Rossi's wife Krystall Richards' demise have not yet been revealed in the series. However, Kirsten Vangsness' character Penelope Garcia can be seen mentioning how Krystall was diagnosed with a severe illness, leading to her unfortunate death.
While talking to Newsweek about the changes in his character arc due to Krystall's death, Joe Mantegna said:
"I was pretty shocked at first when I read it...It's an example of showing that it's not a perfect world, and it's certainly not a perfect world even in a television series. In a sense that... I live by the dictum of 'everybody has a story, nobody gets a free ride,' and this is Rossi's story and he's not getting a free ride right now, but why should he?"
The actor continued:
"There's a great cartoon I saw once which is just two frames and one was this little caveman looking up to the sky saying, 'God, why are you doing this to me?' And then you hear the voice of God say, 'why not?' And I think it's a little bit of that."
Mantegna also believes that viewers are going to relate to his character in Criminal Minds: Evolution, especially after going through so many issues during the pandemic. He said:
"It just goes to show that anything can happen to anybody, and it's how you deal with it that's important....You get knocked down, [are] you gonna stay down or are you gonna get up? So, now, we're gonna find out what Rossi is made out of. People can relate to that, especially over the times we've all been through in the last few years."
The upcoming episode of the series, Criminal Minds: Evolution, titled Moose, will be released on Thursday, December 1, 2022, on Paramount+.