Criminal Minds is filmed with the same slick, well-produced Hollywood-style gloss as CSI and Without A Trace, and features the same case-of-the-week format and a similar team of young, attractive specialists headed by a complex, tortured and brilliant older man. This always successful formula, teamed with a tight and often amusing script, some excellent acting and a lot of seriously gasp-out-loud scary climaxes, makes for a brilliant programme.
Mandy Patinkin plays Agent Gideon, an intense, quiet but very talented criminal profiler who puts together physical and psychological descriptions of criminals by examining the crime scene. Most episodes build their way up to a climax where Gideon and his team struggle to identify and find the criminal before he commits another murder/kidnapping/arson etc. It's often edge-of-the-seat stuff, although it can be very gruesome, so be warned. The final showdown with the criminal is often electric, especially if the team have to play into his psychological fantasies, essentially reading his mind, in order to catch him or get him to surrender (an episode where Elle is trapped on a train with a maniac is especially good in this regard!).
Patinkin is great in the role (though arguably not as fantastic as he is in Dead Like Me - check it out if you're a Patinkin fan) and is very ably backed up by his team, especially Matthew Gray Gubler who plays the somewhat socially inept but genius Dr Reed. The good thing about Criminal Minds is that the actors have a lot to work with as we get to understand a little of the characters' backstories and motivations in some episodes, more so than in similar shows like CSI.
If you like your criminal shows tense, unpredictable, and with an element of intelligence, you'll love this - definitely worth checking out.