Based in Quantico, Virginia, the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) is a subsection of the FBI. Called in by local police departments to assist in solving crimes of a serial and/or extremely violent nature where the perpetrator is unknown (referred to by the Unit as the unknown subject or unsub for short), the BAU uses the controversial scientific art of profiling to track and apprehend the unsub. Profiling entails coming up with basic characteristics of the unsub and the victims (referred to as the victimology), using evidence from the case and matching that information to historic precedents and psychological analyses as a means to solve the case. Because of the nature of the work conducted by the BAU - the work being time consuming and psychologically demanding - its members are fiercely loyal to the Unit and to its other members. Also because of the work's overall demanding nature, not many members of the BAU have been able to maintain a happy or stable family life.
To catch a criminal, you have to think like one.
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Did You Know?
In a 2012 interview, in New York Magazine, Mandy Patinkin
said that he greatly regrets ever having accepted his role on the show: "The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do 'Criminal Minds' in the first place. I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality. After that, I didn't think I would get to work in television again. I'm not making a judgment on the taste (of people who watch crime procedurals). But I'm concerned about the effect it has. Audiences all over the world use this programming as their bedtime story. This isn't what you need to be dreaming about. A show like Homeland
(2011) (on which Patinkin began appearing in 2011) is the antidote. It asks why there's a need for violence in the first place." See more
Even though the BAU's office is located in Quantico, VA, most of the team members live in or around Washington, DC. This is very unusual. DC is a high cost of living area, but Quantico is less so. Quantico is also 35 miles south of DC. It'd make more sense for the team, who often need to respond quickly, to live in the Quantico area. See more