1 Criminal Minds Gold Star Theory Could Bring Back A Fan-Favorite Character


Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 is all about the mystery of “Gold Star,” and hints have suggested the major serial killer could be a former member of the BAU team. After the cliffhanger at the end of season 1, Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 episodes 1 and 2 answered some questions for viewers and the BAU about “Gold Star.” Still, there’s a long way to go to uncovering who “Gold Star” is and stopping them from killing even more people and spreading their conspiracy theory.

According to showrunner Erica Messer, Criminal Minds: Evolution will provide more answers about “Gold Star” in season 2, episode 5. This gives viewers plenty of time to theorize with each little hint the episodes give and the BAU finds as they try to solve the big mystery. It took almost all of Criminal Minds: Evolution season 1 to discover “Sicarius” was Elias Voit, and season 2 will likely be the same with “Gold Star.” With Criminal Minds: Evolution season 3 confirmed, there’s a slight chance the “Gold Star” mystery could continue beyond season 2.

Elle Greenaway Could Be Gold Star In Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2

Elle Fits Some Of The BAU’s Profile About Gold Star3

Elle Greenaway was one of the original BAU team members before she left in season 2, episode 6. Three episodes later, she was replaced by Emily Prentiss in Criminal Minds, who is the current section chief. Still, Elle made a big impact in her short time and her Criminal Minds exit was somewhat controversial. At the end of Criminal Minds season 1, Elle was shot by an unsub known as “The Fisher King,” causing her to experience post-traumatic stress disorder. When she returned to work, she remained paranoid and vengeful.

Elle’s trauma could have turned her into a vigilante killer

Following Elle’s return, she went undercover to catch a serial rapist after criticizing the local police chief’s handling of the case. Though they caught William Lee, they eventually let him go. After Elle blames Hotch for her getting shot, she takes things into her own hands and confronts Lee in the parking lot, killing him in cold blood. Though she cited self-defense, the team was skeptical. At the end of Criminal Minds season 2, episode 6, Elle turned her badge into Hotch, saying she wasn’t admitting guilt, but adding, Elle said it herself, she changed when she got shot, enough that she was able to kill a man off the clock in cold blood. This made Hotch worry she was becoming an unsub herself, but she assured him he wasn’t. 15 seasons later, his fears might have come true, as Elle could have evolved into “Gold Star.” The BAU’s profile for “Gold Star” states that they have government experience and training, which Elle had. Elle’s trauma could have turned her into a vigilante killer, and she could be coming for the BAU next in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2.

Elle’s Exit Could Explain Why The Government Is So Concerned About Gold Star

Hotch Helped Elle Before She Left In Criminal Minds Season 2

Initially, the higher-ranking government officials were reluctant to tell the BAU about “Gold Star” and let them get involved in the case. They were so desperate to stop “Gold Star” and keep information from getting out, that they even made a deal with Voit. “Gold Star” being a former government employee could make them culpable for their actions as a serial killer.

This could be especially true in the case of Elle, as when she missed her psychological evaluations after killing Lee, Hotch didn’t report her. He kept an eye on her at first but allowed her to resign without following up. Voit introduced the idea of “social contagion” in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, telling the BAU conspiracy theories made it easier to get someone to kill these days. If Elle’s paranoia led to a conspiracy, she could easily fit the bill for “Gold Star.”

The Khaled Hosseini quote Emily said in the Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 premiere further hints at Elle being “Gold Star.” The quote reads:

“’ It’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out .”

Elle Being Gold Star Could Lead To Other Major Characters Returning

Hotch & Reid Could Return In Criminal Minds: Evolution

Spencer Reid is one fan-favorite character who didn’t join the Criminal Minds: Evolution cast after Criminal Minds ended. Reid appeared in all 15 original seasons, meaning he knew Elle. They had a close relationship and her final appearance on the show (via flashbacks) came when Reid was dreaming while unconscious, showing her importance to him. Reid could return in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 to help solve the “Gold Star” mystery, and potentially step in and help stop Elle from killing again.

Thomas Gibson was fired from Criminal Minds during the filming of season 12, making Hotch’s return less likely. However, it would make sense story-wise, as he’s not only a former unit chief, but he knew Elle’s psychological state perhaps better than anyone. If the “Gold Star” case is as big as Criminal Minds: Evolution claims, they’ll need all hands on deck to solve it, especially if the theory about Elle is true.

Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 4 will be available for streaming on Paramount+ on June 20, 2024.