Just when they thought they were out — they pull them back in! And that's not such a bad thing. The gang that solved scores of heinous crimes for 15 seasons on "Criminal Minds" is back.

The 10-episode "Criminal Minds: Evolution" marks a new version on Paramount Plus. It features most of the original cast as the crime solvers who specialize in profiling and character analysis for the FBI.

"The first year has 10 episodes and explores what our heroes have been up to since February of 2020, which is the last time you saw them, or, as we call it, 'the-before-times,'" said Erica Messer, executive producer and writer on the new show.

The Behavioral Analysis Unit has had some changes. "These past few years have made the team count on one another a lot more," she said. "And that is a very good thing because they're going to discover there's been a prolific killer on the loose since 2005, and he's evolved into legendary status during the pandemic."

Messer said they were lucky to have Zach Gilford "bring this one-of-a-kind unsub to life" and have familiar BAU agents back on the show.

Joe Mantegna returns as agent David Rossi. Rossi joined the BAU after the departure of Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) back in Season 3. He took over the mantle of group mentor, with less of a calming fatherly presence than Gideon provided but significantly more ex-wives.

The others on the team are Kirsten Vangsness as computer whiz Penelope Garcia, Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss, Luke Alvez as Adam Rodriguez and A.J. Cook as Jennifer "J.J." Jareau. Among those MIA are Matthew Gray Gubler and Shemar Moore.

"Our hope is that the team members that we ended the series with on CBS will be able to come back and play at some point," Messer added.

When "Criminal Minds" began, it proved a mega hit for CBS, although two attempts at spinoffs didn't quite work. The drama was based on authentic cases, said Edward Allen Bernero, a former Chicago cop who served as executive producer on the series.

"We start out with a kernel of what's a real case, and then we try to make it so different that nobody who was actually involved in it ever would know," he said.

The show was unusually graphic and grisly, especially for network television. And Bernero said that was not an exaggeration.

"Our cases all start with a basis in reality, but we've had to tone down almost every single one of them," he said. "What is really happening is much worse than anything we could or want to do. Actually, there hasn't been a single one we didn't have to tone down."

Mantegna said the show is the real deal, adding that the people he worries about are "the real men and women of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies around the world who have to really do this for a living."

"We show it like it is. I grew up in the era of when you watch a cowboy movie, the guy got shot and fell over, and it was cute. We show it like it is. And I think that's important," he said.

"Criminal Minds: Evolution" streams a new episode every Thursday night on Paramount Plus.