In reality, members of the BAU rarely leave their offices in Quantico, Virginia. While BAU members are full-fledged FBI agents, they rarely do fieldwork or make arrests. True Crime Magazine estimated that BAU criminal profilers spend about 90% of their time in the office and only 10% in the field. When they do go out in the field, it’s not to apprehend a suspect, and they’re never in danger.
On the other hand, one reason cop shows work is because they follow a very simple formula: Hero pursues bad guy, and hero catches bad guy. If Criminal Minds had stuck to reality, the audience would have never seen the heroes actually catch the bad guys themselves. Instead, that honor would have gone to a different random cop every week, whom the audience would never see again. It’s rare to have a dramatic cop show where the cops never arrest anyone, and after 15 seasons and over 300 episodes, it looks like Criminal Minds made the right bet.