Criminal Minds Evolution: Is BAU-Gate a Real Dark Web Site?

The third episode of Paramount+’s procedural series ‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’ season 2 introduces the viewers to BAU-Gate, a website on the dark web that contains fake pornographic material of the agents who are part of the Behavioral Analysis Unit. It is revealed at the beginning of the episode that what Elias Voit whispers to Luke Alvez concerns the website. The provoked Alvez checks the site against the order of his superior, Emily Prentiss. Since dark web-related cyber crimes have been occurring for several years, BAU-Gate may seem authentic. However, after a deep dive into similar crimes, we have found out that the website doesn’t have a counterpart in reality!

The Significance of BAU-Gate

BAU-Gate is a fictional website created by showrunner Erica Messer and her team of writers for ‘Criminal Minds: Evolution.’ Even though the website doesn’t exist in real life, the reality behind the dark web has seemingly inspired its creation. The dark net networks are filled with illegal pornographic sites of varying kinds, which include child pornography, sexualized torture, and revenge porn. BAU-Gate can be seen as a revenge porn website operated by a group of criminals who are directly or indirectly targets of the FBI. However, there isn’t any particular dark net website that targets the agents of the Behavioral Analysis Unit, or any FBI officers for that matter.

BAU-Gate was conceived to serve the storyline of Elias Voit, the serial killer who gets imprisoned by the BAU at the end of the first season of the show. Despite his arrest and the introduction of Gold Star, a far superior villain, Elias remains a potent antagonist. To raise the tension and stakes in the narrative, it is important to present the arrested serial killer as a strong force. Considering that he is behind bars, he can only target the BAU agents virtually, which justifies the creation of the illegal pornography website. As Elias continues to win small battles against the FBI, the narrative gets more intriguing.

Elias has always been a master when it comes to mind games, and BAU-Gate is another arrow in his quiver. He knows that the FBI has been hiding the website from its “victims,” only for him to take advantage of it to hurt the agents of the BAU emotionally. The serial killer doesn’t take long to understand that Luke Alvez is not only an officer but also a caring friend, which explains his selection to let out the secret. Alvez gets provoked enough to reveal the site to Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, only for her to learn that it contains only her fake pornographic materials.

As far as Elias is concerned, he needs the BAU agents’ failure to lead the FBI heads to Gold Star and attain freedom. The website is nothing but a tool for him, as he uses it to make Emily’s agents vulnerable, which affects their ability to find Gold Star.

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