The Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), is a part of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is one component of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime(NCAVC).[1] The mission of the BAU is to provide behavioral based investigative and/or operational support by applying case experience, research, and training to complex and time-sensitive crimes, typically involving acts or threats of violence. The program areas addressed include Crimes Against Children, Crimes Against Adults, Communicated Threats, Corruption, and Bombing and Arson Investigations. The BAU receives requests for services from Federal, state, local, and international law enforcement agencies. Response to these requests for BAU assistance are facilitated through the network of field NCAVC coordinators. BAU services are provided during on-site case consultations, telephone conference calls, and/or consultations held at the BAU with case investigators. However, contrary to popular belief, there is no such position in the FBI called "profiler", a position commonly seen on television and in cinema.[2]

BAU assistance to law enforcement agencies is provided through the process of "criminal investigative analysis". Criminal investigative analysis is a process of reviewing crimes from both a behavioral and investigative perspective. It involves reviewing and assessing the facts of a criminal act, interpreting offender behavior, and interaction with the victim, as exhibited during the commission of the crime, or as displayed in the crime scene. BAU staff conduct detailed analyses of crimes for the purpose of providing one or more of the following services: crime analysis, investigative suggestions, profiles of unknown offenders, threat analysis, critical incident analysis, interview strategies, major case management, search warrant assistance, prosecutive and trial strategies, and expert testimony.[3]

The BAU maintains a reference file for experts in various forensic disciplines such as odontology, anthropology, entomology, or pathology.

BAU InvolvementEdit

The BAU may become involved in a serial criminal investigation for a variety of reasons. These may include:

  • The State, County, and/or Local Authorities are unable to gain any headway in a serial crime case
    • Exemption: Illinois and California have their own State Bureaus of Investigation but may still request assistance, if needed
  • The criminal(s) cross(es) state lines
  • The criminal(s) cross(es) into any other country in the Americas
    • If passing to an overseas location, InterPol has jurisdiction
  • The offender(s) is already on the FBI's wanted list
  • There are suspicions of terrorist activity; in which case, multiple branches of the FBI may be involved (including the Counter-Terrorism Unit)

Child Abduction Response PlanEdit

In addition to the above services, the BAU staff produced the Child Abduction Response Plan to assist investigators faced with these investigations. Recently, the BAU released "The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment Perspective" report to guide school administrators, teachers, parents, and law enforcement in identifying and evaluating threats in schools.

Suspect BehaviorEdit

The series features a fictionalized group of BAU investigators located in San Francisco, California, known as the Red Cell team.

Chain of CommandEdit

The BAU in Suspect Behavior follows this chain of command:

See AlsoEdit


  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation - Investigative Programs - Critical Incident Response Group
  2. Federal Bureau of Investigation
  3. Federal Bureau of Investigation - Investigative Programs - Critical Incident Response Group