Unsub with a heart of gold? Alex O'Loughlin talks CRIMINAL MINDS

CRIMINAL MINDSAlex O’Loughlin has survived the unfortunate demise of his cult favorite CBS series MOONLIGHT, and is moving on.  One of the consistently good parts of that sometimes wobbly show, it was only a matter of time before O’Loughlin was snapped up for a million other things.  Currently awaiting the fate of his pilot THREE RIVERS, with Julia Ormond (about a team of organ transplant surgeons, based on real life Dr. Gonzalo Gonzales-Stawinski), borne out of a development deal with CBS, Alex is guesting on tonight’s CRIMINAL MINDS, starring as Vincent, the unsub who you can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for!  I had the chance to chat with Alex last week about tonight’s episode, what he hopes you get from his portrayal of a disturbed man, and what he hopes for his fans in the future!

I had the chance change to watch your episode of CRIMINAL MINDS and I have to tell you.  That show does some creepy stuff, and I mean this as a compliment, your character is super creepy!
[laughs] Well thank you, I think! [laughs] He’s a little creepy!

Where did this role come from?
Simon Mirren, the writer, and co-executive producer on the show is a friend of mine.  He said, I’m writing a role with you in mind, I want you to read it, and do it.  I said, Really? Okay.  I read it, and I was like, this is great.  I really want to do it, and talked to my agent.  I was like, look, the role, blah, blah, blah.  I’m talking to CBS, they said I can do it.  How do you guys feel?   They said, well how do you feel?  I said, it’s perfect, let me do it.  I mean, it’s not like “let me do it”, I make the decisions, but it’s like, they’re my team, and I want them on board with the decisions I make.  You know, it’s not often I get to play these character roles; it’s not often I get to read these character roles!  I hadn’t worked for like 10 months, so I thought it would be a great way to blow out the cobwebs and get ready for the pilot, and they were like, well, we’ve got your back!  So I did it.  I’m really glad I did it!

The character itself, you do so much with an almost wordlessness.  So much is conveyed physically.  What kind of preparation goes into a role like this?
My main preparation was of course looking at the condition of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which I have little tiny elements of in my life anyway, but I’m certainly far from ruled by it.  I think a lot of us have little things – some people don’t step on the cracks, a lot of us don’t even realize we’re doing it, we tie our shoes certain ways and we feel uncomfortable if we do it a different way, and there’s an anxiety within us.  It’s a very interesting condition.  There’s an anxiety within us that gets quelled when we do that pattern, every time we do that behavior, it settles an anxiety within us.  And a lot of it’s subconscious because it seems so minor because they’re day to day things that we have to do like tie our shoes or brush our teeth.  This was an exaggerated form, and it happens to certain people, it’s so unfortunate.  The condition gets ramped up to a certain point where their entire life is taken over by these behaviors that they have to go through to stop the anxiety that they’re experiencing.  Their whole life is catered to dealing with anxiety.  So, I made some choices for the character, all my choices were based around this condition he suffers from.

You got to interact with the fantastic Jake Cherry, who is one of the best younger actors that pops up all over the place.  You didn’t get to really interact with the team, though.  Had you known any of them coming in to film?
No, not really.  Not too much.

And you said you were friends with Simon, I’m sure you a fan of the show?
Oh yeah, love the show, love the actors on the show.  I think it’s great. I think it’s one of the GOOD network TV shows, it’s one of my favorite network shows.  I think Eddie Bernero’s amazing.  Simon Mirren is a great friend of mine.  It was terrific.  It was almost like being a fan of these guys and this show, and then finding myself on set going, hey! Coolest show!  Like when I did THE SHIELD, I couldn’t believe it, I was like, “Holy Shit, I’m on THE SHIELD.  Oh my god!”

Why do you think people should tune in to this episode specifically and keep watching?
Tune in!  I was really captured in what Simon wrote.  I was really captured in Vincent, this character’s pursuit of salvation.  Because he seems like such an unredeemable character, like the acts that he perpetrates are unforgiveable, perhaps they are.  I think the spirit of the man himself is beyond salvation and that’s what I as the actor went for, you know?

Right, making an unsympathetic character very sympathetic because you kind of feel for this really sad man.
Right, and the thing is, inside of all of us, I don’t care who you are, at least at one stage in our lives, we’re lost.  We’re trying to be found and we want to be found, and we need to be loved.  It’s inside all of us.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re the executive of a network TV show, or you’re a movie star, whether you’re, fucking, Ghandi.   I’m sure at a point in all of our lives, I don’t know about Ghandi [laughing], but for the rest of us, there’s a point for all of us where we need help.  We need someone to take our hand, and take us to the light, and point us in a direction.  This is just another example.  The thing is, there’s that old saying, like we all matter.  You matter, I matter, this character Vincent matters.  It doesn’t condone his behavior.  I’m not saying that the killing is okay if you’re fucked up.  I’m not saying anything like that.  What I’m saying is that we all matter, and it’s my job to be a humanist and look at it from that point of view, and find the inroad.  Maybe it’s because I know Simon so well, I understood exactly what he meant with the character, and I hope that I conveyed it through my performance, and if I haven’t, I apologize in advance, but I understood Vincent’s anguish, and I understood the desire for salvation, and I think before the end, he rests assured of himself. He’s not all bad.

Switching gears just a little bit – your fans are some of the most vocal that I’ve seen in recent years, still getting emails about MOONLIGHT and where we can find Alex, and the rest of the team.  Do you still get a lot of fan outreach now?
Yeah, yeah, they’re very consistent in their passion, which is lovely, I love them for it, so much.  I hope they follow me into my career, and my next project.  I mean, every character is not going to be Mick St. John.  It’s just not.  I’m always going to play different characters and hopefully they will find.  I think my fans, because they’re so, comprehensive, with their study of me, and their research [laughs] of me, I think that they’re probably starting to get to know me a bit now, as well, and if they’re still my fans, it means they still like me.  If they still like me, hopefully they’re going to like what I like in the characters that I choose.  You know what I mean?

Oh yeah, they’re going to understand the thought processes in your choosing each character.
Right, so hopefully, they’re going to come to love the characters that I love, the way I love them for the same reasons, or similar reasons.  I want to take them all with me, I want to take them on this journey and show them what I’m learning and what I’m loving, and they’re great people, too.  My fans are so caring, they send me so many well wishes, and lovely cards.  Beautiful paintings.  It’s amazing, I’ve never experienced it before.  It can be a little overwhelming, I’m just like anyone else.  Can you imagine, like opening the mail, and getting 1,000 letters?  It can be really weird, really bizarre. 

I’m not sure I could handle it!


Tune in to CBS tonight at 9PM for a riveting episode of CRIMINAL MINDS.


  • sara

    great interview ! thanks.

    He was really great on CM. can’t wait for all his next projects.

  • geraldine walsh

    You nailed Alex’s acting ability with the word “wordlessness”. He portrays emotions with his expression better than any actor I’ve seen except for Meryl Streep. He can read my shopping list and make it vital and sympathetic.

  • Claudia

    Thanks for yet another wonderful interview. Your questions about the CM epi are very good, and Alex’s answers give us all the reasons why we found his portrayal of Vincent just amazing (we did; just look at our boards) and his acting skills superb. Alex doesn’t have to worry about his fans not following him. Our research of what he’s done as an actor has showed us that we can just expect great things from him. Vincent is our first reward after our incredible Mick. You’ll see more and more people noticing what he does now that he is definitely back on our screens. We are thrilled beyond words!

  • Allegrita

    Thanks for one of the best interviews with Alex that I’ve seen lately. He really is an amazing chameleon, and he acts with his entire body–especially his face. He did an amazing job of portraying Vincent’s tortured soul through his mannerisms and expressions. And the few, fleeting open expressions when he was with Stan–it was heartbreaking. A beautiful performance by Alex, and also a great job by Jake Cherry.

    I’m glad Alex appreciates his fans. I wish some of us could tone it down just a smidge… but he does handle the adulation awfully well, bless his heart. Yeah, we like him. I will be watching his career because I like to see what he does with every character. Every one is so different.

  • Amrie, thank you so much for this unique interview with Alex! He did a fabulous job on “Criminal Minds” — it was a real treat to see him do something completely different. Not a trace of Mick St. John to be found anywhere in his portrayal of Vincent Rowlings: twitchy, creepy and yet sympathetic. There aren’t many actors who could have pulled it off so well. I look forward to seeing much more of Alex in the near future!

    By the way, you can expect many more comments from his appreciative fans 🙂

  • Pingback: Criminal Minds was "A Great Way to Blow out the Cobwebs" | Alex O'Loughlin Rocks!

  • alavenia

    Alex did an amazing job portraying Vincent, he was simply fabulous, you bet I will follow his career, and I did research his life and I loved everything I could find with him in it, he is a brilliant actor with an incredible career just ahead and I am in for the ride!
    Thank you for this great interview!

  • Karen (Bianca33)

    Thank you for a great interview! You can bet that we will follow Alex and his career wherever it takes him. I am still amazed by his great talent and caring ways.
    There is no one like Alex!

  • MariaMoonlight

    Alex loves us.. and we sure do love him..Thanks for the great interview..it made my month lol
    The man is super talented, he did an amazing job in Criminal Minds. Can’t wait to see him in Whiteout, The Back Up Plan with Jennifer Lopez and

    if CBS is wise.. Three Rivers

  • SoN2Alex(Deana)

    Thank you so much for the great interview. Alex was brilliant as Vincent and i’m sure Simon is very proud of the way he portrayed him, just as we (his fans) are! I have completely fallen in love with each and every one of Alex’s characters and I can’t wait to fall in love with the next one, and the one after that and so on….

  • MichaelC2B

    This is a wonderful interview. Thanks so much. I loved Alex as Vincent – he really should get an Emmy for best guest star for that! Everything that Alex has done on film has been outstanding, and I can hardly wait to see all that he does in the future. If he chooses to play the part, I know that it will be great.
    I love what Alex said about our comprehensive study and research of him – I guess he noticed, huh?…
    Love Alex, and will always be there for this wonderful actor!

  • Celtickitty

    Alex’s portrayal of Vincent was an inspiration. As he says we all have that little OCD in us and you can tell he did his research. Onlu Alex could make you cry when the unsub dies at the end. I know I did. As a true fan I have loved everything Alex has performed in, each character won my heart and I know all future one will as well because that is how good an actor he is.

  • Silverchex

    When I saw the promo for Criminal Minds for the first time my jaw dropped! To go from the perpetually cool Mick St. John on Moonlight to Vincent the geeky, creepy OCD weirdo with the click click tic who’s a serial killer… Talk about acting range! I’ve been watching Criminal Minds since the beginning and this is the first time I’ve ever seen them promote the one playing the serial killer. Now I’ve seen his role and I was right. Alex is definitely an actor that will be on the A list in Hollywood. He actually did the role of Vincent so well that he made you feel sorry for him. A serial killer no less. His performance was mesmerizing to say the least. And the angle on the redemptive process of Vincent was titillating… Thanks for the great article…

  • Thank you! Great interview! Alex is the best!

  • I hope he never gets used to opening his mail and finding all the love there is for him. That was a really good interview. It gave us more insight into how Alex thinks and that’s a good thing. He really cares and it shows in his words and actions. This is one actor that deserves to be successful. Thanks for posting this interview!

  • serendipityie

    Thank you for this great interview! I love Alex as Vincent and will always follow him in anything he does!

  • Renee

    Nice interview with Alex…thanks for sharing with his fans!!! The character he built in Vincent was disturbing but authentic. And he was spot on about the OCD, having witnessed someone in their obsessions it is all consuming of an individuals life yet it balances the anxiety. Very grateful to Alex for exposing that in a way in which you came away feeling empathy for the person. Wish him success in his future projects…so happy he can feel the LUV!

  • Elenaa_81

    Thank you so much for this great interview! Alex is amazing in every role he does! To see him back again in our screens is our dream come true! He’s so an talented actor and it is a pleasure to be his FAN! We love him so much! Go Alex!!!

  • Marisa

    Thank you very much for this great interview, it has seemed me very interesting, very good questions and the always intelligent and ingenious answers of Alex with an entertaining touch.
    I wanted to read again on Alex after so much time out of the mass media and even more being he in person who tells us his impressions on the professional moment that he is living now.
    It is touching to see how he talk of us, his fans, and as he feels a little overwhelmed with the pursuit that we do of him, but Alex deserves it, because he always demonstrates us with every his gesture, which is also a wonderful person, always kindly and affectionately with us, thank you so much Alex.
    We are going to keep on supporting him in every step that of towards the success that is already very close.
    After seeing his Vincent’s fabulous interpretation in CM, already nobody will have doubts that he is an impressive actor, capable of realizing any role, really Alex disappears inside the most pleasant and vulnerable serial killer that I have seen, and in the end, is sad to see dying his personage.
    I hope that CBS should compensate now Alex and all his fans for the unjust Moonlight cancellation, and should allow us to see him again and enjoy his interpretation in a big show, like it will be Three Rivers.
    A lot of luck Alex in your movie with Jennifer Lopez, another sure success, we will be there to celebrate it with you.

  • susan4

    Thanks for this nice interview! I think Alex is an great actor in all roles, i wish him for his next projekt” Three Rivers” good luck! His talent its great! I wish him all good thinks !!!! Go Alex !!!!

  • Thank you for the interview, Alex should have no fear that his fan `s just him on Moonlight reduckziert.Alex O` Loughlin is a fantastic actor, who in many Charaterien schlüpchen can we keep him fairly.
    Alex: do not worry.
    in love