Thomas Gibson talks CRIMINAL MINDS!

CRIMINAL MINDS has made headlines lately for some behind the scenes shake ups that have left some fans worrying about what’s going on this season.  After an emotional episode that had fans saying goodbye to AJ Cook and in turn, in meta fashion, the BAU saying goodbye to Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, the writers and actors hope to move forward and continue creating a show that so many fans have come to love over the years!

In tonight’s all new episode, while the team tries to track down a serial killer hunting down married couples, Hotch looks within the team to possibly fill JJ’s role.  I had the chance to speak with Hotch himself, Thomas Gibson, about what’s happening tonight, what is coming up in the next few weeks, and why now might be the best time of all to get involved (or reacquainted) with the show!

CRIMINAL MINDS has been one of my favorite shows for such a long time now – how is the feeling on set these days.  What’s it like, you have been around for so long now!
I know!  I think somebody called us Old Faithful in MediaWeek.  It was Old Faithful CRIMINAL MINDS.  So I don’t know when we became decrepit but I think that one of the challenges that you have with a show in its 16th year, oh no sorry, its 6th [laughs], is to make sure that it doesn’t get regarded as Old Faithful, that the stories are just as fresh as they always were.  That the thrills are just as exciting as they were at the beginning.  I think that’s why people found us, and obviously, we’ve got the challenge to keep them interested.  On set right now, it’s making sure that we continue to both do the show that’s been successful and that’s gotten this audience that’s very faithful, and also, try to break new ground and find new aspects of each of the characters.  Ed Bernero, our showrunner, this year, one of the themes we had all talked about for this year is “Secrets”.  We’re going to explore things that maybe in hindsight, the audience and the characters would say “well of course that makes sense” but they still are surprising and they still are things that maybe you didn’t see coming, but things that do reveal a little bit more about a character and where the show is going to go and what challenges its going to face.

What can you say tease for us about tonight’s episode (without giving too much away)? [Elissa from ABC pops in to remind Thomas what episode is coming up next]
This is a very interesting episode, written by Breen Frazier.  The challenge is how do we try to fill the very big shoes left by AJ Cook’s character JJ.  One of the things that I said to her in her last episode was “we’re not going to replace you” because she wasn’t replaceable.  So what we’re trying to do is figure out how we can redistribute the responsibilities that she had, among us.  There’s a very interesting direction that that takes.  Hopefully that will tease you enough without giving away too much [laughs].

That’s a perfect tease!  Hotch is the character that we most regard with stoicism.  He’s not really known for showing his emotions as much as other characters.  Will we get to see a little bit more with Hotch, promising to show Jack what love is, what else do we get for Hotch coming up?
In fact, there’s a really great couple of scenes in an episode coming up where we get to see Hotch with Jack.  It’s Halloween.  They’re getting ready to go to the Halloween party at school.  It’s an area that I had asked that we revisit, because I think that I don’t want our audience to think that we’re ignoring the responsibilities that he has at home, as a single dad.  I mean, obviously, that’s not what our show is about, but it is about it in an indirect way, because it’s about how each of these characters maintains a kind of healthy point of view about their work and their responsibilities in their life, away from this job.  And especially for Hotch, who I think, kind of, he is stoic, he wants to be all things to all people, and obviously [laughs] that’s a pretty difficult job description.  One of the things that’s very, very important to him is to be a good dad.  Especially in the wake of losing his wife and Jack’s mom.  There’s a really sweet, sweet moment between Jack and his dad at the end of his episode.  It’s kind of the thing that, it may be called sentimental, but it’s true.  It’s one of the moments that’s absolutely real, and it gives us a little bit of a window into who this person is behind the stoic mask.

Why do you think now is a time for people to get back on board or even start fresh and start watching the show?
Well, because it’s a great thriller.  Sort of wrapped up in this crime investigation series, and I think that it’s one of the things that our writers try to remind themselves every week.  It’s that we’re writing a thriller and we’re doing a thriller.  I think the most interesting way to spend an hour of television is to put a jigsaw puzzle together with this group. Sherlock Holmes was, [laughs] and continues to be, very popular for a good reason and I think that that’s the very kind of puzzle that our show presents.  It also deals with the darker side of society, and the darker side of human nature.  They are continually fascinating to me and hopefully, they will be to an audience.  Give us a chance, and hopefully, you’ll find something to interest you, too!

Check out a preview clip of tonight’s all new episode, with guest stars Craig Sheffer and Nicholas Brendan, airing tonight at 9/8c on CBS: