Interview With Criminal Minds Co-Executive Producer Harry Bring
Congratulations on hitting the 200th episode of Criminal Minds. I am looking forward to the 10th season!
Q. How did you first get involved with Criminal Minds?
A. When I decided not to go back to Army Wives in South Carolina after 5 years there, Mark Gordon, who created Army Wives, offered me Criminal Minds. Two things: to be home after 5 years on the road was a blessing, and you don’t turn down Mark Gordon.
Q. How is working on Criminal Minds, a procedural drama, different then working on Army Wives or Melrose Place?
A. Procedural dramas are a lot different than serialized shows. Procedurals have a beginning, middle, and end. Serialized shows link together and you are always thinking about where you’ve been and where you’re going. Procedurals do have some “b” stories about the core cast but you don’t visit those that much.
Q. Do you have a favorite episode of the show? Were you a fan of it before you came on?
A. I must admit I wasn’t a fan of the show before joining the team. I had only watched a few episodes. Now that I’m here I’m a total fan. I guess my favorite is 824. I loved working with Mark Hamill.
Q. So, A.J. Cook (JJ) had some pretty tough scenes when we last saw the team. I read in an article that “[i]n order to realistically portray the torture JJ experiences in 200, Cook agreed to actually be waterboarded. She was also hung up by bonds for hours at a time to act out a scene. This resulted in her losing feeling in her arm for a month” (http://criminalminds.wikia.com/wiki/A.J._Cook). That definitely takes method acting to a new level. Who asked her to do this?
A. No one asked AJ to do anything special that I know of. Whatever she did to prepare for the episode was her own idea. We didn’t hang her up for hours though. After each sequence or take, the tension was released from the chains.
Q. We got to see Paget Brewster back as Prentiss for the 200th episode. Any plans for her to guest star later in the season?
A. I have not heard of any idea to have her guest star this season. Paget is very busy pursuing other projects and it would be hard for her to be available for anything here.
Q. Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) has always wanted the rest of the team to go after the bad guys. She is content with staying by the computer and flirting with Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore). Last we saw her, she had to fire a gun to protect Reid (Matthew Grew Gubler). How will this affect her, and additionally the team’s perception of her?
A. Kirsten LOVES when a story takes her in the field. It definitely excites her. It’s been done a couple times per season. She is so valuable gleaning info for the team it’s hard to bring her into the action. There will be a Kirsten surprise for the fans in the coming months. I can’t say what that is right now.
Q. I know that Kerr Smith (Dawson’s Creek, The Fosters) has an arc as a new villain, Frank Cowles. Who came up with the MO of his character, a body part collector with a fetish for amputated limbs? The level of creativity and wicked imagination is admirable!
A. Credit to Erica Messer and the writing team.
Q. Jennifer Love Hewitt is joining the show as a series regular, playing Katie Callahan. Can you tell me how that came to be and what we can expect from her?
A. During the hiatus there was some idea crunching as to who should be joining the show. I’m not privy to how it came about in the end. You will find Kate to be different from all female team members that came before her. She comes from a different department of the FBI and brings a lot of experience and sassiness.
Q. Are there any other notable guest stars lined up for this season?
A. Not that I have heard. I’ve been so busy with the physical end of production I have not spent any time in the writer’s room listening to story pitches.
Q. Who in the cast is most similar to their character?
A. I think all the cast has personal attributes that are woven into their on-screen performances. It is their personality differences in real life that are shown in their characters.
Q. Who in the cast is the most different from their character?
A. If I had to pick one that was slightly different it would be AJ. AJ is a lot less serious once the camera is turned off.
Q. Has there been any thought as to how the show will end? Is it something that has been discussed (in the writing room)?
A. That has not been discussed to my knowledge. There are ideas for a season finale which touches on some story fabric woven throughout the season. If you are referring to the eventual end of the series, no one is thinking about this show ever ending. ;-))
Q. Give the fans something about Season 10 to obsess over.
A. Look for the nuances of our characters personal storylines to be enhanced and explored more. There are a couple “special” episodes being discussed and I am waiting patiently myself to hear what they are.
Harry Bring (@LLPOS) is a producer and production manager, currently working on Criminal Minds. Prior to that, he has done work on Army Wives, The X-Files, and Melrose Place.
Exclusive behind the scenes action can be found at @CM_SetReport
Catch the season ten premiere of Criminal Minds (@CrimMinds_CBS) Wednesday, Oct 1 9/8c on CBS.
Kirsten Vangsness will be live tweeting during the premiere at the handle @Vangsness
The rest of the cast can be found at the handles @shemarmoore @JoeMantegna @ajcookofficial @GUBLERNATION @TheReal_JLH
Annabelle Edwards is a writer living in New York. She is the founder and managing editor of Control Literary Magazine.