I had the opportunity to talk to Criminal Minds Executive Producer Ed Bernero about the new season. What's in store for season six? Here's what he had to say.
Note: Any questions asked specifically about A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster were passed, as they've already been addressed.
Adam: Criminal Minds is returning for its sixth season on September 22nd. That's pretty impressive for a crime-drama, especially with ratings still going strong. How do guys you keep things fresh after this long?
Ed: Our main subject matter is serial crime and there is (unfortunately) a fairly bottomless pit of source material. That said, all of us on the show, both in front of and behind the camera, continually challenge each other to be fresh and a little different with every story. To stretch ourselves creatively and not just rely on the scary bad guys/girls. We really believe every episode should be a mini-movie experience for the audience.
Adam: The great thing about Criminal Minds is that it has bounced-back from a cast-member departing. Mandy Patinkin left the series, and later was replaced by Joe Mantegna. Thankfully the audience welcomed Joe to the series to great response. What do you credit this to, the show bouncing back after a major departure? Not any show can do that.
Ed: Well, first of all, if it's going to happen to a show, they couldn't do any better than Joe stepping in. He's been amazing addition for the audience as well us everyone at the show. Secondly, it all goes back to stories. If the rest of the cast is talented (as ours definitely is), and the stories are compelling, I think cast changes, as disruptive as they are, can eventually be absorbed by the audience.
Adam: Can we expect a new cast-member to be added sometime this season?
Ed: Yes. In the 6th season of any show, but especially a police show, the 6th season poses challenges in staying fresh. One of the reasons is you've basically explored a lot of interaction between the members of the team and you really need a fresh face to bounce everyone off of. Sort of like a new hub for all the characters to react to. We're in the process now of trying to conceive a new fit for the team. They'll have to be a character that strikes different chords than the team we have, so working on it has been fun (and challenging).
Adam: During season five, there was two major storylines. The first was Aaron Hotcher?s downward spiral after the death of a loved-one. I have to say Thomas Gibson really raised his game last season. Can we expect more of that in season six?
Ed: We are theming this season "Secrets". We've devised a secret that each of our characters has that no one knows about. Some of them are kind of fun, some of them pretty serious. The sharing (or not) of those secrets will affect the team in some surprising ways.
Adam: Last season we also saw Derek Morgan step-in as the leader of the team while Hotcher was out. But when he returned, Morgan stepped back down. Do you think Morgan will have another shot as the boss in the future? He seemed a natural for it.
Ed: Morgan is a tremendously important character for the show. I agree that he was great in that role (as team leader) but we also really missed him kicking in doors and whipping butt on the bad guys. I think, for now, he's going to stay that guy for us.
Adam: Penelope Garcia (played by Kirsten Vangsness) is an audience favorite, so it was so good to hear that she will be appearing on both Criminal Minds and the new spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (premiering in midseason). First off, how did that decision come about? And with Vangsness pulling double-duty, that doesn't mean be seeing less of her on the original, does it?
Ed: The notion of ‘Garcia' doing both shows was thought of pretty early in the process. She's such a fun character and a breath of air when you see her amidst all the grim facts of our stories. And, no, you won't see less of her on CM, which is also one of the reasons she was able to do both.
Adam: Criminal Minds has welcomed some great guest-stars. Can you tell us about the line-up planned for Season Six?
Ed: Well, we've only shot three episodes so far but we've already had Tim Curry, Gil Bellows and Daniel J. Travanti join our family. We're also looking at potentially bringing an American Idol on (in a surprisingly naughty role) as well as a HUGE country singer.
Adam: From the previous five seasons, what have been your favorite guest-stars / serial killers?
Ed: Favorite? We've loved working with everyone we've worked with. That's like asking me to choose between my kids! Seriously, we've been very fortunate that there are a lot of exceptionally talented people who want to come and be real bad guys/girls for us.
Adam: What else can you tell me about season six? Is there one character especially highlighted this season?
Ed: No. I don't think so. As I said, the secrets will have varying degrees of impact but we aren't going into the season planning on focussing on anyone more than the others.
Adam: Finally, I ask this to all my interviewees. What have you been watching on TV lately?
Ed: Hmmm… I actually try to watch a little bit of everything. There is some exceptional work being done on television and I'm proud of everyone working in it today.
I want to thank Ed for taking time from production to talk with me. You can watch the sixth season premiere of Criminal Minds on CBS and CTV on September 22nd.
TVDoneWright.com was launched in April of 2009, in hopes to get exposure so when site owner/founded Adam Wright graduates, he has lots of experience and contacts for a job. Adam is currently taking Journalism at St Thomas University in Fredericton NB (Canada). This year will be his last, meaning after he graduates, he'll be free to pursue a dream job in the TV world. He wants to become a comedy/satire writer on a TV show, or a TV critic. TVDoneWrignt.com site has grown quickly. Adam started off alone, then formed my team of writers. They come from all over Canada, and the US. Adam created TVDW.com to inform and entertain. They offer all the latest news, reviews, updates, but they also do more.He writes satire/comedy pieces for the site. They also have have over a dozen interviews with TV stars. All this within a little more than a year.