"Criminal Minds" star Thomas Gibson on show's success, "unspeakable" topics

CBS’ "Criminal Minds" is one of the most-watched dramas on television. Thomas Gibson plays the leader of an elite FBI profiling team, special agent Aaron Hotchner.

In the show's 200th episode, which airs on Wednesday night, Gibson and team have to find two of their own members who are kidnapped. 

With the show’s milestone coming up, Gibson told the “CBS This Morning” co-hosts that they “weren’t sure” it would last a season.

“One of the nice things was that expectations for the show were reasonable – they weren’t too high” he said. “When expectations are really high, you’re doomed. By maybe the middle of the first season, we’d found an audience and then we kind of caught this juggernaut of a show.”

He told the co-hosts that he believes the reason the show is so popular is the way they delve into the criminal psyche.

“When I read stories about these unspeakable things that people do to each other, I wonder what happened in this person’s life to make them capable of that,” he said. “I think that’s a universal theme and the show does very well all over the world and I think that’s part of the reason.”

Gibson said that the show is “absolutely disconcerting” in how it looks into the mind of a killer.

“We all know about stranger danger and all of that - it’s been hammered into us for so many years, but it’s the neighbor who suddenly has bodies in the back yard,” he said.

The character Gibson plays on “Criminal Minds” is very different from his comedic role as Greg Montgomery in the hit television show “Dharma and Greg.” Gibson said that he’s “pretty unfunny these days” as special agent Hotchner.

“He’s trying too much – perhaps too much focus on his part, but he’s trying desperately to do the job as best as he can and juggle being a single dad,” he said.  

Also, Gibson said that actual members of the FBI behavioral unit taught him “not discount anything and “to pay attention at all times,” he said might be part of the reason why his character is “too intense.”

“I just directed an episode where we, it’s based on a true story … of a retired profiler, who’s actually a writer on our staff now, had solved at the end of his last year of working with the unit. And he basically said that he walked into this house … and there was a bag of concrete mix leaned up against the house and he said ‘That’s not a good thing,” said Gibson. “It could easily have been missed, but he said ‘I went back and looked at the picture and thought that’s not an accident.’” 

  • Shoshana Davis

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