Mur­der most foul

Work­ing on Crim­i­nal Minds hasn’t al­ways been a pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence, writes

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - Dar­ren Devlyn With LUAINE LEE

THEY say truth is stranger than fic­tion. That’s es­pe­cially true on Crim­i­nal Minds.

Ev­ery case on the show is based on a real crime. The big prob­lem for the writ­ers-creators of the drama is how to tell the true story without shock­ing the wits out of the au­di­ence.

Paget Brew­ster, who plays agent Emily Prentiss, says the grue­some na­ture of Crim­i­nal Minds has made her para­noid about her se­cu­rity away from the show.

‘‘I got bul­let­proof win­dows . . . hell, yeah,’’ Brew­ster says.

‘‘I started read­ing those FBI books, and they are rough. We’re not at all show­ing what peo­ple are ca­pa­ble of, not on tele­vi­sion. You couldn’t put it on tele­vi­sion, the things that are done to vic­tims and their bodies af­ter­wards. It’s ap­palling and burns into your brain.

‘‘I had a good cou­ple of weeks where I didn’t sleep so well . . . it does af­fect you. Know­ing the in­side look that we get, just hav­ing ac­cess to FBI ma­te­rial, is dis­turb­ing.

‘‘I did a lot of tech­ni­cally il­le­gal things to my home that are coun­ter­mea­sures for home in­va­sion.

‘‘I’m not al­lowed to say what they are be­cause then they don’t work as well. If you try to break in to my house, you will be se­verely lac­er­ated and pos­si­bly elec­tro­cuted, and I’m fine with that. Be­cause if you’re break­ing into my house, you’re on your own.’’

Matthew Gray Gubler, who plays weedy agent Spencer Reid, is no less dis­turbed by the dark na­ture of Crim­i­nal Minds plot­lines.

Gubler, who was a model be­fore find­ing fame on the crime drama, ex­plains: ‘‘I’m not an ac­tor first of all. I fell into this. But, if any­thing, I’m def­i­nitely not a dra­matic crime show ac­tor. I feel like I’m Barysh­nikov at a foot­ball game. It’s a bum­mer, man. Af­ter about 30,000 pho­tos of dead chil­dren, you don’t want to look at dead chil­dren ever again . . . not that you did in the first place.

‘‘It takes it’s toll. When you watch it . . . it’s mind-bog­glingly grotesque. It’s bizarre to me that we can get away with what we get away with on the show.’’

‘‘We’ve had to tone down al­most ev­ery sin­gle one of them (crimes),’’ says ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Ed Bernero, who was a Chicago po­lice­man for 10 years be­fore he came to tele­vi­sion.

‘‘What is re­ally hap­pen­ing is much worse than any­thing we could or want to do.’’

Thomas Gib­son, who plays the tac­i­turn pro­filer Aaron Hotch­ner, shakes his head when asked how the role has af­fected his psy­che.

Gib­son, who pre­vi­ously spe­cialised in mak­ing audiences laugh on the sit­com Dharma and Greg, says it’s easy to let the se­ri­ous­ness of the work af­fect his mood when he’s at home. Like his cast-mates, he never ceases to be amazed by the evil things peo­ple do.

Ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Mark Gor­don says a rea­son for the show’s suc­cess is that it’s dif­fer­ent from other crime dra­mas.

When most shows open, the crime has hap­pened and we watch law en­forcers solve it.

Crim­i­nal Minds is proac­tive — its Be­havioural Anal­y­sis Unit of­fi­cers are out in the field try­ing to stop more crime from hap­pen­ing. The show is a gen­uine thriller.

‘‘We don’t al­ways save the day, which is hum­bling, which is in­ter­est­ing,’’ says She­mar Moore, who plays the bom­bas­tic Derek Mor­gan.

‘‘We make mis­takes . . . but we hope­fully save a life. We hope­fully curb the crime. We make the prom­ise that as long as you’re out there do­ing it, we’ll be out there chas­ing you. And that’s real life. That’s what’s go­ing on ev­ery day.’’

Dis­turb­ing: (above) Matthew Gray Gubler, who plays agent Spencer Reid, never wants to see an­other pic­ture of a dead child.

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