Time to fight crime
Gary Sinise has made a career of fighting crime in movies like Forrest Gump and on TV in Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.
Gary Sinise enjoys his role as Jack Garrett because TV work keeps him close to his family. Season 1 Thursdays M-Net (*101) 21:30
When US citizens get in trouble on foreign soil, who do they call for help? The fictional International Response Team of the FBI, headed by Jack Garrett (Gary Sinise) in action show Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (2016- current). Jack and his elite team are there to swoop in and save the day, even in Johannesburg in episode 10 (on Thursday 25 August) – and here’s how and why they do it, according to series star Gary, who’s best known to TV fans as Detective Mac Taylor in all 197 episodes of CSI: New York (2004-2013).
What’s the idea behind Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders? Jack and his team help Americans travelling abroad with the same professional spirit as the mothership [Criminal Minds, 2005- current]. Research shows that 68 million Americans leave the United States annually and there is crime that happens to them. The show is about FBI heroes who could save them. When we watch the news and see international cases involving any Americans, we tend to lean forward and say, “How did that happen to them?”, “That could’ve been me. Or my neighbour who travels. Or my brother or sister or loved ones…” What attracted you to it? I was drawn to the part of Jack Garrett, a 20-year FBI veteran and father of six, because of the show’s subversive portrayal of law enforcement. What I liked about this when I talked to [executive producers] Erica [Messer] and Mark [Gordon], quite often on TV, you see these characters who’re constantly broken and because they deal with such a dark world, there are multiple divorces and they’re going through pain in their personal lives. On the other hand, there are several law enforcement individuals in this country that have found a way to have a successful family life, to raise kids, to keep their marriages together and all that. I know several of those people The show takes Jack and his team everywhere from Joburg to the Far East. personally, so we decided to do that with this character, to show somebody who is able to balance home and work despite dealing with a dark world. Did being on CSI: NY prepare you for this role? Well, I had some great success on CSI: NY for nine seasons. Mac was a great character to play – a detective and a very professional guy. There are similarities between my two characters. So what are the differences between them? On CSI: NY, you had an individual who lost a family member. He lost his wife on September 11th. He was grieving for nine seasons and found love again at the end. Jack is a bit different and as time goes on, we’re going to explore that aspect of this character and the personal lives of the other characters as the audience gets to know them. He does his job and I think that you want that kind of guy running the team. What did you do when CSI: NY ended? I’d started my foundation during the last two seasons and I poured two-and-ahalf solid years into travelling for the military and helping our veterans. The producers came with an offer of a spinoff for Criminal Minds. I wasn’t sure, because I kind of missed doing movies, but with where my life is, the stability of a TV series fits very well. And how does doing TV allow you a more stable time than doing movies? Part of the appeal is being close to my family. Going on location when they were younger, especially during the school year, got tougher and tougher. I would go away for three months at a time. Your band’s also named after your Forrest Gump (1994) character. What does music provide that acting doesn’t? The band is called The Lt Dan Band – it’s part of my OperationIraqiChildren.org [which has closed down since we spoke to Gary]. We do humanitarian work, sending school supplies to kids over there.
Our celebrity correspondent
Margaret Gardiner is a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Born in SA, the former Miss Universe winner now lives in LA. She’s written two books and regularly interviews showbiz’s biggest stars.