Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders is the spin-off US procedural featuring the FBI’S fictional International Response Team (IRT) solving crimes in foreign countries. Alana De La Garza, who plays special agent and cultural anthropologist Clara Seger, discusses
Alana De La Garza discusses the franchise’s globe-trotting spin-off Beyond Borders.
What’s it like being part of the Criminal Minds TV franchise?
It’s crazy. I have made my entire career on procedurals, which is such a gift. So when you join something like Criminal Minds it’s a nice feeling. There’s this comfort level in the fact that it is a procedural, but also you go from country to country, so you’re learning about cultures and language and protocol.
The show features global settings, but where’s it filmed?
It’s all LA; isn’t that crazy? They do such an incredible job. I travelled a lot when I was younger and so I’m always amazed when I walk on set. I’m like, “that’s India, that’s Thailand, that’s Japan”. It’s so cool. People say to me aren’t you frustrated that you don’t get to go? No! I could never keep up the schedule, shooting and travelling.
Tell us about your character and her tragic past...
Clara Seger is really fun to me because she has that backstory. When you first meet her she’s back from sabbatical, she’s beginning to heal after losing her husband. You don’t know if she lost him in Mexico due to something that happened in the IRT, or was it just a freak accident? She also has a backstory with Jack Garrett, Gary Sinise’s character, as they are friends.
Gary Sinise’s a veteran of shows like CSI: NY. How is it working with him?
He’s incredible, he’s a complete stud! Gary is one of the kindest humans that I know – no ego, just real human. He’s such a talented actor, and he is so funny. What people don’t know is that we sit there behind the scenes and do terrible accents trying to pretend that we’re in each country. It’s just horrible. We laugh our buns off.
What can we expect from Series 2?
There are definitely new countries. We’re going to learn about Jack’s family. His son is going to train to become part of the IRT, which is cool. But I’d love to see more action, and to know a little more about my backstory and what exactly happened to my husband.
The show’s about getting inside people’s heads, isn’t it?
Yeah, studying the way they work. It gets you thinking. I love the idea that you can take people on a journey, they think they’ve solved it and then it goes another way.
Will there be crossover episodes with characters featuring in Criminal Minds?
Yeah, for sure, I know that’s planned. We had Joe Mantegna’s character [ David Rossi] from Criminal Minds in our pilot, and we had Penelope Garcia [ played by Kirsten Vangsness].
Is it tricky for the IRT working with foreign counterparts?
Yeah, totally. It’s really interesting because it’s a good way to create conflict when they don’t help you. But sometimes they do save the day. You don’t want to make it look like you’re the superior [ agency] all the time. But in the formula there is a hero team, so it’s a kind of balance of not offending anyone and still putting on a fun show.
What’s the trickiest language to speak in the show?
You know what’s funny? It’s French. People are like “Oh, French is easy.” Not for me. Thai, Japanese, fine. Creole I could do. But French, I struggled with it so bad. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders Series 2 airs on W this spring.
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