“I’m going to direct one next season,” Mantegna exclusively told E! News at the 2013 Monte Carlo Television Festival.
We also chatted with the fan favorite about what viewers can expect from the upcoming season, which includes learning more about all of the characters’ past and “secrets” and about the series’ longevity…
After his time in Monte Carlo, Mantegna told us he’s planning on meeting with the creative team “to try and have some input on some storylines,” but said, “The writers are so good that we all give them free reign. I take my job seriously playing David Rossi, and they take their job seriously writing this show. Where they’re going to lead us, I don’t know. I didn’t know how the season was going to end this year and I loved it. I thought it was dramatic, shocking, all those things. The only thing I would hope for is they explore the personal sides of all our characters, all seven characters, and we’ve been doing that.”
He continued, “I hope for more of that, I think the fans deserve it. They’ve been following the show for eight years and they deserve to know everything they can about the characters.”
Of David’s backstory, Mantegna teased, “We’ve already learned he’s had three former wives and that he lost one of them. We know about his military background. Beyond that, we’ll see. There may some more other secrets that are unveiled, as well as things about all the other characters.”
And though there was talk last summer that season eight could have been the series’ last, Mantegna is confident Criminal Minds isn’t going off the air anytime soon.
“I don’t think it will be the last season,” he said of the upcoming season. “Look, I’ve been around long enough to know what has value and this show has tremendous value. It’s still doing well in the United States and in Europe; it’s like The Beatles. The show has incredible strength, it just does. That’s not a vanity statement, it’s fact. So why would it not be renewed again? We’re going to do this season and we’re going to do next season, and you heard it from me. If it doesn’t happen next season, you can say, ‘Oh, Joe Mantegna, he’s crazy.’ But I said earlier this year that we were coming back when everyone was saying ‘Oh, I don’t know if we’re coming back.’ Please, it’s still a business and business is doing very well. You don’t stop a good business, that’s capitalism. So will be around next season? Yes, I think we’re good. I’ve been on The Simpsons for 20 years. Ten years of Criminal Minds is nothing!”
How long ago did you guys shoot “Brothers Hotchner and “The Replicator” When do you guys get the script?
I think we finished near the end of April. We usually get the scripts about a week prior to taping.
Have you known how the season was going to end with the Replicator story arc? Was it a surprise?
I personally didn’t know until we got the scripts. To tell you the truth I’m not one of those actors who likes to know. Even if given the opportunity I don’t think I’d like to know how the whole next season is going to be from beginning to end. To me it’s like somebody telling you “this is exactly what’s going to happen to you every minute of the day for all of next week.” I like to discover things as they happen.
I know there’s all kinds of anticipation about this episode with the Replicator. The fact that they’re airing these two episodes back to back suggests that they’re connected. Is the Replicator in both or is he in just the last episode?
They’re pretty much one long episode, which is what it should be. I mean we have the advantage and privilege of being a successful show (and one that’s going to continue) being able to take that last episode and turning it into a two hour version of our one hour program and really get into it.
Without giving any spoilers away, can you hint at any surprises viewers can expect?
I think there will be some surprises. You want to leave them with something that they can kind of chew over during the time off. People will say “Man. Wow. Didn’t see that coming.” It’s going to be interesting to see how it kicks off the next season. So there are things that are going to happen, and we take advantage of the fact that we have two hours to tell the story.Read More
Joe Mantegna is one of the great actors in show business. Whatever the medium or the genre, he always delivers an outstanding performance. On television, he’s best known as Special Agent David Ross…
“It’s a two hour episode,” the actor said of Wednesday’s final installment. “It’s like a little movie in a way. We’re able to pull out all stops and devote our energy, our finances and all that for two separate episodes into one, which I think it makes it more exciting. We get some time to explore this thing. We’re able to give a proper end to our season. I think it’ll be very satisfying.”
One of the things the season finale does is put a period on the mystery of “The Replicator,” the Unsub that’s been stalking the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) team throughout this cycle. It’s the latest recurring-villain plot for Criminal Minds, and Mantegna told us, “I think we’ve done a good job of kind of playing both sides of that street. We’re certainly not like a soap opera, where it’s continual story that you kind of have to tap in every week.
“For the most part, probably 80 percent if not more of what we do are stand-alone episodes and I think that’s a good thing. That’s what really happens in life and in a situation with a unit like this. There’s a crime, there’s killers that have to be apprehended, and you find them. But there are instances where things go on. I think it’s a balance. I think the reason I like it is if you catch the show in reruns, people can just tune in and still get a pretty good idea what the show’s about.”
Looking back on season eight, the actor singled out the episode “The Fallen,” which delved into Rossi’s past in the United States Marine Corps, as his point of pride. “It’s an episode I’d been pushing for for two years,” he explained. “I personally have a strong support for our US military and I thought it’d be nice if we could incorporate a storyline that deals with it. The episode was co-written by my assistant Dan [Ramm] and Rick Dunkle, and I was so happy for that episode.”
(very small, bigger ones will be posted when they’re available)