CRIMINAL MINDS has been one of CBS’ most consistent performers, yet it doesn’t seem to get the buzz of say a COMMUNITY or GLEE. Does that bother you at all?
Thomas Gibson: You know I think about the San Antonio Spurs. The San Antonio Spurs don’t get the props that they should from the NBA and yet they are consistent performers with a whole bunch of championships. Coach Popovich runs a fantastic program there and it reminds me of our show in a way. We aren’t the Lakers, we don’t have LeBron, but we are a fantastic thriller that audiences have found on their own and despite being what I would say not overly promoted, continued to come back. Do we wish occasionally that we could get a little more love in the promotional department? Sure. But as long as the audiences are showing up flying under the radar is okay with us
Oddly enough though, you show never seems to have a problem with attracting headlines when it comes to cast changes. Were you surprised by the vocal reaction to A.J. Cook’s exit over the summer?
I was not surprised because I think that’s what happens with a show that is successful. The thing that makes it successful is that audiences connect with these characters, which was exactly how we felt about A.J. leaving. All those questions fans were asking like, “What’s the deal here?” “Why is this happening?” and “Is there any reason for it?” Those were the same questions we were asking. But to her credit, A.J. took the high road, and said this was an opportunity for her to look forward and see what the next stepping stone is in her career. And if she took that road, we will take it as well, moving onward and upward.
Moving onto your character, fans are curious if Hotch will be spending more time with his son following the death of his wife?
That’s one of the things that I think is a natural progression given the circumstances. I know that in the first few episodes, Hotch obviously had to deal with different things, but moving forward we do get to see my character with [Son] Jack coming up in an episode. And those are the things I don’t want to ignore as a character and I don’t want the writers to ignore because I think it’s important for Hotch to feel connected and feel like he’s not consumed to the exclusion of his son who needs him terribly at this point. It’s a very good bit of tension to explore and one of the things that [Showrunner] Ed [Bernero] has said he wants to explore in general this year is the theme of ‘secrets.’ That we may find out things about each of these characters that we did not know before that will make sense in hindsight but are something new. Not that that’s necessarily going to be wrapped up in Hotch’s relationship with his son, but there’s going to be something that maybe is unexpected with everyone. And certainly Hotch has been through a lot so I’m hoping his secret is not a crisis, but that’s still being discussed.
After this season, your role on CRIMINAL MINDS will have eclipsed your time spent as Greg. Do you ever miss the lightheartedness of DARHMA & GREG?
Before each episode we always do a read-through with as much as our regular and guest cast as possible. It’s the only opportunity we get to read the episode beginning to end and you know occasionally when it’s a darker show, you finish it, close your script and you go “Wouldn’t it be wonderful just do a comedy this week!?” So yeah, it is relentless. But that’s exactly what we’re exploring. The impact of that relentlessness on each of these characters too. But one of the nice things that we do to keep ourselves a little bit lighter is as soon as we cut, things get very silly and very light-hearted on the show. We’re very concentrated when the camera are rolling on the scene at hand and the character work and all of that, but we definitely don’t take it too seriously when the camera’s aren’t rolling.
And finally, something we just discovered in preparing for this interview is that your fans refer to themselves as “Gibson Girls,” is it hard not to let that go to your head?
I’ve heard about these ladies! It’s very nice that people are supportive of the show and of me and my work but you know it doesn’t change who I am or what I’m about. I’ve had people ask me does it bother you to get approached in the airport and most of the time people are very supportive, encouraging and grateful for the show and I’m very happy to have that support and certainly don’t let it go to my head.
CRIMINAL MINDS airs Wednesday nights at 9PM on CBS (CTV in Canada)