As we are a day away from the start to Criminal Minds season 8, Criminal Minds Roundtable is posting about our visit to the Criminal Minds set!
A few members of CMRT were recently invited to the Criminal Minds set which, luckily for us, included the table read for episode 8.03 "Through the Looking Glass" written by Sharon Lee Watson.
We got to the studio around noon and were met by Travis, one of the writer’s assistants. Travis first took us to the department were they build the sets! At any given time there are 15 to 20 people working on building and changing the sets as needed for the episode they are filming. From there we went to the set decoration department were we met with Tall Ted who told us all about the objects needed to fill any given scene of Criminal Minds; be it bed linens, lamps, coffee mugs, clothing, etc. Everything that is used, even if only one time, is not discarded, everything is kept in case it is needed again. Look closely at the police stations and crime scenes the team visits every week; everything you see there, on cop’s desks, on the walls, in every room, even the smallest details, are objects from Tall Ted’s shop! The room looks like the biggest thrift store you’ve ever seen.
After a very interesting talk with Tall Ted, we left to go visit the main sound stage. We paid a quick visit to the BAU jet, stopping to have our picture taken. We can’t imagine having the cast aboard this small set with cameras and crew on board. It must be a very tight squeeze when these scenes are shot.
Crew members hard at work on the team jet! picture CMRT
From there we moved to where the BAU is permanently housed! We saw the agent’s desks in the bullpen before going inside SSA Rossi’s and then Hotchner's offices! The offices are bigger than what we see on TV! We had our picture taken while in Hotch’s office; we just couldn't pass up the chance to sit in Hotch's chair! Of course little Jack's picture was on the desk, as well as some FBI files and a yellow legal pad where Agent Hotchner DIDN'T write down important FBI stuff but instead made a drawing! Hum…here we thought The BAU Unit Chief was busy ALL the time! ;)
The siren announcing that some filming was taking place went off and we got 'stuck' in Hotch office until the scene they were filming was done. We must say not a bad place to get stuck in for a few minutes!
We couldn't resit, we had our picture taken in SSA Hotchner's office! picture CMRT.
From Hotch’s office we went to the Round Table room, again that room looks much bigger than it does on TV! Travis insisted that we HAD to have our picture taken at the round table after all we ARE the knights and ladies of the Criminal Minds Round Table blog so it was fitting!
We left the BAU, but not without having a little peak at the BAU elevator! Yes folks, it looks like a real elevator minus functioning buttons and cables to lift the thing from the ground ;) So it is essentially just a small box. Ahh…the magic of television.
From there Travis took us where the action was taking place, a police station where some of the cast were filming. Thomas Gibson, Matthew Gray Gubler, AJ Cook, Shemar Moore, and the newest cast member Jeanne Tripplehorn were all there filming a scene!
We had the opportunity to speak with the writer of 8.02 Janine Sherman Barrois. She told us a bit about the episode, sorry we cannot say anything about it and no pictures because we don't want to spoil it, you will all have to watch! The episode sounds very interesting and we cannot wait to see it! Janine was very generous with her time and answered all our questions. She is a very nice lady! We have to say a big thank you to the audio guy (sorry we didn’t get your name!) and Travis for getting us headphones so we could listen to what was being said while the cast and crew were filming. It is amazing how often they have to shoot a scene! Sometimes it is because someone forgot a line or isn't satisfied with how they delivered the line or a scene. It could also be because of the lights or just because the director wants 'just another take' for a close-up or another angle as the lines are being delivered. Yes, the cast and crew of Criminal Minds does work hard for our enjoyment!
Then came the lunch break and we were invited to have lunch in the writer’s room. Over lunch we met the entire Criminal Minds’ writing team; Rick Dunkle, Breen Frazier, Janine Sherman Barrois, Bruce Zimmerman, Sharon Lee Watson, Kim Harrison and Virgil William. Show-runner and writer Erica Messer also joined us and we talked about what else…Criminal Minds! She confirmed that the Beth storyline is not over which she has since mentioned to TV Guide so we are not divulging any secrets here. When it came to the season 7 finale they didn't want to kill off Emily, they wanted to give the character a feel good departure and hope for her future. We talked about the difference between writing for Criminal Minds and the other shows they have worked on with everyone agreeing that they love working on CM because it is a very good and supportive working environment. The biggest surprise at lunch was Virgil Williams speaking fluent French with one of the CMRT members!! He speaks perfect French, a secret that none of his fellow writer’s knew.
We also found out the writer order for the first few episodes: Erica Messer, Janine Sherman Barrois, Sharon Lee Watson, Breen Frazier, Bruce Zimmerman, Virgil Williams, Rick Dunkle and Kim Harrison.
After lunch we were invited to sit on the read thru for episode 8.03 'Through the Looking Glass' written by Sharon Lee Watson! What a great experience that was, one we’ve never had before! Everyone that is to appear in that episode was there, all the guest actors/actresses and, of course, the entire cast of Criminal Minds! Once we entered the trailer for the reading, Janine introduced us to Kirsten Vangsness who graciously offered us something to drink. Kirsten got us all water and gave us each a copy of the script so we could follow along. We have all met Kirsten previously at different times in the past. That she remembers you, if only having met you once previously, lets you know a little bit about the awesome person that she is. Kirsten is one of the nicest people that you'll ever meet! Once we were all seated, everyone in the room had to introduce themselves and what their part was in the episode, whether producer, director, principle cast, or guest cast. Of course that meant we had to introduce ourselves, too! Then it all started! Sorry we cannot tell about what the episode will be about but we can tell you this; it will be intense! There were some very funny moments, especially with Thomas Gibson who added/changed lines! Interesting how the guest actors/actresses really get into their roles at the read. At the end of the read we got to meet with Joe Mantegna, Thomas Gibson, AJ Cook and Matthew Gray Gubler who all said hello and shook hands with us before rushing off to continue their work for the day.
We left soon after, very happy with our visit! What a day we had! We visited the set of our favorite TV show, meet with some of the crew (we got to say hi and thank you to Linda de Andrea head hair stylist who often tweets pictures from the set @lindadeandrea), had great conversations with the writers, and best of all, we were extremely lucky to witness the table read and meet with our favorite cast on TV! Totally awesome day!
CMRT wants to thank everyone at Criminal Minds and especially Erica Messer, Rick Dunkle, Breen Frazier, Janine Sherman Barrois, Sharon Lee Watson, Virgil Williams, Kim Harrison, Bruce Zimmerman, Joe Mantegna, Thomas Gibson, Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness, A.J.Cook, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Shemar Moore, Tall Ted and our guide Travis for making this visit a very pleasant and memorable one! Thank you as always for your continued support of the Criminal Minds Round Table Blog!