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Unfortunately for the real BAU, the private jet is 100% fictional.
After Shemar Moore (who plays Derek Morgan) mistakenly shaved his goatee and screwed up the continuity of an episode, the cast and crew got him back with a clever prank. They told him that they could CGI his facial hair in post-production, but he needed to stick green dots onto his face.
But the prank fell apart when the dots were replaced with lines and Kirsten Vangsness started laughing at them during a take. She didn’t know it was a joke either, by the way.
Joe Mantegna joined the show as David Rossi, a famed BAU agent who writes books about his experiences in the FBI, following Mandy Patinkin’s departure. Mantegna told the AV Club that he named the character himself.
Mantegna said, “I got a chance to name this character after a real person, a policeman named David Rossi who was the first guy to testify in the O.J. Simpson trial. I thought he got piled on by O.J. Simpson’s lawyers at the time. So I thought ‘Someday I’m gonna name a character after this guy.'”
The actor added that after the real Rossi found out what he’d done “through surreptitious methods,” they became “great friends”. Mantegna said that Rossi was “so flattered” by the tribute.
Producer Rick Dunkle told BuzzFeed that when the episode contains a fun or funny plot line, it usually appears at the beginning or the end of the episode, rather than throughout, to prevent tonal inconsistency.
Dunkle said, “It’s very hard in the middle of a case. People are dying. ‘Oh, Morgan, are you gonna go on that date?'”
When Matthew Gray Gubler first auditioned for Spencer Reid, he was told that he wasn’t right for the part. He auditioned around four or five times before he was cast.
About his first audition, Gubler told the Hollywood Reporter, “I think I was too gregarious. Originally, they wanted the character to be more stoic, like Data from Star Trek. Maybe they were worried I would bring too much weirdness.” He got a callback regardless, where he was again informed that he wasn’t a good fit. Despite this, he was ultimately cast as the cerebral Dr. Reid anyway.
Kirsten Vangsness told Parade that she buys every single pair of her character Penelope’s distinctive glasses, resulting in what she described as a “suitcase of glasses.”
Vangsness added, “But I have a lot of Garcia. I have her little nameplate in my living room and I stare at it all the time. I have her earpiece. This old like beat up earpiece we used in season one. It would be meaningless to anybody else; it’s just this little plastic thing, but, yeah, I have all that stuff.”
Matthew Gray Gubler told BuzzFeed that he prefers to wear mismatched socks. Gubler said, “I’ve occasionally worn them matching, but something strange always happens on those days, whether it be spraining an ankle or messing up a knee.” His character, Dr. Spencer Reid, shares the same superstition.
When asked by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette if Spencer wears matching socks, Gubler replied, “He does not. Some directors have tried to get it in there, but it’s been unsuccessful so far.”
While the BAU’s private jet is practically a member of the show’s team, it’s a perk that doesn’t have any basis in reality.
Producer Breen Frazier told BuzzFeed, “The BAU jet is also a point of contention with the real BAU.” He said the show’s version of the team “get treated better than real-life FBI agents.” Jim Clemente, a writer/producer who actually worked for the BAU, added that while he’d gone on around 400 or 500 flights during his time as an agent, “We fly coach.”
According to IMDb, Adam Rodriguez, who plays Luke Alvez, directed two episodes of Criminal Minds. When asked about handling gore and other upsetting content as a director by TV Insider, Rodriguez said, “Well, the network helps you out, telling you what they don’t want to see. Then the director’s job is to push those boundaries as far as possible. But I find that the gross stuff itself is never as shocking as when it’s just insinuated. I don’t have to watch somebody’s arm getting broken. The sound of it or the anguish on their face amps up the gore — you know something terrible is happening to somebody.”
Speaking of cast members directing episodes, it was apparently a bit of a tradition at Criminal Minds. According to IMDb, Matthew Gray Gubler directed 12, Joe Mantegna directed 9, and Thomas Gibson directed 6.
According to Entertainment Tonight, Jeff Davis, the show’s creator, tweeted in 2012, “Fun fact for Criminal Minds fans. I was originally planning for Reid to be bi. That got shut down by 4th episode with his crush on JJ.”
In a follow-up tweet, Davis clarified that Reid’s bisexuality was left on the cutting room floor because of “push back from the powers that be.”
Mandy Patinkin, who played BAU boss Jason Gideon for the first two seasons, told New York Magazine that being on Criminal Minds was his “biggest public mistake.”
Patinkin quit the show in between the second and third seasons. About this, he said, “I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality. After that, I didn’t think I would get to work in television again.”
Patinkin added that while he wasn’t “making a judgment on the taste” of people who enjoy the show and others like it, he was “concerned about the effect it has.” He said, “Audiences all over the world use this programming as their bedtime story. This isn’t what you need to be dreaming about.”
A.J. Cook plays Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, and Cook’s real-life sons play JJ’s sons. According to IMDb, Cook’s son Mekhai Andersen appeared in 11 episodes as Henry LaMontagne, while her younger son Phoenix Andersen appeared in 2 episodes as Michael LaMontagne.
Kirsten Vangsness told BuzzFeed News that she started decorating Penelope’s desk in Season 1. Vangsness covered her stapler in stickers and placed her grandmother’s candy dish on her desk, after which the show’s set decorator started adding knick-knacks of her own.
Vangsness asked the set decorator for “things that light up,” and specifically requested Christmas lights; the set decorator provided her with a lava lamp, electric fake flowers, and some light-up squishy frogs instead. Vangsness said, “I have a weird tic: Before I do any take, I press them. Frog, frog, lava lamp, go.”
One of the most beloved relationships on the show is the friendship shared by Penelope Garcia and Derek Morgan, and Kirsten Vangsness told Parade that their distinctive flirtatious banter came about as a result of her real-life “chemistry” with Shemar Moore.
Vangsness said, “I didn’t know if I was supposed to stay or leave [for sexual harassment training], so I stayed and I was sitting right next to Shemar. He was joking around during the sexual harassment thing, and I both wanted to be liked by the popular kid and I wanted to follow directions, so I’m very quietly joking around with him back.”
The next day, Moore and Vangsness were sent new pages that incorporated their banter. Vangsness said, “We shot together the next day and we were like, ‘Oh, my gosh. We have chemistry.’ … And really, I wouldn’t have this job if it wasn’t for Shemar, if it wasn’t for the energy between Morgan and Penelope. It’s the yummiest, delicious, coolest male/female friendship.”
The writers told BuzzFeed that Rossi has a photo of him and Ringo Starr on his desk because Joe Mantegna is real-life friends with the rockstar.
Carson City, Michigan is the hometown of Daniel Henney, aka Matt Simmons, and the town’s American Legion hosted a viewing party to watch the series finale of the show. Henney’s parents, Phillip and Christine Henney, were at the party.
Christine told the Daily News, “Every once in a while, we have to stop and say, ‘Wow, can you believe that’s our son?’ He’s a great actor. We have to pinch ourselves sometimes, and he mentions Carson City a lot. He wore a CC-C [Carson City-Crystal High School] basketball shirt in an episode of the show, which just shows how he’s always bringing back his roots. He has a home up north and he’s eventually going to retire around here.”
And finally: Matthew Gray Gubler officiated the wedding of Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss) and her husband Steve Damstra.
During an interview about the show’s final season, Brewster told the Boston Globe, “I met my now-husband, who is friends with Matthew Gray Gubler, and we fell in love and he moved in and then we got married and Gubler officiated our wedding and everybody came to the reception.”