Friday, December 9, 2011

CM_SetReport Chat Transcript with Jayne Atkinson (Strauss) and Executive Producer Erica Messer (12-8)

JA: Hi everyone. Strauss here. So glad to be here with you and see all your enthusiasm for the show.

ravenbrittx7: Jayne...what is your favorite characteristic Strauss attains? Worst?

JA: OK, my favorite thing about Strauss is that she doesn’t take any crap – she’s tough and smart but can have a heart. My least favorite characteristic is that she is stubborn and political.

SmileyGidget: Jayne -- I think you are a fantastic actress and I have loved seeing more Strauss this Season and her change in character, last night was a very revealing episode for her, are you enjoying this side of the character?

JA: Yes, we see her up against a wall and that means that we will see her become something else- she will have to survive. That is so exciting for an actor to be up against a huge problem like alcohol.

soundofmescreaming: Are we going to see more of the trust issue between Hotch and Morgan?

EM: We will. It's always there from now on...we'll deal with more of that in episode 7x19.

JA: What would you like to see happen with Strauss, besides being off the show ;)

swon: NO I don't want to see Strauss go!

Paula: Have a romantic relation with someone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gchan.s2: It would be interesting to see her struggles w/ the alcohol & how she deals with it, maybe a little of her family? :)

SpencerReidRamblings: I'd love to see her kids.

NNatalieeMcd: Kiss Rossi.

Avery: I'd love to see her become more of a member of the team! She has so much chemistry with Prentiss, Hotch, Rossi, etc.

StopBlowingHolesInMyShip: I'd like to see more chats between her and Hotch.

JA: It's fun to hear all the ideas- any more questions?

EM: We LOVE Strauss here in the writers' room, too. She brings such a great energy to the chemistry of the team. It's always fun to write scenes for her!

EM: And we'll deal with the aftermath of what you saw last night... look for it later in the season.

swon: Amazing acting last night Ms. Atkinson, do you have a favorite CM episode?

JA: This was my favorite episode because I was out in the field, but my favorite scene was when I believed that Hotch killed his wife's murderer in self defense. My second is the final scene in this last episode when Hotch tells me to get help -- wonderful. Seeing Strauss crack means that there is more to come! Could there be a kinder, gentler Strauss ;).

CriMiBird: Jayne is it fun to play. The bad girl of the BAU?

JA: YES!!! Although I also love it when i turn around and am kind now and's fun to let myself be in my "be-atch."

Nayarit: Will the reason she's turned to alcohol be revealed more, is it simply stress pushing her over, or something longstanding, or stemming from something else? Amazing episode last night!

EM: Glad you liked it, thank you! It's been a long-standing issue. She's fought it, thought she was a functioning alcoholic for a long time. I'd love for Jayne to answer her idea of Strauss in distress... Jayne?

JA: I agree. She has coped with the stress of her career and her need for success and playing with the "Big Boys" but clearly she has sacrificed too much. She is so smart but I see her as so lonely. I know that she is married and has kids but it's clear to me that they have taken a back seat to her career-and at some level this must tear at her heart. I am so excited to see what Erica writes for her...

JotchObsessed: Do you think Hotch told anyone else except Morgan about Strauss' addiction to alcohol?

EM: That's a lovely and sad insight to Strauss but I do agree. And there's NO WAY Hotch or Morgan told another soul about that night...

STRAUSS_COME_BACK: Do you think we will ever get to see Strauss and Prentiss scenes ? Or at least see how Prentiss reacts to the news, because she isn't a big fan of strauss.

EM: She isn't a big fan but she respects her and the position. There may be a moment where they connect over that.

JA: I think initially she might be smug but then when she sees me and sees how I have changed she will have a different kind of respect and feeling for me.

EM: Prentiss is such an understanding character... she appreciates the layers in others.

HeTalksAboutYou: Jayne - are you involved in any other projects while on CM? (E.G. any more stage work on the horizon?)

JA: I will be seen in Perception in June and I am currently working on a play about Edith Wilson, President Wilson's wife-she ran the white house for 6 weeks! And a project with my husband, Michel Gill. And of course being a mom is my favorite role! Right, Erica?

EM: That’s right, Jayne! Mine, too!

HeTalksAboutYou: Erica: This season are we going to see any significant call backs to Morgan's key history? (Bomb squad experience, time in deep cover, history of abuse).

EM: We will see more of Morgan's history, especially in episode 7x20. It'll be a rewarding ride for all who watched season 6...

gchan.s2: After being in the field w/ the team, do you think Strauss would like to work with them more often, instead of staying in her office?

JA: Being in the field isn't her favorite thing, but I think she could be more collaborative with them somehow.

Dreis: To Erica: are we going to learn what was wrong with Reid’s mother, will we get to see more of that storyline?

EM: Funny, we talk about her all the time in the room. She's on Glee, so actually getting her to be in an episode is tricky... hopefully we'll see her later this season.

devoncarrots: Erica, we have seen where everyone lives except for Morgan and Reid. Why is that?

EM: I know, right? They'll be carpooling home soon...but they're NOT roommates!

wheelsup7891: Jayne, may I just say you were fabulous last night! I love that they focused on the personal side of Strauss we rarely see. Question: If you could put any 2 characters together on the show, who would they be?

JA: Thanks so much. I loved this episode. Thanks to Erica! And…any two people??? Hmm- maybe Rossi and Strauss. But that's a bit self serving…so Reid and Garcia. Absolutely. Most awkward couple ever, but so so cute. She would have flowers all the time.

dejautrime: If Strauss were an animal, what animal would she be?

JA: She would be....wolverine

EM: From X-Men!! He’s awesome.

Cheers: Erica, was a mysterious past for Prentiss always intended or did that just happen as her story evolved? Will we learn more about her past?

EM: Yes it was... from the minute Strauss asked Prentiss to be a mole, we knew she was a complicated character and that it stemmed from her past. We'll see more about how she's transitioning back but the biggest surprises happened last season, I think.

tabularossi: Erica, we keep hearing how phenomenal "True Genius" is. Can you give us a hint as to some of what we can look forward to?

EM: Sharon Lee Watson wrote a complicated story that shows us how smart she is... and REID! Of course. It's directed by Glenn Kershaw so you know it's great!

Avery: Are there any particular characters you'd like Strauss to share more scenes with?

JA: I would love to have more scenes with the women. But that just hasn't made sense. Maybe in the future-

Catherine: Erica, do we ever get to see more of JJ's childhood life/past? I feel like she's the only one without any real backstory.

EM: We'll get invested more in the life she's building for her child... but that will reflect how she was raised... "North Mammon" gave some history as did "Risky Business" where we learned about her sister's suicide.

alex: I'd love to see Strauss's family and know what she is like when she isn't working.

JA: I do think that we might see her have to deal with her family and her alcohol. Perhaps see what it has cost them. That would be very moving, but I have a feeling that there could be some kind of separation. Perhaps her husband can't take her career anymore, and there will be repair work with the kids. It can't stray too far from what the show is focused on which is CRIMINAL MINDS :)

moviegirl: If you have a CM "bible" and script supervisor like Rick Dunkle said how come you have problem with the continuity like Reid's birthday, Hotch's scars etc?

EM: We have living bibles on this show, too. Dunkle is one of them. I'm another. I won't ruin the surprise of 7x11 but trust us that we didn't have issues with the continuity. Hotch's scars have yet to be I'm not sure what that's about...

Nayarit: Why isn't Strauss such a fan of the field?

JA: She doesn't have field clothing of course!! Frankly I think the whole serial killer thing scares the sh@#! out of her.

cmwonderlady: How different from all the others will the jet scene on 7x12 be? Are we going to need tissues or a baseball bat to hit the TV? :)

EM: There's so much talk about that jet scene now...was that because of a chat? hmmm. might need to have another talk about teasers versus spoilers. The scene is different in that there are only two characters on it... it's one of our favorites for that reason. Hate that it's blown out of proportion because I don't want anyone hitting a TV with a bat!

ravenbrittx7: I know people who ship Hotch/Prentiss are not looking forward to Beth's arrival? What will it be like? Can you give us a bit of a heads up about what to expect?

EM: Like the aforementioned jet scene, I don' t want to hype anything up. She's lovely and Hotch is charming...that's a good thing to see him smile.

JA: I would love to see Strauss hang out with Emily and Garcia…they would be crazy and wild and try to make Strauss have fun…it would be hilarious.

JA: Exactly -- would LOVE to see Strauss let her hair down!! Literally! Have we ever seen her really smile-oy! She is so tense!

EM: Just no drinking!

JA: Exactly, no drinking!

ReidTalkNerdy2Me: Jayne -- What is the most surprising thing you have learned about Strauss so far?

JA: That she drinks! Just, that she really does have a soft side to her for Hotch.

EM: We knew that in ep. 6x21 last season but didn't tell anyone!

ravenbrittx7: Jayne...You are amazing. I just wanna thank you for taking the time to chat with us! It really means a lot! xo

JA: It's so much fun and I appreciate so much that you all are so curious and care!

Jasper: What spurred Strauss' evolution from (fabulously acted) stock female 'hard ass' character, to a more rounded nuanced figure?

EM: We wanted to show the relatable, human side of Strauss and what better way than to reveal her weakness!

JA: And...I think because she is an older female. She adds a depth to the show. We need her there to push the envelope. She is a good counter in many ways to Hotch. When you see a character move from one course of action, mind set another - it creates great tension and story..I always described Strauss as the hatchet girl!! but she has become more- but still nobody quite likes her :(

tabularossi: How does Strauss rank in your list of favorite roles you've played?

JA: I love Strauss because of the promise of her journey. Erica LOVES Strauss and because of that I know she is going to bring the juiciest pieces of her to this season and maybe next. I love being bad but I am going to love the transformation and for an actor there is nothing better. SO…STRAUSS IT IS!!!!

EM: Thanks for joining us Jayne!

JJfans: Thanks, Jayne!

JA: My pleasure! I love the applause but let's send applause to Erica and to our moderators and most of all our delicious and interesting and intelligent fans! Thanks so much! And keep watching!

EM: Thanks everyone for joining us tonight. It's been a lot of fun. We'll have to do it again! Thanks for watching. So glad you all liked the episode. Goodnight!


  1. "The scene is different in that there are only two characters on it... it's one of our favorites for that reason. Hate that it's blown out of proportion"
    :( Well if you're worried about that, then just up the ante with another solo Hotch/Prentiss scene! ;D
    Thanks for the chat.

  2. Please for the love of not shark jumping - if there's going to be so much Morgan - can his character develop into something less self-righteous and condescending? Also something vaguely approaching professional (dress, attitude, the way he speaks to every single other agent). His is the only character I think that has actually devolved from more plausible to less as the series has gone on. Maybe you're trying to make him seem 'edgy'? 'Angsty'? 'Complicated'? But mostly he comes off as a tool.

  3. Hopefully people still read the comments here. I thought rather than criticize what I've felt was lacking in other episodes, I'd point out what this episode did right.

    For one thing, remembering that the stars of the show are the team. And giving them the screen time. It made it easier to view the guest stars the way they were meant to be, because I didn't resent them for getting more exposure than the people I come to see every week.

    Also I appreciated the characterization given to the team. By that, I mean team members said things that fit each person. Rather than lines that could be said by any one of them. I also like that they talked to each other. I mean, they didn't just spout off profiling lines at each other. Reid and Garcia as well as Hotch and Morgan's interactions felt like people with history and relationships unique to them.

    Another aspect I especially appreciated was the focus on Josh. Even before he was considered as the possible unsub. Actual focus on the victim. Showing JJ and then Hotch talking to his parents. Showing the importance of the victims through the team. Sometimes I worry the show forgets things like the last jet scene in The Last Word in season 2 where they passed around an article that honored the victims and denied any fame to the unsub. I do realize this is a show about profiling unsubs, but there had always been a balance of showing that, but also showing concern for the victims and their loved ones.

  4. The writing for the episode was great. I even thought it was one of the best written episodes in a long time.

    The case, the profiling, the characters all very well written.

    Each member of the team had good and in character screentime.

    Strauss`s drinking problem was well handled and for me it did not come as a surprise. The writers built up that storyline already last season when Strauss told Hotch that she would be away for a while and then in "It takes a village" with her eating mints and with Rossi noticing that she was acting strange.

    The Morgan/Hotch head butting scene was also really well done and as a Morgan fan I absolutely loved how Josh was somehow symbolizing Morgan or Morgan Josh. When the colonel and others talked about Josh I almost always thought they could be talking about Morgan. Both have trust issues, are protectors, feel responsible for the people in their team, have their own will, challenge authorities and cannot be broken by them and they hate injustices.

    It was scary how the colonel and his second in command hated and feared Josh so much because they couldn`t break him, that they wanted him dead.

    Brilliant episode.


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