Monday, October 31, 2011

CM_SetReport Chat w/Joe Mantegna 11/3

Hi all,

Join @JoeMantegna in the @CM_SetReport chat room this Thurs at 6pm PST. We will post a login link for the chat as well as the room password at 5:30pm PST on Thurs, here at cmsetreport.blogspot.com

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

@CM_SetReport Exclusive: Brecken Lawrence Interviews Joe Mantegna, "David Rossi" on #CriminalMinds

@CM_SetReport Exclusive: Brecken Lawrence Interviews Paget Brewster, "Emily Prentiss" on #CriminalMinds

@CM_SetReport Exclusive: Brecken Lawrence interviews actor Mason Cook on the set of Criminal Minds, EP705 "From Childhood's Hour"

@CM_SetReport Exclusive: Brecken Lawrence Interviews Anna Foerster, Director on #CriminalMinds

@CM_SetReport Exclusive: Brecken Lawrence Interviews Fleabag, On Set Dresser on #CriminalMinds

@CM_SetReport Exclusive: Brecken Lawrence Interviews Bruce Zimmerman, Writer on #CriminalMinds

@CM_SetReport Exclusive: Brecken Lawrence Interviews the #CriminalMinds cast and crew

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Charles S. Dutton on the set of #CriminalMinds 7x10, "The Bittersweet Science".

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CM_SetReport Chat Transcript for Bruce Zimmerman 10-20-11

Bruce Zimmerman (bz): Hi, Bruce here. This is my first time in one of these... I'm happy to answer your questions... or try.

rensomnia: The shoe reference was amazing---how did you come up with that idea?


bz: Well, I'm not a genius like Reid, but I think men trying to understand women and their shoes is universal. Personally, my wife has an entire closet devoted to shoes.


niteanjl: Is it hard to work in the 'personal details' of the characters without detracting from the main plot?

bz: It is a little tricky. You never want to interrupt the flow of a story to get into personal issues, so I always try to find some way to make it feel like it is a branch from the same tree and not something completely different.

4pairsofshoes: Why did you choose to include Rossi’s wife in this particular episode, or was there no underlying reason (was it just time for a Rossi-centric ep)?

bz: Joe has been asking for a story about one of his ex wives since it has been floated in the series earlier. This seemed like a good time to do it. There was a slight thematic thread because in the end she is going to ask him basically to help her commit suicide, and the UnSub in this episode is coming to terms with a mother who wanted to kill herself.

shmoo: Was there a specific reason you chose Emily to be the person that Rossi confided in about his ex being back in his life?

bz: When I first thought of writing that scene, I had Hotch in mind. But it felt like Hotch was too focused on the case and Rossi would be able to take a little breath and confide to Prentiss instead. And when I saw how it came out, I was happy I did it. Paget has a really nice side to her that was able to reach out to Rossi and give him the type of advice that he needed.

intimatenecktouching: JJ's sister killed herself - was JJ not effected/reminded by this case, or was it simply not showcased?

bz: Sometimes unfortunately we are really under pressure to service all of the characters in a very short time span. This was a case where it might have been legitimate to involve JJ, but that would have taken a chunk of story away from somebody else, and it was simply a matter of logistics.

4pairsofshoes: What character does your next episode focus on?

bz: It involves the world of compulsive gambling, set in Atlantic City. There isn't a specific strong personal story in it as there was in this episode, but I'm trying to have more fun with Morgan and Garcia. I think their relationship is a very interesting one.

criminalrinds: This is your first Criminal Minds episode. How did you go about preparing/researching to handle the team members' characterizations and dynamics particular to the show?

bz: Good question. It's always a challenge to come to a new show and plug into the voices of the existing characters.... particularly a show like this that has had such a long run and is so successful. All I try to do is learn from the actors and the other writers, and take their guidance. Several times during the breaking and writing of my first two episodes I've gotten the occasional "Hotch wouldn't say that," and it's very helpful. And of course I watched a lot of the show before even joining the staff.

marisa: How challenging is it to work with minors in an episode with this serious of a storyline?

bz: Again, it is always a tightrope you carefully walk. You need to be mindful that these are children, but most of these kids are very well focused on the fact that this is a show and not real life. I got a sweet card from the boy who played the little guy who kept screaming for his mommy. He said he had a lot of fun, and thanked me for not having him die at the hands of the UnSub. So even the kids have some humor and perspective.

criminalrinds: Anything you can tell us about Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, which we've heard is a Morgan episode?

bz: Morgan is showcased a little more in it. Strauss is in it, and Morgan finds himself knocking heads and in conflict with his superiors. Don't want to say anything else because I don't want to spoil it for you...

fromchildhoodshour: How does your background as a novelist inform your writing for CM?

bz: It works for and against me sometimes. As a novelist you can write whatever you want, take your time, describe things elaborately, use 500 pages to set up a world, etc. You also don't have to think about a budget. In this episode the big money expense was the leap off the bridge, obviously, and this was something I really wanted and fought for. The stunt people and crew did an extraordinary job, and I was lucky to have a director who really had a vision for how she wanted it to look. I guess the main thing is, as a novelist you really want to explore character. Fortunately this show has terrific characters already in place, so it's not just the nuts and bolts of a standard procedural.

intimatenecktouching: Morgan and Reid's camaraderie in this ep was a nice pick up of the pattern of their relationship s1-s4 (less so in s5-s6). Why do you think these characters work well together?

bz: I think they're fun because they are such opposites. In my mind, I think the two of them respect what the other one brings to the table that the other cannot. Again, this is me, but I find Reid very charming and probably unaware that this kind of charm and intelligence can be very attractive to women -- as opposed to Morgan, who is your classic leading man, handsome, action-oriented, and so forth.

fromchildhoodshour: JJ had a very authentic voice this episode, which I loved. It reminded me of why she is my favorite character. The majority of the character's voices were authentic, in fact. I really appreciate that and I just wanted to tell you. I can't believe this is your first episode, because it was so well done. Who is your favorite character to write and why?

bz: Thanks for the nice words. I tapped into JJ a little because she is a mother of a young child and it was natural that she would be the one to reach out to the distressed mother in order to get information. Hotch also recognized this, which is why he sent her in alone. I'm still feeling out who my favorite charaxter to write for is. It might be Garcia, believe it or not, because she's so outlandish and can be the voice of the average person.

jasper: Who chose the Poe quote?

bz: I did. Always liked the poem from when I was in college and it seemed the natural quote to kick off a story about an Unsub who had a bad childhood.

alianora: Why did you choose to give Rossi's ex wife ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) as opposed to any other fatal disease?

bz: I wanted to it be a disease that is particularly awful in how it works on the body, to make it really understandable why Carolyn would want to not go through it. On a personal level, I had a very good friend who died of the disease about ten years ago and I remember how difficult it was.

rosalieee: Will Rossi Share his dilema with the team?

bz: A member of the team will find out. Don't want to give away who it is, or the reaction. Stay tuned for 706.

fromchildhoodshour: Did you envision the unsub as being so young and handsome when you wrote him? Or was that someone else's (casting?) call?

bz: Honestly, I think every writer has strengths and weaknesses, and casting is not one of my strong points. The novelist background again, probably. So I defer frequently to the director and showrunner unless I have fairly strong feelings yes or no -- which I do sometimes. On this UnSub, the director particularly responded to him because he portrayed a kind of man-child innocence that made it believable he'd want to be a 911 operator so he could go rescue children.

criminalminds82: The mix up of the partnering was different than usual. Hotch/JJ Rossi/Prentiss Reid/Morgan It was nice to see the interactions. Was it intentional?

bz: Yes, it was intentional. A nice thing to explore is how the various team members interract. I think it keeps things fresh and unexpected and I'm trying to do the same thing in my next episode as well.

criminalrinds: This is the first time this season (besides Prentiss' return) that we've seen a major plot development for one of the team members. Can you talk a little about how those big elements are decided upon and how they're introduced into specific episodes?

bz: At the start of the season we talk about possible story ideas and also discuss bigger character arcs. This year our showrunner Erica Messer particularly wanted to get into the character's personal lives a little more than in the past, so we look out across the expanse of the 24 episode landscape (which is daunting at the start of the season, believe me) and plant some flags in the ground so that we are sure to give each character something meaty to complement the case each week. The Rossi ex-wife storyline was actually something that the writers discussed doing last season, but the Prentiss/Ian Doyle issue became so important that the Rossi story was pushed to this season. I guess this means that there is always room for surprise and discovery even among the writers, and it's hard to predict how some of the final episodes of this season will play out. But it's also what makes this job fun.

deathangelarawn: Who's idea was it to put the wolf fact in the episode? Why is Hotch going trigger happy?

bz: I wanted to put the wolf story in there. It felt thematic, and the wolf is always a symbol in children's literature of the bad guy. As for Hotch, I guess I could have given the shot to Morgan. I'll have to talk to Thomas about letting his gun cool off for awhile.

katie.weber: Anything special happening in the 150th episode?

bz: We're going to be reading it today. It's written by Breen, so you know it'll be good. I taught him everything he knows.

unknownsubject: If the BAU could time-travel, what era do you think they'd do well in?

bz: I think if they time travel to next Wednesday they'd do fantastic. But a funny question. Maybe the could figure out if there was an UnSub among the dinosaurs, we'd know why they became extinct.

sue5789: Is Jason coming back

bz: I'm new to the show, but the last time I looked he was working over at homeland security.

sometimesthedayjustends: Do the other writers read the transcripts of the writer chats?

bz: Sure do.

longponytail: How different is it writing for Criminal Minds, compared to other shows you've worked on?

bz: It's been great. My background it mostly crime and procedural, but this show also has the element of varied and interesting characters. And it's great to be in the world of such crazy killers -- you almost never find that you need to rein yourself in when thinking of stories or villains.

fromchildhoodshour: The "breaking" of an episode sounds painful. Like it is full of critiques and criticisms. Is it what it sounds like or is it more based on logistical things?

bz: Yes, it can be painful. Most viewers (like my folks, for example) watch a tv show and don't think too deeply about the dozens and dozens of combing-through each episode goes through. But it is valuable. When I came to LA to write for TV after writing my novels, some of my TV writer friends here told me I would hate it. Group writing, network notes, etc. But I found the opposite to be true. The vast majority of people in this business are very, very smart, and it's great to have eight brains in the room helping with a story.

alianora: Whose idea was it to put the unsub's mother in a floaty white fairy tale type dressing gown in the unsub's mind? I really liked that touch.

bz: I thought it was important that we see the event as it appears in the UnSub's romanticized imagination. Glad you liked it, and it provided a nice contrast to the reality.

sometimesthedayjustends: What if your favourite CM ep?

bz: It was probably "100". I wasn't on the show then, but I remember watching it and being blown away. I think I'll lobby with Erica Messer to write "200".


bz: Thanks for all your questions... this has been a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy coming to Atlantic City with me on my next episode...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CM_SetReport Chat w/Bruce Zimmerman

Hope everyone enjoyed “From Childhood’s Hour.” Join us for a chat with writer Bruce Zimmerman tomorrow morning (10/20) @ 9AM PST.

Login info for the chat will be posted 30min prior on cmsetreport.blogspot.com


UPDATE: Please click on the 'chat now' link below to join.
The room password is: brucechat

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Image from this week's all new #CriminalMinds episode. Written by Bruce Zimmerman. Directed by Anna Foerster. http://pic.twitter.com/VWOz3Hw5
Chat w/ Bruce Zimmerman - writer of tomorrow's all new #CriminalMinds - this Thurs at 9am pacific. Login info will be posted 30 mins prior.
Digital Image Tech Tony Matulic doubling as security against preying eyes on the set of #CriminalMinds 7x10. http://pic.twitter.com/2FT9qUTg
"I got something on my shirt." Rising star David Mazouz on the set of #CriminalMinds 7x10, "The Bittersweet Science". http://pic.twitter.com/WPlazfEu
Writer Janine Sherman Barrois and Director Rob Hardy on the set of #CriminalMinds 7x10, "The Bittersweet Science". http://pic.twitter.com/T0v08ypB

Friday, October 14, 2011

That's a wrap on #CriminalMinds 7x09! Premieres 12/7 @ 9pm on CBS. Written by Erica Messer. Directed by Charles Haid.

CM_SetReport Chat Transcript for Breen Frazier 10-13-11

Breen Frazier (bf): Hello everyone!

nopetodope: question for Breen: Many fans have been "arguing" about Reid acting too much like Matthew, while others say he's maturing as a person, comments?

bf: It's a little bit of both. Matthew is always looking for new details to play with Reid. I think all the actors do. The humor in this episode is a reflection of that. But we try to keep the core of the character true. cough. So the MIT/CalTech mistake is mine. Apologies.

talleycat: Great episode, the best so far this season IMO. Loved the Jack and Hotch scene. Those are always gold. Hotch has been a lot less intense this season. I think he's smiled in every episode. Is there a reason why he's seems less "burdened"?

bf: We haven't discussed in the room why Hotch is less burdened. I think it's a function of the arc of the character. If the theme from last season is secrets, the theme for this season is scars. That's my take, BTW, not Messer's. Anyway, at a certain point the scar tissue heals and you learn how to move on. I think you're going to see that pop up with a few of the characters this season.

criminallymindless: Hello, Breen! Thank you so much for a wonderful episode last night. The writing was superb. Will we by chance get to see more of the prank war between Reid and Morgan? Please don't say it's over! :)

bf: Not yet. I'd like to see it revisited. It's a tonal issue, to be honest. In the middle of a murder investigation for Reid and Morgan to be one-upping each other can be distracting. I know it was divisive last night. The way I justified it was that it was on point with the theme of the episode. As the team was investigating a high school tragedy, the high school nature of their characters came out a little bit.

GublerlyMindless: How did you think of the idea for the Morgan vs. Reid thing? It was hilarious!

bf: It sort of evolved over the course of several rewrites. It started with Reid teasing JJ about being a mean girl. Then that led to, "Who were YOU (reid) in HS?" Then that led to Morgan and Reid going at it. The actors were all game. And I think if you watch the episode again, you can see a lot of subtlety in their humor. Shemar, esp. If you watch his face in Act 3, just reacting to Matthew, the man can say more with a look than with a speech.

Fred: Are we going to see more about Reid’s genius in the future, his scientific background (chemistry, engineering, math), ..?

bf: Yeah, we've got an episode coming up about that that deals extensively with that. Specifically, the question of, how well does a boy genius age?

NittyMcNitpicker: In your defense, I read interviews that Kirsten, Polly, and Matthew were trying to push the idea that the characters knew each other at MIT so they could have a crossover....

bf: I've heard that, too. The actors are VERY game to do it. My understanding is that it's a studio hangup. You can cross-promote when it's the same studio. We're an ABC/CBS co-prod. NCIS is just CBS.

Tigereye: Breen, you wrote one of my favorite CM episodes ever, 52 Pickup. I can see some common elements with that episode and Painless including the humor (loved!) and finally a bit of Hotch/Prentiss interaction. I appreciate you remembering that these two in the past have asked each other the difficult questions. Will we get to see more of that between them, especially given no one seems to know, except maybe JJ, what Emily went through in her time away?

bf: My next ep is all about that. Ep12. Here's my take... Hotch and Prentiss understand each other in a way that no two other members of the team do. That's esp true now that they're both survivors of MASSIVE TRAUMA. I thought a lot about this while writing Lauren. Do you think Emily Prentiss enjoyed sleeping with Ian Doyle? Was she holding her breath and her nose each time? I mean, these are really complex emotions that we've never unpacked. The two team members who come closest are Hotch and Morgan. In terms of violent and/or sexual assault. I believe that Hotch is the closest in terms of dealing with it, working on it. And he can help Prentiss through it as well.

pranksterparty: It seemed a bit strange that an episode focusing on high school bullying made no reference to Reid's experiences that we learned about in "Elephant's Memory" -- not even nonverbally. Was that a conscious decision, and if so, why?

bf: It's a question of "personal story" real estate. We only have so much time and space per episode. Just to be mercenary about it, we hadn't had a Hotch-centered episode and he needed one. And I was happy to write it because who doesn't love writing Hotch? As a result, there needed to be something else to do with Reid and I wanted a different flavor for Reid, a lighter moment. I mean, the episode is SO dark. You're talking about Columbine, school shooters. Stuff that can be a trigger for certain audience members. So rather than duplicate our strengths by having Hotch deal with a bully situation (at home) and Reid dealing with it in his past, we thought, let's play a funny runner between Morgan and Reid instead. At the end of the day, these decisions are dealer's choice. And that was mine.

Guinevere: Hi Breen! What great writing last night. There was a little bit of everything, violence, suspense, humour and tender moments. As one of my favourtie writers on the show, I can't wait to see your next episode. Can you tell us which ep that will be?

bf: Yeah, Ep12. Writing it now. Can't say too much. If you're obsessive about it... There's a Korean horror movie called "3 Extremes." It's basically a hard-R version of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." Watch the middle section.

painless: Who thought up the screaming in the phone scene? I want to know!

bf: Matthew definitely enjoyed it. He doesn't get to play blind rage very often. I wrote it as intense, he performed it the way he did. But we talked a lot about the tone of the scene. Real quick digression about this... I asked our FBI profilers, Jim Clemente and Jim Fitzgerald if this practical joke was okay or if it was the type of thing they would never do. Fitz said, not only is it okay, he's done it on another profiler. So, a lesser-known detail about the job that we got right.

ssaminds: how did you come up with the idea for JJ to be cheetobreath?

bf: Heh. I love putting shout-outs to the fans in my episode wherever I can. That's it.

Rosalieee: Who is the hardest to write?

bf: None of them. JJ is the most fun to write now that she's a profiler.

Star76114: OMG Breen! Love the way your mind works!!!!

bf: Reid is the one that I feel the most kinship toward. Sorry to be that guy answering the question that way, but it's true. They're all a delight.

NittyMcNitpicker: Doesn't Prentiss having kept in touch with JJ-- even through online Scrabble-- sort of detract from Prentiss telling Reid that she lost 6 friends? Or was she just manipulating him?

bf: Yeah, but c'mon, playing online scrabble is not the same as seeing your friends for dinner, going out to a movie, going over to their apartment and sharing a glass of wine or hunting monsters together. It's a fair question, but I don't think it detracts from the pain Prentiss went through losing her entire family.

pranksterparty: We've been told that Reid and JJ's issues are resolved, but there still seems to be an underlying tension between them, particularly at Principal Givens' house. Was that your guidance, or was it nuanced acting by Matthew and AJ?

bf: Nuanced acting.

pranksterparty: This episode obviously referenced Columbine a great deal. Was that the origin of this story, or did a different aspect of the plot inspire you first?

bf: Great question. The episode started with a How Stuff Works podcast. They dealt with CIPA, congenital insensitivity to pain. Which, I found out, both House and Grey's Anatomy did. So I dug deeper into the research and found asymbolia. A serial killer who doesn't feel pain was where this episode started. It was too good an idea not to have an episode be about. But it wasn't enough. As we started getting into the story, we needed more than just, "He can't feel anything and as a result he doesn't feel empathy. Because we were breaking the story in July, the whole "ten years later" idea was in the zeitgeist. WRT 9/11, obvs. But something about that stuck in my head, and I thought, "What if it's 10 years after a Columbine-styled incident?"

I've always wanted to do a school shooter episode, but could never find the right tone. My mom, who is a fan of the show, said, "The minute I see a 16 year old walking down the hall with a machine gun, I changing the channel." But if it's 10 years later, you can give the audience the emotional distance to study school shooters without exploiting it. As weird as it is, it's okay to see 27 year olds get killed, but not 17 year olds.


sonofadorito: It seemed kind of out of character that Reid would actually coach basketball, after his experience with the football team. Don't you think he would be a little traumatized?

bf: We made it basketball because of his history getting bullied by the football team. In my experience, the basketball team were not nearly the same kind of bullies as the football team. Also, you can break down the stats of HS basketball much more effectively than HS football. Sort of.

pranksterparty: What is your favorite episode of Criminal Minds that you've written? What are your favorites from any writer?

bf: Fave that I've written: Uncanny Valley. Fave of all time: 100

sonofadorito: Do you have a working title for your next episode?

bf: "Unknown Subject."

Cheery: Do you (and the other wirters) keep in mind how often the unsub is introduced at the beginning of the ep vs. revealed later on? The exposition for the latter is preferable, for me anyway.

bf: Yes, that's a big part of the story structure as we break it. It's one of those things that we sort of figure out as we go. It's not the first detail, but it's not the last either. Usually, the terms of the story dictate when we see the UnSub's face.

ghostturtleneck: Are we going to see more of Prentiss struggling with the events of the past few months? It seems from what we've seen so far, she's not ready to address it, which is very much how we would expect her to deal with it. Is it going to came to a point where she can't avoid it any longer?

bf: Ep12 is all about that.

dst: Are we ever going to revisit the family members of any of the team? e.g, Morgan/Prentiss' mother?

bf: Yes. Can't say who yet.

Rosalieee: Any Garcia/Kevin info? I love the geekiest couple of tv

bf: Ep13 will have Kevin.

bf: You guys are going to flip when you see what we're doing with the two of them. No, they're not getting engaged.

Rosalieee: Is it difficult to find new ways to kill people?

bf: YES!!!!! No, here's the problem. We've covered all the serial killer greatest hits. So now the question becomes, how deep do we need to go with the UnSub's individual personalities, the quirks that the team can profile. EG capgras or pain asymbolia. We are not (repeat NOT) going to turn into a disease of the week show. But we can't just do Bundy or Dahmer week in or week out. I have to say, that's where the new writers -- last season and this season -- have brought in a ton of new ideas that have reinvigorated the CM template. And they're a big part of why we've gotten to Season 7 and why I think the show can last well into Season 10.

Jasper: What character dynamic do you enjoy writing most?

bf: Character dymamic... hmm. Whoops. Here's the thing, and this is true of any writer on this staff or any writer in TV ever. You want to find NEW dynamics to play. New scenes that you haven't written before. New scenes that the actors can bring new life to. There's a small but important detail at the end of Uncanny Valley I can give you. Reid has just talked down the UnSub. Rossi looks at him and says, "Nice job, Dr. Reid." Not "kid" but "Dr. Reid." He sees Reid as not just AN equal, but HIS equal. I love Hotch/Prentiss. Love Morgan/Reid. She wasn't popular, but I liked Ashley and Rossi together.

painless: There is so much homoerotic subtext. Loved it. Whose idea?

bf: BWAH! Hang on... Ed Bernero and Simon Mirren's. Kidding. Look, these guys love each other. They hang out together. They're always cracking each other up. It's natural that the rapport between them as people would bleed through on camera. Ed always said this show was a family. Every show says that. This is the first show I've worked on where I felt it was the truth. So, the vibe you're getting is the actors really enjoying each other's company. I think that's a HUGE part of the show's staying power.

thatgirloverthere: How hard is it to write unsubs? Like, how can you, as a writer, go from writing a delusional phsycopath to someone who just loses it from one stressor?

bf: Eh. Hmm. It's a huge part of the show, where the stories start from. So, Erica Messer says, "I want to write an episode that starts with a little boy running for his life down the street Then we cut twenty years later and we see that same kid as an adult, and he goes on a rampage." When that's your starting point, you've already determined a lot about what your episode is going to be. Spree killer vs. serial, etc. For me, I like to dive into the research. I had been fascinated with hoarders, specifically, Homer and Langley... uh... somebody. Anyway... That turned into doll collecting, our inability to let our past go and, as a result, "Uncanny Valley."

MCV: In your experince is the writing process at Criminal Minds different from any other show you may have written for, in that a conscious choice has been made to involve the actors and their interpretation of the characters they portray and obviously care about, in the process

bf: It is different, both in the way you framed your question and from my personal experience. We ALWAYS seek out the actors' input. We have a table read and the actors go to each cast member afterward to get their notes. Usually, the cast member that is the focus of the episode has the most to say. That process is invaluable for making the episodes as true and good as they are. What's new to me is writing on a standalone procedural drama. I never thought I was going to be the type of guy who'd be able to write a CBS cop show. Fortunately, this is not a CBS cop shop. It's much better and smarter than that. But you know what I mean. It's not NCIS. Nitty. But what we get in the process is to tell season long arcs in a VERY special, detail-oriented way. Sometimes this is planned -- like Hotch and the Reaper. Sometimes it is thrust upon us -- like writing JJ and Prentiss out of the show. However we come by it, the best we can do is to write scripts that are true to the characters as we understand them and as the actors inhabit them.

drewski126: What is your favorite TV show besides Criminal Minds?

bf: Phineas and Ferb. I have a 4-year old. Love Mad Men and Justified and Homeland.

ReidLover: Why aren't you on Twitter?

bf: Remember Kurt Sutter? I have a bigger mouth than he does. There are things I say in the writers room that would probably get me fired. So its for the best that I stay off social networks in general.

freechickennow: Breen I love your personality. If I ever meet you, I'll buy you dinner. Dessert too.

bf: Will it be chicken?

Porthos: The no-inter-team-romance on CM has fostered a fan community where creative fanworks focusing on romantic relationships between characters has thrived without a lot of the issues and "drama" witnessed in other fandoms. Do you think this "no romance rule" has helped the success of CM as a format?

bf: Absolutely. When I started, Season 4, Ed had laid out certain non-breakable rules. Interteam romance was one of them. He knew that once team members started dating, that's what the focus of the show would be. And that was one of the smartest decisions he could have made. I don't think it's ever going to happen. Sorry, shippers.

Cheery: Will anything every go "wrong" with the team's plane? Is that something you might explore? Afterall, there's already been an exploding SUV...

bf: We joke about that in the writers room. I don't think so. Maybe Season 10. Hang on... Ep7 has a gag about this.

gchan_s2: is there a date when ep12 will be aired? :).

bf: Jan 25 2012. Unless the Mayans have other ideas.

Rutland: What ever happened to that weird little cookie last year where Hotch refused to use the tablets and was reading Spenser's hard copy files? Will that loose end get raised explained and tied up?

bf: Hotch refused? Well, he uses them now and we never really deal with iit. I think it has to do with the ubiquity of iPads. Hotch isn't a technophobe like Reid is, and to a lesser extent, Rossi.

NittyMcNitpicker: Can you share some of the other unbreakable rules Ed set out?

bf: Let me think... The victims need to be sympathetic. Which I know seems self-evident, but you'd be surprised. Sometimes as a writer, you get excited about a death scene because you're thinking like the UnSub but you ALWAYS have to feel for the victim or the audience isn't scared. That's all I can think of right now, but if more come back, I'll post them.

D: Will we ever hear Emily calling Hotch by his first name "Aaron"? It has never happened before, she always calls him "Hotch".

bf: H-m-m-m-m-m... I'm trying to think, I don't think so. Rossi is pretty much the only one who can get away with it.

stucky: Whats going on with Reid and his headaches?

bf: We'll deal with Reid headaches, but it will be a while. This is my take (and only mine), but I feel that now that the team is back together, a big source of stress is gone from his life.

pranksterparty: Is there a Morgan-centric episode in the works?

bf: Yes. Ep9

sonofadorito: Have you guys ever tossed around the idea of character being homosexual?

bf: We have. Here's the trick. You can't have it the focus of the episode. You can't throw it away so that the audience goes, "What?” Remember that Law and Order that ended with the lawyer going, "Am I being fired because I'm a LESBIAN?!" Cut to EXECUTIVE PRODUCER DICK WOLF. So, we haven't found a way to integrate it naturally into the storyline. If it presents itself, we totally will. Season 10, as the plane goes down, Morgan turns to Reid and says, "I love you." There you go.

ReidLover: If you could write on any show other than Criminal Minds what show would that be?

bf: Show that's already gone, Battlestar Galactica. On the air now, swear to God, I would love to just hang out in the Phineas and Ferb writers room. They took all the stupid stuff we did on Alias and made it hilarious.

jillian: Are there going to be any female serial killers this year?

bf: Female SK, yes, but not the way you'll expect.

freechickennow: You think you'll ever do a collaboration episode again in the style of Bo Crese?

bf: Bo Crese, not in the near future. Part of it is a math problem. We have 8 writers, 24 episodes, we each get 3 and we're all to greedy to share credit.

a: AND IN SEASON TEN CAN HOTCH AND PRENTISS GET MARRIED AND ADOPT JACK AND SERGIO?

bf: Would you like to join the writing staff?

onionsssss: Have you ever considered a career in professional trolling?

bf: Only if you finish writing Ep12 for me.

jessi: Are we gonna see more about their lifes outisde the FBI?

bf: Yes. Here's where Messer started the season... She basically made a deal with CBS and said, "Look, for six years, we haven't gone home with this team. "Now, it's time to do that." So there's more personal stuff this season than the past six years combined. I can't tell you what it is, but that it's awesome and you guys will love every second of it. Also, Reid now has a fourth Ph.D. from Yale.

ReidLover: Any special plans for the 150th episode? Killing anyone new off?

bf: Funny, that's Ep12. And no.


bf: That's it for tonight. Need to go home and tuck the kids in. Thank you for the great questions. And, as we were secretly talking about you before I logged in... You guys keep us honest, not just in the Reid, PhD department, but in making the best show we can. Thank you very, very, very, very, very (VERY) much for that.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

CM Set Report Chat with Breen Frazier

Join us for a chat tonight at 6PM PST with Writer and Supervising Producer, Breen Frazier. He will answer your questions about EP704 "Painless" and the upcoming season. The chat will last approximately 1 hour and space will be limited.

Please check back at 5:30PM PST for login information and the password. For those of you who can't join us, we will post a transcript for all to read on Friday morning.

UPDATE: Please click on the 'chat now' link below to join.  
The room password is: breenchat


Friday, October 7, 2011

CM Set Report Chat w/Sharon Lee Watson 10-6


SLW: Hi everyone, it's Sharon. Can't wait for your questions.

LaTXCVI: Sharon, congratulations on a terrific first screenplay for the show where you were credited. How'd you come up with the idea behind Dorado Falls?

SLW: Thanks. I've always been interested in Capgras Syndrome but had never been able to use it in a story before. Criminal Minds seemed like the perfect place for it and a Navy Seal unsub turned the disease into something deadly.

TwistedCistern: What are the chief differences between writing for Criminal Minds and for other shows you have written for?

SLW: I wrote for the Unit and Lie to Me before Criminal Minds. On both of those series, I was part of establishing the format and characters more. On Criminal Minds, I'm joining a successful show in season 7 so it's more about not messing it up!

criminalmusings: my friend Danni who couldn't attend would like to know which of the writers (besides Rick) has the Doctor Who obsession

SLW: I do! I've loved Dr. who since I was a kid.

gchan: hi Sharon! :) great episode! the Morgan/Prentiss scene in the beginning & end were great! will we get to see her training w/ Morgan? (even just a few glimpces)

SLW: possibly ☺

zanneJ: Which character is the easiest for you to write, and which is the most difficult?

SLW: It's hard to say which is easiest or hardest, but so far it's fun writing Reid and Garcia because they tend to have lighter personas on the show.

zanneJ: How did Luke had prosopagnosia as well as Capgras Syndrome, wouldn't he have been unable to recognize his own face in the mirror?

SLW: Good question. He didn't exactly have prosopagnosia (face blindness). The people looked like his family members but he believed they were imposters. As for the mirror, it was purposely a grimy, distorted mirror so that conceivably, he wouldn't have the same problem when he looked at himself.

jillian: I can't wait to see all the cases this year with the team finally back together. How long will the team take to get back to 100%?

SLW: We'll probably deal with this for awhile. It'll take time for everyone to cope, just like in real life.

thisiscalmanditsdoctorwho: I loved the way you worked Prentiss' trauma into the episode as a parallel with the unsub. Will we learn more about Prentiss' time away and/or its lasting effects on her in future episodes?

SLW: I'd love to learn more about Prentiss' time away myself so yes, hopefully we will explore it.

weallhaveanelephantsmemory: Each character had an about equal role in the episode, which was great. But how hard it is to keep a balanced dynamic, rather than end up focusing on one or two characters/their dynamic?

SLW: It's tricky! There's not a lot of room in the script and you want to give each character a voice and a role in the case. But that said, we do tend to pick one or two characters in each episode to focus a personal story on.

KrisyPie: How do you prepare yourself to write about something so dark?

SLW: I get in a warm and cozy place and turn on all the lights.

thisiscalmanditsdoctorwho: i really loved seeing Rossi's military past and expertise in negotiating put to good use in this episode. Can we expect to see more of the team members' particular skills emphasized this season (Morgan's bomb squad experience or Reid's skills with a map, for example?)

SLW: You'll definitely see more of that. My next episode centers around Reid and we will see his map skills and more.

Explodingegg: How'd you get into screen writing?

SLW: I actually got into it the roundabout way, by attending med school first. I had always been interested in writing, though, and managed to get an agent when I was a resident.

doradochat: We have now seen the inside of Rossi, Prentiss, Hotch & Garcia's homes. Any chance we will go home with Morgan, JJ or Reid this season?

SLW: We'll go home with JJ in episode 707. Will and Henry will return as well.

LaTXCVI: You're also listed as an executive producer. What do you find rewarding about each of your roles - EP/screenwriter - on the show?

SLW: As a producer, it's a lot of fun to be involved in things other than just the writing, such as being involved with the filming and editing of each episode.

paramount: There doesn't seem to be the same comraderie between Morgan and Reid that there has been in the past. Is this something that will come back?

SLW: It will definitely be back. Wait about 6 days!!

thisiscalmanditsdoctorwho: How similar was the finished version of "Dorado Falls" to the original script? What got changed, added, or left out?

SLW: The final version is actually very close to the original script.

thisiscalmanditsdoctorwho: Are you on set constantly during filming? What is your role during that time?

SLW: Yes, the writer of each episode is on set from beginning to end. Our role is to answer questions the director or cast may have and to make sure the intent of each scene in the script is clear.

rossorito: When will you be writing next?

SLW: I'll be writing episode 711 which airs Jan 18.

coolranchdoritofalls: How often do you draw from real-life experiences when writing episodes?

SLW: Surprisingly often. Real-life conversations with friends and family often end up in scripts.

doritooooooos: In a past episode, we saw Kevin wanting to go off to live on a farm with Garcia and expand their relationship. In future episodes will we be exploring the Garcia/Kevin dynamic? Side question, Garcia and Morgan will still be their normal flirty funny selves aswell?

SLW: All of that will be addressed in episode 713!

jillian: How often do you write an episode? Do you get help from other writers?

SLW: Currently, I write every 8th episode. I get a lot of help from the other writers in the story breaking process. We all give extensive notes on everyone's outlines and scripts.

doradochat: What is your favorite episode of CM from a past season?

SLW: I really loved Lauren from last season and also Normal from season 4 but I'm a fan of too many episodes to name them all.

zanneJ: When you first came aboard, did you speak to each cast member to ask them more about what they felt about their characters and where they would like to go with them?

SLW: The writers spoke as a group to each cast member.

matia: how many hours do you work in a day

jessi: How long does it takes to write an episode?

SLW: The hours in a day vary from 9 hrs to all nighters when a script is due. We have two weeks to write an episode but still have other duties on the show during the daytime

thisiscalmanditsdoctorwho: Do you have a working titled for 7.11?

SLW: True Genius

doritoooessss: how do writers decide which jokes make it on screen and which get cut

SLW: If we laugh when we see it :)

OneTrueThree: Who is your dream guest star?

SLW: Robert Patrick!

interpol: Will we see any new romances blossom this season?

SLW: Yes, next question.

gchan: will there be more epic team get togethers like the cooking lessons @ Rossi`s? (by the way, i`m kind of sad we didn`t get to see the team actually cooking in that episode. it would have been cute!)

SLW: I hope so. Those are always fun!

avf: You loved Normal, Robert Patrickl is your dream guest star, may I then assume you're a fellow X-Phile?

SLW: Yes! A major one. Wouldn't it be awesome to get Mulder and Scully to guest star???

SLW: Thank you so much for your questions. I had a great time! Hope to do this again soon!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CM SetReport Chat with Sharon Lee Watson

For those joining us for our chat with Sharon Lee Watson, please click on the "chat now" button. The room password is: doradochat

CM Setreport chat w/Sharon Lee Watson


Join us for a chat tonight at 6PM PST with Writer and Co-Executive Producer, Sharon Lee Watson. She will answer your questions about her first CM Episode and the upcoming season. The chat will last approximately 1 hour and space will be limited.

Please check back at 5:30PM PST for login information and the password. For those of you who can't join us, we will post a transcript for all to read on Friday morning.

Ericas in action... Erica Messer & Erica Meredith on the set of #CriminalMinds 7x09, "Self-Fulfilling Prophecy".

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Catch an all new #CriminalMinds tonight @ 9pm on CBS... then join writer Sharon Lee Watson for a chat tomorrow @ 6pm pacific to discuss!
That's a wrap on #CriminalMinds 7x08, airing Nov 16 @ 9pm on CBS. Written by @iKimHarrison Directed by Michael Watkins
Writer @iKimHarrison with guest stars Brigid Brannagh and Jack Coleman on the set of #CriminalMinds 7x08, "Hope".

Monday, October 3, 2011

Look who's back! Brian Appel returns as Agent "I'm More Than A Pretty Face" Anderson in #CriminalMinds 7x08, "Hope".