Friday, February 24, 2012

CM_SetReport Chat with Consulting Producer Virgil Williams - 2/23/12

VW: S'up, party people? It's me, Virgil!

gchan_s2_paget: Virgil, CONGRATS on last night’s ep. You are AMAZEBALLS! It was a GREAT ep! Especially the Morgan & Prentiss moments in the beginning & end. Question: How much of the jet scene was really Derek and Emily and how much was it Paget and Shemar?

VW: Good question, I'd say 50/50 - they (actors) always bring a little bit of themselves to a part/scene. And thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dineen1967: Hi Virgil, how are you? Question: What is the next episode you're writing before the season finale?

VW: I'm terrrrrific. How are you. I'm writing ep 722.

LaT: What inspired you to approach the political side of the episode in the way you did, with the focus on the dangers of inflammatory and racist rhetoric? That felt very timely.

VW: I just wanted to do a cool hate crime. Was inspired by an Illinois Nazi named Matthew Hale who had a judge and her husband killed for denying him some sort of copyright. If you look at the guy he's normal, no shaved head, no tattoos, just an average white guy....scary.

Ashley_D: Hey Virgil! I hope you are well! Great job on the episode! I do have one question! How did you end up overcoming your writer's block?

VW: I chopped down that writer's block with blood, sweat and tears. And beer...

virgiliscool: Virgil, I loved last night's episode, and I think you're the best writer currently working for CM. That being said, why is the UNSUB almost always revealed toward the beginning of the show now instead of at the end, as in earlier seasons? Honestly, it makes it not as exciting for us viewers.

VW: Clearly you have impeccable taste ;) My next episode will be a throwback to the unseen UnSub...stay tuned...people will die....oh a Bruce "Big Money" Zimmerman is doing an UnSub who stays hidden in 721.

batmancm: LOVE your episodes!!!! When you are the main writer for an episode, do you get to be on set while they are filming it and do you get to participate with any of the post filming stuff?

VW: Thank you! You are REQUIRED to be on set for every rehearsal and every shot. It's part of the job. And I participate to a point. Most of my work is done by then so I let the director drive the car. But we're there.

swon: One of my favourite episodes this season! I was wondering, it seemed like the ending with Emily and Morgan was a nice way to cap end the whole Doyle arc and its repercussions. Would you say that that story line is finished? Or can fans expect to see more about Emily.

VW: Well she is tuned.

tabularossi: Does any specific team member get a focus in your next episode?

VW: Agent David Rossi.

dineen1967: Do you know the name of the episode in 721 that Bruce Zimmerman is writing?

VW: "Divining Rod" Do you wanna know what happens?

elle: It seems like a lot of the unsubs this year have had some sympathetic aspect to them - a sad backstory. Are we ever going to get another evil to the core baddie like Foyet?

VW: Yup...stay tuned.

geewiz: Do you ever view an episode once it's in the can and decide you want to change something? How close to the airdate can an episode be edited?

VW: Not too close to air at all...we have to lock the picture before we do the sound mix.

GublerLover44: yes!! what happens?

VW: people die!

SmileyGidget: Who has been your favourite guest star to work with?

VW: Carl "Apollo Creed" Weathers when I was on ER.

Dani257: Did you ever consider not ending the conversation between Morgan and Prentiss with a tidy little joke?

VW: Never...its CBS.

love_sil: Please, you writers give Emily - my girl - a happy ending! She deserves it!

VW: Happy is a relative man's joy is another man's torment...keep watching.

PopcornBalls: Could you ever write an ep where people DON'T die???

VW: It's Criminal Minds Popcorn! NO!

Marisa: Hello from Chicago! Loved the episode! How difficult was it to write the cognitive interview in Spanish? Did you get help?

VW: S'up Chi-town - that's where I'm from. I wrote it in English, then we translated it.

LaT: How much influence does the network have over the final version of a screenplay?

VW: A lot. They own it. We do what they want. And smile.

virgiliscool: Did you get any kind of pushback for writing an episode about such potentially divisive and explosive topics as race and hate crimes?

VW: Yes a little. We had to keep it as non political as possible. The politics was just a back drop. Racism is always touchy. And racism + politics + CBS = brains exploding.

SmileyGidget: As an Aussie I have to always ask this question… Have you ever had Vegemite? If yes, do you like it?! If no… would you try it?! :)

VW: Never. But I've wanted to since I heard about it in the Men At Work song "Land Down Under" Lyrics: "She just smiled and gave me a vegamite sandwich!"

brbstandardam1: How much does Jim Clemente participate in CM eps this season?

VW: A lot. He is invaluable. And a great guy.

wheelsup4demily: Virgil, you are one of the best screenwriters on TV. How did you get into the business? And, do you have any advice for becoming as great as you are?

VW: Wow. Another fan with great taste ;) Advice: write everyday. And don't ever stop. Oh and I started out an actor in Chicago. I got bit by the bug early and knew I wanted to be in the biz since then.

NittyMcNitpicker: As someone who has heard of Canada, have you ever tried Poutine?

VW: No. What is that?

laurenreynoldsisdead: Gravy and cheese on fries!

VW: Oh man...nope, never. And not anytime soon. But enjoy!

tabularossi: Sum up Heathridge Manor in one word.

VW: gothiccreepycool.

PopcornBalls: Hey Virgil, if you could ever go on a mythical rampage, where and how would you do it?

VW: I would kill unicorns with a scythe.

carol: Why did you decide to shoot Prentiss? I mean, she's been through so much already...

VW: Cause she's tough as nails (and hot). And because we needed to build a moment between Prentiss and Morgan.

wheelsup4demily: Virgil, if you could ever do a musical episode of CM, what would happen? And who would you have as a musical guest star?

VW: People would die while singing. Liberace.

virgiliscool: What does the cast think about all the shipping? Particular the slash shipping? Particular Shemar and Matthew and the Moreid shipping? What do you think about it?

VW: Hard to "ship" between regulars, talk to CBS.

elle: You would kill unicorns with a scythe?! What kind of monster are you?!

VW: I write on a show about serial killers. Which means I read and/or write about monsters everyday. I think I'm turning into one.

geewiz: Is writing for CM tougher than it was writing for ER?

VW: In different ways, yes.

Dani257: Which team member's voice do you feel is the easiest for you to get right? And, which one is the hardest?

VW: Gideon is easiet because he's not here, so I never have to write him. Garcia is hardest for me.

toloveandbelovedbyme: Has a real life situation that you we're involved in ever inspired a scene you wrote in Criminal minds?

VW: No and I hope one never does. But my life always influences what I write in some way...can’t help it.

littlevoiceswhispering: Do you guys have a backstory for Anderson?

VW: Who's Anderson?

banana: Do the writers ever watch old episodes to stay consistent?

VW: I watch them all the time.

Dani257: Has there ever been anything with one of the team that you wanted to do that CBS wouldn't allow?

VW: Yes. Entire stories have been forbidden.

ChocolateDivine: Agent Anderson.

VW: KIDDING - I know who Anderson is.

toloveandbelovedbyme: What is your favourite colour?

VW: Most days purple - its imperial like me.

virgiliscool: Do you feel that learning about serial killers in depth has made you more understanding of human nature in general, in a positive way? Or has it made you cynical and disgusted and at a loss for understanding?

VW: It makes me look at the world in a different way. There are monsters in the world and they do truly horrible things, things we cant even show on network TV. Cynical? No. Disgusted. Sometimes. But I'm more hopeful than anything. Where there is evil, there is ALWAYS good. One can't exist without the other.

geewiz: Do you think you'll ever want to go in front of the camera again, maybe as an unsub or victim on CM?

VW: Nah. I like being behind the camera.

Sergiocushion: Are you on team Hotch beard or team clean shaven?

VW: Starting a new team. Team Hotch Mohawk. You in?

NittyMcNitpicker: What sorts of subjects/stories does CBS ban?

VW: Extremely controversial ones. You can figure it out.

gchan_s2_paget: Will we see more of that Valdez guy or was he just in last night`s episode?

VW: Only if the story permits. We won’t force him in.

ChocolateDivine: With your next episode, can you push the boundaries of Rossi's character development? Maybe expand upon his military experience? The history he's got, his career(s) before his retirement?

VW: 722 will fill in Rossi...but I ain't sayin how...stay tuned.

tabularossi: Virgil, please tell us the name of your next episode.


geewiz: How are the cast and crew handling Paget's eminent departure? It's been really hard for many of us.

VW: :(. That was supposed to be a sad face. Emoticons…fail. Wow that guy looks pissed…nobody here mad like that, all bummed out and hoping the best for PB.

virgiliscool: What's it been like on set while Matthew has been directing? And all the early and late hours . . . is he a slavedriver? haha

VW: Great user name - MGG is a pro and like butter.

cooper050: Any good teasers for next weeks episode "a family affair"?

VW: People will die.

wheelsup4demily: What are your favorite TV shows?

VW: The Sopranos, The X-Files, The Love Boat, True Blood, sports...

Radiation: If you're not going to give us spoilers why not just ignore the questions?

VW: .........................

Tracey_Lane: How long does it take for a story to get from writing stage to filming stage?

VW: 4-5 weeks.

NittyMcNitpicker: Will we ever learn about some of the team member's secret fears? Like, is there anything that would make Hotch nearly scream like a girl?

VW: Mice and goldfish.

Marisa: Do you and Joe Mantegna ever get into deep Chicago-related discussions?

VW: Yes, we talk about home often.

cooper050: Have the writers discussed Prentiss' departure? Or will that be in the finale?

VW: We've discussed it...keep watching.

tabularossi: Does any team member get a particular focus in Divining Rod? If so, which one?

VW: Prentiss

laurenreynoldsisdead: What's your favourite line that you wrote in last nights episode?

VW: "He doesn't care about black or white. The only color that matters to him is green" Shemar added sonovabitch.

jesus: Hello Virgil. When can we see more JJ? Thanks.

VW: Watch 723 & 722 and get your tissue ready...sad tears? happy tears? Stay tuned!

zg: Will there be another Morgan episode in Chicago?

VW: Yes we just had an AWESOME table read for that ep today. The esteemed Breen "Down Goes" Frazier is writing it.

laurenreynoldsisdead: ARE WILL AND JJ BREAKING UP? :'(

VW: keep'll never break me, NEVER!

elle: if you could an episode anywhere, where would it be (besides Chicago)?

VW: Paris or Siberia.

NittyMcNitpicker: Has Paget had much input on how the character will go out?

VW: Uh, yeah, she's the one that wants to leave.

virgiliscool: Rick said we would get some good Reid scenes in the big finale. But how about some good Reid/Morgan scenes? We really miss those two together!

VW: Duly noted.

SmileyGidget: Does it ever surprise you at seeing how massive the Criminal Minds fanbase is?! And how there are fans from all over the world?!

VW: I am constantly amazed by you guys (the fans). You are, in a word, awesome. I love you guys. Follow me on Twitter @VirgilWilliams and we'll stay in touch. Again, thanks!!!! We love you guys!!!!!

wheelsup4demily: We love you too!!!

virgiliscool: THANK YOU!!!


  1. Thanks for the chat.

    I do wonder how the show got endings like Birthright and Mayhem past CBS. The conversations between team members at or near the end of the episodes are almost a complete contrast in mood to the ending conversation between Morgan and Prentiss. And, yet, they were allowed. Is CBS not being okay with endings like the ones in those episodes a new thing?

    And, not all episodes have or should end with a team member still having negative feelings or issues between team members being unresolved. It's just that the show has been allowed to do that before.

  2. Thanks for the chat.
    Just a thought :
    for the season's finale, instead of Morgan/Reid scenes, how about Hotch/Reid scenes ? I miss the Hotch/Reid scenes we used to see like crazy (nearly as much as I miss Reid). It has been such a long time since the writers chose to incorporate some good scenes between these two where they would really talk.

  3. I wish they would finally give Morgan an all of his own arc. He seems to be one of the main ones skipped over when it comes to getting a storyline of substance.

    His abuse was one episode, the Ellie storyline was rushed and the potential was never used. Even when he was Unit Chief, he played second fiddle to the Foyet storyline.

    When is he going to finally get the same focus that they've given so many times to Hotch and even Prentiss in the past?

    We've seen his family once in about 6 years. They never said whether they had captured his father's killer or not. That would be a PERFECT storyline to dive into.

    I just wish they would do something with him. I haven't really been a fan of this season because it's too Hotch and Prentiss centered.

    We need more Morgan!


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