Hotchniss: Okay, So, Jim, My dream is to be a real life FBI Agent, Would you be able to tell me how I should prepare? I'm in high school now, taking forensics.
Jim Clemente: Jim here. Of course you can do that. You have to stay out of trouble, don't do drugs, get a degree. And either get a graduate degree, or have three years of relevant work experience, then you can apply to the FBI. In fact, you can maximize your chances by becoming a lawyer, accountant, scientist, including forensic science, or language expert.
Tracey_Lane: Last nights episode was too awesome. Was this an actual case you wrote about or did you just think this one up? Excellent job by the way!
JC: Thank you so much. And really it's an incredible journey to work with the criminal minds staff. It was actually based on several cases that I worked during my career in the BAU. We always try to focus on a number of cases so victims and surviving family members don't get haunted by the crimes they had to suffer. Thanks for the kudos. It was a real team effort. Morgan's history is real… it was my history. It's how I became an FBI agent.
Cheeto-breath: How close is Criminal Minds to the actual set up of the FBI?
JC: Most of it is right on point. We don't however get to fly on the G5. Except I did get to fly on that jet when I went down to Gitmo, but the profiling that we depict and the types of criminals and how they victimize people is all absolutely realistic. In fact, we have to water it down for television.
Tracey_Lane: Can anyone who works for the FBI carry a weapon or is it limited to certain agents?
JC: All FBI agents from the time they are sworn in to the time they retire must carry their weapons, and their credentials and badges, at all times. There are however other jobs within the FBI that don't require you to carry a weapon. For example language specalists and crime analysts...like Garcia.
arahm5: hi jim, superb episode last night. what other episodes from this season from other writers is your fav?
JC: Thanks! Wow that's a tough question. The first one that comes to mind is The Bittersweet Science by Janine. The intensity, the backstory and it played like a thriller.
Cmwonderlady: Great episode last night, it was my favorite this season. As an FBI agent, you know this for sure. Can two agents who work on the same team engage in a romantic relationship? Can a Unit Chief and a subordinate have a romantic relationship?
JC: First of all, thank you. I really thought the episode came out great, but it could not have been done without a huge team effort. The entire writing staff and the entire cast and crew and our guest starts were fantastic this week. In terms of intimate relationships, there are in fact FBI agents who are married to each other and work on the same team. The only instance when a unit chief and a subordinate could work on the same team is if they were married before they were on the same team.
Laurenreynoldsisdead: Hey Jim! Loved the episode, it was amazing! Anyways, I was wondering, how accurate is Criminal Minds to the actual FBI?
JC: Thank you. Criminal Minds reveals the inner workings of the BAU. The BAU is not typical within the FBI. Most FBI agents work within their division, the BAU as part of the Critical Incident Response Group works cases across the country and around the world. The only thing that isn't really accurate is the amount of time it takes for us to solve a case because we only have an hour on tv to do it we compress time. The methodolgies of getting there are very accurate.
Swon: The BEST episode of the season in my opinion, so thank you very much! I was just wondering why was it that the father was kidnapping the children? Was it from the stress of the wife having cancer?
JC: Thank you and good question. In the back story that we didn't get to, it could have been the trigger, but it could not have caused him to have that desire. He was actually a child sex offender with a very elaborate scheme to acquire and keep victims in captivity.
Swon: Jim, amazing job!!!! Do you still do work for the FBI or do you consult for CM
JC: I retired in Oct. 2009. I do work for CM full time. And it's been amazing spending more time with friends and colleagues at Criminal Minds. I am also developing other projects in the reality and scripted arenas.
Seakirsten: Do you like to write outside the episode structure typically employed by the show? Between "Foundation" and "Lessons Learned", I get the impression you enjoy using all the usual elements of a CM episode in unexpected ways.
JC: Yes I do. I actually write every day in my journal. And I have four different feature scripts in various stages of completion. I'm used to multi-tasking and I love the creative challenge of writing in different formats. I'm working on my autobiography as well. And thanks for picking up that I like to think a little bit outside the CM box. But what's great is, that box is ever expanding with the great writers we have on staff.
PleaseWriteEveryWeekJim: The Challenge Coin story Morgan told was very poignant. Seemed authentic too. Did you or anyone you worked with have coins like this? Thanks for sharing the story behind them.
JC: Wow! Another great question. It is an authentic story. And most Agents, and Military personel who work in harm's way carry such a coin. In fact all of the coins used in the show are actuall challenge coins of mine and my brother Tim... Also a retired FBI agent.
LLALALALA: Do you know an FBI agent like Reid in real life? Or is he one of a kind? ;)
JC: What makes you think it's not me???
Lonewolf: Do people who work at the real life BAU offices seem to view CM in a positive or negative light?
JC: The BAU Members and the FBI in General LOVE Criminal Minds. In fact they loved my first episode so much, the FBI asked me to write a pilot for the FBI. My brother and I wrote it along with Ed Bernero, it was called Washington Field. CBS bought it and made the pilot, but it didn't get on air.
Lonewolf: What success rate does the BAU have of actually appreheding criminals?
JC: Good question... We've never done an analysis on the success rate because many of the cases that we work on have complicated outcomes. But in general we work 25 open serial killer cases a year and we solve about 15 of them a year. The thing is, there are always more to fill in for the ones we solve, so it is a never ending process.
ChocolateDivine: Having been on the right side of the law professionally, would you consider portraying a fictional badguy on the show?
JC: I have done a cameo in all of the episodes I have written. Always in a small role as an homage to Hitchcock. I have no problem playing a fictional bad guy as long as the episode taught viewers a valuable and real life lesson. But, I'm afraid I might just be too scary for network audiences...
Tracey_Lane: Do agents keep their identity about being in the FBI secretive or does it really matter?
JC: Many FBI Agents work deep cover during their careers, including myself, and have to keep their identity secret. Otherwise, it is not a problem for most agents to be "known."
EmPress: Great episode! What are the best books out there about profiling?
JC: John Douglas' books are great. Mind Hunter is his first and it is iconic in the field. Roy Hazelwood's, The Evil That Men Do, is great too, And Robert Ressler's and Gregg McCrary's books are great too. Look for Jim Fitgerald's book coming soon...
NittyMcNitpicker: In your experience, are victims who fight back or remain tough and defy the killers the ones who survive more often? Or does it usually just get them into more trouble?
JC: Great Question. The answer depends on the type of offender they are up against. First Rule: If an offender is trying to take you to a location other then where they acosted you, the chances of them killing you at that other location increase dramatically. Fight them with everything you can to get away at the beginning of the encounter. You may not get another chance. Second rule: If the offender is a Sadist, he will get off on causing and witnessing your pain and suffering. They want you to beg for mercy and they will never give it to you. more rules to come in later episodes...
Zg: At which age do FBI Agents have to retire from their job?
JC: Mandatory retirement age is 57. But there are circumstances in which an agent can be kept on for renewable service for several years if they have special skill the Feds don't want to lose or there is a severe time of need.
Cephalophile: "Foundation" was awesome storytelling - the pacing of the case, how you kept us (and the team) guessing about the dad and his daughter's memories through the episode, and of course Morgan and Angel's scenes were beautiful. So now, a question - is the real BAU travelling as much as the CM BAU, or do you spend more time in the BAU offices? Thanks so much!
JC: Thank you so much! It was tyipical for me to be in three cities in one week between cases, training law enforcement and testifying as an expert witness. I was on the road 75% of my time.
Laurenreynoldsisdead: Do you use the term, 'Unsub' in the FBI?
JC: How do you think Criminal Minds writers found out about it. Yes, we use it. Just like any other governmental agency, we love abreviations! However, UnSchmuck is a total creation of the CM writer's room... The red herring offender we see in many episodes.
Laurenreynoldsisdead: Are there any FBI agents like Garcia, like how she acts or even dresses?
JC: There is no one on the planet quite like Garcia... That said, there are a few analysts in the BAU who are as zany and talented as she is.
NittyMcNitpicker: On the show, both Rossi and Hotch were divorced. Is it really that hard for someone in the BAU to maintain a relationship? Or was it just because of the nature of those particular characters and their spouses?
JC: HELL YEAH!!! About half of the Agents in the BAU are divorced or never married. The job is demanding. The lifestyle is unpredictable. And the ability to cross examine others and knowing difinitively when someone else is not telling the truth, make any relationship difficult to say the least.
Swon: Jim, do you know when your next episode of CM will be?
JC: That's not up to me. They have been incredibly generous with allowing me to write the ones I have and they do want to give others a chance too. So... we'll see. But be assured that I have many many more stories in mind. Hey Eveyone... Thank you so much for your loyalty to the show and so many wonderful questions... Let's do this again real soon!!! MUCH LOVE, Agent Jim