Friday, April 20, 2012

CM_SetReport Chat Transcript for Executive Producer Erica Messer 04-19-12

Erica Messer: Hellllllloooo Everyone!

swon: If that's Erica in the chat room, in one sentence how would you describe this season of CM now that's it's almost over :(

EM: I'm glad you said one sentence and not one word!

jjisthebest: HELLO ERICA!

marissalynn: Hi Erica!

SSA_BreAnna_CM: Hi, Erica!!! :) ♥

EM: It's been a fun, fast, efficient, bittersweet season filled with wonderful surprises from our amazing characters and writers.

Marbs84: Will we find out in the next episode why Prentiss is leaving?

EM: We will... and that's the most bittersweet part of our year. We're all very supportive of Paget and that will come across on the screen as the team will be supportive of Prentiss. I can't say more or I'll get sad.

allyse: Erica, just wanted to say I've never been more excited for a season finale! Not since Buffy the Vampire Slayer! You guys are great.

EM: Thanks, Allyse!!! We're excited for you all to see it. It's for the fans, without a doubt. Thanks for letting me be the warm up act for AJ! She's in the middle of a scene right now... hang on tight!

jareau: Hi erica how is the season finale going !!!

EM: The finale is going amazingly well, thanks! You guys are in for a treat. The team at their finest!!!!

I_Heart_BadassJJ: What is it like to work with AJ?

EM: AJ has always been so lovely and it's been a lot of fun to write for her this season especially since she's back and better than ever.

Genagizyo: When will we find out who is getting married?

EM: On May 16th!!!

SmileyGidget: Did you guys have fun watching all of our crazy fan videos?! I hope they made you all laugh and you enjoyed watching them as much as we enjoyed making them! :)

EM: Those videos are FANtastic! The writers and actors voted but you're all winners in our book. Truly, truly impressive. Thanks for participating.

bau-badasses: Is the two hour season finale both episode 23 and 24 or is episode 24 2 hours long?

EM: Ep 23 is 9-10pm and 24 is 10-11pm... Rick wrote 23 & I wrote 24

LornaD: What's happening in the scene that AJ's in the middle of?

EM: It's the beginning of episode 24 and she's looking in a bank... hmmmm....

SSA-Prentiss: What are you most excited for the fans to see in the finale?

EM: I'm happy for you to see the characters in their down-time. The opening of 23 is ridiculously great and I hope the end of 24 has you smiling... and crying... and then smiling again.

Daisy: Hey, Its early - well late here almost 2.30am.But whats it like working with all the extras ect in the final episodes?

EM: it's been so much fun to have all of the familiar faces back to play again in these last two episodes. it's like a family reunion! that crazy cousin who makes you laugh... is nic brendan and the aunt who makes you nervous is strauss!

catherine: What's it like working with the kids in the show considering the show is so dark?

EM: We try to limit what they see and hear... they're usually not in the cast read thrus because they don't need to know all of the darkness we know about. On screen we work hard to protect them in the same way.

Tracey_Lane: Hi Erica, I am glad you are here. When will the final day of shooting be for season 7?

EM: Happy to be here. We wrap on 4/23 and everyone will get a nice break.

Sydney: What's the worst/best thing about your job?

EM: Hmmm. That's tough. The worst is managing time. Every night I think, dammit. I didn't return that email or that phone call. The best is seeing this show come alive and knowing that all of you like to come here and chat about the world we've all created. Watching our hard working crew get through a day is remarkable. They are the true heroes of this series.

Glitzy_Ash: What city does the team travel to in the finale

EM: We're close to home. Washington, D.C.

aj_cook_fan: Who has worked the longest on Criminal Minds?

EM: Thomas, Shemar, Matthew and Kirsten were on the pilot... it shot in Vancouver so most of our crew & the writers started on episode 2. Dunkle and I are the last of the writers office to say we survived all seven seasons so far. Also, Gigi Bannon was on the pilot. She's our post producer. And Mark Gordon, of course :)

Constantine: Do you know if Nic Brendan and Juliet Landau got to see each other? Like a little Buffy reuniuon?

EM: They didn't... weren't in any scenes together for MGG's ep.

JJHotchner: Will Jack and Henry meet in the finale?

EM: Happy to say they will! Although, they've met before so it'll be like old friends getting together :) Off-screen meeting, that is :)

Ella_Steele: What was it like Having Gubler as director from the producer stand point?

EM: MGG's a ridiculously great director and is so passionate about it, it's truly contagious. His episodes usually come when we're all exhausted and he brings a fresh energy to the cast & crew.

erbear23: Will there be a season 8?

EM: YES! Happy to say we've been ordered for 22 episodes. If there are more to come, we'll let you know!

clarissa: Will the entire cast be shooting on the last day?

EM: Everyone EXCEPT AJ will be here on the last day. I'm bummed she's missing it because we're doing a Gubbie Awards and Talent Show combo! Should be a lot of fun!

Natalieee: A lot of the cast and crew have Twitter, are you not tempted to join?

EM: I live vicariously through them! Waiting on production, guys. Sorry! Hang in there for AJ!

MattyBangBang: Will there be more team and less UnSub in season 8?

EM: It's funny because I think we've learned more about our team this season than ever before -- but I know what you mean. During the case, you're looking for more team/less UnSub and I must say it depends on the story. There are times the UnSub's journey is so twisted, we stay in their world longer. We started down that path years ago since the show is called Criminal Minds, we thought it was worth exploring those minds!

Genagizyo: Do you guys have like an end of the season party?

EM: We do this year! It's always nice to see everyone let loose and have fun without having to worry about work.

NaatsRdgz: Did you ever think the show would be this successful when you first start shooting ?

EM: We all hoped it would, but sitting in a windowless room in Culver City all those years ago, none of us knew just how popular this series would be. It's a hit around the world and that just goes to show you that scary stories are universal -- just like a campfire story. We keep trying to keep you all entertained while also teaching all of us to be aware of the world around us and be smart when you're alone, etc...

Natalieee: You're not a fan of inter-office relationships are you? What about one less show-changing like Strauss and Rossi?

EM: Most shows have a difficult time recovering from such a intimate pairing up, but you should stay tuned for 23 & 24...

FluffyJJ: Erica, what was the most challenging episode you have ever written?

EM: This season's premiere in a lot of ways. There was so much story to get in there and there were a lot of eyeballs on that script! Some of the other challenging ones involve the dark material.

purpletapir: how do you feel about the new JJ ? do you like her more, or less than liaison JJ?

EM: I like her MORE! She was restricted in a lot of ways before but now she's all over the place and AJ's so ready for that challenge that it's coming through in JJ.

MoniqueYoung: When will season 8 begin?

EM: The writers will start in early June, production in July and we'll air mid-Sept. Will keep you posted on those dates!


  1. I will start off by saying that I really appreciate that the cast and crew take the time to participate in these chats and keep the viewers/fans engaged and involved somewhat; however, I wish that watching the show was as engaging as the behind-the-scenes stuff.
    I posted the statistics before on the percentage of episodes that featured the unsubs early on in episodes and this season has really gone overboard with it. It isn't so much that we are seeing so much of the unsub as it is what it does to the story and over all feel. I was drawn to the show not to see the journey of the unsubs, but to see the journey of the TEAM as they got into the minds of the unsubs. I liked learning about what sort of person committed the crime through the team's explanations. I liked seeing the team discuss the details and come to conclusions rather than seeing the unsub doing things. Quite frankly, the profiling has really suffered. The dialog for it has become quite generic and the lines given to each character don't always reflect the knowledge/personality/expertise of the character that says it. I've even found that sometimes a line sounded odd coming from a particular character. The overall "voice" of the characters has been lost.

    In an attempt to latch on to what the writers/producers thought the audience liked, they seem to have misunderstood. When we talk about wanting to see more of the team, we didn't necessarily mean sandwiching personal things on to the front and back ends of the episodes.
    The Beth story just seemed tacked on and didn't flow with the overall story. We don't need to be hit over the head with the "We're a family" thing. We get it-- except other than the sandwiched scenes, we don't get to see them acting as a family as much. Their interactions have been greatly reduced and trivialized in comparison to showing the freak of the week.
    I like it when the little personal tidbits we get about the team makes sense to the overall story and somehow integrates into it. Its ok to deviate from time to time, but when they do it all the time it becomes tedious.
    I admit that I would love to see Reid's apartment (which I'm not holding my breath on), but not at the expense of good story. It they had a reason for it-- like he's at home napping or mopping the floor and gets called in to work.

    I'll be honest and say that I am sick to death of self-centered Angry!Morgan. He used to be so much more professional. He was the expert on obsessional crimes and came off as more intelligent. When will we see his past with undercover work come in to play? Or his knowledge of bombs? Those were interesting things.

    As for Reid, he has been relegated to fact spouting robot who spews forth words at the rate of Speed Racer. The niche he fills now that the unsubs have taken over has been reduced to the point that he doesn't even seem like Reid anymore. Reid is a problem-solver, not just a fact spewer.

    And Garcia.. Ugh.. I love Kirsten and Garcia used to be my second favorite character but now she is unhealthily obsessed with Morgan to an extent that it is not only creepy- its annoying. She tends to whine a lot now. She didn't used to make such a big deal about gore and now its constant whine whine whine. I don't mind her presenting the cases if she doesn't whine, but I really don't think that it fits for her character to be picking the cases for them. How does she have the time to do all the computer stuff AND go through case files AND still have a life outside?

    Also, as much as I adore AJ, I really disagree with the decision to suddenly make JJ all great at combat. I could see her being athletic-- that was established in the past, but her fight scene looked so fake. Fight scenes with Prentiss were more realistic-- there was more give and take. I really am not eager to see JJ turn into Xena: Warrior Princess. I miss caring sweet JJ. I would rather see her charm someone with words rather than kicks.

  2. I abridged my first entry so that it would fit and am continuing.
    I understand that AJ has fun with fight scenes, but I really think that action/fight scenes for the team should be few and far between. Plus I think it is somewhat cliche to have the female lead suddenly able to beat up men- even if JJ did get hurt a little.

    I think the writers really need to sit down this summer and talk about the specific roles of each of the characters, what sorts of things they relate to and what makes them upset, and what their areas of expertise are.

    Rossi is supposed to be an expert hostage negotiator and an expert marksman-- those things should be used more when possible. He should have personal knowledge of some of the older cases. He might be someone who has a bit more of a gut feeling on things based on his experience.

    Hotch is the leader and a strategist. He knows how to delegate and lately I don't know if his decisions in delegation have been all that great. He needs to make decisions that make sense for the characters-- not just the advancement of the plot to have x character at y point.

    Garcia does all of the computer stuff and manages to get things that wouldn't always realistically be on the computer-- but I understand it is a time issue. She was not always needed for a 3rd act info dump though. In the past the team dealt with some actual paperwork, legwork, etc for things that weren't available on computer. What if there was a case where the computer data was not accurate? Or corrupted, or incomplete? Case in point: My medical records with the military were lost but through some error in the data entry the family records showed my mother as my father's daughter and my father as being married to himself. Garcia running in to things like that could prove interesting. Also, Garcia needs to chill with the Morgan obsession. She used to interact with all of the team members. She used to have this nerd/nurturing thing going on with Reid. He was the first one to know about his mother and she was the one to offer him comfort in "Sex, Birth, and Death". I miss that friendship they used to have.

    I really will miss Prentiss and wish that Paget would change her mind about leaving, but its her life and I respect and support her in whatever decisions she makes.

    I don't want her to be replaced as I feel that there already isn't enough time for all of the team members to contribute to the episodes. If they do replace her, I would like to see someone in a different position that does not necessarily conflict with existing positions. Maybe they will decide they need a media liaison since JJ will be busy with home life and profiling duties.

    Speaking of home life, I would like to see JJ and Hotch bond a bit more over being parents-- so long as it integrates naturally into the story.

    I was thinking if we absolutely had to get a new character that he/she would be the one to go over the case files to choose the cases and then Garcia could help with the presentation because of the need for using the computer stuff-- but that wouldn't make sense for Hotch to trust a new person to do that.

    So, I thought about who would make the most sense as the one to go over the case files and choose-- Garcia just doesn't seem like she would have the time or the stomach for it so much. Ultimately I realized Reid would be the best choice just by virtue of his being able to read so fast. He could go through and eliminate cases rather quickly. Maybe he could get JJ's old office to have some peace and quiet while he went over case files and picked their cases. Being that he isn't so fond of computers, he would bring in Garcia to do the video stuff to create the presentations for the team when presenting the cases. That way they could interact with one another and both of them could present the cases together-- it would give them both something to do.

    We could even get JJ giving Reid advice on picking the cases if need be.

    I hope the writers read this and take it to heart.

    1. Oops. Sorry for typos. I meant to say "She" was the first one to know about Reid's mother-- not "He".

      As an addendum, I read some recent articles about how bite wounds were often mistaken for just general bruises by medical examiners and that usually only specialists trained in forensics or even profilers (like Douglas-- who has published a few books) would recognize them as bite marks.

      That would be something else that would be interesting to note- if the medical examiners out at the areas missed something bc they didn't know to look for it.

  3. Yes. This. All this. I can't add anything more apart from saying I agree 100% with the above two posts.

  4. Well said, zannej. I would like to add that I think the producers missed a great opportunity to show us more about the intricacies of profiling by showing junior profiler JJ learning profiling on the job from this amazing team of experts--with the struggles that would naturally entail. Instead, we got Superwoman Mary Sue JJ immediately fitting in as an expert profiler. I'm not saying she should be a complete novice, since she had worked along side them for years and used some profiling in old job, but exploring her struggles to master this incredibly difficult discipline would have been interesting.

    And, please, more Reid next season! :)

    1. Thanks to everyone for the responses.
      Anonymous, you have a very good point. The writers said we would get JJ seeking advice but that never happened. She just seemed to know everything already. I have no problem with the team trusting her insights or treating her like an equal since they know her so well, but it would be nice if she had shown some sign of hesitation or something to indicate that she was new to being an actual profiler-- even if she said that picking their case files was profiling.
      It would even be nice to see something harken back to her prior role with Garcia asking her advice on which case to pick when she's narrowed it down. Although, quite frankly, I still can't get behind Garcia being the one selecting their cases. I would think that it would be too depressing and upsetting for her. It just doesn't fit her character and it should be someone else who does it. Even Rossi would make more sense doing it since he doesn't have family outside of work and has a lot of experience with profiling and knowing when something is a case and when its not. But that would depend on whether or not he would want to do that.
      JJ might not want that job back since it is time consuming and she has a family. Prentiss is leaving so she's out. Morgan doesn't seem to like doing paperwork that much and he has houses to flip and women to pick up (assuming he's still picking women up and hasn't just dropped that part of his lifestyle). Hotch already had enough paperwork and he has a son to go home to. The only one I can think of who has the time and enjoys paperwork/reading so much is Reid. Considering how fast he can read, it might not even be as time-consuming for him as it would be for other people.

    2. I agree that it would make sense for Reid reading through all the files and pick the cases. And if not Reid then they should give the job back to JJ.

      I do not agree though that Morgan does not like doing paperwork. The writers made it clear in chats that Morgan is doing paperwork and long hours for Hotch so that Hotch does have time for Jack, the thriathlon and a love interest. We also have seen Morgan doing paperwork after hours several times in season 6 and 7. He was also in his office and not at home when his sister Sarah called him about Desiree`s accident.

    3. LOL. Just because he's doing the paperwork doesn't mean he enjoys it. LOL. Reid has indicated that he actually enjoys paperwork somewhat. Morgan at first balked when Hotch gave him more paperwork to do-- until he realized why. He's just trying to do his fair share and help Hotch out.

      The fact that Hotch was doing Morgan's share of the paperwork in the first place is a sign that he knew that Morgan was not fond of the paperwork aspect.

      That doesn't mean he won't or can't do it if called upon, but that he wouldn't find it as relaxing as Reid does.

      Now I do get there is quite a difference between reading paperwork to find something for a profile and actually writing up and submitting paperwork, but if Morgan found the reading part tedious he might also find the rest of it tedious.

      Perhaps they could have Garcia decide she's too overwhelmed with the case selection and they try to test out other people on the team to take a crack at the selection process and see which one does the best.

    4. Morgan might not be fond of paperwork but he is doing more than just his fair share to give Hotch more free time. And Hotch was not only doing some of Morgan`s paperwork . He was doing the paperwork for all agents when they were in the field so that they could concentrate on the case and not be diverted by filling out bureaucratic forms while being out in the field.

      But I would actually love to see Reid doing more paperwork. And I hope in season 8 they concentrate more on Reid`s strength like fast reading and finding patterns etc and do not turn him into another kick-ass field agent like new super woman JJ.

  5. Figured out what's bugging me with the nuJJ character.

    Before she was summarily fired only to miraculously reappear, JJ made a unique contribution to the team. In addition to deciding what cases they took, she was their liaison with the media and with other police agencies. It was a job she handled exceedingly well. She knew how to coddle both, yet when it was time to be tough with them, she could. And along the way, she became a decent profiler herself, learning from her colleagues.

    Those qualities were rewarded when she went to State (the excuse for her leaving the team). State Department is exactly the place where qualities like that would be treasured and used. So even in writing her off the show, it was clear where JJ excelled.

    Then she reappears - which indeed made me happy. Suddenly she's a full-fledged profiler who has become proficient - no, super-duper - at not only profiling, but also at all forms of self-defense, a blond Ziva. And who just as suddenly seems to stink at her former liaison duties.

    If they wanted to make her physical prowess believable, they should have (as was noted by zannej above) shown her training for the same, with her satisfaction at realizing she can do this stuff.

    But actually, all of the above isn't the part of the nuJJ character that bugs me the most. What bugs me: The implicit statement that women cannot be an effective part of law enforcement unless they are Ziva-Xena characters.

    That buys into the old chauvinistic theories that tried to keep women out of police and fire departments for ever and always. Instead of recognizing that women may bring something powerful to the table that has nothing to do with upper body strength, those chauvinists blocked access by pointing out that smaller women (heck, smaller men) wouldn't be able to e.g. lug a fire hose up 50 flights of stairs or throw a 200 lb. man up against a wall.

    In other words, TPTB used to block access (in real life, not just on TV) because they didn't recognize the simple fact that law enforcement (police, fire, FBI, CIA) was about the whole package, not just upper body strength. That sometimes using the old noggin was just as effective as the ability to throw a cow across a barn.

    While I really like the Ziva character on NCIS, I don't think that all women in law enforcement on TV should be written in her mold. JJ provided the perfect opportunity for writers to embrace a strong woman - physically strong, mentally strong, emotionally strong - but who didn't necessarily know how to literally kick ass. The nuJJ character we are seeing is not that person.

  6. I agree with everyone here, and it's too bad that Erica and the other CM producers/writers don't actually listen to the viewers. Erica tends to laugh off our comments when we say that we don't want to always see the unsub from the get-go, or that we don't want the episodes to focus on the unsub committing the crimes but rather the team profiling to find the unsub. She's been there from the start so why is this so hard for her to understand? We tune in to watch THIS TEAM solve the cases. We're not interested in name guest stars or who can come up with the most disgusting way to murder someone. We want to see PROFILING. Jim Clemente should proof all the scripts and he certainly should be writing more of them.

    And if they feel that they need to bring in another profiler, let it be a character who has earned a spot on the team with the required knowledge, experience and skills and let that person be portrayed by a decent actor, not some blonde bimbo. Bring back Andi Swann. That was a character the viewers could respect.

    1. If they can't bring back Andi Swan, I liked Agent Amanda Gilroy (I think that was her name) from P911. I guess it depends on availability of the actresses though.

  7. I hope they do not bring in a new character. There is already not enough to do for all the profilers. It could actually improve the writing if they only have to write for six team members.

  8. Wow I was reading all of the comments but tbh I loved this season . Ok I like the profiling part and I like Reid working his magic but at the same time I like the storylines and getting to know the characters and I thought that the Beth addition was nice as we got to see a different side to Hotch and that he'd finally moved on from Haley . Also , although I agree that I don't like seeing the UnSub at the start of the show and I like to have been kept guessing it's still an exceptional show . Lastly , we should all remember that season 7 was 3-4 ? months after Prentiss' death so in that time JJ had passed the course and while she was at the Pentagon , Morgan trained her so it isn't always easy to incorparate them without it being cheesy and unnecessary - at least it was mentioned and explained .


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