Friday, May 11, 2012

CM_SetReport Chat Transcript w Writer/Producer Virgil Williams 5-10-12

VW: Yo yo yo! What's up super fans! 

NNatalieee: So who is the genius, Garcia or Reid? 
VW: I would say it depends on who you ask. And by the way, that's thanks to the comic stylings of Breen Frazier. 

CMfan: Hi virgil, excellent writing on last night episode. where/how did the idea for this episode came from? 
VW: Mostly from a true-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.

laurenreynoldsisdead: What was your favourite line from last nights episode? 
VW: Sloan: OHMYGOD. Ewwwww! 

Ella_GB: I loved the episode last night, It was an interesting set up, what made you think about doing a flash back episode? By the way, the happy birthday sung by unsub gave me night mares. 
VW: Our pleasure to give you nightmares. I just wanted to do a case that spanned many years. And flashbacks happen to be a part of that. Happy accident! 

NNatalieee: You've written three episodes this season, was this one your favourite? 
VW: They're all like children. I can't pick a favorite. And they ALL drove me crazy. 

wheelsup4demily: VIRGIL! Awesome episode last night! It really felt like we got back to the basics that make CM great! So we've been promised some Morgan & Prentiss awesomeness but haven't seen it yet. Will we get it in the finale??? 

ana_clara: Hey Virgil, you're one of the best writers...Congratulations for you job! Love from Brazil [= 
VW: Obrigado brasil! 

SSA_River_Song: Hey Virgil!!!!! Where did the idea for Zimmerman come from? 
VW: Bruce BIG MONEY Zimmerman! Who I love and adore.

Ella_GB: yo yo yo! Ella GB here. That mullet on Reid was an inspiration. But seriously, what is your favorite/leats favorite thing about working with the cast and crew of Criminal Minds?
VW: This cast is great. They bring it every week. Can't pick a favorite and can't find a least favorite. 

clarissa: Was the shirtless Rossi in-between wives, or was that young thing wife number 2 or 3?
VW: decide. 

elle: Loved the lecture style going on at the beginning. When you've got a complex scene with the entire cast taking turns speaking, how do you decide who's going to say what? 
VW: Balance and rhythm. 

Baby_Girl_Shayna: Was there anything cut from the episode that you wanted us to see?? 
VW: A love scene between Morgan and Prentiss!! ;-)

ReidsMullet: Have you started breaking scripts for season 8 yet? 
VW: Yeah! 

clarissa: As a devoted Hotch/Prentiss shipper who has been broken hearted this season, is there any value in my my watching the finale? 
VW: It depends on how devoted you are. But my advice? Don't miss it. 

SSA_River_Song: Virgil, what's the best thing about being a screenwriter? 
VW: Great question. Getting paid to write. I would do it for free. Shhhh...don't tell the studio. 

NNatalieee: Who's the voice behind Penelope Garcia's twitter page? Said person is hilarious. 
VW: Garcia, who do you think!?

laurenreynoldsisdead: Can you give us spoilers about season 8 yet? 
VW: People will die! 

laurenreynoldsisdead: What will you miss most about Paget
VW: Everything. 

Ella_GB: Mr. Virgil Williams, how did you get into screen writing? 
VW: It depends on when you start the story. I was an actor when I was a boy. I found writing in high school. Then I got rejected from film school. And I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. And then I got an opportunity on "24" and made the most of it. I've been blessed and the rest is history, and hopefully there's a lot more future to come.

daretobeclever: How often do you get writers block? Writing for such a successful show must be stressful. 
VW: It's my baseline. 

ana_clara: Have you had an idea/inspiration for a episode in a strange situation? 
VW: I'm from Chicago but now I live in Los Angeles. Life is STRANGE. 

Baby_Girl_Shayna: How was the last day of filming for season 7??? Us fans were an emotional wreak.. What was the "Vibe" on set.
VW: People were throwing themselves from the roof. And lighting themselves on fire. Kidding. Food trucks and drinks. Awesome.

NNatalieee: How are you spending your hiatus? 
VW: I will write. And write and write and write and write.

wheelsup4demily: What would you recommend as the next step for a graduating English major who wants to get into the business? Grad school? Work experience? Something else?
VW: Write. And then write some more. There is no wrong choice. Observe. Listen carefully. Live. And then go write some more.

Amplifigaytion: Is there a theme for s8 yet? Like s7 was focusing on the team as a family 
VW: Not just yet. Season eight is still gestating. 

Amplifigaytion: What do the writers take away from these chats? 
VW: Feedback from the true fans -- vitally important. We do THIS for you guys. 

erin_locks: What is a typical day of filming like? 
VW: Loooongggg.

SmileyGidget: Is what your currently doing your dream job, or is there something else you would love to do even more? 
VW: Fighter pilot. Or bounty hunter. 

NNatalieee: There's always a split with Erin Strauss, but do YOU love or hate her? 
VW: Love to hate her. 

erin_locks: What do you consider the creepiest episode of Criminal Minds? 
VW: Episode 100. 

sam-maddy: Who is your dream guest star? 
VW: Carrot Top! 

NNatalieee: I'm actually jealous that you're from Chicago. I'm from Ireland which sucks in comparison. 
VW: Really? I've always wanted to check Ireland out. 

Jasper: How are the writers going to tackle integrating an eventual (probably inevitable) new profiler? Seaver had so much potential, but with the anger over the network's treatment of CM's female cast she got the brunt of ill-feeling.
VW: Honestly, time will tell. 

gray: Has CBS ever completely rejected a script you've written? If so, why do you think that was? 
VW: A script, no. Not to my knowledge. 

resainez: How much does cast input affect the script writing process? 
VW: On the actual script writing process, limited. But the entire process is very collaborative. 

laurenreynoldsisdead: If you were an unsuub, how would you kill? 
VW: With kindness! 

NNatalieee: Why are so many people guest starring/reappearing in the season finale? Strauss, Jack, Beth, Clyde.. .e.t.c 
VW: We're bringin' it home! 

erica1021: Whats your take on the Morgan/Prentiss partnership/relationship, etc? 
VW: Love it! That's why I featured it in A Thin Line.

Tracey_Lane: How does the script writing process go, do you all just write several and submit them and hope one of yours gets chosen to become an episode? How does that work? 
VW: Every writer pitches ideas. Messer, Janine and the room decide which ideas are best. Then, as a group, we break the story, which is to say, figure out what the hell happens. After that, the writer writes an outline. After that, the room gives notes. After that, the writer writes the script. After that, the room gives notes. After that, the studio and network give notes. After that, we shoot it. 

AnneLaure: what's most fun : shoot on the set or on location ??
VW: Depends on what we're shooting. 

NNatalieee: When does filming start up again? 
VW: July 6th or 9th or something. I don't know the date.

AnneLaure: I know you love french and speaks it very well, Have you ever been in France ? How is Thomas Gibson's French? 
VW: I have. Three times. I proposed to my wife there.

laurenreynoldsisdead: In the finale, there will be a wedding. Will we seen the proposal? 
VW: Yes. 

Jasper: Will there be any new writers for s8, or the same team?
VW: Same team. Can't wait! 

NNatalieee: Is there a serial killer you find particularly intriguing? 
VW: Intriguing, no. But I'm shocked by them all. 

Jasper: Is there anything the writers will be doing differently than in s7? Things you've learn from, processes or approaches that you might tweak? 
VW: Writing scenes without Prentiss :-( 

AnneLaure: How did you feel when you saw for the first time the episode you wrote on TV ?? 
VW: Thrilled. A dream realized. I still find it exciting. Ask me how I felt when that first residual check came in. ;-) haha 

Jasper: Which dynamics are you hoping to explore next season? 
VW: Too early for that question. We're on hiatus. 

pennyj: Please tell me we'll be seeing more of Reid in season 8. He's a great character with a lot of potential but lately he seems neglected...either pushed in the background or just spitting out facts. He's such a popular character so many of us are so confused and frustrated. Please tell me this will change for season 8. 
VW: We love Reid. We know you guys do too. He'll be there.

erica1021: which character do you think will miss Prentiss the most? 
VW: Definitely Morgan. Garcia's his baby girl. But Prentiss always had his back in the field. 

Ella_GB: If you could write for any other show ever, what would you want to write for? 
VW: Fantasy Island or the Twilight Zone. Thank you awesome fans! Keep watching. We love you guys. See you in season eight!


  1. "pennyj: Please tell me we'll be seeing more of Reid in season 8. He's a great character with a lot of potential but lately he seems neglected...either pushed in the background or just spitting out facts. He's such a popular character so many of us are so confused and frustrated. Please tell me this will change for season 8.
    VW: We love Reid. We know you guys do too. He'll be there."

    What kind of answer is this? It gives me very little hope for season 8. Reid is pretty much just "there" now. We don't just want him to be there but to be focussed on more. The fan also mentioned something about him just being present to spit out facts. I'm hoping that they will have him around to do more than just that like they did in previous seasons. I also hope that his storylines don't get completely dropped like they have in recent seasons. None of the writers or producers are really giving me much hope that the writing will change for Reid. It's disappointing.

    Oh and Garcia is great, talented and extremely smart in her techie world but she isn't a genius. That's Reid.

    1. I agree with you.
      And yes, the genius is Reid. Garcia is the computer whiz (extremely talented and smart, that goes without saying), but I don't think there's a real contest here : Reid is the genius.

  2. Wow! Very boring chat. When he said he was on hiatus, he wasn't kidding.

    As far as Reid, I really hope the writers listen to the fans. He deserves to be focused on, too, especially after almost nothing in S7. And dang, I hope it has absolutely nothing to do with his mother. The guy is 30. Give him a life.

    1. I totally agree, more Reid in s8 please!!! Give him a life, but not a girlfriend...that would break too many hearts :-)

  3. Thanks for the chat.
    I found it interesting and it was nice of that writer to take the time for that while he's on hiatus.

    I hope there won't be a new profiler next year, five profilers is enough (that's how the show has always functioned before season seven) and six main characters is enough too.
    I would prefer the show to concentrate on the six remaining team members (no matter how the new profiler would be written in and no matter who she would be supposed to replace or not replace, incidentally).

    I'll certainly be happy if there's a little bit more of Reid next year and I would love to see his mother back if that's possible.
    At the beginning of the season it was alluded he had "family troubles", something seemed wrong with his mother and he took that three months sabbatical. I would love to learn what happened and what's wrong.

    Thanks again for the chat.

  4. Wow I really miss Reid recently. He's barely been in the episodes lately and hasn't been focussed on at all. I didn't really know what to make out of Virgil's answer about Reid. Does that mean that he will be focussed on? I felt like Garcia, who isn't a profile had more lines explaining profiling in this episode than Reid. Love Garcia but I think she works best behind her computer desk...she really shines there.

    Me and many, many others love and adore Reid so why focus on him the least? Doesn't seem like a smart move.

  5. I appreciate that Virgil took the time to answer the questions. I wasn't able to make it to the chat to ask things. I probably would have gotten frustrated.

    Janine and Erica are both deciding what happens in all episodes? No wonder. They are the two worst writers, IMO. Janine, Erica, and Kim have the worst dialog for Reid. They just don't know how to write for him.

    I'm dismayed to see that it seems the writers learned nothing from the failures this season and the only thing that will change is a lack of Prentiss. I was hoping they would realize that what they did just wasn't working and they really need to sit down and seriously think about the role of each team member, their voices, their expertise, and what they can contribute in each case.

    In the first four seasons they used to have the focus more evenly distributed in the episodes and they had more profiling. They also seemed to have better researchers and quality control to make sure the continuity was better (obviously there were still mistakes though). I really think that any time Kim, Janine, and Erica write that they need to have someone else do the dialog for Reid. Either he's spouting stuff from the wikipedia at superspeed or he's sounding stupid-- saying things like "Maybe she asked for a raise" (FBI agents do not get raises!) and "But we buried her" (Reid is NOT an idiot).

    They managed to give Morgan a storyline that didn't inolve HIS mother. Why can't they give that to Reid?

    And what is up with having to change JJ so much? They are making her less believable by making her oh so much better at the profiling than the rest of the experienced profilers.

    This episode did make up for some of the lack of Rossi this season.

    I think one of the problems is that they focus so much on the unsubs that they don't have time to show us the team members and they haven't figured out how to balance the personal lives + case thing so the personal stuff often seems tacked on or crowbarred in. It was more natural in this one. I did enjoy the episode (with some exceptions bc of horrible acting from the students with lousy line delivery and the atrocious camera techniques like passing the camera behind people's heads and causing blurs on the screen and really taking away from the moment).

    The ones where we don't see the unsubs up front are refreshing. I also like it when they can have good in-character contributions from ALL of the team members.

    I actually am worried that because of the way they diminished Reid's role this season that it will give him less leverage in his contract negotiations. CBS can look at how he has been reduced and how unimportant he seems to the producers and decide to lowball MGG rather than offer his agent a fair deal.

    I do agree that I don't want them to replace Prentiss. I think that trying to bring in a new character will be like when Richard Dean Anderson left Stargate:SG1 and they had to bring in a new team leader. I like Ben Browder and all, but since he was new and they didn't have the same amount of time to build his character-- like they did with the others-- they just did exposition overload and the show became all about Mitchell for awhile. I got kind of sick of him.
    This season I felt that Morgan got too much focus and not even in a good way. They diminished his character by making him angry and unprofessional most of the time. Not as bad as last season's "25 to Life" though.

    Reid seems dumbed down this season and it made me wonder if he had brain surgery during his sabbatical but it lowered his IQ and changed his personality a bit. He just doesn't seem like the same character sometimes.

    1. I definitely agree that there needs to be more MGG and that they should not replace Prentiss. Chances are, the fans will not like the replacement. Not replacing Prentiss will also allow more screen time/dialogue for the other team members.

      Continuity is also important. One of the issues that stands out most to me is with Reid's headaches. The next few episodes after "Corazon" didn't even seem to suggest (as far as I remember) that he was still suffering until "Coda." But the real issue is that they haven't even been mentioned at all this season. They could have gone away which is fine, but without the issue being worked in we don't know what's going on. It seems like Prentiss or Morgan should've at least inquired about them.

  6. At this point I don't know what I want. No more Reid or get used to seeing him being pushed in the background. Sure he's pretty to look at but it's getting frustrating and painful to watch.
    I can't imagine CM without Reid though..

  7. I thought this episode was great. Great profiling FINALLY!! Great balance of screen time for each of the team. Good job Virgil! Now, if you mean what you said about paying attention to the viewers' comments, please get rid of Janine, Erica and Kim. The problem with last season and this one is that overall there is too much focus on the unsubs and not enough focus on the team and the profiling. If Janine and Erica have control over the scripts, this is why. Janine does not understand the characters as they were introduced. She has turned them into caricatures of their former selves. Erica is like a giddy school girl (maybe THAT'S how we got stuck with Beth!!!) just gushing and raving about every episode without seeing flaws in characters, lines, timelines, etc. that someone who has been with the show from the start should see. If we viewers can spot the errors, WHY CAN'T ERICA? It's her job.

    I agree with those who have said Reid has been pushed in the background and has been given lines that are totally ridiculous for someone of his intelligence. Rossi has been relegated to the background, too, until this episode. Too much focus has been on Morgan. Too much personal crap is going on that takes away from the episode rather than enhancing it. Bring back Andrew Wilder and Oanh Ly or at least hire some writers who are willing to do the necessary research to write the characters correctly. I'm not interested in who can come up with the most disgusting killer. I don't care about big name guest stars. I want to see THIS TEAM do their job. That is what the show was about from the beginning and Erica has lost all sight of that. (And get rid of Beth. She's an obnoxious stalker who isn't good enough for Hotch and Jack.)

  8. I'm beyond baffled by some of the things being said about JJ, because I don't see it *all*. Also I'm going to make a request and mention a pet peeve connected to it. So, before that, I will say I did like Profiling 101. And, admire that the episode didn't end with a jarring note of humor.

    But, off that now. There's a question I've asked at every chat and it never got picked. Whether there will be meaningful interactions between the women of the team. Like the conversation Prentiss had with Reid in True Genius or Hotch in Unknown Subject. Or JJ has had with Morgan in Foundation, or JJ with Reid in Proof. Or Garcia with Morgan in the Company. And there are examples of two male agents. But, the women? Well, Prentiss and JJ did have that nice conversation in It Takes a Village, but other than that? Um, a phone conversation between JJ and Garcia about the fight with Kevin and working out the logistics of the off screen ladies night. Neither one of those things were bad, but they're not really deep and meaningful. And, it stands out because of the multiple examples of the women talking to the men and the men talking to the men.

    So my request? Let JJ and Garcia TALK to each other. And I'm not talking about "Garcia, I need this info for the case" type conversations. And not just light hearted "look at these shoes" or "let me tell you about how my evening went with significant other" although again, there's nothing wrong with conversations like that. I mean, if one of them is worried or upset, let them talk to each other. Or let them disagree or have an argument. Friends do argue sometimes. And, I don't mean they have to pour their hearts out to each other every week or only talk to each other and not their male coworkers. I'm just saying it should happen sometimes that the women on the team have a real conversation with each other. And there's no excuse or valid reason for why it can't.

    Let the show pass the Bechdel test *on screen* as you've done before.


    What do we have to do to get more REID? Does no one there realize how popular he is? What's the problem? I'm not asking for Reid to be more prominent than others but just get his fair share. The fans love him but I'm starting to think that the writers and producers don't. They barely write him into episodes and when they do, he's just a guy randomly blurting out facts while the rest of the team rolls their eyes? Is he even a genius anymore? JJ seems to be a smarter profiler than Reid even though she was just promoted recently and isn't a genius.

    What was up with Garcia thinking she's a genius...are the writers seriously trying to put her in the same category as Reid? Seriously? He's a genius - high IQ, eidetic memory, can read 20K words per minute etc. She is not, very smart yes, genius no. It sounds like I don't like Garcia but this isn't the case, I just hated seeing her have more to offer than a GENIUS PROFILER at a PROFILING seminar.

    Why oh why do you guys not like Reid? He is so many people's favorite so it just doesn't make any sense to stick him in the background. Do the writers understand how neglected he's been - no personal stories or anything worthwhile to offer. Every time the fans ask, the writers say yes he'll be there, the first half was Reid heavy or all the episodes can't be about Reid. This isn't the case at all. He's been completely neglected with the exception of one episode per season since season 5. I'm tired of waiting and extremely frustrated.

    Matthew is an incredible actor and plays a very popular character. Please give him some stories and lines worth his while.

  10. Thank you so much for taking time with us. All the viewers don't have same wish. Some of us have totally different opinion with others (like I love Beth and I'm so happy she is going to be in season 8). So I don't really want writers to listen everything fans say. Loudest fans are not always the majority. Just do what you think it right for the show and the characters, please. (Though I do wish not to see unsubs till the end like in this episode most of the time. And I have a little hope in season 8 because of these last couple of episode which they didn't show us the unsub right away).

  11. Angelwriter, I agree about wanting to see Garcia and JJ talk. I don't know if they ever really have. I will point out that Reid only had one meaningful conversation the entire season and that was with Emily. He hasn't had any meaningful conversations with Garcia since season 2, IIRC.

    I think the problem is that the current writers seem to think that the only one Garcia can talk to seriously now is Morgan. I am personally sick to death of the Morgan/Garcia thing. It used to be cute but now it is just tiresome and overdone. We get it, they are BFFs even though they really don't seem to have much in common. I really don't get how they are considered to be that close.

    I don't know how they would have time to fit it in to the show though. I think they crowbarred in too much personal stuff and it detracted from the show. I don't want a soap opera.

    As for the JJ thing, she was an awesome press liaison and very good at picking the cases before. She usually did have something to contribute to a case but she never stepped on anyone's toes. I loved how sassy she was when dealing with some of the press as well. Now she doesn't seem to have that same sassyness because they don't have anyone for her to use it with-- if that makes sense. But not only that, they have started having her give suggestions that the other profilers would have thought of because they are trying very hard to make her fit in and prove she's just as good as they are. She's not as experienced though so she shouldn't be quite as good but she shouldn't be completely inferior.
    The writers actually said before that JJ would be asking Reid for advice on things because he has all of the case knowledge but that never happened. If anything, they made JJ look like a better profiler than Reid by repeatedly one-upping him and being right while he was wrong. I think she was right instead of some of the others instead. They also suddenly have her able to fight even better than Prentiss (or so it would seem). I don't think that was necessary. I can believe that she learned to defend herself and all, but I don't think she should be portrayed as *that* tough. I think they just sort of exaggerated and made it unrealistic in their hype of it.
    Meanwhile Reid is now such a pathetic weakling he can't even shake someone's hand anymore-- and he used to shake hands.

    They need to tone it down with the Morgan/Garcia banter (and the Garcia clown makeup), tone it down with the kickass JJ, and give Reid back his brain. Captain Kirk wants to know "What.. have you done.. with Reid's BRAIN?"


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.