Criminals Minds has entered rarefied air as the show takes off on its 15th and ultimately final season this week on CBS. Throughout the show’s 15 year run Matthew Gray Gubler (Dr. Spencer Reid) and A.J. Cook (J.J.) have been mainstays, there from the very beginning.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss had a chance to speak with Gubler and Cook ahead of the season 15 premiere to look back on their experience, adjusting to life after Criminal Minds and where castmate Daniel Henney has been lately.
MW: Good morning, how’s it going?
MGG: Oh my gosh if it were going any better, I wouldn’t know what I would do.
MW: That’s incredible, especially since we’re here to talk about a bitter sweet moment for the two of you. Criminal Minds has been such an incredibly successful show for 15 years now and we have the final season premiere coming now. So what does that mean to both of you being original cast members?
MGG: It’s like a phoenix, I think Criminal Minds will be reborn in its own fire. I don’t see it so much as an end as I do a beginning. A new beginning.
AC: Wow, wow.
MGG: I wrote that just for this.
AC: It’s hard to wrap your head around and I’m still trying too. Now that we’ve been wrapped and we’re thrown into this, what is it, “real world,” not going to work every day.
MGG: I’ve been in my pajamas for the last 6 months. Ever since we wrapped, I’ve been living under my desk at the BAU. [laughs]
AC: Yeah, it’s been bazaar to not go to work every day and to see my lovely friends every day and it’s been an adjustment, but we’re super excited for the final season and we really hope that we’ve done it justice. We want exactly what the fans want, a happy ending and we want to see these characters go on and live their lives and still be the heroes that they’ve always been.
MW: You mentioned the fans and wanting to give them the ending they deserve and I spoke with Erica Messer and Joe Mantegna the other day and they also expressed the same desire to wrap things up well for the fans, that seems to be very important to everyone. Again, as original cast members what’s tit been like to see this thing through from day one all the way to the end?
AC: Our fans have been so loyal from day one and there’s a lot of pressure there to live up to 15 years of having these people in your living room every day and wanting to see them go on even though you’re not going to see them every day. So it’s a, I don’t even know what your question was, I’m just babbling now. [Laughs]
MGG: You’re a beautiful babbler. You’re not babbling at all; it sounds like poetry.
AC: Uh hmm.
MW: There’s a lot to reminisce about when you think about it, maybe for the first time even.
MGG: Yeah it’s kind of hitting us. I didn’t realize until just now that, yeah.
AC: He just found out that the show is ending. [laughs]
MGG: They just told me, I don’t handle news well.
MW: Wow, I’m so sorry you had to find out this way. [laughs]
MGG: No, we’re incredibly honored. We got to work as a family for 15 years and there’s no greater gift in the world than getting to work with people you love. It’s been an incredible run. I think the last 10 episodes are honestly the best 10 of the entire series, we’re just excited to show them to everybody.
AC: There’s a lot going on. We’ve got The Chameleon, who’s the bad guy that we will be hunting down. This is THE guy, like the worst one we’ve had, and this guy has haunted Rossi and we’re going to see that kind of sprinkled throughout the season.
MGG: Do we catch him?
AC: I hope so!
MGG: Spoiler alert, don’t tell me.
MW: Is there anything you took from set on the last day. Any mementos you guys wanted to keep with you?
MGG: I took Daniel Henney, I just picked him up and put him in my trailer, that’s why you haven’t really seen him in a lot of press lately, he’s been living in my basement.
AC: He’s chained.
MGG: I chained him, I just took him. He’s a great guy.
AC: [Laughs] Did you take anything?
MGG: I took a lot great memories and I took a full heart of love, of my cast, of my crew.
AC: There you go!
MGG: And our family.
AC: Oh, I took some of JJ’s business cards.
MGG: Oh, can I have one?
AC: Maybe, but it was so bazaar. Oh the name plates, did you take the name plate?
MGG: Yes, I did, but I got Shamar’s name plate. It just says “baby boy.”
AJ: Yeah the name plates, I took all of them, everybody’s, not just my own.
MW: So Daniel Henney, business cards and name plates, sounds like a pretty good haul! Well on behalf of all the fans out there thank you so much for the last 15 years and all the best with whatever comes next for both of you!
AC: Thank you!
MGG: Thank you so much, same to you and thank you for having us.
Watch Matthew Gray Gubler and A.J. Cook as they navigate through the final 10 episodes of Criminal Minds Wednesday nights at 9:00PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.