Criminal Minds: Evolution’s Joe Mantegna & Felicity Huffman On David Rossi’s PTSD And History Of The BAU


The second season of Criminal Minds: Evolution has introduced a new mysterious unsub after the BAU captured the elusive Elias Voit. However, the team recently discovered that their unsub, Gold Star, is not a single unsub and has ties to the early days of the BAU. The sixth episode ended with David Rossi revealing to the team that the Gold Star unsubs and the program where they were created is tied to a paper that he and Jason Gideon wrote years ago that could be considered a recipe to create serial killers.

The entire BAU has been struggling with their assignment to find the Gold Star killers while working with Elias Voit. The unsub from season 1 has proven to be a clever opponent who has rigged the game, painting himself as an innocent computer genius who got in over his head instead of the killer that the team knows him to be. It looks like the seventh episode of Criminal Minds: Evolution will also delve deeper into the history of the BAU with the paper and Jason Gideon’s ex-wife coming into the picture.

Screen Rant interviewed Joe Mantegna and Felicity Huffman about the seventh episode of Criminal Minds: Evolution. Mantegna discussed how this season has explored Rossi’s PTSD and digging into the BAU’s history. Huffman explained her connection to the BAU including not only Jason Gideon, but the relationships she has with current members.

Joe Mantegna On Exploring The History Of The BAU & Connections To Jason Gideon

David Rossi has been struggling throughout season 2 of Criminal Minds: Evolution as he tries to face his PTSD alone. Unable to put the Elias Voit case to bed he has now learned that he may be in some part responsible for the new unsubs that the team is chasing. Mantegna discussed how his work with the military helped him get into the mindset of Rossi’s PTSD along with the writing.

Joe Mantegna: Well, if it’s on the page, it’s on the stage. I think they did a good job of writing what was going on. Ironically, I’m very active with our United States military. I’ve been doing that for many years now. I host this Memorial Day concert for 23 years now in Washington DC. My point being the military, while I’m not a political person, I’m very much a supporter of our military. But because of that, I’ve been in situations where I’ve gotten to know certain individuals, who suffered under PTSD currently or in the past.

So it’s a condition that was not unknown to me or unusual for me to be observant of. I think I was able to hopefully tap into some of that too, of that on one hand, you have to survive, you have to exist, you have to live your life. But on the other hand, you got to deal with this thing. It’s tricky, but like I said, it’s on the page. I think the writing was there to support it, so it was just a matter of just playing the scenes, hopefully making it work.

Felicity, I absolutely loved your introduction. Can you talk to me a little bit about playing Jill Gideon?

Felicity Huffman: I said yes because the script was so good and I got to act with Joey, who’s an old pal, and I’ve admired him for years and years. Then when I got on set, and it’s one of the nicest sets I’ve ever been on, they’re all kind. I mean, they’ve been together as you know, for now 18 years. Usually when that happens, everyone sort of silos. Scene ends and everyone goes to their trailer and they actually sit around, it’s old school, and talking and they’re kind.

I’m guest star number 6 million, and they made me feel so welcome and so kind. So I love the intro on that level. The character, I just thought she was really interesting. It’s always interesting to play a conflicted character that is forced to do things against her desires. It’s only a sense of personal responsibility that brought her back into this fold, even in the small part that she’s going to play.

Can you talk to me a little bit about the connection between your characters, because it spans all the way back to kind of the beginning of the BAU?

Joe Mantegna: I think we have tapped into the roots of this. They go into the first 16 years. There had been references made. We knew Gideon was married, we knew they had a son, there was the wife Jill. I mean, so the groundwork was laid. So I think what’s nice, and the luxury we have in a show that has that kind of longevity is now you can attach it to that backstory and say, Oh yes, by the away.

Remember these kind of people we’ve made reference to? Well, here she is. And then you find out there’s some storyline there. The storyline involving, of course, Gideon himself, storyline involving Rossi character, the relationship to other members of BAU. So it’s just great. It’s always sweet to be able to dig into a story that you’ve had the roots of it always there, and now you’re able to say, alright, let’s explore.

Felicity Huffman Explains Why Jill Gideon Has Stayed Away From The BAU

The paper that Rossi and Gideon wrote pulls the story back to the beginning of the BAU. Jill Gideon is also tied to the legacy of the BAU not just through her relationship with Gideon. Mantegna explained how part the longevity of Criminal Minds has given them the opportunity to felve into the lore from the earlier seasons.


Joe Mantegna: The fact that we’re bringing Gideon’s former wife, Jill’s character. It’s great because over the seasons, yes, we’ve had, from the time Gideon left when he made that departure early in season three, we saw him driving off in the car and going off to who knows where. And then of course we see some seasons later that his demise. Now, we get this whole other element. Here she is, here’s Jill. Here’s this person who is going to be bringing so much, she’s bringing a lot to the table, a lot to the game, and we’re going to find out a lot of it personal, a lot of it professional. It’s like life.

Felicity, how did you want to approach Jill’s history with the BAU and the connection she may have with some of the other characters who knew Gideon?

Felicity Huffman: I think at least at this point, she’s made a conscious decision to separate the two. She loves Garcia and Prentiss. She loves those guys and doesn’t want anything to do with the BAU or be pulled back into that because, I’m sure you’ve experienced as a fan, it’s a dark world. I mean, they are good guys and it’s a dark world, and she thinks that it’s because of the BAU that her ex-husband [died], which is again complicated because it wasn’t her husband, it was her ex-husband. So I think she’s very torn and wouldn’t go back. I think in that scene, when I get out of the elevator and walk into the room, you can see her trepidation and her unwillingness actually to be there.

In terms of her history with Rossi, it’s messy and complicated and confusing, and lots of time has gone by. So being forced to deal with it again is interesting. I think what sparks it off is you have these ideas and you have these memories, and you have these opinions about people. And then when you see them face to face, you go, Oh, right, it’s you. Oh yeah, I kind of love you. Oh yeah, I kind of hate you. It’s that dichotomy.

Will we see her kind of connect with Garcia because they were two people who had escaped from the darkness of this world only to be pulled back in again?

Felicity Huffman: There’s not a whole lot. I mean, she’s mainly focused, and that’s where the good writing comes in, on solving the white papers that she feels responsible for. She’s responsible for and Gideon’s responsible for. So I don’t think there’s a whole lot of time to sort of be like, Hey man, how are you? But she does love her and she has great affection for all of ’em.

“[The White Pages Were] Bastardized To Actually Create Socio And Psychopaths”

Mantegna has played David Rossi for over a decade. He broke down what about this season and exploring Rossi’s trauma has stood out to him. This has been especially true with how prominent his vulnerability has been this season as his facade cracks.

Joe Mantegna: This is really a chance to really show a vulnerability of the character who pretty much has tried to be invulnerable all his career. He’s always trying to lead the parade and kind of likes to go his own way and tends to be a little cocky, little this little that. So we’re seeing a real just goes to show that under the right or wrong circumstances, anybody can take a really major hit. And then the now, how do you deal with it? It’s like that saying, I don’t care how many times you fall down. Can you get up? We’ll see, Rossi’s obviously been knocked down pretty good, and we can see that he’s still not quite up yet. Let’s see where that goes.

Felicity, you mentioned the white pages. Can you both talk to me about this responsibility that your characters feel learning that this big Gold Star mess is connecting to something that you both were a part of?

Felicity Huffman: I think she feels very responsible. I mean, it’s something that they developed 18-17 years ago for the greater good to save children. And then it was bastardized to actually create socio and psychopaths. So you have a responsibility, or she feels a responsibility to go back and uncover it and see how, if they can make it right, because it’s terrible when people use your plans for ill purposes.

Joe Mantegna: Exactly right. It’s bad enough when it’s coming from an external source, but when you feel like you have little skin in the game yourself. Makes it all that more intense and affects you more.

Criminal Minds: Evolution

Although the BAU caught Elias Voit last year a new unsub called Gold Star is their new priority when the BAU learns that the DOJ is consulting with Voit on the case. Now, the BAU is forced to work with him to catch Gold Star and hopefully find a way to keep Voit locked up.