TV Fanatic is as excited for tomorrow night's two-part Criminal Minds season finale as you all are, trust us. So when we got the opportunity to chat up Thomas Gibson recently - yes, SSA Aaron Hotchner himself - we jumped at the chance.
We made sure to get some season finale scoop, but also dug deep for the really hard-hitting questions, like... why does everyone have a fetish with Matthew Gray Gubler's socks? And who would make the best real life FBI agent?
Whether you're sad to see Prentiss go, or just want to find out what makes Hotch tick, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy hearing from Gibson as much as I did. He is every bit as awesome as you'd want him to be.
TV Fanatic: What can you tell us about what we can expect from the season finale?
TG: You can expect a very suspenseful and fun ride through the season finale, and also you can expect a nice surprise at the end of it. Which is unusual for us. You know usually there's a smoking gun, there's somebody at the end of the battle. But we've done a great story about a bank robbery that is sort of more than it first appears. There is a wedding, but there's also kind of a twist. When you get to half-way through the two-parter I think you would be hard pressed to know or guess who was going to be married at the end of the second hour.
TVF: What's the best part of playing Hotch, or your favorite thing about him?
TG: I would say his dedication. I think that when people tell me that, if they ever needed the FBI, that they would want him to show up at their door. And that's to me high praise for the character. Because I think he takes the job that seriously. He wants to be the consummate law enforcement professional, he wants to do the right thing at all times.
And there's never really moments when he's on the job that he doesn't hear the clock ticking, that he isn't thinking about somebody else. I mean sometimes to his detriment and to the detriment of everybody around him. But this is as intense as he is…but he's very different from me. And I think it's one of the very interesting and good things about the character.
TVF: Can we get Hotch to smile more? Our readers have commented that they like it when you smile, and I agree.
TG: Well that's very nice of them to say. I think he sometimes feels like there aren't enough hours in the day. He's all for levity but there just isn't enough time when he's working. But yet, when he's home with his son and now with Beth he's very very happy to kick back and relax a bit.
TVF: So in checking out your Twitter, I have to ask - what's up with Matthew Gray Gubler's socks?
TG: Well, they never match, and maybe two years ago when we were all pretty new to Twitter, somebody said, "What socks is Matthew wearing today?" because a few people knew about the socks thing. So I photographed his socks and his feet, and then started photographing everybody's shoes and playing the game of who's feet are these? And then it became like this full on…now I've got this foot fetish thing. But I don't, really. But if that's what the people want, let's let them have it.
TVF: It seems like, personality-wise, everyone on your show is really fun and animated. True?
TG: It's true! We really like each other and we all have a really good time, so it's very cool. Believe it or not it's not always like that on shows.
TVF: Based on those traits, if someone was really an FBI agent in real life, who would make the best one?
TG: Oh, that's a good question. It's hard for me to say. You know, I think we would all bring a certain amount to it. But, um... maybe Joe? I'm not really sure, hard to say. I think an online poll for the fans would be a good way to settle it. (Thanks for the idea, Thomas! Vote now, Criminal Minds fans!)
TVF: The Reaper episodes where you lost Haley were such an outstanding story line. But now we're all happy to see that Hotch has Beth and things are finally looking up, where do you see that all going?
TG: Well, it kind of happened in a really nice, organic way. In fact I did sit down with the writers this year and we kind of mapped it out because it was definitely something that I wanted to see happen for him. And so I think we're going to sit down in the next few weeks again. Because Erica and I, and Janine and I had kind of talked about all of the things that this would mean to him.
And some of the challenges and some of the obstacles. And whether or not Beth was ready for some of the things that happen when you get involved with someone who works in law enforcement. And then this particular guy and his son and what they've both been through. So these are all very interesting points to the character, and we'll deal with them in the coming year.
TVF: We're sad to see Paget Brewster leave, but for you, what will be some of the things that you'll miss most? Or what will be most obviously absent after she's gone?
TG: The Prentiss character is a fantastic character, and I'm hoping that we'll see a little of her this year. I'm not exactly sure, and I know Erica's hoping to keep the door open too. So I'm hoping that we will see her back. But no, there will definitely be a hole. Paget has such a great character and she's a wonderful person, it's just hard to say we won't miss everything about her.
TVF: What are your predictions for season 8? Are there any guest stars you'd like to have on, since you guys had a lot of that this year?
TG: Our casting department does an amazing job with casting the show. I'm just sort of sitting back and getting ready for them to throw another great season of guest stars at us. What is interesting is that, there's the bad guy - the Unsub - and there's lots of great parts that get written for guest stars. And it's been really fun to see the wide range of actors that you've know come on, and some that you haven't known before but then once you work with them you see...
I think we had Melissa Leo in Season 2 playing a sheriff in an episode with Keith Carradine and then she goes on to do such terrific work in The Fighter. So it's been really cool and we're just excited to see who April and Scott can bring in next season.