I think a majority of people take for granted how much work goes into a television series. While I'm sure we all recognize the amount of writing, acting and directing that happens, there's much more beyond that, and sometimes a show's crew has to fake an exotic location! Though CBS' Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders has shot on location, sometimes it's way cheaper just to keep everyone at home. An insane amount of work that goes into recreating these locations, however, and showrunner Erica Messer shared some of the craziness that went into creating Season 2 below:
My answer might be different from our production designer's, but Nepal, production-wise, just seemed nuts. We had to go out into the woods --- Nothing You Could Fake in Griffith Park woods --- and make snow. We were done with our season in early December, so it wasn't as cold as January and February had been in Los Angeles, but we were still in a high enough altitude that the snow that we made stuck around. Watching that episode, I felt like, 'Wow, we had to do a whole heckuva lot.' We were outside a lot, it had to look like we were freezing.
It does indeed sound nuts to recreate a snowy Nepal scene in Los Angeles. While snow can fall quite regularly in the Nepal mountains, Los Angeles has gone around 50+ years without measurable snowfall, so the fact they were able to even create lasting snow cover is an achievement by itself! Then you realize that not only do you have to create the fluffy stuff on the ground, you also have to make it look like it's been hanging on trees, off of flowers, and anywhere else where snow would naturally fall. It's not easy, and it's precisely why businesses like "Snow Business" were created: t to relieve the headache of a bunch of crew members. It doesn't sound like the crew of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders got that kind of headache relief, so more power to them if they made it happen on their own.
Recreating mother nature is one thing, but surviving it can be another beast entirely. Everyone talks about how cool it was to shoot shows like Lost or Arrow on islands but no one mentions the potential 8-hour shoots in a humid jungle while bugs bite you and all that. Erica Messer adds Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders to the list as she recalls to TV Line a particularly brutal time shooting in Piru:
But Tanzania was no joke, either. We were out in Piru for days and days and days, with a train station and 23 missing Americans walking around in the hot, hot heat of that. . . . That was, production value-wise, a huge undertaking. When we get off that plane, it has to look like we're in that country. If we don't grab you from the first frame of it, then you're not going to be along for the rest of the ride.
Man, Erica Messer really knows how to give a reality check for show business. Regardless of fandom, I'll be watching the Season 2 premiere of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders out of sheer admiration for the crazy stuff they did to make this season feel authentic! And if it helps anyone's excitement levels, the episode in Nepal will apparently feature murders that have the locals convinced that a Yeti is responsible. Cryptozoological Minds: Beyond Borders, perhaps?
Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders returns this Wednesday on CBS at 10 p.m. ET. If you're a fan of crime shows (and hard work), check it out ,because CBS will drop a show like a sack of potatoes if you don't. Also be sure to check out our midseason premiere guide for anything else that may be coming out this week!