During Criminal Minds’ fifteen season run, the team battled a lot of unsubs. They all live on via reruns, but most of them, of course, eventually blend into each other in the minds of all but the most obsessive fans. There are a few notable exceptions, of course, one being James Van Der Beek’s three-headed, multiple-personality serial killer Tobias Hankel. The character was featured in a two episode run that began after the Super Bowl and is remembered not only for the extra eyeballs it got but also for Van Der Beek’s memorable performance, which was not easy to pull off.
If there was any evidence needed for how memorable the turn was, look no further than the fact that the actor is still being asked about it more than ten years later. The most recent chat occurred during a discussion with TV Insider, and during it, James Van Der Beek talked about the hardest part of pulling off the role…
You just never quite know how it’s all going to come out until you see how your performance actually looks through the camera. I would imagine it’s a moment of nerves for even seasoned actors with a lot of success like Van Der Beek. He confirmed as much in the same chat when he talked about the excitement you feel when you try something and the immediate on-set feedback you get is that it’s working. Here the actor talks about his nerves and the positive feelings when he got a response from those around him in the moment…
It might seem relatively easy to make a detective style procedural, but an overwhelming majority never find the right chemistry between their characters or the right small wrinkle to set themselves apart. Even those that do, however, often fail in the later seasons as they struggle to evolve while trying to hold onto what made it all work in the first place. Criminal Minds saw an unusual amount of cast turnover during its run. Some of that was due to life circumstances. Some of that was due to bad creative decisions and some of that was due to unfortunate incidents. Of course all of this affected the quality some. There were certainly individual seasons that were better than others, but on the whole, you can watch a Criminal Minds episode in Season 2 or one in Season 13 and still see the same spark.
That success is due to the writers, the cast and all of the wonderful guest actors like James Van Der Beek who really bought into their characters, no matter how ridiculous they may have been, and just went for it. The extra effort was worth it, and it’s very appreciated by fans, even more than a decade later.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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