Can Matt Simmons stay levelheaded when his wife’s life is in danger on Criminal Minds? That’s the question for “Ex Parte,” which sees the BAU in charge of a hostage situation at the law firm where she works.
Read on for part 1 of BuddyTV’s chat with Daniel Henney to find out how Simmons handles that, what it’s been like transitioning over from the spin-off, Beyond Borders, and more.
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BuddyTV: Can you talk about going from Beyond Borders to Criminal Minds? Have you seen any differences in your character? Is there anything you’ve been able to do that you didn’t before?
Daniel Henney: “I think initially just the transition itself was a challenge. Going to a show that is as big as Criminal Minds, the mothership as we call it, it’s intimidating, and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t step on anyone’s toes. In hindsight now, I’m so surprised at how much of an amazing family they are and how they accepted me. It was seamless. Now it feels like I’ve always been there. It’s like the way it always should have been.
“In terms of the character, I think because we have such a large, ensemble cast and everyone’s able to pull their own weight, which is great, it gives us a chance to take risks. And Criminal Minds, having been around for as long as it has, it always frees up that opportunity, so we’re able to do episodes like [this one], which is basically, it’s about Matt and his wife. I don’t think with a show like Beyond Borders that’s just trying to get started, it’s not as easy to do those character arcs, so it’s nice to be on a show that’s as stable as it is so we can try new things, that’s for sure.
“And the character, I’m just really happy with his trajectory. I’m super-stoked that we got to keep the family involved from Beyond Borders, and it’s just been a great situation all around.”
I have to admit that when we first met your character on Criminal Minds, there’s the line about how his wife is a saint with all the kids. For some reason that line stuck with me and I didn’t want anything to happen to her. Then we have this episode.
“I know, and it’s funny because on Beyond Borders, we had a few episodes with Kelly [Frye], who plays my wife, Kristy, and she’s amazing, and we did an episode in Seoul, Korea, and I was over in Seoul, Korea, because Matt’s roots are Korean, and she was kind of on pins and needles with him being over there, which was fun to play around with.
“I was actually sitting around with some of the writers, and I thought, you know, it would be great sometime in the future if we could ever have a situation, where, Matt, being such a family-oriented guy, if something were to happen to a member of his family. Of course, it sounds kind of morbid in a way, but as an actor and as a writer, that’s fun to play with, so they really went for it. And Christopher Barbour, who wrote the episode, he nailed it, so we’re really excited for you guys to see the episode.”
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Speaking of this week’s episode, what can you preview about the case?
“We get a call from the director, and he’s asking for the BAU’s help with this case which is kind of out of the ordinary because it’s not a normal type of situation for the BAU, where we’re going after a singular killer or an UnSub, if you will. What’s happened is there’s been a hostage takeover at a major corporate law firm. I can’t divulge much, but Kelly’s definitely involved. There’s been multiple hostages taken. They’ve put C4 on all the doors, so no one can get in or get out, and they’re communicating with us just over cell phones. It gets pretty dodgy at a certain point and we find out that the group that is actually holding the hostages is connected with someone who’s actually in prison and they’re trying to facilitate his escape or his release.”
Would you describe this as Simmons’ worst nightmare and toughest case yet? How does he react to his wife being in danger? Do we see him stay levelheaded or want to rush in?
“I think it’s a juggling act for him the whole time, which was real exciting and really scary for me as an actor. Look, at the end of the day, we gotta get through the exposition and the technical stuff that the BAU has to talk about throughout the case, but this time, Matt had to deal with what was going on in the back of his mind the entire time, which was, ‘Is my wife going to die?’ She’s his whole world, and he had to keep it together because the team needed him.
“Prentiss allows him to stay on board, somewhat going against protocol in this situation, and he kind of promises her that he’s going to be okay. She extends an olive branch and says, ‘okay, you can stay, but you have to promise me you’re going to be okay,’ and he tries his best. I’m not going to give anything away, but at a certain point, things get pretty tricky for him and you’ll see it kind of unfold.”
Stay tuned for part 2 of the interview to read the intriguing tease Henney offers about the season finale.
Criminal Minds season 13 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of CBS)