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Thomas Gibson Caught Up in Dark 'Criminal Minds' Including Maj. Nidal Hasan

Nov 17, 2009

"Criminal Minds" starts its holiday production break around Dec. 18, and from the way Thomas Gibson makes it sound, it might be just in time. Gibson, who stars as Unit Chief Agent Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner in the CBS drama about an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country's most twisted minds, stresses that he loves the series, but says, "It does get kind of depressing."
Thomas Gibson Caught Up in Dark 'Criminal Minds' Including Maj. Nidal Hasan

Thomas Gibson Caught Up in Dark 'Criminal Minds' Including Maj. Nidal Hasan

"In fact, when we sit around for readings of scripts about the most dark and depraved side of society, we think, 'Wouldn't it be nice to do a comedy?' The thing that keeps us going is the fact the profilers we're portraying are incredibly heroic people -- and it's our responsibility to show the work they're doing in a positive light."

He adds, "I've gotten to know quite a few actual FBI profilers. I asked one, who just retired after 20 years, how he had kept it from getting to him, and he said he felt he had been very lucky to work with some of the most fascinating minds imaginable."

Gibson says his years of work on the show have made him understandably fascinated about the mind of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the alleged gunman responsible for the horrendous Fort Hood massacre Nov. 5. "I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to assume I knew what was going on in his mind, but from the coverage, it seems he didn't expect to survive, and the fact he did means they may be able to find out his motives from him. It's a horribly tragic thing."

The personable actor is looking forward to happy times during his series' holiday break with his wife, their three children and Ursa, the dog that wandered into the Gibsons' back yard last Christmas Eve and proceeded to make himself part of the family. Thomas relates, "He was our best Christmas present. He's very smart, very sweet, a very good watch dog and we cut out the middle man -- we didn't even have to go to the animal shelter for him."

PRECOGNITIVE SCRIPT: Sarah Chalke has been enjoying being back in her "Scrubs" gear as Dr. Elliot Reid filming shows for the series' Dec. 1-debuting new season "that's centered around a med school with all these young cast members, John C. McGinley's character (Dr. Cox), and Turk (Donald Faison). It's been so much fun to be back and see everybody," she says. "I'm doing around four episodes and then I'll go have the baby. I was tired at the beginning of the pregnancy, then loaded with energy in the middle. I can feel that tired is starting to come back now."

Chalke, who is expecting next month with her fiance, attorney Jamie Afifi, says that the show "definitely parallels real life" in terms of her pregnancy. She and Zach Braff are on hand to help launch the new version. He's reportedly aboard for six episodes. And his character's flash-forward at the end of last season has become true -- J.D. and Elliot have married and are expecting. Chalke smilingly notes, "That flash-forward -- I was obviously not pregnant at that time because we filmed it over a year ago."

The beautiful Chalke will also be heard Dec. 1 as the voice of the elf who serves as Santa's command center coordinator on the animated Disney special "Prep & Landing."

"My character is a multi-tasker; she can do 10 things at once. She wears jingle-bell jewelry. And she has an obsession with scalding hot lattes -- she chugs eggnog lattes in giant bowl mugs. She's up around the clock," describes the actress. Dave Foley also provides a star voice for the special -- the first Walt Disney animation special for ABC, produced by John Lasseter.

THE SOUND OF THINGS TO COME: Katharine McPhee's "Had it All" single has been described by critics and fans alike as having a decidedly country inflection, and the songstress, who rose to fame on "American Idol," has been working in Nashville. Does that mean she's heading in a country direction? The sound, she says, "wasn't intentional." And, "I don't ever foresee myself going into full-blown country music. I don't know if the country fans would accept a girl from California," she says. (Get this girl to the Country Music Museum in Bakersfield!) "Mine is more of a folkie pop sensibility." She does enjoy country music, though. "I'm kind of like a closet country lover. I love a lot of different kinds of music," she says. "I grew up with the standards in the Great American Songbook, and I love those, too."

THE BIG-SCREEN SCENE: Casting forces on "Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend" have been on the lookout for look-alikes for the young Aretha Franklin and the late Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. The movie, a faux "never-before-seen" 1970 documentary, is due to roll next month in L.A. -- with comic and spoof specialist Ross Patterson as the title guy, who imitates guitar licks orally.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster.


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