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Why Criminal Minds' Intense Subject Matter Doesn't Bother Joe Mantegna

For the better part of its original 15-season run on CBS, "Criminal Minds" was viewed by many as one of the most thrilling procedural dramas on network television. It was, of course, seen by just as many to be one of the most genuinely disturbing. That last bit is largely because the series spent the bulk of its time following a crack team of FBI analysts (known as the Behavioral Analysis Unit) as they try to solve murder and missing persons cases by cracking the twisted psyches of the perpetrators.

As one might expect, things get pretty intense as the BAU crew tracks down these criminals, often uncovering a trail of bodies in their wake. Both grisly crime scenes and vicious acts of violence were often depicted in vivid detail on the show, so much so that it's a safe enough bet even some of the series stars likely had trouble keeping their eyes open at times. However, longtime "Criminal Minds" star Joe Mantegna was not among them, as the actor claimed he never let the series' heavy subject matter get to him. 

Mantegna has too much respect for law enforcement pros to let Criminal Minds subject matter get to him

Joe Mantegna joined the cast of "Criminal Minds" in 2007, and he has portrayed Dave Rossi, a key member of the B.A.U. crew, in every season of the series since. He's due to come back into the B.A.U. fold when Paramount+ airs the series revival later this year as well (per The Wrap). That fact alone signals that Mantegna has found ways to manage his response to the more disturbing aspects of "Criminal Minds" over the years. When asked about the show's seedier side during a 2018 interview with Today, the actor made clear such subject matter doesn't upset him in the least. "I often get asked that," Mantegna said. "'Does it bother me?' But you know what? It doesn't."  

Mantegna continued by offering how he believes letting the fictional crimes on the show affect him or his role would be a disservice to those who do the job in real life, saying, "The reason it doesn't is that, to me, it would be an insult to the real men and women who really do that job." For those who don't know, Mantegna has long been an outspoken supporter of law enforcement and military veterans (per VA News). It's hardly a surprise that he'd want to pay his own respects on the job.