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What Drew Rachel Nichols To Criminal Minds' Ashley Seaver?

Rachel Nichols' time on "Criminal Minds" may have been short-lived, but her character Ashley Seaver was a compelling figure in Season 6 of the crime drama. The daughter of an infamous serial killer, Seaver brought a unique perspective to the BAU, and it's this sort of viewpoint that intrigued Nichols the most. During an interview with Pop Entertainment in 2011, the actor admitted that she has something of strange curiosity when it comes to serial killers, so playing Seaver was the perfect opportunity.

"I have a weird affinity for serial killers," Nichols said. "I'm sort of fascinated by them. The idea to play a character with a father who was such a monster but at the same time a father and other things as well was really interesting."

Well, if there's any show where having a self-admitted fascination with the macabre will serve an actor well, it's certainly "Criminal Minds." And Seaver really did bring that complex viewpoint to the show for the half-season she was on there, though it's hard not to wish the show had utilized her for longer. Especially considering that her character was partly based on another famous fictional character who had close ties to serial killers.

Nichols says Seaver was somewhat inspired by Clarice Starling

During the interview with Pop Entertainment, Rachel Nichols talked about the process of getting the role of Ashley Seaver on "Criminal Minds" and she revealed some interesting tidbits about the inspiration for the character. While it may not surprise a lot of fans familiar with their serial killer pop culture history, Seaver is actually inspired pretty heavily by Clarice Starling, the protagonist of "The Silence of the Lambs."

"They said, 'There are elements of Ashley that are very Clarice Starling in that she is driven and motivated and at the top of her class,'" Nichols revealed. "'She's a fighter. She's a go-getter.' She wants to work in the Behavioral Analysis Unit.'"

Given the enduring popularity of "The Silence of the Lambs" and its iconic characters Clarice and Hannibal Lecter, it's not altogether surprising that the "Criminal Minds" team would pull from that well. It would be interesting to see what Seaver is up to nowadays in the "Criminal Minds" universe and given that the series is still going strong with "Criminal Minds: Evolution," it doesn't seem like the possibility is too out there.