Criminal Minds: Evolution - Zach Gilford Found Playing A Serial Killer Fun (Mostly)

For some TV fans, Zach Gilford will forever be known for playing Dillon High's tender-hearted QB-1 Matt Saracen on "Friday Night Lights." But if you've been tracking the actor's career since, you know he's spent the last decade-plus stretching himself in compelling ways. That includes playing Elias Voit on "Criminal Minds: Evolution," which is about as far from his "Friday Night Lights" role as you can get. 

Voit is, of course, the nefarious unsub the BAU faced off against in the inaugural season of "Evolution," with said storyline giving viewers unprecedented access to the serial killer's seemingly average everyday life throughout. And as Gilford told Parade of playing the part, that game-changing approach is what drew him to the role. 

"The cool thing is now what we're doing that you've never done before is going home with the unsub," Gilford explained. He went on to admit that exploring both parts of Voit's life was also pretty fun, stating, "We see who he is in the world ... we get to show that side of him and I think it's fun."

As Gilford later explained, part of the enjoyment in playing Voit is in subverting audience expectations, noting, "You might be sympathetic to him at times. And then we'll get to scenes where I'm doing nefarious things where you're like, 'Oh, my God, this is that guy?' I was just rooting for him." At the same time, Gilford also admitted that playing Voit is not much fun when Voit does get his hands bloody.

Gilford had a little trouble playing some of the darker scenes for his Criminal Minds: Evolution role

"Criminal Mind: Evolution" fans might be quick to tell you that Elias Voit indeed got his hands dirty on several occasions during Season 1. Given his incarceration at season's end, Voit will likely draw a little less blood himself in Season 2, giving Zach Gilford a bit of a reprieve from wet work on the show.

Still, even pretending to do some of the vile things Elias Voit did throughout "Evolution" clearly put Gilford on edge, with the actor admitting to Parade, "Some of the icky stuff we have to do, even though the people get up, it is not fun to do." In particular, Gilford had a pretty real issue with his character's ongoing use of handguns. "I hate guns," he plainly stated, going on to say, "So anytime in any movie I've ever been in when I have to pretend to shoot a gun, I hate it." As Gilford added, that includes roles that find him on the right side of the law.

The "Midnight Mass" star continued by saying, "Pretending to kill someone is not fun either, whether it be with a gun or who knows what." Given his clear distaste for committing onscreen acts of violence of any kind, it's a wonder Gilford ultimately opted to claim the role of Elias Voit on "Criminal Minds: Evolution." But there's little question that fans of the show are beyond happy he's continuing to push himself into bold, if sometimes grisly, new territory as an actor.