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The Best Time David Rossi Broke Character On Criminal Minds

The CBS crime procedural "Criminal Minds" remains hugely popular with fans. Following the adventures of the criminal profilers working at the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit as they investigate and track down dangerous criminals, the show gave viewers an insight into the darker recesses of the human psyche. The BAU relies on teamwork for its success, with each member bringing their own specialist skillset, including hacker Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), and expert profiler Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler).

Taking over as the team's resident veteran agent from Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) in Season 3, Supervisory Special Agent David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) shared the fatherly seriousness and gravity of his predecessor. The two of them, in fact, had a long history of working together at the FBI. Unlike Gideon, however, Rossi did have a habit of interjecting his serious demeanor with the occasional corny dad joke. 

Given its subject matter of gruesome murder scenes and twisted serial killers, it might surprise to some "Criminal Minds" fans that the on-set atmosphere often lapsed into goofiness and shenanigans. In one classic instance, Joe Mantegna demonstrates his ability to have fun while staying somewhat true to character.

A blooper shows Mantegna's comic improvisation skills

In a compilation of lighthearted pranks and bloopers from the set of "Criminal Minds," Joe Mantegna is seen humorously improvising his way through a prop failure. Rossi is calling to his dog, a chocolate lab named Mudgie who viewers met in Rossi's first-ever appearance on the show. Just as Rossi shouts, "Go get it Mudgie! Get it!" a prop plant appears in the foreground, slowly leans to the left, obscuring Mantegna's face, before falling over as Mantegna continues to shout to the dog, "Good boy! Good boy!"

Mantegna was apparently un-phased by the toppling plant. Remaining somewhat in character, he lightheartedly riffs on the moment by picking up his cell phone and reporting the event to his fictional boss, Assistant Director Erin Strauss (Jayne Atkinson). Mantegna shouts into his phone, "Strauss! We're having a hurricane here!" cracking up the crew whose laughter we can hear in the background. It's telling that Mantegna not only maintains his cool and quick-wittedly improvises a joke during the moment, but that he also creatively weaves the event into a comical in-world disaster. Perhaps it reflects his origins as an award-winning theatre actor (via IBDb); live stage performance requires actors to stay in character and work through the moment without the benefit of retakes, no matter what happens.