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Matt's Inside Line: Scoop on Criminal Minds, Body of Proof, Ringer, Sons of Anarchy, More

What is Uncle Sam’s beef with the BAU? What’s cooking on Body of Proof? How will Sons of Anarchy make way for a SAMCRO member’s abrupt exit? Read on for those answers, plus other teases from TV’s hottest shows.

Criminal Minds | I came away from that Season 7 premiere photos with two big questions. For starters, why is the BAU team being grilled in a Senate hearing led by guest star Mark Moses (Desperate Housewives)? Simply said, Joe Mantegna explains that the lengths the team goes to in the name of clearing the way for “dead” Prentiss to come out of hiding “becomes a political thing.” Adds Thomas Gibson, “We still have integrity, but we did a few things that are borderline illegal, and [Moses’ character] has some pertinent questions about that.” Question No. 2: What’s with the scruff, Hotch? Turns out the boss man sprouted the beard for an undercover gig in Pakistan. Though it’s shorn by the time of the hearing, could it make an encore? Especially since some of the lady fans seem to luhrve it? “Well… I don’t know,” Gibson told us with a coy shrug. “Maybe. Maybe not.”

Scoop: Criminal Minds Season 7 Gets Personal, Bringing Back JJ’s Baby Daddy and More

Body of Proof | You may ask, “What’s cooking with the sophomore season of this ABC procedural?” But did you ask that literally? TVLine’s Inside Line has learned exclusively that Robert Irvine — of Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible – has been booked for a guest star role. Specifically, Irvine will play Leon Gould, an enthusiastic professional chef with an upbeat manner who is questioned by the investigators about a murder. Hmm, a chef as a person of interest? I’m calling it here and now: The butler did it!

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The Big Bang Theory | While speaking with Kaley Cuoco for this Vegas Magazine cover story, I asked for a sneak peek at the coming season of her Emmy-nominated CBS comedy. She said that considering how Penny wound up in bed with Raj in the May finale, the early run of new episodes will cover “alllll the aftermath. I mean, I don’t know how shes going to come back from that! It took her four years to really be close with these guys, and now she’s kinda ruined it a little.” At the very least, she says it will set back any rekindling of Penny’s romance with Leonard “a little longer.” Whatever the fallout, that season-ending “walk of shame” scene stands as one of Cuoco’s all-time favorites. “There was something about all five of us, the core, ending up in the apartment together and looking at each other like, ‘OK, we’re four seasons in and this is where we’ve ended up,’ that was just kind of a beautiful.”

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Ringer | Jason Dorhing’s return to primetime TV struck quite a nerve for many of you, so at a Wednesday night event touting The CW’s new wares, we sought out some details on the high school teacher the Veronica Mars alum will be playing. Juliet (Suite Life‘s Zoey Deutch), the teenage stepdaughter of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Siobhan, “has been tossed around from school to school, so she hasn’t found anyone who’s believed in her and taken the time to inspire her,” Ringer EP Nicole Snyder shared. “That’s the character Jason plays — someone who sees thing in her and invests some time in her.” Hmm, we’ve seen Life Unexpected and Pretty Little Liars. Could this “quality time” lead somewhere taboo? Snyder responds, “We promise the audience this: Although it seems like we’re going down a familiar path, we are going to take it in a new direction.”

Video: Ringer Men Talk Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lost Love, Buffy Comparisons

Sons of Anarchy | As you can tell from the well-watched season premiere, Kozik served his brothers well during their 14-month incarceration – but he won’t be hanging with the gang for much of this new cycle, now that Kenny Johnson has joined the cast of NBC’s Prime Suspect, as the recast husband of Maria Bello’s homicide cop. But don’t retire Kozik’s cuts just yet. As series boss Kurt Sutter told me, “I’d like to leave the door open for him to come back, so my sense is that he will go out in a very utilitarian way. We’re not going to kill him off or do anything brutal like that.” After all, Sutter “jokes,” “You know those network shows – it won’t last, and he’ll be available again in seven months!”

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If there’s a show or hot topic you’d like the Inside Line on, email mattmtvguy@gmail.com, and maybe it’ll get some love the next time around! (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)