Aubrey Plaza Previews 'Grueling' Criminal Minds Guest Stint — Plus, Watch an Exclusive Sneak Peek

On this Wednesday’s Criminal Minds (9/8c, CBS), Parks and Recreation‘s Aubrey Plaza ventures way outside her wheelhouse to play a gun-toting, bomb-planting psychopath who traps Matthew Gray Gubler’s Reid in a date from hell.

Press PLAY above for an exclusive peek at Plaza’s madwoman in action, and then scroll down to read my Q&A with the wickedly droll actress, during which she reveals, well… how the hell she ended up on Criminal Minds (hint: Gubler, her co-star in 2014’s Life After Beth, played a key role).

TVLINE | Was it fun playing a psychopath?
It was hard. I don’t know if fun is the right word. It was challenging. And things that are challenging are fun for me. I like a good challenge.

TVLINE | What was challenging about it?
When you’re playing someone that’s a murderer you have to justify [their actions]. You have to dig deep and go to a dark place.

TVLINE |  Are you telling me that you never committed murder?
No, Michael. By the way, what’s your address? And what time do you go to sleep at night?

TVLINE |  I was surprised when I heard you were going to be on Criminal Minds. The show’s not exactly a laugh-riot.
I know. Isn’t that crazy?

TVLINE | Was that the point? To do something that defied people’s expectations of you?
Matthew and I are friends and he sent me the script and said, “I know this sounds crazy, but this is a really special episode and it involves my character and… would you read it?” So I read the script and it’s basically a 65-page psychological thriller. To be totally honest, I haven’t watched much of the show. I just thought playing that role would be really fun. There aren’t many opportunities for me to play a psychopath that has planted a bomb in a restaurant and who’s holding a gun under a table trying to kill an FBI agent. That’s some juicy stuff. I don’t care what show it’s on.

TVLINE | The whole episode is just the two of you in this restaurant?
Yeah. Am I allowed to say that?

TVLINE | Sure you are. I imagine you had to memorize a lot of dialogue.
Oh, yeah. It was crazy. I’ve never had to memorize more dialogue in my life. Paragraphs of dialogue. And shooting a one-hour drama is grueling. I had no idea. It’s quite different from Parks and Recreation.

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  1. Joyce Smith says:

    They have fun picking on each other. It should be good!

  2. Yes!!! I am so looking forward to this episode. I dearly hope the writer (I’m looking at you Breen) does not flub this episode, because honestly, this is the most excited I’ve been for a Criminal Minds episode this season (which has veered to the weaker side, in my opinion).

  3. Angela says:

    I love that Gubler had a hand in getting her this role :D. And I’m glad she was able to get so caught up in the storyline and have fun with it, grueling though it might’ve been :p. I imagine it would be pretty tough to prep for a role like that. But judging from the clip, she seemed to pull it off okay, so…
    Fun interview. She seems so cool :). Look forward to the episode, and Reid’s return at that. I missed him the last few episodes.

  4. Mrs.R says:

    Sadly this seems to be all about one of the ‘team’…. and that holds no interest for me….I think I’d rather watch Mythbusters…. After 11 yrs of being loyal to this show, the writer’s of this show have decided that only 1 or 2 of the ‘team’ is important, and that has severely dented my loyalty…. The writer’s have turned the others into infantile caricature’s of the characters they’re supposed to be. I for one hope that this is the last year.. and with what episodes are left these writer’s at least do a decent wrap up for ALL the characters…

    • Autumn says:

      Well, this IS Reid’s first centric episode in a couple (or more ) years, so I think it’s well deserved as the rest of the team has gotten time to shine.But to each their own.

      • Angela says:

        Er…he’s had episodes centered on him, or where he’s at least been heavily involved in the action, within the last couple years. I can name three from season 10 right offhand: “Rock Creek Park” (where he asked that girl out in Russian at the end), “Nelson’s Sparrow”, and “Hero Worship” (involving him dealing with Gideon’s passing).

        • Autumn says:

          There hasn’t been really any Reid-centric episodes in the past couple of years. Rock Creek, despite having GOOD Reid, was a team episode (a very nice one), Nelson’s Sparrow and Hero Worship were also both team ones that just had him mourning, is all.

          • Angela says:

            There was still a decent amount of focus on him, though, in all of them, and I think there was a little more to his thing with Gideon than “just mourning”, so it counts in my book. *Shrugs* I’m all for more episodes focusing on him, don’t get me wrong, and I’d be all for a good season-long storyline with him, ’cause it has been a while since he’s had that. But it seems strange to me for people to say he’s had no focus in general, too.
            I just find the screentime/attention debate odd in general, though. Reid’s my favorite character, yes, and most of my favorite episodes center on him, but I like the others, too, and enjoy their episodes and storylines as well. I’ll grant that maybe sometimes the rotation could be more even, but still, it’s not something that really bothers me.

        • Autumn says:

          I still think that the episodes mentioned, were team focused/centric. When I say centric, I’m meaning, it’s actually his storyline, not shared. He shared the focus with the other teammates in the episodes (which is fine), he hasn’t had a real centric focus in years. Rossi has had the friend and the daughter ones, Hotch, Stratch (among others, but he, like Reid, has not had much as of late), Morgan, his girlfriend thing, Garcia, well, tons this season, JJ, tons from seasons 7-10.

          Anyways, that my two cents.

        • ria says:

          Huh? It’s Reid/MGG who has been most ignored for these years, IDIOT!

          • Angela says:

            You DO realize name-calling doesn’t help make your arguments more convincing, right? Nor do insults about people’s ages (you’re going to be “old” one day, too, after all).

      • ria says:

        Leave her alone.
        She is too old to count the screetime and can’t realize how much time her fav character, Hotch, has been taking of all the episodes.

    • joyce.vandegrift Smith says:

      Seeing as Gubler has been missing from the last 4 episodes, I’m glad this one is focused on him. Oh and, bye!

      • ria says:

        But tvline idiot should have interviewed Matthew. So rude!

        • Angela says:

          This site HAS interviewed Matthew before, actually. And they probably will again someday, when needed. How about you quit telling them how to run their site and calling people idiots?

    • ria says:

      Your beloved Hotch has been taking most of time for all these years even when fans’ OBVIOUS favorite is Reid.

  5. Sassy, confident Reid is the Best Evar. I love it when he recognizes his power and uses his smarts to manipulate and outwit the UnSub. And yeah, as soon as I saw Aubrey was on it was like… OF COURSE he had a hand in getting her the role. They used to insult-tweet each other constantly right after Life After Beth was released, it was hilarious.

    I’ve missed Reid so. This is gonna be such FUN!

  6. Tapiocaa says:

    I read the interview and was excited about it. Then I watched the clip and her acting was forced and awful and I was out.

  7. Stacy says:

    What is it about guest casting that convinces me to watch shows? Okay, fine. You win, CBS.

  8. Sooo looking forward to this one! I hope they don’t mess it up. It’s been years since Reid has had a proper centric episode and after missing him the last 3 episodes it’s about time he had some serious focus. Fingers crossed it lives up to expectation!

  9. Whatevah says:

    I’m just happy Reid is back. I’ve missed him!

  10. Daniel Armour says:

    I’ve never watched this show before but I like Aubrey Plaza and I think it’s cool she’s going outside her wheelhouse, so I might give this a watch.

  11. VJ says:

    I´m so looking forward to this ! I missed Reid in the past couple episode and wondered what that was all about, so I certainly will enjoy this one. Then again: why don´t I find this clip comforting when there are these rumours that one of the main characters is leaving the series? (also, it is this kind of season with my favourite NCIS character leaving and the feeling that Raul Esparza is leaving SVU at the end of the season when Warren Leigh goes….).

  12. I’m already predicting this will be the best episode ever! Can’t wait!

  13. drhenning says:

    For all of you who decided not to watch based on the clip, that was your loss to see it live.. It was one fine episode of CM…It’s always interesting to see comedic actors/actresses in heavy drama roles. And Aubrey was terrific.