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?
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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.