Gary Sinise Cast as Lead in ‘Criminal Minds’ Spinoff
After starring on CSI: NY for nine seasons, Gary Sinise is no stranger to crime procedurals, or to CBS. So it’s no big shock that he’ll be returning to the network, just two years after leaving it.
Sinise has been cast as the lead in the upcoming spinoff of Criminal Minds, one of the more successful crime dramas in the CBS lineup. The show will center on “a division of the FBI that helps American citizens who find themselves in trouble abroad.” Sinise will play the role of Jack Garrett, “a twenty-year veteran of the Bureau, who is currently in charge of the FBI’s top team for handling cases involving Americans abroad.”
A backdoor pilot will be shot next month, to air later this season as an episode of Criminal Minds. It’s an approach that has worked for CBS in the past, as NCIS: New Orleans was able to coast on the momentum from its backdoor pilot last season, in the NCIS two-parter “Crescent City,” to become this season’s #1 new show. The pilot for the spinoff will be written by Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer.
“Well, the first lesson is do it better,” said CBS chairman Nina Tassler, addressing the failure of the first Criminal Minds spinoff, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, back in 2011. “One of the things I will say is Erica Messer, who is doing this incarnation of the spin-off, Erica has been a part of Criminal Minds since day one, from when the show first launched. She has been key in the show continuing to blossom and grow and evolve in these past couple of years … So I think having Erica behind it, she’s an extraordinary writer, one of the best showrunners in our business. So I think that is one of the key differences from the previous spin-off to what we’re doing now.”
If nothing else, Sinise will provide a strong anchor for the series, since he was one of the best aspects of CSI: NY, even as the quality of the series declined in later seasons. He’s an actor’s actor, bringing a certain gravitas to every project he’s in, whether it’s a prestige project or an hourlong network crime drama. He’s the sort of actor a series like this badly needs. Of course, he can’t hold this thing together on his own. A lot of the success or failure of this spinoff will depend on the actors they get to fill out the ensemble. Here’s hoping they can find some actors on Sinise’s level.