Some entertainment careers are carefully calculated far in advance, while others emerge out of some odd twist of fate. For today’s industry pro, a veteran FBI profiler, a one-time meeting with an actor researching a role turned into a side position as a tech adviser on a network television show. He added freelance writing on the show to the mix, and then producing his own scripted and non-scripted shows, all the while staying true to his passion for educating people on criminal behavior. He couldn’t have planned it better. Read on to find out more…
Current position (or recently-completed project or projects): I have multiple positions at this point. The longest running ones are on “Criminal Minds.” I have been technical adviser since the beginning of the show and I started writing episodes as a freelance writer in the second season. I’m doing both of those things now. When we did the spinoff, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” I was the producer on that show as well as a writer, but unfortunately that one got canceled.
I'm also the tech adviser on a couple of other shows, some new and some that have faded into the past, and I tech advise on features. I have written and co-written some pilots and also produced and been on air-talent on a number of nonscripted series. I've shot four or five different pilots over the past couple of years and executive produced them, as well as being on-air talent. We just finished one, called “Killer Profile,” for its first season.
Lastly, I consult on criminal and civil cases and as an expert in the field of profiling or criminal behavior analysis as well as sex crimes and child abduction. So I still do real cases in the real world and testify as an expert witness.
Hometown: I was born in San Mateo, California and grew up in New York. The last 15 years, I lived in Washington D.C. and Virginia while I was a profiler. I retired three years ago and have been spending most of my time in L.A.
College & degree: I went to Fordham University in the Bronx, New York, majoring in chemistry with a minor in philosophy. I went to Fordham Law School, got a Juris Doctor, and then was a prosecutor in the New York City Law Department after that for three years. While there, I worked a case with the FBI and at the end of that, they recruited me. I was an FBI agent for 22 years.
So when you were a kid, did you aspire to be in law enforcement? And what about entertainment aspirations? How did you end up on the path that you are on? It's kind of a circuitous route. When I was a kid, the only books I ever read were “The Hardy Boys” and “Sherlock Holmes” mysteries. I tried to read all of them, but I read very slowly. Turns out I had dyslexia that was undiagnosed. I thought I was just stupid. Math and numbers were very easy for me so I gravitated toward sciences in school. I always wanted to be a detective, though; I liked figuring things out. I didn't think there would be any connection to law enforcement though. I never even considered the FBI, but when I worked the case with them, the agent I worked with had actually been an attorney, too. He told me that FBI agents were nothing more than federal detectives. I liked that.
It's a year-long process to get in. You go through the background investigations and testing and interviewing. I made it. I thought I would do it for about five years and then become an Assistant United States Attorney, still using my prosecution skills. It was way too fun and way too diverse. It kept me going for 22 years.
Were you based in D.C.? I started out in New York. I got on the Whitewater case so I was in Little Rock, Arkansas for about 14 months. I built a case against Web Hubble, the Associate Attorney General at the time. And then I got transferred to Washington D.C. I worked Cold Case Homicides, and Major Cases. And then I was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent as a profiler and moved down to Quantico where I worked for the last 12 years of my career.
How did the entertainment aspect of it come in? As I said, it was a circuitous route. I had found out I was a dyslexic when I was a junior in college and I started getting these eye exercises to help correct that. I started reading more and more...
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