How James Garner Helped Inspire Joe Mantegna’s Character Criminal Minds Exclusive

“First Monday” was an important moment in Joe Mantegna’s life, as it convinced him to work in television. At the time, he was looking for a show that would ground him more and keep him close to home, and television was the answer. As he followed this career path, James Garner gave some advice on character development.


“I remember him saying to me at the time, ‘I know you’ve mostly been in theater and film. Now you’re going to do a series,” Mantegna said. “There is no way to tell how long this will go on, but since there is a possibility that this will go on for a long period of time, try to embrace as much of who you are as possible. [as you can] in that character, because then you have everything to lean on.”

He took Garner’s words to heart when it came to his role in Criminal Minds in 2007. As for David Rossi, Mantegna brought a lot of himself into the role and it helped him when it came to returning to the world of Criminal Minds. : Evolution”.

I did [what Garner said] From the very beginning, when I got the role of David Rossi,” Mantegna said, “I deliberately wanted him to have some aspects of who Joe Mantegna is. I drew on things about myself and my life, whether it’s the fact that I’m Italian-American, that I love food, that I like the music of Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis, my connection to the military… It’s all incorporated into my character, so it wasn’t that hard to get back to it.”

Criminal Minds: Evolution airs Thursdays on Paramount+.


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