'Criminal Minds' Joe Mantegna: 'If we get 17-year-old golfers and Jennifer Hudson, we're really running the gamut'

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joe-mantegna-criminal-minds-cbs.jpg Zap2it: Does it surprise you that being eight seasons into the run of the show, the writers of "Criminal Minds" are still able to come up with so many different kinds of crimes and perpetrators?

Joe Mantegna: I am ... and yet again, you'll see something come on the news and realize, "Oh, that'll be an episode." Once again, the truth trumps fiction, in the sense that there's just so many odd and weird and strange things. If you can think it, it's probably happened.

When you talk to our FBI guys -- the ones who are our technical advisers -- they make it sound like, "Oh, please. You haven't even scratched the surface if you really want to start digging stuff up, let alone make stuff up from the writers' imaginations." You'd be surprised how much of it comes from things that have happened. There's a ton of it out there, unfortunately.

Zap2it: What's your reaction when you hear that such celebrities as Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson are "Criminal Minds" devotees, as she told us recently?

Joe Mantegna: Well, that's what I mean about the ones who are into it. I was recently reading a golf magazine, and Lexi Thompson -- who's, like, this 17-year-old phenom -- replied to one of those things where they ask, "What's your favorite TV show?" And she wrote, "'Criminal Minds.'' So my thought is, "If we get 17-year-old golfers and Jennifer Hudson, we're really running the gamut here."
Photo/Video credit: CBS