Don't get Janeane Garofalo wrong — she's happy to be working on Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, the upcoming spin-off of the popular CBS crime procedural. In fact, she even named her new dog Unsub, after a bit of the show's jargon.
It's just that she sometimes wonders, does the show have to be so creepy? "I don't mean to be such a Puritan about this, but if I had kids, I would not allow them to watch," Garofalo tells TV Guide Magazine. "So why would I be doing a show that I would not allow my kids to watch? That's an issue that I grapple with."
Garofalo, best known for her comic chops, plays Agent Beth Griffith on the series (a premiere date is not yet set), which stars Oscar winner Forest Whitaker. "Women of a certain age who have an ambiguous sexuality tend to play cops, district attorneys, tough-but-fair lawyers," she says drolly. "Especially if you have a deep voice and you're getting old. You just go to the elephant burial ground of crime procedurals. Be that as it may, I'm always grateful for any job. So I'll do it!"
Still, she should've known what she was getting herself into with the gore — this is Criminal Minds, after all. Garofalo watched the original series after becoming involved with Suspect Behavior, but didn't imagine she'd have such an internal struggle with the show's violent content.
"Before I was going to do the show, I had discussions with the producer/creators and was led to believe they would not be so violent," she says. The episode she was shooting at the time of this interview involved a young female corpse being dragged to sundry crime scenes. "I don't believe we need to find these clever ways for somebody to slice somebody up," she adds. "On network TV too many women are being killed — that's every show, across the board — and too many women who seem to look great in their underwear. And I don't like it. Are we really masquerading as a crime show, but really what we're doing is showing a girl in her underwear? I don't like that, and if that's the case, it doesn't square with my conscience."
Garofalo has expressed her concerns to her producers. "To their credit, they'll let me sit in their office and say this — they're very open to it," she says, again adding, "I don't mean to sound like I'm criticizing the show, because I'm thrilled that they want to hire me. I'm still surprised by it."