Matthew Gray Gubler never set out to be an actor. Now, the 33-year-old Las Vegas native is about to enter rarified air by starring in one of very few series to reach its 200th episode.
That feat is all the more surprising given an inauspicious start for “Criminal Minds.”
Never considered a sexy show despite boasting some pretty serious eye candy — in addition to Gubler, a former model, series regulars include Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson — the drama routinely was overshadowed in its timeslot by the buzzier “Lost.”
Despite its horrifyingly grim crimes of the week, Midwestern grannies kept the series on the air until it could find its footing, as well as a larger audience.
On Wednesday (9 p.m., KLAS-TV, Channel 8), the drama set in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit turns 200 with an episode devoted to the kidnapping of JJ (A.J. Cook) and the time she spent in the State Department.
It’s a special episode for a couple of other reasons: It marks the return of Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), and it’s missing the disturbing, yecch-inducing moments that became “Criminal Minds’ ” calling card.
For long stretches, though, the hour also is missing Gubler’s character, Dr. Spencer Reid, who’s proven to be a vital part of the series over the years. The Asperger-y genius, who, like Gubler, was born and raised in Las Vegas, has had an eventful 199 episodes, including being shot in the leg, infected with anthrax and held hostage at different times by both Luke Perry and James Van Der Beek.
To put into perspective just how impressive Gubler’s run has been, Dr. Reid has now been around for more episodes than many certain first-ballot TV Character Hall of Famers, including Lucy Ricardo, Barney Miller, Alex P. Keaton, Cosmo Kramer, Thomas Magnum, Jack Tripper, Gomer Pyle, Mary Richards and Rob and Laura Petrie.
■ Special screenings: Most of you will be thinking only about the Super Bowl, but Sunday also is Groundhog Day. To celebrate, the 1993 Bill Murray comedy of the same name is returning to theaters for the day. See it at 2 p.m. Sunday, or at 2 or 7 p.m. Wednesday, at Sam’s Town, Santa Fe, South Point and Suncoast. And the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Antonin Dvorak’s “Rusalka,” starring Renee Fleming, will be broadcast live at 9:55 a.m. Saturday at the Cannery, Colonnade, The Orleans, Sam’s Town, Santa Fe, South Point and Village Square.
Contact Christopher Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4567.