Tuesday, November 21, 2006


FBI profiler inspires actor
Updated 11/21/2006 11:32 PM ET
By Bill Keveney, USA TODAY

CULVER CITY, Calif. — Jim Clemente keeps a picture in his wallet of a boy he helped save as a member of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit.
It reminds him of why he does his job. It reminds the actors on CBS' Criminal Minds of the real people they portray.

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"I saw that he carries this picture with him wherever he goes, and that the saving of these children is what his life is all about," says Mandy Patinkin, who became friends with Clemente during research for his role as BAU profiler Jason Gideon.

Through Patinkin, Clemente established a bond with others connected to the show, providing informal advice about profiling and the BAU.

Now, in a rare occurrence for an agent still with the FBI, Clemente has written a Minds episode, tonight's "Lessons Learned" (9 ET/PT), in which the agents interrogate a Guantanamo Bay detainee in the hope of stopping an imminent terrorist attack in the USA.

Clemente, 47, says the collaboration works well, creating an accurate picture of the BAU for the public and alerting other law enforcement agencies to its services, particularly in cases in which time is of the essence.

"In one hour, they can reach 15 million people," he says.

While researching at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va., Patinkin couldn't quite get his hands around his role until he met Clemente, a former prosecutor who has served with the elite BAU since 1998. "It completely set me free in terms of his humanity, his nature, his kindness and concern," Patinkin says. "I pray that when I talk to him, some of it is left behind in me."

The two also had something in common: cancer. Clemente was on leave from the FBI at the time, undergoing treatment for lymphoma. Patinkin provided support, having recovered from his own bout with cancer.

"Mandy has been a great friend," says Clemente, who spoke on set in late October. With his recovery going well, he was scheduled to return to active duty in the BAU.

One tactic Patinkin learned from Clemente, included in an interrogation scene, is that engaging the subject as a human being and listening carefully can yield needed information.

"If you treat the subject with dignity and respect, that's the best way to promote interaction, to make it more likely that he will talk to you," Clemente says.

If the subject responds, profilers can pick up non-verbal clues. In the case of Middle Easterners, for example, dialect or use of certain words can tell investigators where the subject is from.

Clemente says tonight's episode is fiction, written with the advice of his nephew, a film student. In one scene based on real experience, some team members who haven't flown to Guantanamo are thrown off by the "Gitmo twist," a sharp turning maneuver necessary for landing.

Clemente used the episode to honor a BAU friend and colleague, Andrew Bingaman, who died of lymphoma the day Clemente turned in his episode outline. He named a character after Bingaman. "Andy fought cancer and terrorism with unbounded bravery," Clemente says.



Anonymous said...

great article

Anonymous said...

loved it. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article. Thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

I would like him in my Christmas stocking. Do you think his wife would mind?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

good artical

Anonymous said...

Loved the articale, ta for posting!

Jemma #41

Anonymous said...

Great article. I knew that Clemente carries the picture with him all the time but reading it like this is different.

Sabine #41

JJ said...

Great interview And an amazing article thanks for the up load.

Anonymous said...

this is a fabulous article. it's good to hear about someone from behind the scenes of a show every once in awhile, and it's always fun to learn how a particular episode came about.

jacqui #46