Tatum O’Neal to Guest Star on ‘Criminal Minds’; Adam Rodriguez Teases ‘Super Dark’ Episode

Criminal Minds - Adam Rodriguez
"Seek and Destroy" -- The BAU team investigates a series of home invasions in upscale neighborhoods in San Diego involving casualties, on CRIMINAL MINDS, Wednesday, Jan. 11 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Adam Rodriguez (Luke Alvez) Photo: CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Academy Award winner Tatum O’Neal has nabbed a guest-starring role on an upcoming episode of CBS’s Criminal Minds, TV Insider has learned.

In the episode, written by Virgil Williams and set to air this spring, O’Neal plays a conflicted and heartbroken mother of a depraved serial killer (played by Aidan Bristow) and the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) works with her to try to stop him. O’Neal’s guest role comes on the heels of news earlier this week that Lost alum Harold Perrineau would be joining in a story arc later this season.

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The installment has Criminal Minds actor Adam Rodriguez excited since he’ll be sharing many scenes with O’Neal. The actor, who joined the cast last fall in the role of Luke Alvez, told us Friday morning at a CBS Studios breakfast during the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, “The case [in the episode] is super dark. It’s basically about this mother trying to connect with her son and her son is just too far gone. This damage that was done, he blames her for it, she couldn’t protect him from it.”

Tatum O'Neal

Tatum O’Neal (Getty)

Rodriguez says Alvez is key to trying to get information from O’Neal’s character in order to bring her son to justice. “I’m trying to build a rapport with her to get closer to her son’s way of thinking and hopefully figure out what he is going to do next or where we can find him,” he says. “Through those scenes we get to have this intimacy in terms of exchanging information and me trying to basically befriend her enough to get her to share something that she might not think is relevant but actually is.”

While the series, currently in its twelfth season, routinely hits on dark subject matter, Rodriguez adds this episode surprised him. “The episode is the most gruesome that I’ve seen in my time on the show. It’s a tooth grinder. You’ll be watching it and cringing with every part of your body.”

Having guest starred on a number of series (like Empire last season), Rodriguez knows a thing or two about being an actor coming in and working with a show’s regular cast. “The best thing you can always do is come prepared so that the work isn’t a roadblock and you can really dive right in and start getting comfortable with each other and that only makes the scenes stronger. When you get a veteran and someone who has been working so well and as long as Tatum has for all these years, that happens very easily. I’m looking forward to it.

O’Neal won an Academy Award at the age of 10 for her role alongside father Ryan O’Neal in Paper Moon as well as starred in other films like The Bad News Bears and Little Darlings. On television, the actress recurred on Rescue Me and has guested in such series as Sex and the City and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Before joining Criminal Minds, Rodriguez’s television roles included a regular role on CSI: Miami as well as recurring roles on Jane the Virgin, The Night Shift and Ugly Betty. On the big screen, the actor appeared in Magic Mike and its sequel and is featured in the upcoming big screen adaptation of the television series, CHiPs.

Criminal Minds, Wednesdays, 9/8c, CBS