How ‘Midnight Mass’ Helped Zach Gilford Nab His Role on ‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’

Zach Gilford in 'Criminal Minds: Evolution'
Michael Yarish/Paramount+

Zach Gilford is messing with our heads! After we met the Criminal Minds: Evolution monster dubbed Sicarius, the end of Episode 2 revealed Elias Voit to be a family man in a sunny Seattle home. (Gilford’s real-life wife, Kiele Sanchez, plays his TV spouse.) In Episode 3, “Moose,” Gilford’s Elias got even darker. (Thankfully, he didn’t kill the dog.) And things are only getting more confounding from here as the series juxtaposes Elias’s dark deeds with his home life.

Fans know Gilford as the sweet Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights. His transformation into an insidious villain is certainly showing an unseen side of the star. Here, the actor shares the joy of being bad.

You finally get to go dark!

Zach Gilford: I feel like Midnight Mass got me this part. Everyone always thought of me as [Friday Night Lights’] Matt Saracen, the nice guy who does no wrong, and my Mass character was flawed and morose but still good. I think the creators of Criminal Minds were like, “Oh, he can be dark.”

Zach Gilford in 'Criminal Minds: Evolution'

Michael Yarish/Paramount+

What is Elias’ story?

He’s a cyber-security analyst, which explains how he set up his serial-killer network. But he’s also the father of two and when he’s home, he’s a loving dad. Later on, we will get more into his origin story. It’s such a twisted ride because you start to lose track of all the bad stuff he does.

He’s got everyone fooled!

What we’re doing, which they’ve never done [to this extent], is humanizing the unsub. We’re going home with him. All these serial killers are people — not just guys hiding in a creepy basement all day doing murder. They have to function in the world.

Had you been a fan of Criminal Minds?

I’ve had a bittersweet relationship with it because I auditioned for the pilot and didn’t get it. [Laughs] It was always the one that got away.

Criminal Minds, Thursdays, Paramount+