'FBI' & 'Most Wanted' EP on the Dos & Don'ts of the First Crossover

Ileane Rudolph
FBI Most Wanted Crossover Preview
Preview Mark Schafer/CBS

Prolific producer Dick Wolf's Tuesday hits FBI and FBI: Most Wanted join up for the first time with a gripping two-hour story set in motion by the kidnapping of a busload of kids.

Since Wolf's franchises (Law & Order, the Chicago dramas) are the gold standard of the crossover format, we asked his exec producer Peter Jankowski for some dos and don'ts. 

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The two teams previously crossed paths in an 'FBI' episode before the spinoff premiered.

DO meld the casts

Fans want to see their favorite characters "interact and start to coalesce into a family," says Jankowski. In this instance, Most Wanted's Fugitive Task Force leader Jess LaCroix (Julian McMahon) gets on the case with the FBI’s New York City office because the suspect is a white supremacist he captured years earlier.

In the second hour, FBI special agent OA (Zeeko Zaki, above right, with McMahon) assists the task force as they try to rescue Jess's daughter Tali (YaYa Gosselin), who is inexplicably taken away by ICE. 

FBI Most Wanted Crossover Teams Reveille

(Mark Schafer/CBS)

DON'T shortchange anyone

"You have to give both shows their due and, like with Lego, [make sure] the pieces fit exactly right." 

DO use what you know

"We learned from the Chicago experience," he says. The sets for Fire, Med, and P.D. are so close, "they share a wall." Following suit, only two blocks separate these two Brooklyn-based series.   

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Maggie was offered a job that could be good for her career in 'Broken Promises.'

DO allow the writers input on both shows

This is crucial when it comes to dialogue and remaining true to characters. For example, "the voice of Jess from the second hour needs to be the same voice that it is in the first hour," the exec producer explains. "That gets tricky."

DON'T go to that well too often

"When you do crossovers, you've got to make them count," Jankowski emphasizes. "This may sound strange coming from us, but you can do too many of them." Fans, however, might disagree.

Julian McMahon Jeremy Sisto FBI Most Wanted Crossover

(Mark Schafer/CBS)

FBI-FBI: Most Wanted Crossover, Tuesday, March 24, 9/8c, CBS