Bellamy Young Looks Back on Being a 'Little Ray of Light' on 'Criminal Minds'

Bellamy Young Criminal Minds Beth Clemmons Hotch
Q&A
CBS

Criminal Minds may have ended its 15-season run on CBS earlier this year, but you can still get your fill of UnSubs and suspense through reruns, especially with the marathons running all summer on WE tv. And while you relive the darker parts of the series, you'll also find bits of light, especially in the characters' relationships.

Bellamy Young, who currently stars as Jessica Whitly on Fox's Prodigal Son, recurred as (at the time) BAU Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner's (Thomas Gibson) girlfriend, Beth Clemmons, in Seasons 7 and 8. But she was a fan of the series first, "so of course I just enjoyed being there in general," she tells TV Insider.

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Here, Young looks back on playing Beth and has some fun picturing two of her characters in each other's worlds.

What did you know about Beth going in? 

Bellamy Young: I just got the sides to audition for her, and I knew she was a triathlete and would be a potential love interest for Hotch. I can barely walk and talk at the same time, so I knew it would require a bit of acting to pretend to be anything approximating a triathlete. The script I got had a pool scene and a jogging scene, and I was like, "Well, I can pull that off." But when I got the part, the script had a scene where I had to cycle, and I couldn't ride a bike. Through Criminal Minds, I hired a nice man named Ron Peterson to teach me to ride a bicycle and that's what I remember most: Criminal Minds is the reason I can ride a bike.

Criminal Minds Beth Hotch Bicycles Triathlon

(CBS)

Beth came into Hotch's life at a time when he needed her, but do you think she needed him as well? She had lost her father recently when they met.

That's the knowing, right? There's the sadness but also the emptiness, and you recognize it in each other, so yeah, I think it takes, for people to meet and match that well, a knowing and a resonance. They definitely had similar wounds but also good hearts, both of them, so sometimes you can be wounded and not ready to share and heal and grow, but they both were at a place where they were ready. Yeah, I think they met in a really beautifully similar place, although Beth had to be a little more proactive than Hotch was able to be.

I remember him trying to ask her out.

[Laughs] And how cute was Thomas in those scenes, being very befuddled and nervous?

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What did you enjoy most about that relationship? We got to see Beth and Hotch's meet-cute, then Beth meeting Jack…

What I enjoyed most was Beth as a vehicle to show a softer side of Hotch. We got to see him as a dad, as a partner, and just the bit of relief those moments gave also informed how demanding that job is and how good he is at his job. I enjoyed getting to come in to what can be a heavy, focused, dark set and be a part of a little ray of light.

Besides riding a bike, is there an episode or a scene that stands out to you?

We did that big scene out on the dance floor [in the Season 7 finale "Run"]. I remember that night so well because it's such a great bunch of people and that was just a night of particular camaraderie, because most of my stuff was limited with Thomas and the sheer terror of bicycles. [Laughs] But other than that, that's the one that stands out. Everybody together, under the stars, dancing.

Where do you think Beth is today? 

I feel like she's in New York and thriving in her career. I think married. She was definitely gutted when she had to pick the change in her career over getting to stay with Hotch, so I think it would have made her really assess the priority of partnership in her life.

Is there anything that stood out to you as a recurring guest star that made you realize how successful the show would become? 

Like I say, I'd been a fan way before I got on the show. It's a great show and it will always be a great show. It was such a reliable tune-in. It was framed in a literary device and then delivered some really compelling, creepy, but revelatory story every week, so yeah, I certainly thought I was stepping on board to a very sure thing.

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As a fan, what do you think makes the show so bingeable?

They did just the right balance of character and episodic story. You can dip in anywhere and you know who the people are and you're going to get a good, creepy tale. There were so many that I can remember that were stand outs over the years. It doesn't have to be in order. You don't have to watch in a completionist way, but every time you dip in, you know you're going to be satisfied. It just makes it really good for the days we're in now.

And do you have a favorite episode?

No, I don't. I wouldn't even know what to say. I think about the one where he got rid of them by the pigs eating the bodies. That one is seared in my brain. I used to keep a little notebook with the quotes at the beginning because I just thought it was such a brilliant way of framing things. Fifteen years of goodness, what are you going to pick?

Bellamy Young Jessica Whitly Prodigal Son Season 1

Bellamy Young as Jessica Whitly on Prodigal Son (David Giesbrecht/FOX)

Beth was very much separate from the more gruesome parts of Criminal Minds, whereas Jessica is right in the middle of it on Prodigal Son. How would each character do in the other's world?

Beth is way too pragmatic to do well in Jessica's world. She would call everybody on their BS and it just wouldn't go well. It takes a certain bit of roleplay to be in that society position. Beth would not jibe with it at all.

It would be really good for Jessica. I think Jessica would have a really good time just getting to have a job and be in love. It would be great for her.

And take a break from the Whitly family madness.

Yes! Get away from the heavy and get to parent without all the baggage. I think she'd do well.

And without all the blood.

Yes!

Criminal Minds Marathons through September 7, Saturdays 10am-1am, Mondays 4pm-1am, WE tv