'Criminal Minds' Star Matthew Gubler Reveals He Just Graduated Clown School

One of Criminal Minds' stars has a special connection to tonight's clan-themed episode.

Matthew Gray Gubler, who plays Spencer Reid in the CBS crime procedural, directed Wednesday's all-new episode, where the Behavioral Analysis Unit investigates a murderous clown terrorizing the sleepy town of Guymon, Oklahoma. The clown-themed hour, Gubler revealed, was a theme he had always wanted to explore on the series.

"For four years I've been trying to get a clown one happening," Gubler told TVLine. "It was a tough nut to crack — or a tough nose to honk — for Criminal Minds because we're not a supernatural show and the writers wanted to make sure that they could crack it from a psychological standpoint. We finally did, and couldn't be more proud of the outcome."

Gubler revealed the theme holds a special place in his heart, noting that he himself graduated from clown school.

"I've always been fascinated by clowns — I actually just graduated from clown school — so I have a very soft spot for them," Gubler said.

"I'm in love with the concept of a clown because it's very important to laugh at ourselves," he continued. "I feel like every day we wake up and we put on this thin veil of what society tells us we need to do. We need to 'wear a tie and a suit,' and pretend to be reserved, and not mess up, and not fall down stairs. And at the end of the night when we see someone doing that and bouncing back up from that — and maybe even doing it with a smile — it gives us, as a society, great relief and joy and happiness."

In terms of Wednesday's episode, the actor reveals how the popularity of clown themes in pop culture was incorporated into the central theme of Criminal Minds.

"What's as interesting to me is the fact that we love clowns because they're naïve and they're childlike and they're unexpected and they don't play by society's rules, so there's nothing more terrifying than the concept of someone like that but with a dangerous agenda," Gubler said.

Gubler also teased that the clown episode officially brings an end to the Barnes (guest star Kim Rhodes) era of Criminal Minds, and all the drama that came with it.

"Kim Rhodes is incredible, so it was a real pleasure and honor to work with her. But that's all done," Gubler said of the storyline that had some fans frustrated last week. "The clown episode is a completely standalone episode, which is the kind I like to direct. Anybody can watch it for the first time and not know anything about the show and have a beginning, middle, and end that's satisfying without any loose ends."

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Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.