Home News Local News ‘Criminal Minds’ to feature Roswell’s history

‘Criminal Minds’ to feature Roswell’s history

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Amy McVay-Davis, executive director of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico, and John LeMay, historical author and historical society board member, discuss a photo taken around 1910 of apple pickers in Roswell. The historical society has partnered with ABC Productions for historical images of Roswell that are anticipated to appear on tonight’s episode of “Criminal Minds,” which airs at 9 p.m. on CBS. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)

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Historical society’s images are anticipated to appear on tonight’s episode.

When you see the words ABC Productions appear on your caller ID, you know that it’s either the wrong number or something very special.

For Amy McVay-Davis, executive director of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico, it turned out to be the latter.

McVay-Davis said she was working late one night at her office at the historical society when the phone rang. The call came in around 8:30 p.m. sometime in late October.

“I answered the phone right away and I heard this sweet voice who asked if the historical society could partner with ABC Productions,” she said.

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At first you might think the television network was producing yet another documentary about the Roswell incident, but it turned out to be something completely different.

The sweet voice, which belongs to Shannon Curfman, a set decoration buyer on the popular crime series “Criminal Minds,” was inquiring about Roswell.

“She wanted to know fun facts about Roswell for a production she was working on,” McVay-Davis said.

The historical society director said the TV person also asked about a historical author in Roswell, who turned out to be John LeMay. LeMay has written about a dozen books on the history of the area and serves on the historical society board of directors.

McVay-Davis said her conversation with Curfman went on for about half an hour before Curfman got specific. ABC Productions wanted to buy the rights to several historical images of Roswell, and none of the photos they were seeking had anything to do with aliens.

“They were looking for a broad spectrum of images,” LeMay said, adding that ABC was specifically interested in pics related to the sheriff’s office, the Chaves County Courthouse and the military. They also were interested in pics related to Billy the Kid, he said.

Altogether, the network purchased the rights to 17 images, and some of them are anticipated to appear on tonight’s episode of the crime drama, which airs at 9 p.m. on CBS. “Criminal Minds” revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers, known as the Behavior Analysis Unit, who analyze the country’s most twisted criminal minds.

The program has aired since 2005.

While it may be a good guess that tonight’s program will have something to do with either the sheriff’s office and/or Roswell’s former military presence, neither McVay-Davis nor LeMay knew any details about the plot and Curfman would not say what the storyline is when contacted by the Roswell Daily Record.

Asked if there was a specific theme ABC was looking for in the photos, Curfman responded: “It is always our intention to create an environment that helps the actors and the viewers move through the plot with ease. In television, unlike film, we do not have a lot of time to convey the history of a place on-screen so oftentimes we will reach out to a historical society or chamber of commerce or local artists for items that can give us a quick visual history or flavor of the community we are trying to create.”

Curfman said none of the scenes were filmed in Roswell.

“Our stories take place in a different city each week. Due to time constraints, we are unable to travel to each city to film, so we do our best to recreate those cities here in Hollywood,” she said.

One of the stars of the show, Joe Mantegna, had a big role in “Godfather III” and does the voice of Fat Tony on “The Simpsons.”

Mantegna comes from humble roots, growing up on the south side of Chicago where he played bass in a couple of rock bands.

“Joe is a really nice and down to earth guy. In my experience, he has always been friendly, respectful and gracious,” Curfman said.

Although McVay-Davis and LeMay would not say what ABC paid for the images, they agreed it was a “generous amount” and will be a big help to the historical society, a nonprofit that receives no funding from the city.

“This will help keep the museum alive,” LeMay said. “We are thrilled with the amount they paid.”

LeMay and McVay-Davis said the museum, located at Lea Avenue and Second Street, is working with a cable network on another production, but at this time could not disclose any details.

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com.