‘FBI: Most Wanted’ Star Julian McMahon Talks About Why the Show Appeals to Audiences

by Liz Holland
Photo: Mark SchŠfer / CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Julian McMahon, star of “FBI: Most Wanted,” opened up recently about why he thinks the show appeals to audiences. The show’s finale showcased a departure from the format the show typically follows, offering a new and exciting experience for viewers.

The episode opens as your regular run-of-the-mill Christmas episode. McMahon’s character, Special agent Jess LaCroix is out holiday shopping with his daughter, girlfriend, and dad. The group runs into LaCroix’s FBI co-worker Sheryll Barnes and her pregnant wife when suddenly gunshots erupt. What started as Christmas cheer is now a nightmare come true as three shooters begin to terrorize mall shoppers. McMahon and Barnes hop into action to protect their families and use their training to level out the threat. The episode follows the event as it happens.

“FBI: Most Wanted” Finale Follows a New Format

McMahon told TVLine of the episode’s format, “Emotionally, the connective tissue of this episode is different,” McMahon said. “You’ve got all of your family members pretty much in the mall, and an emotional through-line connects of all of them as this tragic moment touches everybody’s lives in a way you can’t do without an extreme reality. Usually you go to Jess’ house, or you go to Barnes’ house… but this is everybody. They’re all connected and they have a common goal.”

McMahon goes on to explain, “We usually start with a Muster Room thing where we get the information about what happened, and then we go into an interrogation process and end up catching the bad guy in the end.” The fall finale, though, “starts out as our Christmas episode, and then all Hell breaks loose, so to speak, and it becomes a format unto itself — something we haven’t done on this show.”

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McMahon also ponders the timing of the episode airing, as many Americans spend more time than usual in shopping malls this time of year. Ultimately, though, McMahon sees it as a good thing. “It’s an interesting thing…. I kind of feel like with these shows….[, ‘What does the audience get out of this, and why do they keep coming back?’” the actor shares.

McMahon continues, “I was thinking over the weekend that there’s always something to lean into that’s tragic, but there might be something in the fact that when you sit down and watch a show like this, with all the stuff that’s going on in the world, it’s almost like you can hand the responsibility and stress about what’s going on in our society to Jess LaCroix and his team and say, ‘Go take care of it for me,’ and that’s what they do. “For an hour of your life, you give the responsibility to somebody else and you see the good guys win. It’s almost therapeutic, where you say, ‘Everything’s crazy, but these guys are gonna fix it’ — and at the end of the day, they do. I’d like to think there is solace in that.”

You can watch the newest “FBI: Most Wanted” episode tonight on CBS.