Sandra Gonzalez
December 14, 2011 AT 12:00 PM EST

With its brutal crimes and usually warped unsubs, Criminal Minds is rarely for the faint of heart. But tonight’s episode is intense on a different level, says guest star Shawn Hatosy, who plays a washed up boxer with a sick child.

“He calls himself The Doormat because he’s the kind of fighter that other fighters use to climb up the ranks,” says Hatosy. “But he keeps fighting in particular because his son is dying of cancer and he’s also got some mental issues which emerge through all of this.”

For Hatosy, who also stars on TNT’s Southland (“You know me, I always play a cop or I play a killer. This is just one of the weeks when I’m playing a killer,” he jokes.), it was fun to play a “level 10” crazy unsub who also empathetic. “I would say the stuff that he does, it’s pretty crazy. But what the writers have done an excellent job of, at least from my point of view, is tyou can almost identify with him — except for the fact that he’s a killer. But bad people don’t know they’re bad, but you try to identify that truth. And  he is so connected to his kid — its really a very emotional episode. It was a very heart wrenching. It’ll really tear your heart out.”

Meanwhile, the episode will also find Hotch (Thomas Gibson) connecting with a fellow runner (Bellamy Young) after he starts training for a marathon. “I think they have really nice chemistry, and there’s a really nice thing that happens between them,” says Gibson. But, he cautions, no one should call it anything more than it is — for now.  “They’re training partners and it all that it is right now. And it’s nice to see the possibilities because the poor guy needs a little bit of positivity in his life besides his son.”

The connection Hotch shares with Young’s character is an important step for the character, who hasn’t had a love interest since his wife’s death a few seasons ago. But it won’t come easy. “He says to her in the scene where they meet, ‘I’ve got 40 minutes a day.’  He tries to eat on the run, but he literally only has the time it takes him to get from the office to the park where he trains, the time it takes him to get back, and the time to train. The man is fairly regimented and he’s got this regimented time frame. He’s trying to make the best of it, and it’s commendable that he’s trying to take on something else.”

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