(CBS Local)– Joe Mantegna has been in show business for over 50 years and this year he will close a major chapter of his career.

“Criminal Minds” is wrapping up its 15th and final season and Mantegna has played Special Agent David Rossi for over 300 episodes. While the star of the series has done other TV shows, big movies like “Godfather III” and theater, “Criminal Minds” will always hold a special place in his heart.

“It was actually what I was looking for and I’m glad it worked out,” said Mantegna in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “The trick is to find something that has legs and I loved doing it. I was one of the guys and I wanted it that way. I came in season three and I thought this was a tremendous ensemble. Each one had the strength to carry an episode on their own. Their characters were strong. I’m not campaigning to lead the parade. I wanted to be the older curmudgeon who mixed it up and rocked the boat every once in a while.”

FULL INTERVIEW:

Mantegna says the show gave him an immense appreciation for what law enforcement officials do every single day. The actor go the chance to visit Quantico in Virginia to see how FBI agents operate.

“I’ve been to Quantico numerous times and it’s the real deal,” said Mantegna. “It’s fantastic and it’s great. It gives you more respect for what these men and women do each day. We did our best in our own way to portray it as honestly as possible. I think they liked our show for that reason. We tried to be true to form and we had FBI agents on the set. We always had them to check in with. Going to Quantico was great and very helpful. The facilities they have and the resources they have… and the public is not even aware of a lot of it. They opened up some stuff to me and it gives you a certain confidence and swagger with the character.”

Watch “Criminal Minds” Wednesdays at 9pm EST/PST on CBS or anytime on CBS All Access.