Roth grew up in Los Angeles, California, and Philosophy and Creative Writing at the University of California at Berkeley. He then got a BA in Cinema at the University of Southern California in 1972 and an MFA in Motion Picture Production from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1975. He started a career as a director, in which he alternated between independent film-making and commercial TV. In the early 1980s, Roth had an overall deal to write, produce, and direct for Universal Studios, where he created the series The Insiders for ABC. His indie films have now been exhibited in over 100 film festivals worldwide, five of which have premiered at Sundance, where Roth has also been a judge for entry films. Roth was also a founding member of the Independent Feature Project and a founding member of the DGA's Independent Feature Committee, in which he was its first co-chairman.
Roth has directed the following episodes for Criminal Minds: