Criminal Minds: Kirsten Vangsness Not Happy With Co-Star Firing

Published 5 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 6:12 pm,

After the atrocious fifth season finale of Criminal Minds, I all but washed my hands of the hit CBS series. Of course, after settling down some, I reminded myself that one bad episode doesn’t mean the end (although, it could be a sign of it).

Either way, when you’re at Comic-Con and are offered the opportunity to talk to Criminal Minds fan-favorite Kirsten Vangsness (who plays technophile Penelope Garcia) you don’t pass it up – for anything.

While Vangsness wasn’t revealing much in terms of spoilers about the upcoming season 6, she did talk about her new gig playing her same character on the Criminal Minds spin-off (watch the complete video of the interview for that info). On top of that, Vangsness discussed in-length about the recent firing of co-star A.J. Cook (Jennifer ‘JJ’ Jareau) and how it has affected her and her co-stars.

In the interview, Vangsess describes the firing of Cook as something that “crushed” the entire Criminal Minds family and while it’s the studio who has the right to make that decision, she disagrees with them and now feels like she’s “living in someone’s rental and they get to decide who stays and who goes – and it BLOWS!”

It’s easy to say that Vangsess was one of the more memorable interviews during Comic-Con. Not only because she’s such a strong, outspoken women, but also because she’s so much like her character from the show (in style and personality – she knows very little about technology) that I could be listen to her for hours and be completely captivated.

You can read Vangsess thoughts about the firing of A.J. Cook below:

She’s shooting two episodes, I believe and you know, it sucks when they fire your friends. I don’t know who made that decision, but I know that us as a family – the family that Ed Bernero made of us – are crushed and it’s awful.

It certainly didn’t feel good and certainly doesn’t make you feel like, “Oh, everybody’s ok!” It makes you very aware that it’s a job and if they need you, they keep you, and if they don’t, they fire you.

Not that she’s not necessary! But, someone made a decision that she was not necessary and that’s a bad decision – in my opinion. My job, I did not choose to be “whoever makes these decisions” and that’s their choice. It’s like you’re living in someone’s rental and they get to decide who stays and who goes – and it BLOWS!

On what they did to try and save Cook’s job:

What we did was the fans set up a petition and I had Jane Lynch sign that petition, I had Jane Atkinson – Helen Mirren called me and signed that petition. I was calling people up and telling them that “this is happening” and that’s all you can really do. The fans are really the most powerful thing we have and we had 60,000 people sign that petition and it didn’t do anything.

And, at that point, you’ve got to be like, “I can’t…” Cause me, little ‘ole me – they don’t give a sh-t.

At the end of the day, I couldn’t… To keep your mouth shut about something like that.  If someone makes a decision, they make a decision, but to me, it was like, “Can you see how many people disagree with you?” Make that decision, but just know that I disagree with you.

You’re allowed to because you’re in charge and you’re the one that holds the [money]. Whatever. They can make those decisions.

All in all, I think she makes it pretty clear where she stands on the whole A.J. Cook firing debacle. And, to her credit, she’s right. A.J. Cook was an integral member of the Criminal Minds cast and joy to watch on the screen each week.

While there’s nothing that can be done now, it’s still appropriate to let the powers that be know that, as fans of the series, we’re not happy with their decision (you can sign the petition here). When will the studios learn that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it – even if you do think that you know what’s right.

If you’d like to see everything that Kirsten Vangsness said, check out the complete video of the interview below:

Don’t miss the season 6 premiere of Criminal Minds (and A.J. Cooks final episodes), September 22 @9pm on CBS.

Follow me on Twitter @anthonyocasio and follow Screen Rant on Twitter @screenrant

All in all, I think she makes it pretty clear where she stands on the whole A.J Cook firing debacle. And to her credit, she’s right. A.J. Cook was an integral member of the Criminal Minds cast and joy to watch on the screen each week.

While there’s nothing that can be done now, it’s still appropriate to let the powers that be know that, as fans of the series, we’re not happy with their decision. When will the studios learn that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it – even if you do think that you know what’s right.

If you’d like to see everything that Kirsten Vangsness in her 9min interview, check out the complete video of the interview below: (it’ll be posted soon, I promise)

Don’t miss the season 6 premiere of Criminal Minds (and A.J. Cooks final episodes), September 22 @9pm on CBS.

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  1. I strongly agree with the last post ” the show is gonna suck without the girl power. the men show no affection! BRING PRENTISS AND J.J BACK WE NEED THEM MORE THAN YOU THINK!!!!!!!

    • Reading these comments does my head in.
      If you think this show sucks now because of who is or not on it, may I suggest you hang up your critic shop. Consider the following….

      This show has lost it’s edge completely.
      What “group” of people in history talk in perfect harmony one after another? none that is who!
      So tired of this crap formula where one person speaks then another and so on til everyone on the cast has had a comment.

      This is crap tv, and is a lot closer to why this show sucks. It is now “TV” and no longer a edgy show about killers that makes you forget you were watching tv and it happened long before anyone got fired.

      All the characters are bland and one note and to hear people say how much they love the characters just hurts my brain and I wish the US audience had any real understanding of TV or music. ( Yes I am “American”)
      the USA just piles on crap, and when they find a good thing they ruin it a fast as possible.

      If you do find a good show love it now because next season it will likely suck. Like say big bang theory or commmunity or it will get canceled like Firefly.
      Chances are it will follow what Eureka follows and make it about who is doing what to who in bed instead of making thought provoking fiction.

      If this show or much of any show was about making great TV you could justify firing everyone involved. It stopped being anything but the kind of formulaic TV we have seen for many decades.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I would give anything to have these two girls back. The show can’t be the same without them.

  2. I am so totally confused! Last week J.J. Was on the show! I never even knew she was fired? I know in real life she did have a baby and thought she was taking some home time! Without Paget Brewster – well the show is gradually ending! Too bad because I love the characters on this show!

  3. I never missed an episode of criminal minds I was a devoted fan but some of your decisions to eliminate JJ and Paget really suck don’t know your reasons but the show really has lost that must watch feeling now doesen’t matter if I watch it or not have lost interest the show was a real hit but now it’s just ho hum if you are as smart as you think you are bring them back and just maybe you will save the show because now it is starting to really suck they brought character and prestige made it a top notch show so give your head a shake wake up and make it right

  4. Theoretically you would eliminate a character because you thought they lacked something and weren’t contributing to the storyline and a change was needed. So why on earth would JJ, a pretty, fan-popular, blonde agent whose character fits well with the rest of the cast and has a specific skill the others lack be replaced with a pretty blonde whose character thus far has less skill, personality and rapport with the rest of the unit. It is impossible not to compare the two and the new cast member can’t help but be compared unfavorably with JJ, it’s not her fault but that of the genius who made this decision. At the very least they should have selected someone with distinctively different appearance, and perhaps some special skill would have been a nice bonus just to give her a chance. This way it just seems they wanted to thin the veteran cast but still needed a blonde character to keep the visual look of the team. With the loss of Prentiss too I’d be mighty careful if I were one of the remaining cast members. Have they got a new boss on that show who needs to put his stamp on it and decided this was the way to show everyone he is now in charge, lots of enterprises have gone down the drain due to pointless power moves by someone with the rank but not the understanding to make sound decisions. Maybe one more season but I bet the bosses are already looking at the next new project and this one is on the way out whether they know it or not.

  5. What moron took jj off?! I loved the men on show characters, the best but what’s up w the new blond, tough, fake, yeck. Then u went ahead and killed your brunette actress, feisty and great acting and team without her and jj best get them back. I love Penelope:)! U need jj and get rid of the stiff want to be jj;(.

  6. The whole change sucks! Bring jj back and get Of the jj want to be. Cold awkward actress, the show is not about awkward it’s about flow, and your changes suck! What the heck. Some people made a very Dum Dum decision!


  8. When Jason left the TV bosses made a horrible decision on who to take his place. Now JJ is gone and as far as I am concerned – why watch – they were a great group all working together – I have put up with Jason’s replacement but this is too much. Was she too pretty – was it petty reasons for firing her? It certainly wasn’t because of her acting because she was part of what made the show believeable.

  9. JJ CAME BACK!!!! So for all of you who stopped watching the show because she left for a little while, you missed the greatest season finale… Hopefully you will see the light and continue to watch now.. You cant just stop watching a show half way through the season because she left, because you never know what is going to happen and who they will or wont bring back if you do not watch.

  10. I hope this gets to the right people. I have been a fan of Criminal minds for years. I love the BAU family Tom;SHermar;Garcia; JJ Cook; Prentiss; Even JOe Mantenga; Reid; Mandy And I watch repeats every night on ION tv. So Do NOT MESS with perfection!!! If You change the actors I will discontinue watching the series as will a lot of other people. Aren’t you worried about losing viewers??? Some episodes may be gorie but it’s the family group that cares for each other not just the stories. When CBS put on Criminal minds behavior series I watched two and prometly stopped when I realized you were not using the same people. I hope this helps you understand how much people are interested in values among people as much as a story. There are all kinds od dramas on tv stories about crimes aganist all genders of people but the actors make the show. Thank you for listening.

  11. I have been a fan of CM from the start and JJ was one of my favorite characters. I’m very disappointed with this decision. Now with Prentiss gone I’m really peaved. What a bunch of moron’s to do that to a team of actors who have the chemistry and have bonded the hearts of the viewers to them. I don’t even watch the new spin off…not interested at all.

    • Don’t worry the bosses realised their mistake and JJ is back for season 7 & 8. I’m sad that Prentiss is gone but oh well – let’s hope Criminal Minds picks back up in quality for the new season :)

      • Prentiss is back as well. So the whole band is together again. The spin-off was a mistake that should have never happened and may have been responsible for the troubles last season. But the spin-off is dead. AJ and agent are back and Criminal Minds is truly back.

        Now if CBS can get rid of “The Talk.”

        • I mean Paget, not agent. Sorry.


  13. Dropping JJ and emily are best said with an old yiddish:
    What! are you mahsuganah?!!

  14. Eliminating the 2 girls was crazy & harmful to the show. I stopped watching. Management needs to look at NCIS. 9 SEASONS all characters are still there unless they died in the line of duty. (HELLO ANYBODY HOME-WAKE UP MANAGEMENT)

  15. Ok so what about Reid saying that he didn’t request reinstatement into the unit in episode 1 of season 7? If they take Reid out I totally won’t watch the show anymore!

  16. it really suck when they got rid of prentis and jj. we need them. jj is such an asset when it comes to holding the family together. she is go good with the families of the victoms as well as the media. i hated it when they got rid of her

  17. Pleazr dont cancel or fire AJ Cook! I love her on the set of C riminal Minds. KirstenVangsness is awesome too! She, Paget Brewster,Matthew Gray Gubler are the best!

  18. lose jj or any of the regulars and you lose me……and lots of others

  19. Where Do We Sign?!?!

  20. J.J. was an important part of the show, a husband, a child, trying to maintain a normal life, as opposed to divorce, murdered spouse, how dark is that? I have watched the show faithfully, through all the dark stories of family losses, but count me out, someone has to have a somewhat normal life to survive the nature of the job. how sad to remove the one joy left for viewers, why continue? It was nice while it lasted, a sad goodbye from a former fan!

  21. I want Prentiss and JJ back, its not right taking them off the set… Might stop watching depending on the new season T.T

  22. I didn’t see the petition to sign protesting the firing of AJ Cook, or I would have signed it. I wish they would bring Prentiss back as well. Criminal Minds is the only show I watch faithfully. Each member of the cast brings something unique to the show. They are indeed my t.v. family I look forward to seeing weekly.

  23. I love this show; maybe too much! Two issues though, show is becoming to gory. The show is entitled Criminal Minds – focus a little more on intellectual crimes rather than all gore. Also it’s robotic when all of the team members have to chime in with a piece of the “profile.” It would be best if you possibly alternate with half of the team giving a profile one week and another half the next week so it doesn’t sound like an assembly-line presentation. Emily Prentiss’ (Paget Brewster) acting is detached, monotone and flat; like she is speed-reading her lines. Not natural and conversational like the rest of the cast “team.” She always sounds rushed. Makes me think of her entry on the show when Strauss told her to report on Hotchner; so her tone comes across as desperate to be seen as a team player, not someone sent to undermine it.

  24. Whoever has made the decision to cut AJ’s role and not consider what the fans think of her role, is divorced from reality. She is the eye of the storm that circumvents around the brutal world in which the agents constantly are forced to deal with in each episode. As an actor, she performs beautifully in an unpretentious way. Even Penelope in one episode after having to substitute for AJ, learned how essential overall AJ’s role proved to be for the unit, though not always expressed overtly. Firing AJ is not a good idea. This team is cohesive, and AJ’s role is apart of that cohesion! Don’t foul it up!!!

  25. Love Criminal Minds. Garcia, however, is hard to watch and even harder to listen to. And is it really necessary to have her BOOBS in the viewers’ faces so much?

    Prentiss, on the other hand, is gorgeous. It would be great if she could come back and end up marrying Hotch. They look good together and their energies work well. (And that would take care of the benign Beth, who happily has moved to New York.)

    And what about Morgan? Did you ever see a man with his male/female aspects so in balance? Man, what a man!

    Reid – so cute – and love his facial expressions. Love to see Hotch keep Reid’s ego in check.

    Finally, Rossi – one of the two older men on the show. He and Hotch have mutual respect for each other, and share similar marital experiences. Good together.

    Hotch. Love even his stern look – it’s just to keep things focussed and professional.

    * Just to let you know – when Prentiss “flushed” Doyle’s marital ring, Rossi called it something that started with the letter ‘g’ (couldn’t make out the word.) However, it is called a Claddach ring, and is so named by its source – Claddach, Ireland.

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