‘Criminal Minds’: Kirsten Vangsness, A.J. Cook Close Deals for Season 13 After Seeking Equal Pay

Kirsten Vangsness AJ Cook Criminal Minds
Courtesy of CBS

Criminal Minds” stars Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook have closed deals to return to the 13th season of the CBS series, Variety has confirmed.

Their new deals — and pay raises — come after actresses negotiated together to seek parity with their male co-stars, Joe Mantegna and Matthew Gray Gubler, who both closed their contracts last month.

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Criminal Minds Damon Gupton

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Bringing back both Vangsness and Cook keeps “Criminal Minds” from another major cast shakeup, following last season’s departure of Thomas Gibson, who was fired from the show after an altercation on set. Just this past weekend, Damon Gupton, who starred on the CBS procedural drama for just one season, was not asked back, due to creative changes for Season 13.

Vangsness spoke on record earlier this year about seeking a pay raise to put her on a closer pay scale to her male co-stars when TMZ asked if she would not return to “Criminal Minds” if she did not get a raise. “That’s the way it works sadly,” she said. “I feel so uncomfortable about it and I feel so sad. You know what it would be telling me? That my value isn’t what I thought what it was and in that case, I need to go get another job.” Speaking of Mantegna and Gubler, she continued, “There is the rationale that they’re a little more popular or they’ve paid their dues a little more — that’s absolutely true and that’s why I’m not asking to be paid the same amount as them. I’m asking to be paid closer. Just closer.”

While the terms of the duo’s new deals were not disclosed, Deadline, who first reported the news, says both actresses’ salaries are now “essentially on par” with Gubler.

Vangsness and Cook have both been on the show since its debut in 2005, though Cook was not a series regular for the sixth season when the series made cuts; she was then asked back for the show’s seventh season as a regular.

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  1. Unknown says:

    Since they are doing another season they should bring back Alex. She was very good of finding things.

  2. Marcie Walton says:

    It is to bad that Gibson and Morgan left at the same time. I did not know if i wanted to watch it again. It was my favorite show. But now I really do not care if it stays on or not. I am happy that Prentiss came back, but she needs to act more like her old self not like Gibson did. I did not like Matthew playing on drugs, it was bad, PLease do not do that to him again, I love him on the show but not like last season. I do not understand why Cook and Vangsness are not making as much money as the men, Remove the ladies and see what happens to the show, We do not turn in just to see the men. “It may be a mans world but it is nothing without woman or a girl,” I think thats how James Brown said it. I did not care for Damon so i will not miss him, but please think about bringing back Gibson, The show is said with out him, We stated watching in the first place because it was his show. Since when do u fire the main star?

  3. Deena D. says:

    I stopped watching the show after Thomas Gibson was fired. I knew the show would take a hit after Shemar left, but I was going to continue to watch. I think personally, Thomas has had a tough decade in his personal life. Yet without him, I haven’t been able to watch the show. You are putting a bandaid on a surgical cut. You’ve only been renewed b/c most people are watching cable shows, which leaves a lot of garbage on network TV. If this show wasn’t a conjoining of both ABC and CBS, I think it would have been axed. Virgil is now gone and I think you needed to step back and maybe do some healing and ego swallowing. You really need to bring Thomas back or you won’t have a show next season. I don’t know. He may not want to come back. He may have another project in the works. I can’t speak for him.

    • kasey lee says:

      The dismissal of Gibson gutted me but I still intended to watch for other fave characters/actors. Instead I found that without the character of Hotch the dynamic and the stories started to fall apart. I barely watched a quarter of the season; choosing instead to watch CM in syndicated reruns or Netflix.

      Even before Hotch’s “disappearance” the new guy’s introduction felt forced, showed him as a bit of a jerk and brought out the least appealing aspects of Garcia’s character for way too long. Prentiss’s return started on the wrong foot IMO with her gossiping about new guy and the writing for the character sounds off. I sort of watched the Reid storyline but as much as I love the character and actor I did not like story because it highlighted so many of the problems created by the loss of Hotch.

      As you said Virgil is gone– time to reconsider the situation and the show’s future.

  4. Beth T. says:

    I am happy to see Criminal Minds acknowledging the contributions of its female actors, and the high regard and affection the fans have for them. I thought Ms. Vangsness’s comments were very thoughtful and well-stated.

    In the past the network has misjudged the importance of various actors–always women–and has had to retroactively correct course by bringing those actors back after loud outcry from the fans and I’m certain some level of disruption to the actors’s personal lives and sense of security. This time management avoided that mistake by valuing their actors of both genders correctly and maintaining the equilibrium of the show.

    I’m disappointed at the departure of Damon Gupton, however. I enjoyed his character’s contribution.

  5. Patricia Wilson says:

    I really think they should bring Thomas Gibson back to the show. He really was a important character. Why can’t they just forgot and forgive..let’s be grownups here. Loosening main characters all the time is ruining the show. I have been a true fan from the beginning, and I am really loosening faith in the show. It’s just not the same anymore.

  6. Dunstan says:

    These police procedurals are mind-numbing and indicative of a colossal lack of creativity on traditional network television.

  7. George Lewis says:

    Glad that AJ Cook is returning. She’s hot.

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