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Criminal Minds brought Season 12 to an explosive end earlier this month, and fans have had to wonder if everybody actually survived the events of the finale. Well, recent contract negotiations have revealed that two characters' fates are still up in the air. Negotiations between CBS and members Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook have stalled with neither actress signing on for a Season 13 return just yet. Garcia and J.J. may not be back in the fall.
Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook are negotiating together to seek higher pay for any subsequent seasons of Criminal Minds. The two actresses are seeking parity with their male cast members, who have historically made significantly more than them on the series. This is the second times Vangsness and Cook have joined forces to stand for a bump in salary; back in 2013, they held out on re-signing with the series because they were paid less than half of some of the men in the cast, including Shemar Moore and Matthew Gray Gubler. A deal was obviously struck back then, but Deadline states that both actresses will walk from Criminal Minds if they don't get some degree of parity with other actors this time.
The negotiations between CBS and the actresses reportedly did not even begin with Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook until after the negotiations with Joe Montegna and Matthew Gray Gubler had concluded. Given that Kirsten Vangsness has been in the second most episodes of any Criminal Minds actor and both actresses have been on board longer than Joe Montegna, I'd say it's easy to see why they're sticking together for a salary bump. Garcia and J.J. are pivotal and popular characters on the show, which has already seen some major shakeups in the last couple of years due to the departures of Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson.
Criminal Minds has made news in years past due to its treatment of female characters. Back in 2010, the show elected not to renew A.J. Cook for another season and reduced the episode count for Paget Brewster, who played Emily Prentiss, which resulted in Kirsten Vangsness as the only full-time female member of the cast. Both Cook and Brewster ultimately returned, and other female characters debuted over the years, but it makes sense that Cook and Vangsness are sticking together for Season 13.
Given the gigantic cliffhanger at the end of Season 12, the stalled negotiations will undoubtedly come as bad news for fans who were hoping for hints of who survived Mr. Scratch's finale trap. Garcia obviously won't have died, as she wasn't involved in the crash, but J.J. could very well be killed in the Season 13 premiere if CBS doesn't work something out with the actresses. That said, we shouldn't start panicking for J.J. or Garcia just yet. This isn't the first time that actresses on a hit CBS show have held out for parity, and negotiations may still be worked out to everybody's satisfaction. We'll have to wait and see.
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It's unfortunate that Criminal Minds stars may be leaving the show. However, if you are looking to add all of your favorite seasons with the original cast to your dvd or blu-ray collection, you can check that out here.