Criminal Minds Fired One Of Its Stars Ahead Of Season 13

Twelve seasons into its memorable run, CBS' hugely popular drama Criminal Minds has been known for flipping up its central cast almost as much as it's known for its hyper-violent unsubs. And it looks like the road to Season 13 will be marked by at least one confirmed ousting, as lead cast member Damon Gupton has been fired from the show after only a year. And there apparently also hasn't been any progress in figuring out the contract situation for stars A.J. Cook and Kirsten Vangsness, meaning we might not see them anymore, either.

damon gupton criminal minds

Let's start off with the shocking move that we know has already happened. Damon Gupton was brought onto Criminal Minds during the previous offseason as a further way to fill the void left by Thomas Gibson, who faced his own termination last year (though under stranger circumstances), as well as Shemar Moore, who opted to leave to take on other roles. Gupton's Supervisory Special Agent Stephen Walker was a fine enough addition to the BAU crew, but the character was one that CBS advised showrunner Erica Messer to add during the tricky casting change-ups. And now that Season 12 is behind everyone, it appears Messer wants her turf back to her specific preferences.

Damon Gupton actually got the news out into the world himself via Twitter, though not necessarily in a message delivered to the entire world.

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On the other side of things, stars A.J. Cook and Kirsten Vangsness have also recently been in the spotlight as far as having questionable futures on Criminal Minds. Soon after the finale aired, it was revealed that both actresses were seeking contract parity with male co-stars Joe Mantegna and Matthew Gray Gubler, both of whom had just reupped, and that the women were willing to walk away from the drama if their needs were not met. According to TVLine, there hasn't been any forward movement happening by way of CBS' producers appeasing Cook and/or Vangsness, but could Gupton's job be the price that was paid here?

a.j. cook criminal minds

When Damon Gupton was hired on for Season 12, it was after Criminal Minds had brought in actor Adam Rodriguez as Shemar Moore's direct replacement, but still before proven stars Paget Brewster and Aisha Tyler agreed to sign on full time. Perhaps cutting Gupton out of the lineup will allow the funding situation to work itself out accordingly, with both J.J. Jareau and Penelope Garcia finding a way back to audiences for Season 13. The huge cliffhanger from the finale put a ton of characters in jeopardy, which gave fans worry that some characters may not return, but for what it's worth, Garcia was safe.

While Criminal Minds did bring Shemar Moore back for the finale, he's got a new show now and likely won't show up again for a while. And for now, we'll be waiting to hear more about anyone who will be returning. Season 13 will hit CBS this fall, and you can hit up our summer premiere schedule to see all the shows that are hitting the small screen soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.