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Doing the same job week in and week out can be a mental struggle for many people, but that's not so much the case for two of Criminal Minds' biggest stars, Joe Mantegna and Kirsten Vangsness. The pair had a blast making Season 13, with familiar faces occasionally dropping by to help and hinder the newest iteration of the BAU squad. CinemaBlend spoke with the two stars about Criminal Minds' shocking Season 13 finale, and here's what Mantegna told me about putting the most recent season together.
It's been great. That's why it went so fast. We all agreed -- talking about the entire company -- I think we all felt it just kinda went in the blink of an eye. And part of it is because I think we were all having such a good time and enjoying it. You know, some people have been on this show 13 years. I've been on eleven years. That's enough time to really find a groove and get into it and get comfortable. It's been great, and we look forward to year 14.
Criminal Minds faced quite a few changes in Season 13, starting with the aftermath of the deadly Season 12 cliffhanger, which cemented the exit of the fired Damon Gupton, who played Agent Stephen Walker. It was the second full season without longtime star Shemar Moore, and the second full season with Moore's replacement Adam Rodriguez, and this year saw Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders star Daniel Henney joining this cast after the spinoff's cancellation. Plus, CBS pushed the show back an hour on the weekly schedule, giving it a 10:00 p.m. ET start time, as opposed to its longstanding 9:00 p.m. time. That's a lot of ways for the season to be a headache, but the Criminal Minds cast and crew faced the challenges head-on, and it apparently made the season go by even faster than expected.
Having new faces around will always be good to keep conversations fresh, and showing newer cast members the ropes could provide instances for the longtime stars to get excited about their own characters all over again. Not that Joe Mantegna should have lost his jubilance for playing Agent Rossi over the years, even though the character is constantly dealing with his best agents being put in life-threatening situations.
Fans got to watch Garcia and Daniel Webber's Matt Simmons share quite a bit of screentime this season, so it makes sense that Kirsten Vangsness was also fond of Criminal Minds keeping Simmons active within the overall franchise. Here's what the actress told me.
I love this season. We have the cast that we have, and that is the perfect cast that should be there. This year has been so great. To have Daniel there, and everybody, I feel like we gelled into this magical, viscous goo of wonderfulness. [laughs] And I really loved the episodes; we've done so many cool episodes this year.
Indeed, Criminal Minds offered viewers more than a few memorably disturbing episodes in Season 13, with the crown jewel being the Matthew Gray Gubler-directed installment "The Capilanos," which highlighted the actor's fascination with clowns in a creepy way. That plague doctor episode was also hair-raising, as was the episode with the killer who released videos of his murders to the media. (And, of course, the return of Jamie Kennedy's cannibal Floyd Feylinn Ferell was a delectable treat.) Spoilers for the Season 13 finale are below, so please be sure to watch before reading on.
We won't believe that any of Kirsten Vangsness' episodes will be more impactful than the Season 13 finale, though, since it put Garcia in the kind of high-stakes danger that she usually gets to avoid. Reid found himself facing a deadly dilemma, where he could either guarantee Garcia's safety by allowing the influential Messiah to go free, or to keep the Messiah locked up, which would almost definitely mean Garcia's demise. Glad we aren't the ones having to make that decision, though it sucks to have to wait so long to see how it gets resolved.