One of the few constants through Criminal mindsFor 15 seasons, Penelope Garcia, a technical analyst for the Behavioral Analysis Unit, has tackled even the bloodiest cases with bubbly energy, top-notch computer skills, and a sense of moral certainty. At the end of season 15, Garcia left the BAU for a job that wouldn’t require her to look at dead bodies every day. Viewers weren’t sure if she would be a part of the Paramount+ revival. Criminal Minds: Evolutionbut it seems that the BAU is not done with Garcia yet.
Ahead of the two-episode premiere of Criminal Minds: Evolution on Paramount+, Kirsten Vangsness, who plays Penelope Garcia, spoke to CBR about returning to the iconic role. She dove into what it was like to reconnect with the old Criminal minds crew and how the group never lost contact. Vangsness also referred to Garcia’s news in Evolution and what makes it easier to be so bubbly this time.
CBR: So what was it like reconnecting with the Criminal minds crew so long after season 15 ended?
Kirsten Vangness: Well, I mean, that implies that we hadn’t seen each other as people, which we did. I understand that who we are as people in the world [are different, and that] that’s the García part of me or the Rossi part of him or whatever, but it’s incredible. I mean, we have slightly different crews. For example, the Art Department oriented the scenarios in a different place. So the same stages we were at, correct, but where the actual BAU is set is in a different place. So you’ve worked at this place forever and you’re like, “Okay, if I go out that door, that’s where the bathroom is. If I go out there, if I stay there, that’s where you get snacks.” and everything is different.
So it’s kind of cool because it’s this weird hybrid, both on the show and in real life of the same and different. So it’s just different enough to keep your brain… I mean, just because all of us have been through life and whatever, and everything is elevated. It’s been so beautiful to see everyone in this kind of little space expanded in all different ways. I mean, it’s a lot of fun to see these people that I’ve known for so long be the geniuses that I know them to be and then some. It’s been a lot of fun.
Speaking of things that are the same but a little different, I know fans are very curious as to what’s going on with Garcia and Alvez this season after the Season 15 finale. What can you joke about where we find them in Evolution or what’s in store?
Well, I can tell you that Garcia resigned. She’s not going back to the BAU. I don’t know why they keep putting me in the credits because I’m done with that job. The work is done, and the result of the work done [is that] life has improved a lot. There were a couple of people, on the right, who thrived during home port, or whatever we call it. There were a couple of people who said, “My life is better. Everyone who said I wasn’t an introvert, you guys are a bunch of idiots, and you were wrong, and I am, and I’ve been restored.” So, she’s so different. What’s been really interesting is me and the writers are like, “Oh wait, I’m doing… That’s Garcia’s point five. We’re doing Garcia Jaguar, and there, we were doing Garcia Badger, and we’re like 15 programs in “. It’s been a lot of fun.
I love that evolution of Garcia. She is a breath of fresh air on a show that can feel very dark at times. So how do you find that bubbly energy on set?
You know, I think it has a purpose, I mean, she has to do… I have to do a job, and it’s very hard to do it unless you keep saying, “This is the reason why. This is the reason.” reason why.” What I can say about this season that I find very satisfying is that I spent much of my entire career leading up to this version of Criminal minds in an office just doing a lot of exposure, that I needed to be there, and I’m very happy to do it. You don’t realize what an acting class it is, finding discoveries or turns alone in a room. I have on this show right now where we have one more episode to shoot before we’re done with the season – we’re in the middle of shooting. [Episode] 9, and we have one more. I walk a lot. I have personal interactions with people. So now it’s even easier to be bubbly because I can talk and walk around and people can see for sure that I have legs. That’s funny. I like that.
Criminal Minds: Evolution premieres with two episodes on November 24 on Paramount+.