EXCLUSIVE: Quirky FBI computer technician Penelope Garcia may be pulling a double duty this coming season. I hear that CBS has approached Criminal Minds co-star Kirsten Vangsness to also appear on the upcoming Criminal Minds spinoff, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, on a regular or recurring basis. The network is already employing such cross-pollinating on NCIS and its spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles. Rocky Carroll, regular on the original series, also recurs on the spinoff, playing the same character, NCIS director Leon Vance.
With her multi-colored hair, sassy attitude and street smarts, Garcia is one of the standout characters on Criminal Minds with devoted following. The network no doubt hopes her popularity among Criminal Minds fans would give a boost to the new series, slated to launch in midseason. Because of the mostly stationary setup – her character spends most of her time behind her computer desk – I hear Vangsness usually works one day a week on the mothership series and could fit in filming scenes for the spinoff too. Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior stars Forest Whitaker as Cooper, a former star profiler in the Behavioral Analysis Unit who now runs a team that exists outside of FBI bureaucracy. Janeane Garofalo recently joined the cast of the series as a new female lead, a highly competent FBI agent on Cooper’s team.
Criminal Minds made headlines last month with the network’s decision not to pick up series regular A.J. Cook, who will wrap up her character’s storyline in two episodes this fall. The original series is planning to add a new female character sometime next season.