Kirsten Vangsness Shares Her Real Feelings During Criminal Minds’ Final Season

We can hardly remember a time when the words “baby girl” didn’t make us think of characters Morgan and Garcia’s sweet flirtation on the CBS hit drama Criminal Minds. Garcia, played by Kirsten Vangsness, has spent the last 15 years making viewers fall in love with her quick wit, undeniable brilliance, confidence, and radiating compassion for her teammates — and the survivors of the horrors they encountered every day on the job with the B.A.U. This was not what the writers initially expected, however. Garcia was written as a temporary character who was only meant to appear in one episode. But as her chemistry with Morgan sparked on screen and Vangsness had the time and opportunity to more deeply develop her attitude and personality, Garcia kept appearing on scripts with more and more presence. At the end of the show’s 15th and final season, Garcia appeared in every episode but one (via CBS Watch).

It’s no surprise, therefore, that the ending of the series and the loss of the identity she assumed for so many years has left Vangsness with not only feelings of pride and accomplishment, but those of loss as well. 

Kirsten Vangsness admires her character, Garcia

Vangsness told CBS Watch that while filming the final season, she had a sense of “ambiguous loss.” She explained it was “that feeling of losing something you love, and that everything’s about to change. In this case it’s not a person, thank goodness. But still, in the middle of a scene, it hits you. But you can’t cry; you have all this makeup on.” She then admonished herself for feeling anything at all but gratitude, saying she would wonder, “What are you crying for? It’s been such an incredible experience. I will have done every single episode except episode 5, every episode of the first spin-off, and two episodes of the second spin-off. I love these people. No, sir. I’m not crying. You’re crying.”

When asked what it was about her character she will never be able to let go of, Vangsness told E: “She brings everyone together and she’s so many levels of intelligent. Her heart is so big and she fell in love with Derek Morgan but she couldn’t be with him, so the best she could do was release him and when he left, I almost didn’t know how to play her, because I think only she understood herself.” And when asked what she will miss most about Garcia, she answered: “Her confidence, and how accepting she was of everyone.”

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