Their new deals — and pay raises — come after actresses negotiated together to seek parity with their male co-stars, Joe Mantegna and Matthew Gray Gubler, who both closed their contracts last month.
Bringing back both Vangsness and Cook keeps “Criminal Minds” from another major cast shakeup, following last season’s departure of Thomas Gibson, who was fired from the show after an altercation on set. Just this past weekend, Damon Gupton, who starred on the CBS procedural drama for just one season, was not asked back, due to creative changes for Season 13.
Vangsness spoke on record earlier this year about seeking a pay raise to put her on a closer pay scale to her male co-stars when TMZ asked if she would not return to “Criminal Minds” if she did not get a raise. “That’s the way it works sadly,” she said. “I feel so uncomfortable about it and I feel so sad. You know what it would be telling me? That my value isn’t what I thought what it was and in that case, I need to go get another job.” Speaking of Mantegna and Gubler, she continued, “There is the rationale that they’re a little more popular or they’ve paid their dues a little more — that’s absolutely true and that’s why I’m not asking to be paid the same amount as them. I’m asking to be paid closer. Just closer.”
While the terms of the duo’s new deals were not disclosed, Deadline, who first reported the news, says both actresses’ salaries are now “essentially on par” with Gubler.
Vangsness and Cook have both been on the show since its debut in 2005, though Cook was not a series regular for the sixth season when the series made cuts; she was then asked back for the show’s seventh season as a regular.