Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bad News at the BAU


Criminal Minds 5-7-13

If you’ve been a regular reader around here, you probably already know of my fascination with Criminal Minds.  Yeah, I’ve always been a sucker for a good cop show, but I really like this one.  That surprises some of my friends/family, because I’m not usually a fan of the creepy stuff, and there’s no doubt that sometimes this show is about as creepy as they come.  Still, the stories are often compelling, the individual characters are interesting, and the group dynamic is really good.

That’s why I’m very annoyed to be reading lately that the group is in jeopardy of being split up because TPTB can’t come to terms on salaries.  The vast majority of the cast is currently involved in contract negotiations; only Matthew Gray Gubler and newcomer Jeanne Tripplehorn are not up for renewal this year.  That means five of the seven could be moving on at the end of the year.  This is not something I want to consider.

Now, those who claim to know say that Thomas Gibson and Joe Mantegna are pretty close to coming to terms, so that’s good news.  As the “bosses” of the BAU team, there’s a lot to be said for maintaining that sense of continuity.  And, Shemar Moore is said to still be negotiating, so that doesn’t necessarily sound too bad, either. 

But, the really worrisome part is that reports are circulating that A.J. Cook and Kirsten Vangness have flat-out rejected offers that are being called “final”.  Apparently, they are being paid significantly less than their male co-stars and have banded together to try and get themselves some pay equity.  And, oh, the conflicting emotions I feel.  I’m absolutely horrified that equitable pay between the genders is still a problem these days, particularly in a situation like this, where you’re truly dealing with an ensemble situation where everyone is a fairly equal part of the whole.  (Not entirely equal, maybe, but pretty darn close.)  But, as a fan of the show, I’m also horrified at the idea of losing two characters that I really enjoy, and really make a difference in the feel of the program. 

First, you’d think the producers would have learned their lesson with Cook already.  A couple of seasons ago, she was written out and the viewers were far from thrilled.  She didn’t stay gone too terribly long.  And as for Vangness, her Penelope Garcia is consistently a fan favorite, and we’ve seen the character grow since the beginning of the series, both in dimension and in screen time.  Losing Garcia would be a major blow.  I don’t want these ladies to leave.  Really, I don’t want any of them to leave, so I hope things get worked out.

Now, these same reports also said that the negotiations probably had to be finalized today in order for the show itself to be renewed, but I have not seen anything flit across my computer screen to reassure me that it’s a done deal.  As much as I don’t want to lose any of my beloved characters, I really don’t want to lose the show altogether. 

So, please, CBS, producers, actors, everybody: put your heads together and find a fair and equitable solution that will get everybody back to the BAU conference room again next year.  Losing this show like this would be, well, criminal.