Kirsten Vangsness talks Garcia at the start of Criminal Minds: Evolution

Penelope Garcia has always been a bright star in the BAU. Where do we find her at the start of Criminal Minds: Evolution? Kirsten Vangsness shares all.

When it comes to the BAU team members, there’s always been one who stands out like she’s not quite the same as the others. She’s not there for the same reasons. It’s all about Penelope Garcia.

And we know from Criminal Minds that she’s not there for the same reasons as the other BAU members. Her backstory has always been different, and she does find some of the cases extremely difficult. That’s certainly going to be the case with the new situation the BAU is dealing with.

It doesn’t help that Garcia left. The trailer makes it clear that Luke needs to see her to get her back into the fold. They all need her expertise, but is she willing to help? We sat down with Kirsten Vangsness to talk about Garcia and what it was like bringing the series back.

Garcia doesn’t want to be there in Criminal Minds: Evolution

We started talking about the journey to bring the series back. What’s it like coming back?

“It’s amazing. It’s dreamy, in a good kind of way…When the show was over, we were so happy that we got to do it.

It was a slow process to get it back. The pandemic didn’t help matters, but the cast and crew were onboard with the idea of the revival, and that certainly helped to keep the momentum going.

“It’s surreal and lovely, and so it’s all of the best parts of before. No one is trying to go back in time…and that’s how you can make something good, right? You’ll find things that are callbacks in this…but it’s very different.”

So, where do we find Garcia at the start of Criminal Minds: Evolution? How did she cope with the pandemic?

“She’s never coming back to the FBI? She has worked on herself, she’s been sheltering in place and growing and curating her life just the way she needs to…she needs to stop trying to be the hero…and she’s done…and nobody is going to stop that.”

We’ll see a different type of Garcia. This is a woman who has found more happiness within herself. She’s set up her boundaries, and she has no intention of coming back to the BAU. That does lead to some trauma, so she needs to deal with that while trying to continue working on herself.

If she’s not coming back, then, why does she come back? We know she will.

“Well, she doesn’t want to and I think what’s compelling is those are her friends. Part of her value system is taking radical responsibility…Things happen that she has go and to respond to. As she keeps responding she realizes ‘no, this is actually the direction I need to go to grow.'”

Garcia initially thinks the best way to grow is to avoid, but that’s not the case at all. It’s going to be exciting to see this character growth throughout the 10-episode season.

Take a look at the full interview with Kirsten Vangsness below:

Criminal Minds: Evolution premieres on Paramount+ on Thursday, Nov. 24.