“Criminal Minds” actor Damon Gupton will no longer reprise his role as Supervisory Special Agent Stephen Walker.
According to TV Line, Gupton’s axing was the result of the creative changes that “Criminal Minds” underwent for Season 13. Stephen was first seen in “Criminal Minds” in Season 12, and the character was part of the series for only 15 episodes. Gupton was tapped to join the cast following Thomas Gibson’s controversial exit.
In 2016, Gibson was fired from the series by producers of ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios after he was involved in an altercation on set. According to Variety, Gibson kicked writer-producer Virgil Williams during the production of an episode that the actor was directing.
Earlier this year, “Criminal Minds” showrunner Erica Messer told the publication that adding Gupton to the cast was not her choice. Messer explained that it was the network who wanted the actor to be part of the TV show. “It’s always a challenge to bring somebody new into a group that has functioned together as long as the BAU has. It’s like, ‘OK, what role needs to be filled?’ So we brought him in with specialty in the espionage world,” she said.
Last month, Deadline also reported that cast members AJ Cook and Kirsten Vangsness are in the middle of complicated contract negotiations. Cook and Vangsness are seeking parity with their male co-stars Matthew Gray Gubler and Joe Mantegna, who both just received new deals. As of late, Cook and Vangsness haven’t received an updated contract, and they are allegedly willing to walk away from the franchise if negotiations won’t be finalized.
Meanwhile, “Criminal Minds” Season 12 ended with a series of cliffhangers. In the episode, the big bad arranged for an 18-wheeler truck to plow into the SUVs filled with members of the BAU. Garcia (Vangsness) and Reid (Gubler) were the only two characters whose fates were sealed as safe in the finale.
CBS announced the renewal of “Criminal Minds” for Season 13 in April. New episodes are expected to premiere sometime in the fall.