Damon Gupton won't be returning to "Criminal Minds" for Season 13, leaving his role as Supervisory Special Agent Stephen Walker after just one season on the CBS show. He was added in the wake of the Thomas Gibson debacle, when Gibson was fired for that physical altercation on set.
According to TVLine, creative changes are happening for the fall 2017 season, and one result is the end of Gupton's role. The actor confirmed his exit in a reply on Twitter, first retweeting an inspirational quote from football player Tyvis Powell:
wanted to let you know I appreciate this as I just lost my job. You throwing out the 1st pitch is pure class and a monumental image.— Damon Gupton (@DamonGupton) June 10, 2017
There's been a lot of cast turmoil at "Criminal Minds," and showrunner Erica Messer had told TVLine in January that adding Gupton's character amid all the other comings and goings was "a decision that the network made" and made for a challenge to figure out what roles needed to be filled. Maybe enough time has passed, and the dust has settled, that instead of just patching things up they've been able to plot out the future storylines, and there just wasn't one for Agent Walker.
It's also possible the show needed to free up some money. Deadline reported last month that longtime "Criminal Minds" stars AJ Cook and Kirsten Vangsness were in contract negotiations seeking parity with their male co-stars, including Joe Mantegna and Matthew Gray Gubler. Those negotiations are reportedly still at an impasse as of now.
Shemar Moore left the show at the end of Season 11 but he returned briefly (too briefly) for the Season 12 finale, which included the cliffhanger of most of the team being involved in a car accident. That might be the convenient way out for several characters, depending on the new direction of the show in Season 13.
"Criminal Minds" Season 13 will air at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays this fall on CBS.
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