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These Criminal Minds Characters Are Friends In Real Life

CBS' "Criminal Minds" ran for 15 seasons before the BAU's on-air adventures wrapped up in 2020; well, for a while, anyway. In February 2021, news broke that the Paramount+ streaming platform is aspiring to give "Criminal Minds" its 16th season (via TV Line), and, even though virtually everything about the project is still very much up in the air, it seems like the team may very well return to catch a few more serial killers at some point in the future.   

Though the "Criminal Minds" stars have mostly kept themselves busy with other projects since the show wrapped up, one imagines that they wouldn't mind a reunion somewhere down the line. After all, the show ran for such a long time that it's only natural to assume the actors became fairly close over the years. But did you know that two of them were actually friends before they even joined the cast? Let's take a look at the "Criminal Minds" characters who are friends in real life.

Gina Garcia-Sharp and Kirsten Vangsness are old theatre buddies

It turns out that one of "Criminal Minds" mainstays, technical analyst and hacker Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), has a hidden history with one of the show's long-running recurring characters. Gina Garcia-Sharp, who plays the appropriately named Agent Gina Sharp on the show, is great friends with Vangsness, due to their onstage history as members of the same theatre company. Vangsness told This Stage that her association with the company, Theatre of Note, is far longer than her "Criminal Minds" tenure — In fact, shortly before she joined the cast, she took home the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Natalie Schafer Award for Best Emerging Comic Actress. "I love these people," Vangness said of her Theatre of Note compatriots in 2012. "They are some of the most talented and committed people I know. I really mean that. They are good actors. They help me raise my game."

Garcia-Sharp is another Theatre of Note alum, and has appeared in their plays as recently as 2017 (via Broadway World). Interestingly, neither of the stage actresses had any idea that their association with "Criminal Minds" would be such a lengthy one. Penelope Garcia was originally supposed to be a one-off character, but the overwhelmingly positive response got Vangsness promoted into a main role. Meanwhile, Garcia-Sharp was originally a part of the show's casting department, before eventually ending up in front of the camera.