Women Are Expendable On Criminal Minds

Illustration for article titled Women Are Expendable On Criminal Minds

Two of the women on CBS show Criminal Minds have either been eliminated or had their hours reduced. And fans are crying sexism.

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According to Nellie Andreeva at Deadline Hollywood Daily:

I'm told the option of series regular A.J. Cook has not been picked up and co-star Paget Brewster is being made an offer to stay for only a reduced number of episodes next season, leaving fan favorite Kristen Vangsness as the only remaining full-time female cast member.

CBS later hastily had someone tell Andreeva that this was "creative" and not financial, and that "A new regular female cast member will be brought in sometime next season to fill the void that will be left by Cook's departure." How convenient that they are all so interchangeable.

Among the many emails we've received protesting CBS's decisions was this one:

There are so few positive female influences on television already and, lately, it seems like they're fewer everyday, especially on CBS. The characters of Cook and Brewster were extremely good role models who demonstrated that women can not only have successful careers, but they can succeed in male-centric fields like the FBI; they also showed that women don't need to rely on men to take care of them.

Criminal Minds is already male-dominated, with four of the seven main characters being male and those four getting the majority of the screentime - and none of those men were in any danger of losing their spot on the show when this decision was made while they're cutting two of the women.

There's even a petition with over 19,000 signatures. Whatever CBS's motivations were, the sheer fury that this decision alone is a sign of how badly viewers want strong roles for women on television — and how rare they seem to be, at least on networks.

Breaking: Criminal Minds Drops A.J. Cook [EW]
CBS' Criminal Minds Trims Cast [Deadline Hollywood Daily]

DISCUSSION

velleity-old
velleity

I'm so glad you are covering this.

One of the reasons I like Criminal Minds is that they have strong female characters, who are actual people rather than cardboard cut outs.

The show is definitely male dominated, especially with regards to which characters are focused on, but the female characters are never shown as being anything less than competent at their jobs, even when they screw up (which doesn't happen often) and they always have some role to play in the case being solved.

This plays a big part in why I don't find the show that disturbing even though most of the cases focus on violence against women.

They could have easily cut loose any of the male characters and had it make sense within the show, but no - they chose to dump one woman and reduce the role of another.

I don't see how it can be seen as anything but sexism. If they did it for financial reasons, than why get rid of two people who are more in a supporting role and therefore probably earn less. And if it was for creative reasons, how can they have more endless Hotch and Reid manpain, but not be able to come up with stories for Prentice and JJ.

I'm seriously not sure if I'll bother to watch next season.

(And clearly, judging by this super long post, I care a lot more about this than I would have suspected.