Playing a FBI Technical Analyst on ‘Criminal Minds’ means actress Kirsten Vangsness spends a ton of time in front of computer screens. She tells us EXCLUSIVELY what’s really on them.
Actress Kirsten Vangness has spent 13 years playing FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit tech analyst Penelope Garcia on CBS’s long running hit Criminal Minds. That means the 45-year-old spends nearly all of her scenes in front of a computer screen and she tells HollywoodLife.com in an EXCLUSIVE interview for our podcast what she’s really looking at. “I have one, two, three, four, five. I’ve got six screens up at any given time,” she reveals. “On one of them there’s a screen with a piece of wood and a baseball next to the piece of wood with the numbers. I’ve been studying that piece of wood now for a decade. We haven’t solved it. I feel like we’ll eventually do an episode about that,” she jokes.
As for some of the criminals they track, the show uses mugshots featuring actual employees to do the trick! “What we sometimes use for mugshots is we’ll use people who work in other departments, so the art department will take pictures of themselves being criminals. So I will often be scrolling through people I know at work, their pictures and things. So there’s all kinds of things on those screens,” Kirsten tells us.
Kirsten’s desk on the show features all kind of things from her personal life in addition to her myriad of screens. “I was just supposed to be two lines in the first episode. So when they brought me in one more time I thought ‘Well I want to put something there where I can kind of feel safe.’ My grandmother had this little candy dish and I put the candy dish on the….and I came in next time and put a little bottle of lotion. Then I came and put a little weird pen and I thought ‘When they fire me I’m going to have to come back and get my stuff. Then I could ask for another job maybe in a different department,” she reveals.
“So I started to do that and it got bigger and bigger and bigger. Then I would to a (theatrical) play and someone would come to the play and hand me a pen. Then it started to get more elaborate and someone would make me a pen. People would mail pens. The whole desk is like a little art installment filled with stuff from fans or whatever, but its ten years worth. The lotion is all dried out, none of the pens work, it’s strange,” she adds. So next time you see Kirsten hard at work on Criminal Minds, you now know all of the secrets of her character’s desk. You can hear more from Kirsten and co-star Joe Mantegna by checking out our podcast for free here.