Criminal Minds Cast Shake-Up as Gupton Not Returning for Season 13!
In a heartfelt facebook post, Damon writes about this disappointment, how he feels about his castmates, his hopes for the future, and what it means for him, both in moving forward and in standing still.
“I need to get this out because it’s going to become more public soon and I want to put it out there so I can continue the process of moving on.
On Thursday, I was informed that I was being released from my current job on Criminal Minds. It took us all by surprise, cast, production, etc. as production starts back up in about a month, and I was told I’d be back for the 13th season and planned my worklife and personal life accordingly. It was a business decision, nothing to do with my performance, etc. Business move.
I don’t think it’s ever easy to lose your job. Period. In the moment, there’s nothing truly consoling for me about “Something better is coming”. Oftentimes, that is true. But it negates the power, importance, uniqueness, specialness of the individual opportunity. I prefer to think and say “something DIFFERENT is coming.”
Before Criminal Minds, I had the good fortune to have been a series regular on four television shows. To folks outside the business, that means a main cast member, which is a huge thing to actors. It’s a different pay scale, resume builder, etc. None of these shows made it past a first season. They were all cancelled in fact. Most of them deserved to have longer lives, but it wasn’t in the cards. Some of you know the pain of losing jobs like this, most don’t, most want to, most won’t, I get that. It is all our personal experience.
Criminal Minds was supposed to be a safe space for awhile, if there is ever such a thing in this whirlwind business. I knew it wouldn’t last forever but it was “stability” for a moment in a well-oiled machine close to home, with lovely people and environment close to home. My life needed that right now, even if my deepest artistic soul and being needs more, because, certainly I have more to say, as many of us do. But learning and the consistency of “taking reps” at a job like this is really important, and often a luxury. It’s practice. Consistent practice. And I really did look forward to doing that with this particular team more than half a season. There’s so much to learn and grow in, and when you can do it around good people and energy , that’s the bee’s knees.
A lot of actors will never see a series regular job on a tv show, I get that, let alone five. I count my blessings, believe me, and it is important that this is known, but there is a special kind of pain and disappointment in losing opportunities like this. These jobs do NOT grow on trees. They are hard to get, and hard to survive. They have their own pressures and challenges. 22 episodes on a network tv show in today’s (or any days) market is a BIG thing. It a big job. A lottery of sorts.
And love was in the room. That always makes the blow harder.
And while not the hardest jobs on earth, or even most relevant to the worlds happenings at times, they are not easy. But they are special in our line of work as we build careers. Each one is lucrative in a different way, and that’s not just monetarily. The building of relationships, a work family, continuity…all important.
In today’s game, and maybe yesterday’s too, the “hit” is the thing. And the truth is I haven’t had that yet. I’ve longed for that. The HIT. Nothing has stuck. And the sticking is never guaranteed. So you just keep tracking your course, developing, and making your mark best you can. You can find examples all around…people who are fabulous actors who’ve never had a series regular that finally get one and the show is a colossal hit, to people who jump in one iconic hit for seven years, to seven years on another iconic hit, to people who have to do ten network shows before something sticks, to people who never land these types of roles roles, etc. Its a wild business. And a wild ride. And nothing is ever guaranteed. There are shockers and detours and potholes all the time.
And I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunities I’ve had, even when hungry for more. Believe me, this is not a “woe is me/feel bad for me” writing. I count my blessings. If you know me, then you know that. If you don’t know me well, then learn that about me.
The world is not ending, but a part of mine IS. And this is just me grieving. And that’s allowed and necessary. And, perhaps, it’s preempting the question that I will occasionally get asked…”how are you doing?”
This is a tough business at its many levels. And it takes its toll.
It’s all perspective.
All that glitters ain’t gold.
But treasures seen and unseen, abound.
A big thank you to the lovely folks at Criminal Minds. Cast. Crew. And I thank CBS for welcoming me to the family for a time. I will never forget the kindness of that crew, and the generosity, fun, and love that filled the walls of Quixote studios. And thank you to those of you who supported me on the show. Many of you don’t know what I went through behind the scenes being a “replacement” for a beloved character on a show that has a storied and deep history, and twitter can be a mean place, racially, otherwise. I learned a lot about people’s ignorance and cruelty.
So, as a courtesy, I ask for no more “keep your chin up’s” or “something better’s coming”, or “you always land on your feet” or “you’re better than that show anyway” (which I disagree with) or “you’re always working”, or “does this mean you’ll conduct more now”, or “things could be worse”,etc. I appreciate the sentiment, and I thank you, and at my core, I know it to be true. But oftentimes, for me, it actually neglects the pain of mourning the loss, even though well-intended. So thank you. Truly.
Like I said above…it’s not that something BETTER is coming, it’s that something DIFFERENT is.
One day and moment at a time.
In truth, you may or may not hear from me for awhile. I may have to step back, re-root. Connect anew. A way I never have before. I’ve already been farther away these days, that may deepen.
I certainly do know that when doors close, windows open. I’ve soared on the wings of that phrase for quite a time now.
Yes. Doors close and windows open, but sometimes….you just gotta get out of the house.
Build a NEW one.
And I have no idea where that will be next, and it may be where none of us expect.
There are deeper whispers.
And that is the truest, most revealing beauty of this whole thing.
I close with some amended words from one of my favorite moments in Shakespeare…Macbeth, Act 4, scene 3 when Macduff finds out his family has been killed and Malcolm is trying to comfort him. I always hear this when I suffer a loss of some kind.
What, man! ne’er pull your hat upon your brows;
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break…
Let’s make us medicines of our great revenge,
To cure this deadly grief…..
Dispute it like a man.
I shall do so;
But I must also feel it as a man.”
Thank you , Damon. We wish you all the best of everything, and we hope to see Stephen Walker consult with the BAU another time, you willing.