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Criminal Minds Without A.J.: "It's Like Somebody Cut One of Our Arms Off"

Criminal Minds cast Monty Brinton/CBS

The Cook has left the building.

Tonight's episode of Criminal Minds—the second of the new season—sees the departure of series costar A.J. Cook after it was revealed earlier this summer her contract would not be renewed.

Kirsten Vangsness, who plays Penelope Garcia on the CBS procedural, has made no secret that she's not happy with the firing…

"You know, it's like we had seven arms and somebody cut one of the arms off and we're walking around with this phantom limb," Vangsness told me. "And that's the honest to God truth. That's what it feels like."

Deadline TV reported earlier today that Star Trek actress Rachel Nichols was said to be replacing Cook, but she apparently will only appear on three episodes as a new FBI cadet.

"We're still sort of hungover from her leaving," Vangsness said. "But there's this point where you're like, 'OK, she's gone and she's going to rise like a phoenix and it's going to be great.' You can't keep fighting it. But it's weird when it's like this person is just gone and the nature of the network beast is almost like, 'They don't exist. Now we act like that never happened.' "

She added, "It's just not my cup of tea, the way it all went down."

Now, we want to hear from you. Gonna miss A.J. or change is a good thing? Sound off below.
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In happier news, find out what Vangsness told me about plans to marry her longtime partner.

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