Why did Penelope leave Criminal Minds?

Criminal Minds on CBS and Amazon Prime is about a group of profilers at the Behavioural Analyis Unit in the FBI. Technical analyst Penelope Garcia (played by Kirsten Vangsness) was in the series from the very beginning, not only helping to crack investigations into serial killers across America but emotionally supporting her colleagues through some of the toughest times. She remained a firm member of the BAU up until series 15 when she decided it was time to go.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Criminal Minds.

Why did Penelope leave Criminal Minds? 

Prior to working for the FBI, Penelope was a hacker and was even on the FBI’s list of dangerous yet skilled vigilante hackers.

She used to hack into companies who she felt was engaged in criminal activities which attracted the attention of the FBI and led to her being arrested in 2004.

Penelope was then given the choice to either join the FBI as their technical analyst or to serve time in prison.

She decided to take the job offer as she wanted to do something more useful with her life.

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Penelope became a great asset to the BAU but at the end of season 15, she knew she needed another challenge.

In episode nine Face Off, the penultimate ever episode, Penelope it was revealed she had handed in her resignation.

This was so she could put her hacking skills to the test at a Silicon Valley-based private research company fighting against the climate crisis.

Before time on Criminal Minds was up, there was another plot twist as Penelope made her exit.

Showrunner Erica Messer explained to Cinema Blend: “At the end, Kirsten and I were talking about it, and she was like, ‘It could be fun if Alvez asked her out.’

“And you’re expecting her to be like, ‘No!’ because she’s been kinda mean to him, and then she instead surprises us with an ‘Okay, sure!’

“It’s something that we’ll never see, but it leaves the audience wondering where did they go and what did it look like?

“Did they go out more than once? Are they a couple now? All of that.

“Anything we could do to let you run with your own Choose Your Own Adventure ending.”

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