Here’s Why Paget Brewster Left Criminal Minds

Here’s Why Paget Brewster Left Criminal Minds
Here’s Why Paget Brewster Left Criminal Minds

While playing Supervisory Special Agent Emily Prentiss for almost two decades on Criminal Minds, Paget Brewster has garnered fans on the show and they didn’t like seeing her go. Iconic long-running shows like Criminal Minds always have one thing in common and that is watching stars come and go. Technically speaking, the exodus of cast members often helps the story evolve while retaining the suspense and viewers’ attention. Nevertheless, watching Brewster leave the show went down badly with fans.

From Mandy Patinkin to Jennifer Love Lewitt and Jeanne Trippleton, many stars had short stints on Criminal Minds but Paget Brewster has stayed on the show, though off and on since her debut. She got her career breakthrough on the American police procedural crime drama television series when she joined in 2006 as a regular cast member but the status of her role has seen many changes over the years. Brewster has gone from regular to guest and back to regular while exiting the show at some point.

Who Did Paget Brewster Play in Criminal Minds?

Paget Brewster as Agent Emily Prentiss

After launching her professional career in 1994, it took Brewster more than a decade to get her breakthrough which happened on the set of Criminal Minds. She joined the series cast in 2006, depicting the multilingual Supervisory Special Agent Emily Prentiss in the CBS crime drama. Though Prentiss is one of the main characters in the series, she wasn’t there when the show premiered on CBS on September 22, 2005. Brewster’s character was introduced in “The Last Word” episode as a replacement for Agent Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini) who left the show in “The Boogeyman” episode.

Emily Prentiss is Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss’s (Kate Jackson) daughter who came on board as a supervisory special agent and BAU Unit Chief. Prentiss speaks many languages, including French, Spanish, Arabic, and Greek. She was approved by Section Chief Erin Strauss to join the BAU for a particular task – to get information on any problems the BAU might have but she would rather resign than snitch on her team.

When Did She Exit Criminal Minds?

Here’s Why Paget Brewster Left Criminal Minds

Technically speaking, she is still with the series but Paget Brewster’s trajectory in the Jeff Davis-created police procedural crime drama has been a rollercoaster ride. She first joined the show as a regular cast member in 2006 and retained her spot until the sixth season when CBS removed her from the show to cut costs. A. J. Cook was also released from her contract at the same time, leading to an uproar from fans of the series.

Subsequently, Brewster announced in February 2012 that her stint with the Criminal Minds team was over and she would explore her other talents. However, fans spoke and CBS listened, bringing the released duo (Cook and Brewster) back for the seventh season. Brewster made two guest appearances in 2014 before returning as a regular in 2016 after the dismissal of Thomas Gibson. She continued to depict Emily Prentiss as a regular cast member from 2016 to 2020 when the show seemingly wrapped up. Criminal Minds was revived for a new season in 2022 and Paget Brewster is still reprising her role as Emily Brewster.

Paget Brewster Left Criminal Minds to Return to Her Comedy Background

Here’s Why Paget Brewster Left Criminal Minds

In February 2012, Paget Brewster revealed to disheartened fans that she was leaving Criminal Minds at the end of the season and according to the actress, she felt it was time to revisit her comedic roots. While she has had a good run with the series, Paget Brewster was absent for a couple of seasons and reports have hinted that there is more to why she was axed from the show. The initial widespread reason Brewster and Cook were released from their contracts as Criminal Minds series regulars was to cut down on expenses but CBS seems to disagree.

The network apparently explains the decision to remove Brewster and Cook from the show as a creative move, needing to shuffle things around to maintain freshness on the show and true to that, a new character, Agent Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols) was introduced, perhaps as a replacement for Brewster and Cook. On her own part, Brewster shed a bit more light on the reason she was taken off the show. Speaking about her exit from Criminal Minds, a disheartened Brewster revealed that budget cut wasn’t the reason she was fired but that CBS wanted fresh female faces to join the cast.

Thus, Criminal Minds executive producer, Ed Bernero got a call from a CBS representative and Brewster was fired. Brewster described getting fired because “they wanted new women” as heartbreaking. However, her love for the connection she has built while working on the show influenced her decision to rejoin the cast after her brief exit. She has appeared in over 200 episodes of Criminal Minds thus far and has continued to bring Agent Prentiss to life on the show.

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