Paget Brewster To Leave ‘Criminal Minds’

UPDATE: Reached for comment by Dateline, Criminal Minds star Thomas Gibson gave us the following statement, “We all love Paget and her character and will miss her greatly but I know that she will have continued great success.”

Paget Brewster Criminal Minds

EXCLUSIVE: Emily Prentiss is turning in her badge. Criminal Minds co-star Paget Brewster will leave the hit CBS drama series at the end of this season. Brewster had been itching to do something else for awhile. Last year, she used a provision in her modified deal for Criminal Minds that allowed her to shoot a pilot and did NBC’s comedy My Life as an Experiment. Had the pilot gone to series, Brewster would’ve left the CBS drama for it but when it didn’t, Criminal Minds producer ABC Studios had an option to bring her back and exercised it. I hear that Brewster, whose contract is up in May, wanted to do a half-hour pilot again this year but didn’t get the blessing of CBS and ABC Studios who tried to keep her on the show with an offer for a new deal. (While not officially renewed, Criminal Minds, a strong ratings performer, is guaranteed to return next season.) Brewster opted to leave. “After six wonderful years playing Emily Prentiss, I have decided it’s time for me to move on,” she said in a statement to Deadline. “As much as I will miss my Criminal Minds family, I am excited about the future and other opportunities.” Brewster notified the producers and the cast of Criminal Minds of her decision yesterday. “We were all sad to hear the news, but we respect and support any decision Paget wants to make,” the series’ executive producer/showrunner Erica Messer told Deadline. “Personally, I’m a huge fan and will continue to be one wherever she goes.” Before Criminal Minds, which Brewster joined early in the second season, she did a slew of comedy series, starting with her memorable arc on Friends.

Brewster’s departure caps a roller-coaster last 2 years for her on the show. In the summer of 2010, she was asked to continue on Criminal Minds in a reduced capacity while her friend and co-star A.J. Cook was let go. Brewster ended up being in every episode until she left to do a pilot last season, and Cook eventually returned to the show full-time. Because of the uncertainty surrounding her NBC pilot at the time Brewster’s last episode on Criminal Minds‘ sixth season was filmed, Brewster shot a cliff-hanger ending for her character. When the pilot didn’t get picked up, she was enlisted for the current sevenths season of Criminal Minds, something Brewster recently told TV Guide she was surprised by. “They said, ‘You’re back!’ I had another year on my contract that I didn’t know about, so I had to come back! I said, ‘Hey, I kinda want an apology and maybe a raise.’ And they were like, ‘No, we’ll sue you!’” Brewster said with a laugh. “The whole thing was, unfortunately, a mess. It was dumb. They thought they would save money by getting rid of us … and in the end got both of us back.” While Brewster is leaving, most oher Criminal Minds co-stars, including Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna, Shemar Moore and Cook, have deals in place for next season. Matthew Gray Gubler is in the process of renegotiating his.

Comments (185)

  • Good for her!

    Comment by Michelle — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 8:34am PST  
    • Wow, after all, she is leaving… I understand but… just feel disappointed, crying, my favorite character/actress is voluntarily leaving… wow

      Comment by Mememinds — Sunday February 26, 2012 @ 7:37pm PST  
    • cant believe this. im going crazy.

      Comment by feven tekie — Wednesday March 7, 2012 @ 2:49pm PST  
    • I wish Paget nothing but the best in the future and will be watching for her, as much as I hate, loathe and despise the fact that she’s leaving the show (too much? LOL). I usually don’t immerse myself in entertainment news, so much of the “news” is honestly new to me.

      I had no idea what was going on last year when JJ and Prentiss both left; I was thrilled to see them back, then this. Wow! I can’t believe the “powers that be” thought JJ and Prentiss were superfluous and no one would care about them leaving. To call a spade a spade, that’s IDIOTIC … and they found that out PDQ.

      I’m happy for Paget in the respect of being able to leave on her own terms and make her own call. I hope A.J. stays on past the two year contract, although I have to respectfully disagree with a previous poster.

      With Paget’s departure, I think that Rachel Nichols (Seaver) could be an interesting addition to the team. They’ve already sketched a background for her and there are numerous highs/lows, dark/light areas Seaver could have to deal with on the series. It opens up a lot of little nooks and crannies and past demons that could really light the fire under this show again (not that I’ve ever lost interest in it).

      Comment by Lis — Tuesday April 17, 2012 @ 6:15pm PDT  
    • i mostly watch this show because of Paget Brewster.

      Comment by sienna daniels — Saturday May 19, 2012 @ 8:30pm PDT  
      • She is so beautiful that she will shine whatever she winds up doing.

        Comment by Anonymous — Monday May 21, 2012 @ 1:44pm PDT  
      • i watched criminal minds because of paget brewster. i stopped befor when her and jj quit.not much on tv anyway since they took away the good has lost me as a viewer.

        Comment by bruce jones — Tuesday May 22, 2012 @ 5:49am PDT  
      • me to

        Comment by anthony — Friday January 18, 2013 @ 4:26pm PST  
      • I so agree! Paget, please come back!!!!

        Comment by Connie — Wednesday June 26, 2013 @ 7:45pm PDT  
    • I have been out of the loop for awhile and am now watching the season premiere of Criminal Minds. Was waiting for them to show my favorite Paget Brewster. Came to my computer immediately to find out what happened. Excited for her but very sad for me; this is one show I always make a point to watch because she is so wonderful.

      Comment by jcarter — Wednesday October 10, 2012 @ 6:30pm PDT  
  • I’m glad to hear this. I can’t wait to see her in something comedic again. Of course she was great on Criminal Minds, but I think it was a waste of her true talents. Best of luck to Paget!

    Comment by W — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 8:36am PST  
  • She was so charming and funny in her arc on Friends way back when, it’s a shame she didn’t get her own comedy afterwards. Some actors (and especially actresses) just miss their window, I guess. It’s too bad.

    Comment by Hank — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 8:48am PST  
  • Oh man!! I was so excited when Paget came back this season. And I am going to be so sad when she leaves… :( I love Paget on Criminal Minds and it’s going to be hard for me when she leaves. Though I totally respect what Paget has decided!! I support her 100% and will definitely follow her where ever she goes!
    Will miss you, Paget!

    Comment by brittychicky — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 8:52am PST  
  • While I am a fan of CM, Paget’s talents have been woefully underused throughout her time on the show. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

    Comment by R — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 9:02am PST  
  • I love Paget but it looks as if she won’t be satisfied until another one of her comedy series bombs!

    Stick with Criminal Minds Paget. It’s a steady paycheck until the network decides to retire it. There’ll be comedy opportunities when the CM ride is over.

    Comment by JS — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 9:11am PST  
    • It’s not about the paycheck for everyone. For some people, freedom, opportunity and exploration take precedence.

      You don’t have to agree but it’s commendable.

      Comment by Terrence — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 9:56am PST  
      • When you are an actor, IT IS about a steady paycheck. Visibility matters. You need to put as much money in the bank as you can. It’s a business, people.

        Why don’t actors learn this lesson? The David Caruso Rule should be taught to all actors. You don’t walk away from a hit show. You rarely get a second chance, and you waste valuable time getting the traction back.

        You think Charlie Sheen would like to have those Two and Half Men checks still coming in? duh, yes.

        Comment by Mark — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 11:24am PST  
        • I have to agree with you 100% because it took David Caruso 9 years to get back on top and he really did learn his lesson. He stayed with the winner this time. But for some reason people always leave them good paying jobs. What has success has Jimmy Smits had since leaving NYPD Blue. He has had a few shows but none lasted.

          Comment by Anonymous — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 1:31pm PST  
        • uhh, Isn’t David Caruso on a hit show now??? He made some bad movies in between, but that was his choice to venture out. It seems to have come back full circle for him. Isn’t acting about creativity as well??

          Comment by PB-fan — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 1:58pm PST  
        • It isn’t all about the paycheck though. It’s also about being happy where you work. Paget is not happy there anymore. Plus who’s to say that if she decided not to leave that CBS wouldn’t screw her over again? That’s what you have to think about. Sure Paget is on a hit show but I’m sure that where ever she goes fans will follow and she will do just fine. The world doesn’t revolve around money.

          Comment by mcleagan — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 4:24pm PST  
        • Paget is a talented actress, if she does decide to leave the show, she will have a lot of other great opportunitys oout there for her, she’ll be OK.

          Comment by Gillian — Thursday February 23, 2012 @ 6:25pm PST  
  • It would be great to see her back on a comedy. I have had a massive crush on her since ‘Andy Richter Controls the Universe’.

    Comment by Big D — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 9:15am PST  
  • Good for her. Time to seek greener pastures. The way CBS jerked her around for the last two years, I don’t blame her for leaving.

    Good Luck to you Paget. We’ll see you again.

    Comment by art — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 9:35am PST  
  • Congratulations, Paget! I hope to see you in something else very, very soon – and NOT for CBS or the current braindeads who are writing CM. It used to be a good show. I say, Get out while the getting’s good!

    Comment by SG Marzipan — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 9:53am PST  
  • Why didn’t they mention Gray Gubbler for the ones that have a new deal on the makes??? Is he leaving too???

    Comment by mena — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 9:53am PST  
    • MGG’s contract is up at the end of Season 7, so he should be in negotiations now. No need to worry unless he hasn’t signed by like… May, or June. Negotiations take time. TG signed last year in June, 2 weeks before shooting started. I doubt it will be that last minute for MGG if they’ve already reached a deal for Joe Montegna, whose contract is also up.

      Comment by Inarus — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 10:30am PST  
      • The only issue with this is, MGG wants to be a director, so if something comes up, and its a solid opportunity, he may take it. And from what I hear, he is a really good director.

        Comment by Gillian knox — Thursday February 23, 2012 @ 6:21pm PST  
    • I know, that scares me!! I REALLY hope he reups his contract!!

      Comment by Chaell — Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 11:19am PST  
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