Exclusive: Rachel Nichols To Become Criminal Minds Regular

Rachel Nichols is in negotiations to join the cast of CBS’ Criminal Minds as a series regular, the show’s first new regular addition since Joe Mantegna took over for Mandy Patinkin in 2007.

Nicholson was originally tapped for a three-episode arc, which will begin airing next week. CBS had said it would add a new female regular cast member this season following the departure of original co-star A.J. Cook. The character Alias alumna Nichols will play, FBI cadet Ashley Seaver, had been originally listed as a new regular but was eventually scaled back to three episodes. Seaver will first join the Behavior Analysis Unit when she is invited by Agent Hotch (Thomas Gibson)  to consult on a case after learning her family history will bring a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer.

Meanwhile, I hear Paget Brewster has been asked to return to a status of a full-fledged regular on the show but will weigh pilot offers. Following the cast upheaval on the veteran CBS crime drama over the summer, Brewster was offered to return to the show this season as a regular but in reduced capacity, appearing in about 17 of the series’ 22 episodes. As part of the new deal she signed, Brewster was given a “pilot out,” meaning she could do a pilot for a new series while on Minds this season. Brewster has appeared in all nine episodes of the CBS drama that have aired so far, and the network recently proposed a return to the original agreement. Brewster opted to adhere to her amended contract and take advantage of the option that allows her to do a pilot.

This story was originally published by Nellie Andreeva for Deadline.com.

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  1. Soraya says:

    I didnt think I would like Joe after Mandy left… so I’ll wait and see.

    • Bren says:

      This makes me furious that they get rid of JJ & then bring on another blonde as a regular. If it was due to budget cuts then how do they explain replaceing her & then bringing on the new guy that will be Emily’s new love. When shows start replaceing their good actors & adding new characters thats when I start losing interest. Bring back JJ & leave Emily alone. The show was great before so why try to fix it & screw everything up.

      • bonnie says:

        I agree with the previous writer. Why replace JJ with a JJ look alike?

      • Jan says:

        I have been watching Criminal Minds for a long time. I hated it when Mandy left the show, but his replacement was good. I have watched the blonde that you want to replace JJ with and I am sorry but she just doesn’t match up with JJ in anyway. The fact that her Dad was a serial killer, well it’s a lttle out there. Bringing on a romantic interest for Emily is good. But I still want to see JJ back I guess my opinion is “the show is still good, but her character brought a little compassion to the show that no one else had. My statement would be this “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

        • Star. says:

          I guess it’s already a done deal to add an occasional ‘love interest’ for Emily Prentiss but I think it might interfere with the character chemistry between Derek Morgan and Emily.

      • Martha Braddock says:

        By taking AJ out off of the show and replacing her with a dimbo was a huge mistake for the show. She does not have any chemistry with the other actors. She looks like an outcast. I love this show, watch it all the time, but if you continue to mess with anymore characters I will stop watching the show.

        Haven’t you heard the phrase “leave well enough alone” You are starting to ruin the chemistry among the actors.

      • Star. says:

        I totally agree! I’ve only been watching CM since the second season and watch the reruns every night. There are character attributes that should be left alone. Let the characters flow naturally… bringing in another blonde to replace JJ is not right. That’s like bringing in another tall, skinny guy to replace Dr. Reid! fans won’t buy it!!

      • Carol Emmons says:

        I think if you lose jj you will be losing alot of viewers because the character she plays and the repore she has with the team is truely what makes the show feel like the stories are more real. She brings the show more down to earth and believable.I already know i will lose interest in the show.

      • ANNA says:


    • CGragert says:

      But Mandy was better.

      • Star. says:

        Gideon’s approach was different from Rossi’s.
        Gideon was intuitive and experienced profiler. Mentored Dr. Reid and relied on Reid’s unique genius.

        Rossi is practical, sarcastic and calm and scientific and will bite! He’s also an experienced profiler sharing a close bond with Hotchner.
        But I think Gideon and Rossi wouldn’t be able to work on the same case together!

  2. Janet says:

    I’m pretty angry that they got rid of the character of JJ, only to hire another female series regular. So I hope she doesn’t become a regular. Bring back JJ! I wish Paget would sign on as a regular again, but I do understand her desire to keep her options open.

    • Lisa says:

      I don’t like the idea of getting rid of JJ. Is this going to continue until the series stops. I hope not. My husband and son and I really enjoy watching this show. Please don’t stop the show!!!

  3. Dominique says:

    This is ridiculous. Why did they get rid of JJ then if they still planned on having two female son the show? I loved JJ, and was sad to see her/AJ go. The thing I always loved most about CM is that their cast hardly ever changed. Now suddenly, people are leaving, being added and whatelse. Such a shame.

    • Patricia says:

      Totally agree!! MISS JJ, love Emily and the rest. What you have now (and added JJ/AJ back) works!! Not broken, no fixing needed (except JJ)!! A devoted CM fan.

  4. Daisy says:

    Bring JJ back and leave the team as it was!!! It is interesting they fit in together and make the show interesting due to their dinamics!!!! Stop trying to change something that is good as it is!!! Bring JJ back she is the only 1 missing!!!!

  5. Mary Ellen says:

    I am agreement with the other comments….BRING BACK JJ. The team dynamics is just not the same without her. She may not have appeared to be an integral part of the team or show but she was and that is so apparent now that she’s gone. I hope Paget also returns in full capacity. I didn’t care so much for the new role by Rachel Nichols at least not for a full time player. I do love seeing new characters engage with the team and become part of the story line over several episodes but don’t break up the team. So hopefully with enough feedback the producers will get the message….JJ needs to be resigned!

  6. Elle says:

    I have become a CM junkie, LUV IT but I must agree the changing of characters is annoying, Please stop, THANKS!!

  7. Mel says:

    Nothing against this actress, but getting rid of A.J.Cook (JJ) now seems to be even more absurd. A.J. is a very good, natural actress and there was no reason to let her go. I’m betting they would rather drop her and pick up another female look alike at a much lower pay rate. Wonder if they do this with the male actors? Not likely.

  8. linda says:

    no thanks on the new kid—-bring JJ back and quite messing with the cast.

  9. Melody says:

    This really pisses me off, I like AJ Cook, she was great as JJ. Bring her back!!

  10. Nikki says:

    I only started watching the show because of AJ Cook, I loved her in Final Destination and became a fan of her work! I wasnt to keen on Paget Brewster in the beginning…. but now I love her!!! Show executives need to stop, come on fan sites and see what the population really wants!!! I think they are going to make so many changes this season that it isnt going to look like the show we know and love!!!!


  11. Wendy Mika says:

    A.J.Cook is a really good actress and her character JJ was a great character so removing her from the cast is ridiculous. Bring her back and Rachel can be an occasional guest instead!!! Why change something good. In every other TV series they have done that and it doesn’t work. The ratings start to go down and the next thing we know it is off the air and we are stuck with reruns

  12. Kate says:

    CBS continues to make terrible decisions regarding programming and the actors on the shows. Every day there is less reason to watch CBS.

  13. Kate says:

    Apparently the only comments posted are censored

  14. Cyndi says:

    Criminal Minds is by far the best show on T.V. Love the concept, love the cast. Please don’t fix what ain’t broke!!! J.J. is essential to the cast, we don’t need just another blonde. We want the original. Mandy Patinkin leaving was a good move with Joe taking his place, but don’t keep messing with perfection!!!

  15. Star. says:

    I agree with you Cyndi.

  16. Amy says:

    Seriously…does CBS stand for Couldn’t Be Stupider? This new character Ashley Seaver was so out of sync with the regulars that for the first time EVER, I turned the channel and did not watch an entire episode of Criminal Minds. She has no chemistry with the other cast members, is a sad and shallow attempt at replacing AJ Cook and though she may have acting ability on other shows, her performance left MUCH to be desired. I’m all for Emily getting a love interest, especially if it means Seaver gets the cleaver!

  17. Lily says:

    Alright, could someone please explain to me why she’s sticking around? They ‘needed’ her help on a case, fine(Although I still have some trouble buying that…a team of experienced and trained profilers needing the help of a cadet to catch a killer in a gated community? Come on, they have faced way worse than that…). The case is closed now. She has no experience in profiling and is still a cadet. Why is she still there? I want to like her, but as long as her character doesn’t make any sense, I just can’t.

    Does it really work that way? Can she work at the BAU while still being a cadet and having like, zero experience? I get why Reid joined so young, our boy is a genius with three PhDs, but her? I don’t get. If someone knows something about FBI procedures then please tell me that what’s happening on the show is plausible, so that I can finally start to like her a little.

  18. Sandy says:

    BRING AJ COOK BACK! The chemistry with Hotch, Rossi, Morgan, Prentiss, Reid, Garcia and AJ COOK was amazing! Why must CBS always mess up something good????

  19. Marina says:

    love Cm, but agree with all, the cast the way it was, withJJ was great, why mess with it. Love that cast I am HOOKED on the show!!!!Please dont mess it up!!!!!!!!!

  20. Kathi says:

    I’m sorry, we’re getting a new character why? Because CBS and CM producers were stupid and fired A.J. Cook. I’ve watched every episode from the first five seasons but am having trouble with season 6. Mandy left because of creative differences but JJ is gone because some dimwit thought they could take the show in another direction and the fans wouldn’t mind. I think we’ve proved that little tidbit wrong.

  21. Binky says:

    I think since the reason given by CBS for letting go of AJ was budget cuts, I’m guessing they just wouldn’t pay her salary quote. This new girl gets promoted as series regular means that her salary quote per episode is not as high as AJ Cook, who’s been a series regular since season 1. It all boils down to CBS opting to let go of a truly fantastic actress and a beloved character just so they could save a few bucks.

  22. lorna says:

    Why do they love to screw over the females? I liked Mandy, and I like Joe. Both bring different things to the table. WTF I love Prentice, liked JJ, the fat girl was annoying. Why bring new series regulars when you screw over the originals?

  23. Jan V. says:

    CM is off my TIVO! I loved JJ – and I really hate being told that AJ Cook was being let go for budgetary reasons and then forced to see not one new crappy addition (re: new girl – and I won’t even bother learning her name) but now there’s new-guy-romantic-interest-for-Prentiss (hey isn’t this a crime drama, *not* a romance?). I don’t buy that adding two characters doesn’t further bloat the shows budget.

  24. siniz says:

    oh for goodness sake people!!! She doesnt look a thing like JJ!!!

    • Jean Jones says:

      Take another look if you can bear the pain, Siniz. The new actress does resemble JJ if it isn’t a close-up shot. There is a physical similarity albeit no similarity in what the two characters contribute to the show.

  25. Lisa says:

    I am very upset that they got rid of JJ. My husband and youngest son and I love this show. I don’t want anyone to leave!! If your going to bring someone in that’s new don’t have them look like someone else. Please keep the same characters, we love them all

  26. Jean Jones says:

    I know this isn’t Greek Tragedy, but I am really sad to see the deterioration of what was a fine show with characters who could hold our interest even when the plots were poor. The episodes have gone downhill since Somebody Up There started monkeying with the cast, beginning with the departure of JJ and the emergence of a cadet on the team. It’s like watching a group of brain surgeons consulting a first-year med student. We ain’t buying Seaver. Who is it Up There who is too arrogant to listen to intelligent, devoted viewers of the show? Is he/she related to Hosni Mubarak?

  27. alex says:

    I enjoy the whole cast . I really like aj cook when i heard she left i was not happy . I am happy now that she will be returning next fall. I would also give racheal nichols a chance. She would make a good addition to have fresh face to the mix. I am a fan of aj cook.