Criminal Minds Star 'Optimistic' About Paget Brewster Returning to Series

Criminal Minds star Joe Mantegna tells TVLine he feels “optimistic” about Paget Brewster returning to the CBS crime drama — a prospect that’s even more possible now that the actress’ comedy pilot My Life As an Experiment has been passed over by NBC.

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Even though Criminal Minds is already welcoming back A.J. Cook (as JJ Jareau) — the series’ other casualty of this season’s creative and casting shifts — in its May 18 finale, Mantegna says, “I don’t think we’d be going to the well too often” by inviting Brewster to return as Prentiss. “Anyone who saw how her ultimate ‘demise’ happened knows there’s that window of opportunity,” he adds, referring to how the BAU agent faked her death to elude Ian Doyle, a persistent, deadly former paramour.

Though Hotch and JJ went a long way to convince the team that Prentiss had died from wounds suffered during her final showdown with Doyle, Mantegna believes the elaborate ruse can be undone if it means reviving a character “so important” as Brewster’s.

“We had to do a lot to create that scenario, so we’d have to do just as much work to resolve it — but I think you can,” he posits. Having the BAU neuter Doyle, the threat that sent Prentiss into hiding, “could be a big, exciting and memorable arc.”