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.

Criminal Minds Contract Scoop: Shemar Moore Re-Signs

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.”

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65 Comments
  1. Jenny says:

    This news makes me extremely happy. I am all for shows doing the occasional casting shake-up to revamp the show; but I think CBS made a big mistake getting rid of two well-liked characters in the same season. And while I do like Rachel Nichols’ character and I still did enjoy the show this season it felt like something important was missing this season. Especially after Paget Brewster left the show, though I do think the Ian Doyle story line was phenomenal. I am very excited for next season and I think CBS made the right choice in deciding to bring A.J. Cook back on the show.

  2. Esaul says:

    I’m so excited for next season already.

  3. Ashley says:

    It almost feels like the real CM summer cliffhanger won’t be whatever happens next week in the season finale but what’s happening cast-wise behind-the-scenes.I really, really hope Joe Mantegna optimism proves correct and Paget Brewster returns to “Criminal Minds”. The casting and creative changes of season 6 were a mistake – she and A.J. Cook should never have been let go in the first place!

  4. D says:

    I have the “STUPIDEST” smile on my face. Chuck was renewed for a 5th season. PB might return to Criminal Minds. This Friday the 13th is going great!

  5. S says:

    I find it a waste of time getting rid of a character only to bring them back……..

    • Ariella says:

      Uh, it’s called drama, and it’s the most exciting (albeit ridiculously stressful) thing to happen on the show since Foyet.
      But let me guess, you think Seaver “has a lot of potential” and she could totally fill the void??

      • Ceecile says:

        Dude chill. I agree with S.
        I think it’s ridiculous to have gone through so much drama and press only to bring her back now. And she was one of my favourites. For me if they bring her back they’d have to wait till the end of next season at least.

        • Alicia says:

          Bro, I am chill. What’s so ridiculous about bringing her back now? When the producers want her, when the cast wants her, when fans want her? Why wait?
          Imagine this had been an elaborate plotline (no BTS drama); we learn about Prentiss’ past with Doyle, she ends up getting killed, the team is sad. After laying low for awhile she makes a triumphant return next season to hunt down Doyle with the team, ensuring everyone’s safety.
          That’s a good story, one that doesn’t need to be pushed back a year when who knows what other crap CBS might pull.
          They should make things right again now.

          • olivia says:

            This girl is right. There is no need to wait tp bring paget back. I watched the season bc cm is my fav show but the season sucked without them… And ps i dont like the way that they reids chac. Changeing too.. If they dont know what to do go and look back and look at seasons 4and 5 bc that was the great cm!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Sherri says:

    I am sorry that Paget’s new show got passed over, but their loss is CM’s gain! I will be so excited to see her character back. Now if only Thomas Gibson gets the deal he deserves. . . That would make this Friday the 13th!

    PS. The Ian Doyle storyline was compelling and would be a great arc to finish him off!

  7. Amy says:

    I couldn’t be more happy. It was ridiculous to get rid of her or A.J. Cook to begin with. I really hope that she comes back.

  8. Alicia says:

    Can I get a “HELL YEAH”?!

    So glad to hear the sentiments of fans are shared by the cast as well.
    Prentiss CAN and SHOULD come back–then I could start watching again.
    CBS/CM/Paget, please make it happen!

  9. L says:

    I really hope Paget does come back. Season 6 was a disaster for Criminal Minds (although JJ’s final episode was immense). Now all we need is to get rid of the JJ lookalike, Ashley I think her name is (I haven’t watched CM this season since she came in)?

    Looking forward to season 7 though!

  10. Ingmar says:

    Here’s hope for her return!

  11. Jenn says:

    YAY I can watch the show again. Boycotted after they decided that two out of the three (and field agents at that) female characters they decided weren’t needed. WRONG! Those two are the best on the show!

  12. Mel says:

    I WOULD LOVE FOR PAGET TO COME BACK TO CM (yes, caps needed)!

    Hotch/Prentiss shipper <3

  13. Mike says:

    Yes, they should free up money for Thomas Gibson by getting rid of the godawful newbie they brought in. She doesn’t have the acting chops to appear in a porno.

    • ksoze says:

      I agree, they should never have let AJ and Paget go, and I hope like hell Prentiss returns. But I think Rachel Nichols is getting unfairly criticized. Her acting’s not bad; I just think her character needs more development if she’s to stay on the show. I think there’s room for all of them.

    • Ashley says:

      I don’t know if Rachel Nichols is THAT bad (I’m not a fan of her work on CM, but thought she did a fine job as the green girl in the lastest “Star Trek” movie and haven’t seen her in anything else), but I agree that her character has to go. There would be just too many characters if she stuck around and she doesn’t contribute anything to the show anyway.

  14. Mikaylah says:

    I am sorry Paget’s pilot got passed on by NBC, but I would be so happy if she came back to Criminal Minds! CBS should also definitely cancel Suspect Behavior.

  15. Karen says:

    i am so happy that PB comedy got passed over, so I hope that means she heads on back to CM and if they really want to save money get rid of Rachel Nichols, she contributes nothing to the show except pissed off fans who miss AJ Cook and Paget Brewster.

    I hope Thomas Gibson renews his contract too.

  16. Lee says:

    Not sure why everyone is jumping up and down on the producers here…PB wasn’t “let go”…she walked because she had another pilot under development that she was reasonably confident would get picked up. The producers actually did her a favor by keeping her alive, with hopes she’d come back. Same did not happen with Elle in the 2nd season…

    What I would love is a return of Jason Gideon!

    • BT says:

      Actually, the producers and network decided out of nowhere to reduce the number of episodes Paget was in, which is a huge insult for someone who’s been on the show for as long as she has and is popular with the majority of fans. By the time they realized their mistake and asked her to stick around for all episodes, she made the understandable decision to see what else was out there. The producers and network should be thanking their lucky stars her pilot was passed over so they have a chance to rectify their mistake!

    • lj says:

      This is not accurate. CBS told her that in addition to reducing the number of episodes in which she would appear this season (to about 3/4) they would probably not be exercising their option on her for season 7 so she was welcome to look for pilots while she was not filming CM. She would have been breaching her contract to look for pilots without CBS’ permission, and there’s been no indication she would have left CM unless provoked. She found MLAAE after everything went down with CBS.

      Regardless, I want her to return. I don’t mind Seaver, and I like everyone else, but Prentiss brought a sort of witty spark to the show that none of the other characters really have and it has seemed dull the last month.

  17. RE says:

    YES!!
    Sorry about the comedy, but if this leads to Prentiss’ return to the BAU, this is officially the best CM-related news I got all week! :-D

    Ian Doyle is still out there. Surely the team won’t let him get away with (as far as they know) killing one of their own?? It’s only logical that they would hunt him down – and since Prentiss is bound to be on his tail as well, it won’t take much for them to run into each other. Either that, or Doyle can be killed off (either by the team, Prentiss or someone/something else) so there’s no reason for Emily to continue pretending that she’s dead.
    “Criminal Minds” has some of the best writing I’ve seen on TV in years, so I’m sure the writers can come up with a great way to do the right thing and bring Emily home!

    And oh yes, before I forget: CM PTB, get Thomas Gibson signed up whatever it takes!!!

  18. Rose says:

    I would love to see Paget back on Criminal Minds! Emily and Hotch are my fav characters! So news contracts for Thomas and Paget ASAP!

  19. ksoze says:

    Yes. The show won’t be the same without Paget AND Thomas Gibson!

  20. Stephanie says:

    I would love for Paget to return, I think she’s an incredible talent and the work she did with the exit storyline was brilliant. I’d love for the storyline arc to continue, I’d think the fallout would be a great story to tell including the team’s reactions to her faking her death; particularly Morgan. A comeback for Emily Prentiss would be great especially if the standard of writing and direction was as great as ‘Vahalla’ and ‘Lauren’. I definately think there’s more story to tell there.

  21. Ele says:

    Love CM!!!! Great news about Shemar Moore´s contract. Jumping of joy that AJ Cook is coming back, just missed her terribly . Sad about Paget´s show not making it but happy that she maybe coming back….would be interesting to see how she comes back to the team and how the ones that do not know she is alive react to JJ and Hotch keeping it a secret.

    But the BEST news would be to find out that my favorite Thomas Gibson has a contract to stay on the show….It just would not feel like CM without him or Matthew!

  22. sharon says:

    well…i didn’t really wish for paget that her new show got canceled or whatever, but lets be honest: Paget is a HUGE part of Criminal Minds!!! I don’t really like the show now without her… but if she’ll be back, i’ll gladly wait:-)

  23. gaby says:

    So happy! That storyline could be amazing!

  24. Angela says:

    Isn’t Paget Brewster returning still contingent on whether she wants to come back? I mean, if she wants to, I’m all for it. I love Prentiss. I don’t even think it would be that hard to do as far as writing. If they simply write that Ian Doyle gets killed (maybe by Clyde Easter) then her reason for being gone would be eliminated. And while there would be a lot of conflicting feelings from the others (minus JJ and Hotch) if the others remain the characters that I know, I don’t think those will trump understanding that it was done to keep Prentiss safe. There may be initial anger and hurt, but they’d be able to work through it.

    Also glad that someone else likes Seaver. (I wish we could have Prentiss, JJ, Garcia Seaver)

    And, I really really wish we’d get news that Thomas Gibson has gotten a new contract.

  25. madalyn says:

    I’m so happy we may get Paget Brewster back. She is my second favorite character to Hotch. I love the Hotch/Prentiss chemistry and hope we get some togetherness between in them in Season 7 if Paget comes back.

    But there will be no Criminal Minds if TPTB don’t re-sign Thomas Gibson. He is Criminal Minds and without him, the show won’t last. I won’t watch without him, no matter who else is there.

    Please don’t keep Seaver. That’s a waste of a character and a drag on the series. We don’t need more angst and antagonism over this horrible character going into a new season.

  26. Mike says:

    Rachel is awesome on the show she also need to stay on we want to see this great potentially great character grow with the team

    • deliaD says:

      No we don’t want to watch anymore dreadful developmental scenes for Seaver. We just want her gone, please!!

    • BT says:

      I’m sure Rachel will be great on some other show or in a movie or something, but there’s nothing about the character of Seaver that suggests she could be salvaged into a character with a personality, let alone a great one. The writers obviously don’t know what to do with her and Rachel isn’t having any luck breathing life into the wisp of a character that’s there. Time for her to move on.

  27. John says:

    Sweet all the cast will be back and Seaver can get killed. They can even do it in a doyle episode where they finish him off.

  28. Tiffany says:

    Yes!!! Oh man, I feel good about this. The fallout from JJ and Hotch lying to the team about this should make for some great episodes. Which, of course, means that Hotch has to be around for it. He’s not a coward; he’ll own up to the consequences of his actions. For him to leave the team now would be really out of character. So see, CBS? You have to re-sign Gibson. Criminal Minds is sunk without him.

  29. phil says:

    Problem is though, the show is not officially picked up. Do they have an order yet?

  30. CJ says:

    The character of Emily Prentiss is a VAST improvement over Seaver. (See, I’m so UNimpressed with her character I don’t even know her first name.) I mean, come on – they’ve made such a big deal about experience being vital to the BAU, and then they add someone who hasn’t even finished the academy??? That said, unless they get Thomas Gibson under a new contract, the rest doesn’t really matter.

  31. Lynn says:

    Pay ANY price to get Paget back, and to keep all of the regulars!!
    The show has finally gotten some really good ratings, you certainly can afford great salaries for ALL of the old team. (brand new members from this season need not apply.) Please, Paget, return with AJ and make your fans the happiest people who follow CM.

  32. Liesel says:

    Yay!!!! I am so happy that PB might be coming back.
    The show has not been the same without her and it won’t continue to be the same if Thomas Gibson doesn’t get the contract!

    I just want the team to be back to normal (Prentiss, Morgan, Hotch, Reid, Garcia, JJ, Rossi)

    Is that too much to ask CBS for?

  33. Gwen says:

    I will be over the moon to see Paget/Prentiss back on CM! Paget and AJ should never ever have been kicked off the show in the first place. If Prentiss is back along with JJ then, hopefully, Seaver can then be packed off to some remote field office for many years (you know, to get that experience supposedly needed for a place on the BAU). If we get the old team back – Reid, Hotch, Morgan, Rossi, JJ, Prentiss and Garcia then I’ll be tuning into S7.

  34. Laura says:

    Paget is phenomenally talented actress who has not been given enough storylines. Her Doyle arc was a total triumph, best episodes in the lack-lustre series. CM you are obviously capable of better, bring Paget back to prove it.

  35. Donna says:

    I agree with JJ returning & Emiliy coming back to the show so I can start back watching again, I miss not watching one of my favorite shows on TV. One other thing please leave Spencers hair long, he looks so much better with longer hair. He is my favorite on the show, and give him a pretty girlfriend.

  36. Victor says:

    Seaver need to stay. She is a great character. it seems like those who don’t like her doesn’t really get the character at all or they are afraid of change.

    • Me says:

      Please. It’s not like the character is that complicated – Seaver is a newbie FBI agent with a tragic past and no who’s supposed to be the baby of the group, the one “fresh” enough to make sad eyes at the victims and their families. Too bad she doesn’t have any actual qualifications or special skills to justify her going from cadet to member of an elite squad within the FBI upon graduation (and, no, having a serial killer for a daddy doesn’t count – everyone else in the BAU has a tragedy in their past, but they were also QUALIFIED and/or EXCEPTIONAL in a really big way when they joined). There’s a difference between not getting Seaver and not buying or liking Seaver. She’s not a great character and she needs to go.

  37. skd says:

    JJ and Prentiss were the strong female characters the show needs to offset the grest men. Love Garcia, but her fun flavor isn’t enough of a female presence. The JJ look alike has no presence, does nothing to add to the show. Where has the chemistry gone? Without Prentiss, they no longer have fun and jokes in the bullpen. Without JJ, they’ve lost the family feel to the team. And they really need to step up Reid’s character, preferably not back into some dark story line of his life, but his interactions have been suffocatingly limited this spring.

  38. Althea says:

    I know some people have said comments about why go through the trouble to rid a show of a character and then bring her back. Let’s not forget the reason that Prentiss was gotten rid of. It was only because two of the execs of the show thought it was time the show underwent some changes to freshen up the show. But the fans did not want Seaver. She was too….Mary-Sue ish, almost like a blond Agent Starling from Silence of the Lambs recreated. Two of the three executives of the show, the same two who fired A.J. Cooks and Paget Brewster, have now left the show themselves. With those two people gone, the remaining executive can bring back the actresses whom the fans adored and put things the way they had been before the other two decided to rock the boat. It has nothing to do with the “effort to rid the show of a character only to bring her back later”. It has everything to do with bad choices by a couple people which now someone has the opportunity to fix.

  39. Melissa says:

    Am I the only one who could care less about JJ coming back? I hate to sound mean but her character was boring. She never had an interesting storyline like the others did. I think the show could have survived without her. People only like her becuase she was there from the beginning. Think about it, everyone hates the new blonde girl because they feel that she replaced JJ. If Seaver was the one that was there from the beginning and JJ was cast this season, everyone would have hated JJ. Not saying Seaver isn’t dull because she is but I was willing to give her a chance to grow on me. Most fans of CM though don’t like her. I’m happy that the NBC show was passed on so that Paget can come back to CM because I love her. Also, just want to mention my opinions of JJ is not an attack on AJ Cook because she seems like a really sweet person.

    • Amy says:

      I would really have to disagree with you. People don’t just like JJ because she was there from the beginning – they like her because she had a critical role. She was literally the heart of the team. She was the one who emotionally connected to the families of victims, she was Garcia’s best friend, and she was the only one who called Reid “Spence” – insignificant as it may seem, each of those roles carried a huge weight and made a huge impact on the show. And I think your statement that she never had an interesting storyline is highly subjective. I found that her romance with Detective William and the birth of her son were amazing storylines – bringing some humanity into the show. Finally, I think the reactions of the team when JJ was leaving them explains best how important JJ was.

      And, I actually know a lot of fans stopped watching when JJ left – not even bothering to wait until Paget left as well.

  40. Marieliza Paniagua says:

    I feel happy and sad at the same time. I know how excited Paget was about her new show but, hey her best caharacter ever is Prentiss.

  41. KJ says:

    I would like to see Prentiss back in her old job. The stortylne fits as to why she had to fake her death; a great sub-plot for future episodes. The best part of the series for me has always been the sub-plots and this has the potential for greatness. The characters of this series have been strong yet able to show vuneriblity. I would hope the execs recognize this and keep it the high caliber it deserves by keeping the characters audences have grown to admire along with continued excellent writing. Look at Brothers and Sisters they ran it into the ground by eliminating so many characters the series no longer could hold together. The story moved into too many directions viewers lost interest. Don’t le that happen to CM.

  42. Stephanie says:

    That whole story arc involving this Doyle character was a crashing bore to me, I mean look at the guy?! Ugly, short, no presence and certainly unbelievable as Emily’s former anything.Bring Emily back but please leave the oh so unimaginative Doyle behind.

  43. Carley says:

    I cant wait for her too come back if it happens ! and it will be like the best storyline if she does ! MORE INTENSITY ! she is definitly my favorite character..(and reid) and i liked seaver to be honest but the original characters are of course the best ! (:

  44. mabel says:

    Definitly we need more Prentiss! CM’cast is amazing but I really miss Emily…=(

    Last season was weird for all those changes in the cast. Except for the Ian Doyle arc .

  45. Connie says:

    Definitely need Pretiss back….and I am glad J.J. Is coming back. Seaver is a boring character. Why did they pick someone who looked like JJ? Not smart because of the constant comparisons. My favorite character of all time was Gideon. I hated the first season with Joe Mantenega but he has grown on me at last. We need Hotch, too….hope he signs! I’m watching the memorial day marathon on A&E today.

  46. jessica says:

    i am so happy that prentiss is comming back along with jj!i can`t wait till season 7 lets hope hotch will be in it because i will be upset without the original cast!

  47. larissa says:

    I’m so happy that she is coming back and the team is back together! Criminal Minds wasn’t the same when JJ left, and when Emily ‘died’ the void was even bigger. I love H/P (Hotch/Prentiss) and though I know that the writers don’t love me enough to make it happen, it’s nice to still be able to pretend! I can’t wait for the new season; is it September yet?