Paget Brewster Previews Criminal Minds No. 200, Reveals Why A.J. Cook Is 'Such a Badass'

Criminal Minds Paget BrewsterCBS’ Criminal Minds marks its 200th episode tonight at 9/8c with a fast-paced hour in which Hotch & Co. try to find JJ, who has been mysteriously abducted. But when the BAU’s priorities bump against those of the DoD and State Department, it’s time to call in for backup, in the form of ex-team member-turned-Interpol biggie Emily Prentiss.

Paget Brewster spoke with TVLine about her encore and its distinct stakes, and whether she’s game for a full-time drama gig or now partial to “scary” comedy.

RELATED | Criminal Minds Boss Previews Episode 200, JJ’s ‘Disheartening’ Situation

TVLINE | So, [Criminal Minds showrunner] Erica Messer was telling me that Prentiss has quite the swanky office now.
Oh, it’s ridiculous. Interpol is phenomenal in London, like a three-story glass structure, and they added a blue-ish tinge to the film stock, I think. It has a very, very “action film” feel. It’s very cool.

TVLINE | She also said when we first see you, it’s like “a queen looking over her domain.”
I know! And I’m wearing, like, a cream dress with a little cape….. You don’t get to wear that when you’re in the FBI. So, yeah. Prentiss has clearly chosen well.

TVLINE | Tell me about the phone call she gets while standing there.
She gets a call from Hotch saying that JJ is missing, so she drops everything, gets on the Interpol jet and boom, goes to Virginia to try to help solve the problem.

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TVLINE | What all does the team have to go on?
Not much. I mean, they know that both JJ and [section chief Mateo] Cruz are missing. And they start to find out with Prentiss’s help that those two have the codes that would de-encrypt a list of undercover operatives. So, a lot of peoples’ lives are in jeopardy. After that, the race is on to try to get to her before they break them and give up the codes. It was a really well written episode and I was thrilled that I got to do so much. I didn’t know that I would.

TVLINE | Erica actually told me that Prentiss is a bit of a driving force in the episode.
I think the reason for that was because Prentiss has information on JJ that no one else knew — the same way that J.J. spirited Prentiss out of the country [in the Season 6 episode "Lauren"], after Doyle almost killed her, and kept the secret that she was alive. To Bear WitnessI thought it was nice to see that mirror, years later, of these professional former teammates who count on each other and love each other helping each other out and saving each other.

PHOTOS | Criminal Minds Episode 200: Prentiss ‘Drops Everything’ to Join the Search for JJ

TVLINE | Of course, we’ve seen BAU members – Prentiss included — become victims before. How would you say this JJ scenario is distinct?
Well, we find out why the sweet little press liaison, JJ, became a much tougher, ass-kicking profiler. It has to do with something that happened in the past that the team doesn’t know about. We find out that when JJ was flying Prentiss to Paris, she was in fact undercover, working on a mission. We see in a flashback that Prentiss knew JJ was changing, in her job and as a person, and that she had more responsibility. It really is a very interesting way to go into the past and see how JJ became who she is now.

TVLINE | Were you privy at all to seeing what the JJ character was going through during the episode? It’s supposed to be pretty harrowing.
Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to give anything away, but she’s being tortured for information and it’s horrifying. It’s emotional, spiritual and physical torture that she and Cruz are going through to try to protect all the people who could be killed.

I also want to point out that A.J. [Cook] and I did a stunt at the end of the episode that is one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done — and what A.J. had to do was way worse than what I had to do. She goes off the roof of a building. We were three stories up above the parking lot with just a little rope tied around our waist, and I’m telling you… A.J. Cook has more balls for stunts that anyone I’ve ever seen. That beautiful little blonde is a monster in the best way. There was no crash pad. There’s no ledge. I was amazed by her. There I was, getting home at two o’clock in the morning, texting her: “You are such a badass.”

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TVLINE | On a much lighter side, Erica said that at the end of the episode there’s a small moment where we might sense that if Emily was sticking around a bit longer, Hotch might have suggested that they grab a bite together. During your run on the show, did you ever see her leaning romantically toward Hotch, or Morgan?
You know, I don’t think that Prentiss and Morgan would ever get together because that upsets the relationship between Morgan and Garcia, and nobody wants to see that. And it would probably be deeply, deeply unprofessional for Prentiss to get involved with Hotch — also, it’s possible career suicide, getting involved with a co-worker. But I guess I would say, if it were going to happen with anybody, it probably would’ve been Hotch. Because they did have an understanding. But Thomas [Gibson] and I joke that we think we look more like Zan and Jayna, the Wonder Twins, from [DC Comics].

TVLINE | Great. Now I’m never going to unsee that.
Don’t we, though?Modern Family Paget Brewster

TVLINE | Would you ever go back to drama full-time? Or are you enjoying dipping your toe into the comedy waters with last year’s Spy pilot and Modern Family, and your recent visit to Community?
I would absolutely go back to the drama waters if it was something I thought was really beautifully crafted. Right now, I’m staying picky and I’m only doing the things I really want to do. I’m offered a lot of parts that are the grieving mother, because that’s what they saw in Huff, and cops, because that’s what they saw in Criminal Minds. I’ve done both of those roles and they’re great, but right now, I’d prefer to do other stuff, things that really, really excite me and scare me a bit. And that’s what comedy does. I would guest-star on Criminal Minds if they ever want to use me again for something — I love those guys, and I think it’s a great show. Criminal Minds was like college for me, I’ve learned so much. Or would that be a doctorate?

TVLINE | You’re at the doctorate level now, yeah.
Am I? I’d have a PhD?

TVLINE | You know, CBS just announced a pilot about a female Secretary of State. You’re probably a little young for it, but you should go for it. [The role has since been filled by Tea Leoni.]
No, and you know why? Isn’t Julia Louis-Dreyfus already sort of doing that [on Veep]? You can’t be better than her, so why try!

Want more scoop on Criminal Minds, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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30 Comments
  1. jenferner8 says:

    The Wonder Twins, I always thought of them more as Savich and Sherlock from Catherine Coulter’s FBI thriller series. Except Aaron and Emily aren’t married and she’s definately not a redhead, but I always thought Gibson and Brewster would be perfect if the series was ever made into a movoe.

    • Sarah says:

      Redheads? I think you’re mixing your CBS crime dramas. It’s Gibbs on NCIS that had a thing for redheads. However, neither of Gibbs’ last two romantic involvements, Hollis Mann and Dr Ryan, were redheads.

      These are two of my faves, too.

      • jenferner8 says:

        No, I was referring to Lacey Sherlock, a character in Catherine Coulter’s BOOK series, about FBI agents Lacey Sherlock and Dylan Savich, not tv series. In the books it’s made VERY, VERY clear that Lacey Sherlock is a curly haired red head. I only made the comparasion because it occurred to me early on in Paget’s CM debut that her and Hotchner had really great chemistry and I always thought they’d be great together as Sherlock and Savich if a movie/mini-series were ever made from the Coulter books. The only problem is Paget is obiviously not a red head and she wouldn’t look right in a red wig.

  2. DawnJ says:

    Prentiss doesn’t work for Hotch anymore, and she’s excelled in her career. She can move back home, head some office in the CIA, State Dept., DOD or other agency and be with Hotch. Emily will be available to work with the BAU on future cases and have the family she deserves.

  3. Kendall says:

    Omg I love her so much she’s the best!!!!

  4. She’s brilliant and the hightlight of this episode. Love her!

  5. Mel says:

    Great interview! So nice to see Paget back. Thanks !

  6. sofia says:

    Like I said before, a look between Hotch and Emily is nowhere near big enough to get me excited about any scenes between my OTP. But, Erica Messer said “It always felt like in a different time and place maybe those two could be together. Right now it wouldn’t work, but there was always a connection.” at the end of season 7 and this 200th episode could have been her golden opportunity to start working on putting those two together, so of course she f*cked it up.
    Prentiss wouldn’t even have to go back to the US, at least not yet, a long distance relationship could work perfectly between them, they’ve been through so much together, they understand each other and they understand the demands of their jobs, they’ve been put through similar situations while on the job, they know each other much better than Beth will ever know and understand Hotch, and if he can be in a LDR with her, why not with Emily instead?

    • Dixie says:

      Thank you Sofia, thank you for echoing my thoughts. What I love most about Hotch and Emily is the incredible chemistry between Thomas Gibson and Paget Brewster. I’m not sure what type of relationship I envision for them, but just seeing them interact, on any level, is a real treat. I find the relationship between Hotch and Beth to be totally repellant. As superb as Bellamy Young is on Scandal (and she is first rate as Mellie), that’s how disastrous she is playing opposite Thomas Gibson. I was never into the “personal” side of the characters, but Beth’s introduction into Criminal Minds has really disappointed me. I don’t blame either of these two fine actors. Chemistry is a mysterious thing. Not everyone clicks with everyone. I’m hoping that BY’s role on Scandal will keep her so busy that she won’t be able to return to CM and that Erica and her team will find a way to write her out. In the meantime, let’s find a way to bring Paget back for an episode or two before the season ends.

  7. Julie says:

    Prentiss would never get together with either of them. The actors and producers have always said as much. They try as they might to keep all fanbases happy. She says one thing here but another thing I a different interview : when Erica messer asked who the last shot should be with at the end of season 7 she clearly said Morgan. Personally I see more chemistry with Shemar tha PB Thomas but to each their own.

    • CMFAN says:

      For me, it’s been Joe Mantegna that I thought she had the best chemistry with

      • The thing is that Paget has chemistry with everyone on the show, that’s why we have the ship war and millions of fanfics with Emily Prentiss being in a romantic relationship with all the members of the team. Hell, even with Mick Rawson and Ian Doyle!

        Hotch and Emily would be wonderful together but Erica Messmaker doesn’t want that to happen.

  8. CMFAN says:

    They absolutely have always looked like they could be siblings to me…

  9. Tav says:

    Great interview with a lot to take in, thanks!
    Can’t wait for tonight and I really hope Paget will/continues to return to CM in some capacity in the future.
    As for Prentiss and Hotch getting together, they’ve always had great chemistry and just clicked, so that would be a welcome development. And at this point the show could totally “go there” considering Prentiss is no longer on the team (and Hotch isn’t her boss anymore, so no worries about unprofessionalism). That would make a lot of people happy.
    If Erica Messer wanted to stay true to her word she could find a way for Hotch and Prentiss to have a long distance relationship; Beth is so second rate and they barely even get the actress for appearances because she’s tried up with Scandal.
    With Prentiss residing in London, the show could do the occasional liason ep where they work with Interpol, and we could also see how the Hotch/Prentiss relationship is progressing! Win-win on all fronts, you’re welcome CM writers ;)

  10. CM Fan says:

    I wanna laugh at the thought of Hotch and Prentiss together want to make me laugh, in my opinion it’s ridiculous. I’m not saying that because I’ve always wanted Morgan and Prentiss together, but because I never saw anything but a professional relationship between them.
    I think Morgan/Prentiss would work way better, after all those seasons + Shemar and Paget got way more chemistry. And after their tweet spree from a few months ago, just saying.

    • Angela says:

      Yeah, I was gonna say, I dunno, I could see them working. But I also definitely think Paget is right about the Morgan/Garcia balance being upset if that happened, too-I would NOT want to be in the middle of that shipping war if it ever happened.
      I’ve got my favorite pairings on this show, ones I wouldn’t mind seeing become reality. But honestly, I think if the show ever does put anyone on the team, be it present or former members, together, it probably wouldn’t be until whenever their final season was. Otherwise, I think us fans’ shipping will just have to be done through fanfiction or whatever. Besides, considering what seems to happen to practically almost every woman that any of the BAU men has been romantically involved with, maybe it’s better they DON’T date any of their female co-workers!
      Anyway, I like that Paget mentions being open to continued guest spots on this show. Works for me. And I love the way she discusses the parallels between JJ helping Emily in season 6 and Emily returning the favor here. They’ve always had a great friendship, so it’ll be cool to see that explored here.
      Eeei, I’m excited! Can’t wait for the show.

  11. Maria says:

    This is just silly. If I would be interested in storylines like these I would read some fanfiction.

  12. Alicia says:

    I really think she just knows where the Criminal Minds fans hearts lie and that messing with the Morgan/Garcia dynamic would make the show not what it is. I do think she did a good job of showing that she can see Morgan/Prentiss, but understands that in some respects Hotch/Emily make more sense!

    I think the only great thing about putting them together would be it would make her have to keep reappearing on the show and unless she gets her own show she is probably easier to get than Bellamy Young (and as much as I love her as an actress she has no chemistry with Thomas Gibson.)

  13. HAP says:

    For the record, Tea Leoni is only three years older than Paget Brewster.

  14. Margie Clark says:

    I think Emily has the best chemistry with Reid. Forget about the age difference..She’s the cougar, he’s the young, yet willing colt. They always have such intense talks. Yeah, I say go for the genius.

  15. Cathy says:

    I look forward to seeing Paget back on CM. I could do without all the shipping though. Leave that to fanfic. Hotch and Prentiss don’t have the chemistry to pull that off anyway, and Iike someone pointed out, they look like brother and sister…gross!

  16. Ella says:

    If Hotch and Prentiss got together, my year would basically be made. They seriously should have gone there during her run, it would have been epic. I can’t see Morgan with anyone other than Garcia.

  17. Jack says:

    Awesome interview!!! Yay I love Paget so much and I’m super stoked to see this powerful Prentiss and JJ backstory. I love the strong female characters on this show. But I might watch from behind my hands, it sounds rough

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  19. Tom Leone says:

    This show is very cerebral, I miss Mandy Pitinkin, he was such an anchor for the show. However we all must grow and change. With respect to JJ and Brewster, I am missing Padget very much.now, I didn’t at first but she was the Female lead in my estimation. Now how to get rid of that walking disaster Garcia. Her character is such a waste. I know a couple of real computer geniuses and even they do not produce facts that fast…that is phoney. She is phoney and despite the goofy acting, airheaded antics, she distracts from the show……Borrow Mcgee from NCIS for a while. Thomas Gibson is sometimes too stiff and surly. know he is a crackup in real life but gee whiz on screen he is just sour.

  20. Brenda says:

    Criminal Minds just isn’t the same with Paget Brewster for me….. I don’t watch it faithfully like I used to….I miss her character so much…..I am hoping Blake leaves and Emily returns……and sooooon…….

  21. Arnella Samuel says:

    Criminal Minds isn’t the same without Paget Brewster. I watch it but not like I was before she left. Blake is okay, but she doesn’t have that finesse like Emily did. I wish Paget would come back. If not in every episode just more than now.

  22. Arnella Samuel says:

    Why don’t you guys write an episode about the Senator sense he was so hard on the BAU. Put danger in his life so the BAU can aide he and his family. Then he won’t be so cynical about the BAU and Prentice.

  23. Juana Mayra says:

    Im glad to see paget back in action! She also would make a great couple with Hotch