Comic-Con

Criminal Minds' Paget Brewster Opens Up About 'Wacky' Run of Cast Changes

When it comes to Criminal Minds‘ latest onetwo punch of cast changes, this is by no means Paget Brewster‘s first rodeo. Rather, it’s almost become BAU (that is, business as usual) for the ever-evolving CBS crime drama.

Speaking with Michael Ausiello at the San Diego Comic-Con — where she was promoting the digital release Batman and Harley Quinn (in which she voices Poison Ivy) — Brewster shared, “It’s always hard when someone is gone, whether by choice or not by their choice… but you roll with it.” Being the tight-knit cast they are, “you can’t not miss the people who are gone.”

In fact, Brewster says that the idea of in some small way replacing a longtime cast member weighed on her almost a year ago, when her short-term return blossomed into a full-time gig. “The con was the situation in which it happened, which was Thomas Gibson no longer being with the show. That was unfortunate.”

Given the seemingly annual cast shake-up, Criminal Minds is “a wacky place,” she acknowledges, “but I’m really happy to be back.”

Elsewhere in the video Q&A above, Brewster teases the outcome of the season finale (including a strong/sad hint at who didn’t survive), updates us on Reid’s status with the BAU and reveals the one thing on her “wish list” for Season 13.

Criminal Minds returns Wednesday, Sept. 27, now airing an hour later at 10/9c.

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51 Comments
  1. Kevin Tran says:

    Criminal Minds has had its shares of cast changes season after season after season. How long will it take for the series to be put into retirement?

    • Iris says:

      As long as it will take for TIIC at CBS programming to launch new and lasting hits that can replace it.
      For 2016-2017, Criminal Minds outperformed all their other dramas bar NCIS, and Bull in the fall before it collapsed. Moreover, cast changes = cost reduction.

      • sofia says:

        Being CBS’s 3rd highest drama of the season, Criminal Minds didn’t deserve to get moved to the 10pm slot. But CBS just keeps screwing up CM on everything. Shouldn’t be a surprise by now, but they always find new ways to outdo themselves, for the worst.

        • Lohan says:

          By moving it to 10 CBS is fixing that troubled slot which means CM will be renewed for at least a few more years. CSI aired 3 seasons in that slot.

          • sofia says:

            At the end of this past season, the last two episodes of CM had higher ratings than those of their highest rated drama, NCIS. Next season, CM could even top NCIS and become CBS’s highest rated drama, and by moving it to 10pm CBS killed their chance. That slot has needed fixing since CBS moved CSI to Sundays, they could have moved CM there at any point during those years, when their ratings were still in the low 2s/high 1s. CM’s rating during the past mid-season were very stable, but they were stable at 1.3s and sometimes 1.2s. This move to the later slot, while also airing earlier in Canada and becoming available online just as it airs, will very likely lower their numbers and CM could start having fractional ratings even before the Christmas break. I don’t think this move will be good for CM, it might just be what kills it.

  2. Dean says:

    Pretty sure the person who didn’t survive was Walker given the actor is in the new Black Lightning show.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      The video above pretty much spells out the answer….

      • Dean says:

        Its like shows don’t even bother trying to hide it anymore.

        • sofia says:

          But they do, just not very hard. They said they couldn’t post any BTS photos of the season premiere because they would be too spoiler-y. We already knew Damon wouldn’t return, and after the car crash the most logical way for them to go would be with Walker having died, and they were trying to keep it a secret until the episode started being promoted, that’s why no bts pics, but then Aisha posted a photo of the whole regular cast in a cemetery, and in the back there’s Tracie Thoms, who played Walker’s wife (who could also be seen on the table read pics, posted by the crew member who later said they couldn’t post pics because of spoilers, along with the two kids who play Stephen and Monica’s kids), and it just confirmed what the fans were already expecting to happen.

          I’m glad that Damon’s got a new show already. I’ve always been of the opinion that the team didn’t need 8 members, but I was liking his character and was somewhat upset when they let him go to only bring yet another new regular, this makes absolutely no sense to me. If they were letting him go for the team to go back to have the usual 7 members, that I would understand, but this I don’t. They spent 11 years with 7 members, sometimes 6 or even less, and then, on season 12, because the team was lead by a woman and had more women than men, CBS suddenly felt the need to balance it out and get an equal number of men and women on the cast and forced the show to hire another man, just to fire and replace him out of nowhere a few months later, after having already told him he would return for the new season. CBS really is the worst.

          So, now, for the first time in 13 seasons, they are killing off a series regular because of the network’s f*** ups.

          • Lohan says:

            He was put in a bad position, but I’m glad someone died after that mega car crash and I hope someone else is injured (should be Rossi and JJ by logic, since she was on the side that was hit by the truck and he was driving the other car that was also hit by the truck on the driver’s side).

          • sofia says:

            @Lohan
            Rossi’s SUV didn’t get hit on the driver’s side, it was on the passenger side, right into Emily and Tara, but from the BTS pic Aisha posted, *SPOILER* Rossi has a bandage on his head and both ladies appear to have no wounds *SPOILER*.
            JJ and Walker’s SUV was the one that got hit on the driver’s side, but Luke, who was driving it, *SPOILER* also appears to be uninjured. For Walker to have died and for JJ to have a head wound *SPOILER* the car had to continue going after getting hit by the truck until it hit a tree, or something like that, on the passenger side and stopped.

  3. Angela says:

    Fun interview. I love Paget Brewster’s attitude about the show and the cast and everything.
    .
    I hate the idea that Gupton’s character will be the one who doesn’t survive the crash-I’d prefer the show have him survive but still find some other way to write him out. But given the circumstances, I get why they would go that route. I just feel bad for Gupton, especially since CBS were the ones who had the show bring him on only to unceremoniously let him go a short time later. I’m glad the cast is close enough to where they don’t let these constant cast changes affect their friendships with each other, and I love how they welcome and embrace the new people who come on. And obviously, the few who’ve left by choice, well, sad as it is to see them go, I can totally respect and understand their decision to do so. But yeah, I wish the higher ups would quit constantly messing around with this show and just let a cast breathe and stick for a while again.
    .
    Since Stephen Walker was brought on to help the team hunt down Scratch, I wonder if his exit will coincide with them finally taking down Scratch once and for all, and turning their focus to a new threat entirely. I honestly wouldn’t be opposed to that.
    .
    And yay for Reid being back with the team, though I do think it’d be interesting to see them having to fight the higher ups to get him fully reinstated, the way they had to do something similar with Emily in “It Takes a Village”. But yeah. It’ll be nice to have him back and working with them again. Hopefully they’ll touch on whatever struggles he’s dealing with in the aftermath of his prison stint from time to time, too.

    • DryHeat says:

      They posted here the other day that Gupton got a new role on Black Lightning, so that’s good! :-)

      • Angela says:

        I saw that, yeah :)! I’m glad for him that he got a new gig, and so quickly, too. Wish him luck with that.

    • sofia says:

      They can’t get rid of Scratch soon enough. It’s one of the worst UNSUBS they ever had on the show. So unrealistic, A LOT more unrealistic than TV shows and movies usually are. I hope the season premiere is the last we see of him, I don’t want them to keep him around for the potential 300th episode, like Erica Messer suggested in an interview a couple of months ago.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      Walker was the character who made me enjoy seeing Criminal Minds, again, after the husband jumped on board since ‘Delko’ joined the troop. I’m totally bummed at Gupton’s being let go. I’m with you on frustration over the higher ups’ way of calling the shots.

  4. Susan says:

    If they take down Scratch then they have to find another way to keep Hotch gone. He’s in witness protection tio because of Scratch

    • Skip says:

      I always felt Hotch made the show. I never felt that way for Mandy Patinkin. I read an article awhile back that stated that he has a habit of getting a series job, getting good at it, then throwing a tantrum , and walking away. I don’t need that in a series. The GROUP makes the series what it is or isn’t.

    • Jenny says:

      When Hotch went into Witness Protection he also resigned from the BAU. They could easily get rid of Scratch and say Hotch and Jack are happy and back at home, but because Hotch resigned he would no longer work at the BAU.

  5. Rosi says:

    Show this annoying! What do you think? Lost the main (Hotch). The show got lost. Terrible choice to have left with Hotch. Paget is boring. The fans loved her because of Hotch. Now she was just another character with no story.

    • Sheila says:

      Disagree. I love Paget and Emily and it has nothing to do with Hotch.

    • Angela says:

      The fans loved her because of Hotch.
      .
      No. That might be true of some people, but it certainly hasn’t been for me or the other fans I know who love her.

    • sofia says:

      What you mean is, some Hotch fans loved her because they wanted Hotch and Emily together. And you see that by the number of people who used to write H/P fics (where Emily always had to give up her life and career in London to go back to DC and to him, it was always Emily who had to change her life around, never Hotch), who, since TG got fired, have stopped writing and only talk sh*t about Paget and Emily and everything else related to the show on social media. Those people were only Hotch fans, not fans of the show or the team or the other characters, and they looked at Emily as nothing more than a love interest for Hotch.

      I wanted them together too, still do, I know it’s beyond impossible but I still do, but I loved Hotch and love Emily as individual characters first, not as a ship, not as my OTP. I don’t like that Hotch is gone, but I understand and accept why he has to be, and I still watch and love the show, and the other characters, some more than others, and I love seeing Emily in charge of the BAU.

      • Angela says:

        Seconding every last word of this. Well put.

      • Kara says:

        Actually Sofia you are quite a bit off on this. 95% of the Hotch fans absolutely did NOT want he and Prentiss together romantically. They loathed the idea, primarily because it went against everything the character of Hotch and Prentiss (in the early days) were, particularly Hotch. On many occasions TG reiterated that he felt it should not happen. There was a small but very vocal grouping who simply would not accept this. It moved to not only being about the characters but the real life personas as well. So much so that they began to target TG personally, Paget personally and their respective partners. I actually recall reading a comment from someone suggesting that TG should have his wife killed so he could get with PB 😕
        Bellamy Young also had a rough time when she came on board. Such vitriol was a large part of why TG went off social media a few years ago. Those behind that were and continue to be loathed by genuine Hotch fans. The whole “shipping” thing and the frenzy around it was not helped by Erica Messer and indeed PB constantly hinting that it was “a possibility”, despite TG saying, Nope.

        Can’t comment on the FF thing, but it’s unfair and incorrect to claim that those not watching the show are doing it because of this. The reasons behind it have been made clear on many occasions, and it is significantly more about TG personally, what happened, how it was dealt with and many other subsequent issues, than about the character he played. Don’t be fooled by a hashtag.

        As for those giving PB “hassle”. Well as it happens, the majority of those who have been most vitriolic against PB, are actually former PB fans, and the aforementioned frenzied shippers, who are mightily peeved that she is back and TG is gone. They wanted and pleaded for her to be back and get with Hotch. They are not interested in it any other way.
        Do others comment to PB? Sure. On more than one occasion PB probably should have thought before tweeting as there were occasions that it felt salt into wounds was a thing.

        Speaking of hassle. Last week a troll or should I say another one, set up a series of accounts and launched a barrage of disgusting attacks at TG. I would not even repeat the content. One such account began following Harry Bring. When he was alerted, he launched at the tweeter who contacted him, accusing them of being behind the posts, then claiming it was probably TG fans looking for sympathy.
        As PB was directly contacted on a number of occasions by this troll, with abuse about TG, it would have been appropriate if she had used her platform to condemn. Sadly she didn’t.

    • dean says:

      Her dynamic with JJ is much more interesting.

    • Brittany says:

      I beg to differ. I never; not once thought about Hotch when it came to Emily. In fact I loved her from the beginning and even more because of her backstory. I’m just now figuring out that it was an actual thing for people to put them together as a couple. I never thought of it like that. This is actually the first time I’m hearing about it

  6. Vikki Pettet says:

    Gibson should steal come back Brewster can keep her spot

  7. jk says:

    Looking forward to a great Season 13 – Onward to episode 300!

  8. lex says:

    I wish they bring back Gibson. He is one of the best character. I don’t watch the show anymore.

    • lex says:

      HOPE SO

    • Loolley says:

      No he is too violent.

      • Kara says:

        Lol. Sure. I suppose if consistently running with the same BS line gives you a reason to get up in the morning, go for it. Unless of course YOU have irrefutable proof of your claim made against this person. If not, it’s defamation, and no, it’s not covered by any free speech or the ‘well I read it on TVLine’ line defence.

        People can dismiss and diss all the want, but CM suffered big time and will continue to do so and they made an epic mistake in canning TG.
        Anyhow, TG/Hotch is gone. over 2.5 million less viewers from episode 2, 100s of negative messages every week, all over social media about writing, acting, storylines, and this from those actually watching, tells you what impact his absense had combined with the general malaise of a once great show.

        It was handy to have the TG excuse to use last season. What’s gonna be the excuse this year?
        CM is done. It’s nothing but a poor soap opera now. Been going that way for a few seasons, even with TG.

        • NoName says:

          Every year different sets of fans say that CM is done, it’s been “done” since Cook and Brewster were fired and re-hired and Brewster leaving again and her subsequent replacements and Shemar leaving and TG leaving and Adam Rodriguez being the new Morgan and Gupton being hired and fired in less than a year … and yet CM is still here on its 13th season after a 12th season that has seen its share of series low ratings and viewership drops. All these lows and it still is the third-highest rating drama in CBS.

  9. Olive Basham says:

    Haven’t watched it since Gibson is no longer on the show. Won’t even watch the reruns either.

  10. Cj says:

    Love criminal minds. I’ve seen all twelve seasons. The first eleven at least 5 times each. Looking forward to new season. Hope they don’t change to many characters or ill search for something else. Love the characters up til now. And padget is awesome.

  11. kmw says:

    For those thinking the move to 10 is going to kill CM think again. This show survived Empire AND ended up beating that show in viewers( I know that doesn’t really matter but still shows how either badly Empire started tanking or that CM is consistent; I think its both) Also CM should easily beat DS seeing as how that show was dropping pretty fast in second half. if CM can survive Empire it will do just fine at 10 And yes I know there is a Chicago show there as well but they should still do fine. If CBS really wanted CM to go under they would have moved it to Thursday at 10. CM may be expensive but unless CBS finds a replacement for it. it should last another year or two

  12. PatriciaLee says:

    It’s so funny for Michael to say he doesn’t get attached to the people he works with, since his caring about people is what made his run on TVGuide fun, hence following him here.

  13. Natalie says:

    I didn’t like Emily and then Paget left and I missed her! She’s now one of my faves.

  14. Leonna Cockrill says:

    I want Hotch back

  15. Kaylee says:

    This was such a fun interview to watch! I adore paget and seeing her have fun and be paget instead of prentice was really nice and refreshing! Although I love them both (:

  16. Natalia Rushing says:

    Pleas bring back Thomas Gibson as the unreplaceable Hochner and get rid of Gupton! “Criminal Minds” does not work without Hochner!!! He is the best and the only leader of this team! The team cannot function without Hochner as leader! He is the only one who looks FBI!

  17. Suzanne says:

    Paget Brewster needs to go. She was not one of the cast members wanted had.

    People want All of the original cast together again. Unforunately, they killed Mandy Patinkins character, so most of us will accept Joe Mantegna. But, we WANT these people.
    Thomas Gibson
    Shemar Moore
    Matthew Gray Grubler
    A.J. Cook
    Kirsten Vangsness
    Joe Mantegna

    They can have a special episode featuring Mandy Patinkins never before seen antics on Criminal Minds.

    No Paget Brewster. We voted her off before, regardless of what she claims, and we still wish her gone.

    • The Rookie says:

      Sorry Hotch fan. She is here to stay and as the awesome Unit Chief

    • GabyN says:

      Voted her off? Didn’t know that Criminal Minds casting worked like tribal council in Survivor. Actually Joe Mantegna tweeted that he voted for Paget to be BAU Unit Chief after Gibson was fired. So I guess we all know whose vote actually mattered.