Paget Brewster was always planning on returning to Criminal Minds on a part-time basis during the upcoming season, but now that series lead Thomas Gibson has been unceremoniously axed plans have changed. With the departure of Gibson (who has no one to blame but himself, intended lawsuits not withstanding), Paget has been upgraded to series regular status for Season 12.
Brewster’s last appearance as a series regular was all the way back in 2012, before she departed the show to seek out a wider variety of opportunities (including a few classic stints on Comedy Central’s Drunk History). The story arc that precipitated Brewster’s character Emily Prentiss being written off the show required a lot of logic jumps and a multitude of guest stars, but the show still found ways to bring Prentiss back in short appearances from time to time.
Now, Emily Prentiss is back for good (or at least for now) as Paget Brewster is free of any other full-time gigs post-Grandfathered. She was always the de facto maternal figure of the team, while still able to have her own personal issues, and now that the show’s lead spot has been vacated this could be a grand opportunity for Brewster and fellow Minds veteran Joe Mantegna to form a powerful duo set to lead each week’s case.
About her return, show runner Erica Messer gushes,
“We’re all so excited to have Paget with us full time. The BAU family has definitely missed her, on screen and off. Having her back on set has been great, it’s like she never left.”
Maybe now that Brewster is back full time they can incorporate her appearances on other shows like Another Period and Drunk History into the show’s stories. You know, add a little bit of lightness to what is often a very dour and depressing portrayal of violent crimes.