Paget Brewster Leaving ‘Criminal Minds’ …. For Real This Time

It looks like Emily Prentiss is really leaving the team on Criminal Minds…for real this time. Actress Paget Brewster will leave the long-running CBS drama at the end of this season after what can only be described as a roller-coaster ride over the past 2 years. For those unaware, back in the summer of 2010 Brewster was asked to continue with the show but in a reduced capacity while co-star/actress A.J. Cook was let go. Brewster ended up being in every episode last season with Cook eventually returning to the show full-time. But now it appears that Brewster has opted to leave of her own accord.

“After six wonderful years playing Emily Prentiss, I have decided it’s time for me to move on. As much as I will miss my Criminal Minds family, I am excited about the future and other opportunities,” stated Brewster in a statement to Deadline. This departure will allow Brewster to pursue other projects; namely, comedic work if her shooting a comedy pilot for last TV season is any example. Prior to her role on ‘Criminal Minds’, Brewster appeared in a number of comedy series, like ‘Andy Richter Controls the Universe’, ‘The Trouble with Normal’ and ‘Friends’, which is where she got her first big acting break.

Executive producer Erica Messer shared that “we were all sad to hear the news, but we respect and support any decision Paget wants to make,’ adding that ‘personally, I’m a huge fan and will continue to be one wherever she goes”.

And while ‘Criminal Minds’ has not officially been renewed by CBS, it is almost a guarantee to return for the 2012-2013 Fall TV season. Fans of the series should not worry about any other cast members departing, as Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna, Shemar Moore and Cook all have deals in place for next season.

A brand new episode of ‘Criminal Minds’, now in its 7th season, will air tonight (February 15) on CBS at 9/8c.