‘Criminal Minds’: A.J. Cook & Paget Brewster May Return; Ed Bernero Leaving

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2013 at 10:48 pm,

criminal minds aj cook paget brewster return Criminal Minds: A.J. Cook & Paget Brewster May Return; Ed Bernero Leaving

Two fan-favorite leading ladies may make a triumphant return to the cast of CBS’ Criminal Minds. Sources claim that A. J. Cook is in talks to return next season, and Paget Brewster could be back if her current project isn’t picked up.

Cook and her character Jennifer “JJ” Jareau left Criminal Minds at the beginning of its sixth season last year. Her departure wasn’t a happy one: the consensus is that the network thought the character was dispensable, and fired Cook to make the show more profitable. A fan campaign and complaints from the cast and crew fell on deaf ears.

Now Deadline reports that producers have offered Cook her regular spot back, after brainstorming new ideas for the JJ character. There’s no word on whether the actress has accepted the offer or not, but a positive response would be a win for pretty much everybody involved.

Cook’s fellow cast member Paget Brewster may be coming back as well. Brewster and Cook were reunited for the former’s final episode as Emily Prentiss just last month, and Brewster has taken a lead role in NBC’s My Life As An Experiment comedy pilot. If NBC doesn’t develop the pilot into a full season, producers could exercise an option to return Brewster to her role.

But wait, there’s more! Ed Bernero, executive producer for Criminal Minds‘ entire six-season run, won’t be returning for a seventh. Bernero is developing a pilot called Partners for ABC. Showrunner duties would subsequently fall to producer Erica Messer, who has been with the show for nearly as long.

Criminal Minds is no stranger to a shifting roster of talent, both on and off screen. The first big shock to fans was the departure of lead actor Mandy Patinkin after season 2, who complained that the show was promoting violence on television. Patinkin is currently starring in national security thriller Homeland, from the writers of 24.

After Patinkin left, there were so many changes to the core cast that it would take a spreadsheet (like this one) to list them all. And the changes aren’t stopping yet: another producer, Simon Mirren, will also leave the show after Season 6 to work for Sony Pictures.

Stars Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore still haven’t renewed their contracts for season 7. Moore has already left and returned once in the ongoing game of casting musical chairs. In addition, a return for Cook could mean current star Rachel Nichols gets the boot.


Criminal Minds airs Wednesday nights at 9PM on CBS.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider

Source: Deadline Hollywood

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  1. Well, I’d love to see AJ back and I wouldn’t mind seeing Brewster back either, but I don’t wanna see Nichols go just yet. No reason why 3 total hotties can’t be on the show at once, am I right??

  2. I would like to see AJ and Brewster both come back to their respective roles – I truly miss them on this show. As far as Shamar Moore goes, I truly hope he comes back as well. I am probably old enough to be his mother -but everyone loves “eye candy”.

    • LOL Yep, Shemar Moore is definitely one of my favorites on the show! I can’t imagine it without him. I like the cast they have (with AJ Cook and Paget Brewster) included and hope it can go back to its regular format. This is one of the consistently good shows that I watch, even though I get a bit squeamish on occasion at the gore. As for the new actress, I see no reason why she can’t stay, too. They do provide excellent contrast to the guys, who remain serious most of the time. Isn’t that how FBI agents are, though? Thomas Gibson is fabulous as Hotchner, revealing emotion rarely, but you know it’s there. I hope CM does NO MORE changing of the actors! Keep it like it is and it’s a great show.

    • It is not jest (deliberately) about eye (?) candy. There are mental treats, too. Shows with a pool of leads must have a large set of variations to make each character stand apart. This also brings the benefit of being able to have character background & personality being brought in to develop story board as either a secondary factor or or a major issue. Maybe it is time to have a new Executive Producer. ADD & AD-HAD people do need more frequent changes than other people on average and many creative people are of these types.

      • Positively right-on on the ADD-HAD. I would have a problem on returning a very dead character except as a flashback or memory-recall. A pre-series spin off might be something or with some very serious make-up a fine, connected, spin-off would be a great project. I wonder how many of would tune in to a for-the-t.v. movie which would lead to the new show?
        How about a limited series or novella on the Secret Service?

  3. I hope that A.J Cook signs up to come back, I’m not bothered if Paget Brewster comes back, as she’s a bit so so. I hope that Rachel Nichols stays until we see how her character develops.Also I agree with Glennda Simpson about Shemar Moore.

  4. Is anyone interested in criminal minds suspect behavior? I probably would be if not for that radical anti american activist jennene garofolo who stars in the series

  5. I’m excited about this. It was a bad move taking AJ Cook off the show. In fact, taking anyone off the show would be a bad move (except for maybe Nichols. I haven’t heard of too many people siding with her. Everyone that I know who watches the show hates her). And hopefully Paget will come back, too. I’d like to see the teams faces when she shows up. Ahh, I’m dreaming of it now…

  6. It certainly was a wrong move to fire A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster from Criminal Minds. They were very good in their respective roles. As a matter of fact, all the stars in that show are perfect – so why make a change. I’d rather that you keep them in Criminal Minds and cancel ‘Suspect Behavior’ because it’s certainly not as good as Criminal Minds. Bring A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster back and keep Gibson, Moore, Gubler, Montegna and Vangsness – they are what the show is all about!!!!

    • I agree 100%

  7. PLEASE, please, please bring back JJ and Emily !!!! The cast has been so perfect in their roles, so WHY change them ??? We miss seeing the whole cast working together…they are a family, so there was no need to change what was already working. Even Rachel Nichols has made a spot for herself, so keep her too. As far as Suspect Behavior, I do not care for the show or actors. NONE of them are believable in their roles (try all new cast on this show), and it causes me to turn to a rerun of Criminal Minds, which we love. Thank you ION!!!
    So, Hotch,Derek,Rossi,JJ,Emily,Penelope,and Spencer we want to see ALL of you back on this awesome show !! What a fantastic cast !!!

  8. AJ Cook is going to return to Criminal Minds. I’m so happy! She signed a two year deal and is returning for the Season Finale on May 18. :D I’m really excited.
    I think they should get rid of Rachel Nicholes. Her character is just bland to me. She asks dumb questions and I don’t think there is very much room for her to grow.

  9. After watching the episode (just ended), it looks like a done deal that JJ is coming back. That’s fine by me – a well-developed and well-acted character. Rachel Nichols can go do something else. Maybe Bernero can find her a new role in whatever his new gig is.

    Now all we need is Emily back and we’re in good shape.

    • Exactly. Nichols is a completely unnecessary character. Instead of wasting money on Suspect Behavior and certain unnecessary characters, the producers should put that money towards better pay for the super awesome main cast and for making the show better instead of worst. I swear it’s like they don’t listen to what the fans want when the fans are what keep shows going.

      • JJ is also a totally unnecessary character. She adds no depth to this show at all. I hope she stays gone.

  10. Happy to see Cook back, fingers crossed that Brewster returns as well. Would *love* to see Nichols outta there, just don’t like her or her character. As for Moore, he certainly is easy on the eyes. Love his interactions with Vangsness (who is also terrific). The mix was really good with Cook and Brewster – I hope we can get back to ‘normal’ soon!

  11. Ditto Valerie!!!!!!! I have no interest in the new person whatsoever. Move out and get our regular people back.

  12. While it was NOT a wise move to drop Ms Paget Brewster, her character is apparently deceased. Such things do happen to the good guys. It will be nice to welcome back A J Cook to the line up. IF there is a need to remove Rachael Nichols , perhaps she and Ms Brewster could be hired as major-lead characters in a new series that would involve quarter or half season story lines. We, the viewers, would know that there will be a resolution: IT will be expected to take several episodes, unsurprisingly, to reach the solution without turning into an endless serial-drama. How do others like this? What sort of show – an internal affairs team? What else can you gals and guys suggest? Federal Anti-Fraud………

    • Prentiss didn’t die, though. At the end of the episode we saw Prentiss talking to JJ in Paris. And if that doesn’t convice you, Hotch was talking to JJ in the hospital. What else would they be talking about?

    • She’s not dead. She’s in France. The staged death was more for Doyle. The team could work with Interpol to find Doyle and then Prentiss can “magically” come back.

  13. I like Criminal Minds the best with JJ, Prentiss, Dr. Spencer Ried, Morgan, Hotch, Garica, and Rossi the best. That’s how it should always be.

  14. Criminal Minds DEFINITELY needs JJ back. It was stupid for the network to replace her with a less interesting character that looked so much like AJ Cook.

  15. JJ is so pretty I’d be happy just to watch her shuffle papers around for an hour.
    I only started watching this show two moths ago, and between ION and A&E there are plenty of episodes to catch up with. Gibson is so convincing as an FBI agent that I’m ready to confess myself.

  16. haveing aj cook back is great.she is the one that holds the team togeather.shes like there mom.

  17. Queremos Emily Prentiss de volta!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. I want aj cook and paget brewster to come back I love those woman they bring attitude to the set and the team. I don’t care for the ones that took their place its boring. Please bring them ladies back.

  19. The cast ensemble of Hotch, Rossi, Morgan, Prentiss, JJ, Reid and Garcia should remain together. They replicate a family, united for one goal and each plays an important role within this family unit. This is by far, one of the most intelligently written shows ever. I am totally addicted to CM and will watch episodes repeatedly rather than watch almost any other show. Each actor brings their individual strengths to this show and as a composite, they are fantastic! I am proud to say that my fellow Canadians have voted and to no ones surprise, CM is the #1 show in Canada with over 15 million viewers!! Keep up the great work Criminal Minds.