‘Criminal Minds’: Why Paget Brewster Isn’t Returning, Plus Filling The Empty Spots On The Team

The Behavioral Analysis Unit is going to look a bit different in Criminal Minds season 11, due to Jennifer Love Hewitt leaving after one season and A.J. Cook going on maternity leave, meaning they’re down Kate and, for a bit, JJ, as they’ve once again written Cook’s pregnancy into the show.

In the Criminal Minds season 10 finale, Kate chose to take some time off to be home with her family, leaving a spot on the team open. But, as Reid learned after finding her eating crackers she had bought earlier for the pregnant Kate, JJ is pregnant again, and just like last time, when there was a spot open during her maternity leave, the BAU is going to have to fill a gap for a period of time during her absence.

As the Inquisitr had previously reported, executive producer Erica Messer had mentioned that this could be a time to bring back Paget Brewster and many fans would love to see Prentiss again. However, unfortunately, that is not going to work out, according to Zap2it. As Brewster explained at the Television Critics Association press tour while promoting the new FOX comedy series, Grandfathered, while she would love to return to Criminal Minds and had been hoping to for at least a couple of episodes during Cook’s maternity leave, it just didn’t work out because of the new show.

“It didn’t work out, time-wise. [Cook] called me and I said, ‘I think [I can return], if we aren’t doing Grandfathered because I didn’t know yet if we were picked up, and I didn’t know what the schedule would be. It didn’t work out this time, which is too bad because I love those guys.”

So far, it has been announced that Aisha Tyler will come in to fill one of the empty spots in the BAU in the recurring role of Dr. Tara Lewis, the best candidate form the group Hotch will be interviewing. Lewis is a psychologist whose job was to interview psychopaths and determine if they were fit to stand trial. According to TVLine, for now she’ll be filling in the gap left during Cook’s absence, but it is possible she could return even once JJ is back at work.

“We’d love to have her come play as often as possible, because she’s amazing and she fit right in with the cast,” Messer said of a possible return for Tyler.

As for the more permanent hole left in the team with Kate’s departure, Messer has shared that while there’s not a permanent replacement yet, they’re “looking forward to the opportunity to bring in other ‘good guys’ to be guest stars.”

Criminal Minds season 11 will premiere Wednesday, September 30 at 9 p.m. on CBS.

[Image via CBS]