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Prentiss' Criminal Minds return makes me nostalgic for a superior cast

Chanel Dubofsky is a fiction writer, journalist and editor based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work on gender, sexuality, religion and reproductive justice has been publishing in Cosmopolitan, RH Reality Check, The Billfold, The Toast, The ...

Paget Brewster's triumphant Criminal Minds homecoming reinforces that there's just no replacing her

More: Criminal Minds' A.J. Cook vows Season 10 is a total "mind frick"

If you're a Criminal Minds fan, you probably know how many permutations of the team there have been over the 11 seasons it's been on the air.

On Wednesday's new episode, former series regular Paget Brewster returned to the show to help the team track down a serial killer who has no imagination copies other serial killers. After last week's exit by Shemar Moore, who was on the show since it first premiered in 2005, having Brewster return as Emily Prentiss was a nice salve for viewers who remember not only when she was on the show all the time, but also when the team structure was more stable. Brewster was a full-time cast member from Season 2 until the middle of Season 6, when she and fellow series regular A.J. Cook were fired. Ultimately, both Brewster and Cook returned, but Brewster exited again at the end of Season 7. Since Brewster left, the writers (and the fictional BAU team) have struggled to replace her — Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jeanne Tripplehorn have since filled the role of brunette agents, although both left after only one or two seasons.

More: Jennifer Love Hewitt joins new season of Criminal Minds

Having Brewster/Prentiss back on the show reminds me of everything good about it. For one thing, on Wednesday's episode, the ladies held it down — there were more scenes with only women in them than there have been for a long time, and it's reminiscent of the days when Garcia, J.J. and Prentiss were themselves a formidable, albeit hilarious, team.

It feels like the full impact of Derek Morgan's absence hasn't quite registered, although it, and the toll it's taking on the rest of the team, was explored this week. The true test will be next week, when we're lacking both Morgan and, once again, Prentiss. There was just something about those seasons when the team consisted of Hotch, Morgan, Reid, Prentiss, Rossi, J.J. and Garcia — maybe it was that some of the best cases of the series happened during that time, as well as some of the best character development and interaction. Wednesday night's episode incorporated those elements, particularly in the last scene, where the most recent iteration of the team happily hung out together, kind of reunited, but not really.

More: Shemar Moore makes Criminal Minds decision that changes the show forever

Were you happy to see Paget Brewster on tonight's episode? Do you wish she'd come back to the team? Tell us in the comments!

Before you go, check out our slideshow below!

Paget Brewster's triumphant Criminal Minds homecoming reinforces that there's just no replacing her
Image: Netflix
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