Stop messing with us, Paget Brewster! Are you returning to Criminal Minds?
As a loyal (and slightly neurotic) Criminal Minds fan, what am I supposed to do with this latest tweet from former series regular Paget Brewster?
Let's analyze the parts here, shall we? Boots, which Brewster wore during her role as SSA Emily Prentiss from Seasons 2 through 7, and a fake Interpol ID, because Prentiss left the BAU to work in London. Why might Brewster be tweeting this? And why did Kirsten Vangsness (who plays Penelope Garcia on the show) retweet it? It makes me think all sorts of things — mainly, is Emily Prentiss coming back for Season 12? Could it be?
CM has proven, over and over, that it can do whatever it wants, and viewers will, well, view. Prentiss herself has "died" (see mid-Season 6), come back, left the country and come back again. BAU team members have been almost murdered, seen their loved ones murdered and, in the case of Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), actually been murdered, and still the show endures with super high ratings. Series regular Shemar Moore, who's literally been on the show since its premiere in 2005, left the show this past season, and we'll have to see if the newest BAU member, played by Adam Rodriguez, has what it takes to make fans believe that the team is still a family.
Prentiss' exit and return makes it possible for her to come back as a full member of the team again. In real life, the cancellation of Brewster's show Grandfathered might mean she could return to the show, although the intense shooting schedule dictated by a procedural pretty much prohibits doing other work until you can negotiate your contract to give you the space.
There is the question of whether or not Brewster would want to return to the show after being fired along with A.J. Cook (JJ) in Season 6. While Brewster and Cook returned to the show, you could see how it would probably be hard to trust a network who let you go, especially when the show went on not only to hire another woman (Rachel Nichols, who played SSA Ashley Seaver for part of Season 6 before she too was let go), but asked you to come back after they fired you.
Regardless of network politics, though, having Brewster reprise her role on Criminal Minds would basically make my TV year, but perhaps she's just appearing in one episode, and I've just spent all this time and energy wildly speculating. We'll find out when Criminal Minds Season 12 premieres Sept. 28 on CBS. Or maybe earlier, on Twitter.