Six months after losing A.J. Cook, Criminal Minds will bid adieu to Paget Brewster on Wednesday's episode as Prentiss finally confronts her Interpol nemesis Ian Doyle.
7. Once You Go BAU, You Never Go Back
A.J. Cook returning to Criminal Minds — for one episode
Brewster, who joined the CBS drama in the second season, was demoted last summer, but has the option to stay on next season as a regular. The actress, however, recently joined NBC's comedy pilot My Life as an Experiment.
In honor of her departure, we're counting down the top moments featuring our favorite Vonnegut-reading, Splenda-loving supervisory special agent.
Criminal Minds' Matthew Gray Gubler on directing Prentiss' exit: "This one's for the fans"
8. Prentiss the Polyglot
After joining the BAU under mysterious circumstances and without Hotch's clearance, Prentiss, who grew up abroad with her diplomat mother, proves her value in Season 2's "Lessons Learned" when she stuns the team with her fluency in Arabic and then with her read of unsub Jind Allah's actions. We later learn she's also fluent in Spanish, Italian and knows some Russian. (starts at 2:55)
The Season 2 finale explained that Prentiss was placed in the BAU by Section Chief Erin Strauss to spy on Hotch, but instead of complying with Strauss' threat, Prentiss takes the high road and quits in Season 3's "In Name and Blood," telling Hotch that she hates politics. He ropes her back in for a case by telling her that her resignation (and his) aren't in the system yet, and she ends up getting clocked in the head by the unsub when she offers to go into his house solo. "Is it weird that I'm glad to be back?" she asks Hotch.
6. The Confession
In Season 4's "Demonology" — one of the few Prentiss-centric episodes — we learn more about her past when she urges the team to investigate the death of her childhood best friend, Matthew Benton, who was starting to question his Catholic upbringing back when they were adolescents. After Hotch pushes her away, Prentiss confides in Rossi that she had an abortion when she was 15 against her priest's wishes, which she believes was a factor in Matthew's eventual downward spiral. The emotional reveal sheds light on the hard-edged Prentiss and why, as she said in Season 2, she's good at compartmentalizing.
Always spunky and full of 'tude, Prentiss has never been afraid to stand up for herself. During Strauss' one-on-one interrogation of the team regarding its pursuit — and Hotch's fatal beat-down — of The Reaper in Season 5's "100," Prentiss sneers a "ma'am" so brusque that it was basically code for "f--- you." (starts at 4:30)
4. Taking One for the Team
In Season 6's "Valhalla," a teary Prentiss, fearing for her team's safety, takes a final look at each of them during Hotch's profile of Ian Doyle before turning around and walking out of the BAU headquarters. Just another instance of her putting her team before herself (see No. 1).
3. Pick-Up Put-Down
Prentiss can put anybody in their place, including sleazy pick-up artists. Tasked with interrogating the ineffable Viper, she tag-teams him with Jordan in Season 4's "52 Pickup," flirting up a storm right into his wheelhouse before shrewdly deflating his ego. And to think she's dated people worse than him.
2. Three FBI Agents Walk into a Bar ...
It's never all work and no play for Prentiss (remember her "sin to win" weekend?) In one of her first outings with JJ and Garcia in Season 2's "Open Season," she wins over her new co-workers in the bar when she devilishly brings over Brad — "a real FBI agent" — for them to humiliate.
1. "I Can Take It"
While undercover and held captive with Reid in a cult compound led by Benjamin Cyrus (Luke Perry), Prentiss outs herself as an FBI agent when Cyrus suspects Reid is one. Cyrus proceeds to beat her up silly in another room while the rest of the BAU crew hears all the lovely acoustics through the mics. "I can take it," Prentiss repeatedly says in between the punches, letting her team know that she's OK.
What are your favorite Prentiss moments?