Paget Brewster

Paget Brewster wants her fans to know that she did not know that her Law & Order: SVU gig would play opposite her former show Criminal Minds.

The actress tells TV Guide Magazine that she feels terrible that her first post Minds role will air the same time as her old show, on Sept. 26. "I was so crazy flattered when they offered me this part," the actress says, "and I didn't find out until after I took the role that the special two episode premiere of SVU [airing from 9/8c to 11/10c] was going to bump against Criminal Minds, which it never does!"

She "felt so bad," Brewster reports, that she called her old Minds boss, Erica Messer, and told her, "You have to believe that I didn't do this on purpose. I'm afraid it makes me look vengeful, which is terrible." According to Brewster, Messer told her that it was "a brilliant counter programming move by SVU and she'd do the same."

The actress wants to keep a good relationship with her old show, which she first left in 2010 after her role was cut back. A year later, after her character Emily Prentiss was supposedly killed off, she was brought back to fulfill her contract for one more season. "I didn't really want to leave the first time; I loved it there and I still hang out with everybody," Brewster admits. "But last year I decided that I wanted to challenge myself and doing these episodes of Law & Order: SVU has proven me right. At one point Erica and Joe Mantegna asked if I would come back and guest star and I said, 'I love you guys. If you ever need me or want me, I would love to guest star.' But then Erica recently said that a lot of people would have to sign off for me to come back, so maybe CBS is mad that I left."

On SVU Brewster plays a D.A. named Paula Foster, who has installed a new interim captain (Steven Harris, played by Adam Baldwin) in the sex crimes unit and, even worse, she will be prosecuting the unit's beloved Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) for the murder of an escort found dead in his bed. "I'm despised by the detectives," she says with a laugh, adding "I've been able to work with everybody, but especially with Mariska Hargitay!"

Brewster will be praying to the Nielsen gods on Sept. 26. "I'm so torn because I'm such a fan of both shows," she says. "I just hope both shows get great ratings!"

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