Paget Brewster is leaving Criminal Minds again.
"After six wonderful years playing Emily Prentiss, I have decided it's time for me to move on," Brewster said in a statement. "As much as I will miss my Criminal Minds family, I am excited about the future and other opportunities."
Added showrunner and executive producer Erica Messer: "We were all sad to hear the news, but we respect and support any decision Paget wants to make. Personally, I'm a huge fan and will continue to be one wherever she goes."
Check out photos from Criminal Minds
This will be the second time Brewster has left the show. Last season, she chose to depart — asking the writers to kill off her character, Emily Prentiss — when CBS reduced her episode count and fired A.J. Cook. But because she still had a year left on her contract, Brewster had to film a cliff-hanger ending for Prentiss instead. CBS agreed to let Brewster shoot NBC's comedy pilot, My Life As an Experiment, but when it was not picked up, CBS rehired Brewster, along with Cook, last May.
Brewster told TVGuide.com last month that she was unaware of the extra year on her contract and was surprised when CBS exercised the option.
Criminal Minds' Paget Brewster: Prentiss and Hotch will have a "nice little moment"
"I shot a pilot and it didn't go, and then they said, 'You're back!' I had another year on my contract that I didn't know about, so I had to come back! I said, 'Hey, I kinda want an apology and maybe a raise.' And they were like, 'No, we'll sue you!'" she said. "The whole thing was, unfortunately, a mess. It was dumb. They thought they would save money by getting rid of us ... and in the end got both of us back."
Though her contract dictated her return, Brewster, who joined Minds in Season 2, said she was happy to come back and would sign on for next season "if it works out." According to Deadline, which first reported the news, she chose to leave after CBS and ABC Studios, which produces the show, denied her request to pursue a comedy project during pilot season.
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Brewster admitted to us that she missed doing comedy. She played Kathy on Friends and has appeared on a number of sitcoms over the years, including Andy Richter Controls the Universe and Huff. She has also done voice work on American Dad! and King of the Hill and regularly participates in the comedy stage show Thrilling Adventure Hour.
"I love comedy. It's so much fun — not that [Minds] isn't — but it's just different," she said. "I would love to do another one in the future."
Will you be sad to see Brewster go (again)? What kind of send-off do you think she will get this time?