As Gideon's squad of serial crime fighters adds sexy Paget Brewster to their ranks, TV Guide debriefs the former Mrs. Huff on what exactly her Criminal Minds (Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET) mission entails. (Psst... it apparently involves "fancy footwork" with the boss.)
TV Guide: What convinced you to sign up for Criminal Minds?
Paget Brewster: I was in New Orleans shooting a movie, and I called my agent and said, "I've been doing my laundry in hotel bathtubs for three months, and I'm lonely. I haven't seen my family or friends. I want to be on a TV show — I want to be home at five." He called a week later and said, "Would you meet with Criminal Minds?"
TV Guide: So it must have gone well.
Brewster: I met with [executive producers] Ed Bernero and Mark Gordon and a bunch of the writers, and they asked me if I knew anything about profiling. I'm personally obsessed with it, so when they started talking about a particular case, I said, "Oh, that's David Ray, the Toolbox Killer." And they were silent. They said, "Do you really know about this stuff?" And I said, "Yeah, I really do."
TV Guide: Please explain!
Brewster: I did a talk show in San Francisco [The Paget Show, 1994-95] that was on at 1:30 in the morning, a time when delusional schizophrenics are watching TV. And I had a couple of stalkers. Once one of them broke into the station, and I was locked into a bathroom while they were looking for him. He got away.
TV Guide: What was your emotional response to that?
Brewster: It was terror. It changes you completely, the way you think. I learned as much as I could about paranoid schizophrenics and obsessive derangement. It's that old saying: Know your enemy.
TV Guide: So you fit right in on Criminal Minds as Special Agent Emily Prentiss?
Brewster: They were looking to bring in a female agent who was unknown to the unit. Ed said, "As writers we've grown complacent about who these people are, and we need to shake it up." It's the nicest way to join a cast because my character is feeling exactly the way I'm feeling, which is, "Please accept me, because I want to be here." And it's just heaven. I get to dance with Mandy Patinkin in between takes, and he sings in my ear.
TV Guide: You also have a TNT movie, A Perfect Day, with Rob Lowe (encoring tonight at 10 pm/ET). Compare Lowe to Patinkin.
Brewster: This is the second time I've worked with Rob! [They costarred in 2000's The Specials, a low-budget superhero comedy.] Rob has a dirtier sense of humor — he and his wife are just bawdy and sexy. Mandy? He's so talented and quiet, but then he fires off these jokes that are so funny, you don't even know where they came from. And he's a better dancer than Rob.
Rob Lowe recently raved about Paget Brewster to TVGuide.com. Check out that Q&A here.
Criminal Minds' Shemar Moore reflects on the year gone by in the new "My Big Year" issue of TV Guide.
Send your comments on this feature to firstname.lastname@example.org.