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Criminal Minds Old and New: Jeanne Tripplehorn and Paget Brewster Talk About the Future

Criminal Minds CBS

Things are a little different on Criminal Minds this season, what with the departure of Paget Brewster and the introduction of Jeanne Tripplehorn as the latest BAU member Alex Blake. It’s a scary thing to become a part of a series well in to its lifespan – Criminal Minds just began Season 8 – especially given how the fanbase has shown how it responds to this kind of shake up. You might remember the last time Brewster left the show and what happened to her replacement. In season 6, Rachel Nichols joined the series as Ashley Seaver, only to be almost universally hated and soon fired once Brewster was brought back for Season 7. This does not bode well for Tripplehorn’s chances of being accepted.

“The fan base is huge for this show and I am honestly nervous about what they will think of Alex,” Tripplehorn told TV Guide. “A show bringing somebody new in on the eighth season, especially if you’ve been [a fan] since Season 1 – people will have their opinions. I think the fans are incredible and I respect this insanely rabid fan base the show has, and I do want them to accept Alex. I hope they like her.” With Season 8 only just begun, it’s a little too early to tell if fans will warm up to the character, but the writers are doing everything they can to avoid repeating the same situation with Nichols. They believe it was because her character was a cadet – a newbie. Blake is quite the opposite.

Blake is a seasoned FBI agent with a secondary career as a linguistics professor at Georgetown. She has a Skype relationship with her husband, not because they have a poor relationship, but because he works with Doctors Without Borders. She already has a history with some of the cast, knowing Hotch and Rossi from their careers and Reid because he has been a guest-lecturer in her classes. Says Tripplehorn: “We have to introduce Alex in a proper way and make sure that she doesn’t alienate everybody and they can work alongside each other while also showing what she’s like and what she’s capable of.”

With former star Mandy Patinkin’s recent comments against Criminal Minds violent content and savage treatment of women, it should come as no surprise some might be curious what Tripplehorn might think of those aspects of the series as a new cast member. “I was drawn to the women who run the show, the writers, the cast, the crew,” she says. “So I don’t really give [the violence] much thought. But the world is violent, and this is TV. It’s fake. I can shake hands with all the corpses in the morgue.” As she says, there are a lot of women who work behind the scenes of Criminal Minds and if they’re okay with the content of the episodes then why shouldn’t everyone else?

As for whom Tripplehorn is replacing, Brewster is still opening up to the likes of TV Guide and speaking about her time on Criminal Minds and the circumstances behind her departure and where she’s hoping to take her career. Brewster made an appearance in the two-hour premiere of Law & Order: SVU, arguably a show a little too similar to Criminal Minds despite Brewster’s multiple attempts to get away from it. Doesn’t she care how that looks? “Of course, I do,” she says. “I’m an actress. I’m totally insecure, but I’m trying to stick to my guns about what is important to me and it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks I should or shouldn’t do.”

When she left Criminal Minds the first time, it was to do a comedy pilot, My Life as an Experiment, and comedy is still her ultimate goal. But that might take awhile and she still needs to get a paycheck every once in a while, so why not take the opportunity and work alongside Mariska Hargitay? And it’s not like the role was easy just because it was similar to Criminal Minds. Playing Paula Foster on SVU was a learning experience for Brewster, something she wasn’t getting from Criminal Minds. “I’m not saying anything to denigrate Criminal Minds; that’s a great show. I just didn’t appreciate it anymore. I appreciate those people, but I realized my heart wasn’t in it and I needed to go because plenty of people would rip their arm off to be on that show, so they should be.”

I can hardly blame her for losing interest in the series. After reducing her appearances on the show in Season 6 before leaving, she was forced to come back for Season 7 due to her contract. Being given no other choice – except going to court – Brewster had to come back, which wouldn’t exactly make every day at the job fun. So when her contract was finally up, she jumped at the chance to move on and find something else. I think I can honestly say I would’ve made the same choice and I hope her fans can appreciate how difficult that must have been for her. “It’s hard. I’m not going to lie. I’m jealous of Jeanne Tripplehorn, which is ludicrous because I decided to leave,” she said. “You hear, ‘Oh we’re doing this this week and these are our guest stars, and there’s a little tinge of regret. But I don’t ultimately regret it.”

About Brody Gibson


  1. Steph

    September 27, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Paget Brewster did not “leave” in season 6. She was unceremoniously and unfairly fired, along with AJ Cook. Neither of them wanted to go and both stated publicly that they were very, very hurt. As part of her (revised, due at least in part to fan pressure) season 6 deal, Paget got an “out” to film a pilot, which was not picked up.

    Fans responded poorly to Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols) because she was seen as taking both AJ and Paget’s jobs. She also looked far too much like AJ Cook without actually being her, raising the question of why AJ was let go only to be replaced with a slightly taller, slightly blonder, and slighter younger clone. It was a huge mistake on the the part of the network and an impossible position to be in. Rachel/Ashley really never had a chance. If the writers truly believe the reason she was hated was her cadet status, they’re out of their minds.

    Jeanne Tripplehorn will probably be fine. Because Paget left of her own free will, Jeanne is in an entirely different position and will probably be accepted as fans get used to her being there.

  2. Jeremy Harold

    September 28, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I’m not going to lie. I’m jealous of Jeanne Tripplehorn, which is ludicrous because I decided to leave,” she said. “You hear, ‘Oh we’re doing this this week and these are our guest stars, and there’s a little tinge of regret. But I don’t ultimately regret it.”

    Hmmm interesting. This whispers “I made a dumb decision take me BACK.” I think by the end of season 8 jeanne and paget will be sattling up for season 9, just an opinion!

  3. Jean

    October 22, 2012 at 1:47 am

    I’m one of the rabid fanbase and I’ve only seen Ms. Tripplehorn a couple of times, but my opinion is that she’s no Paget Brewster. Emily Prentiss was a dynamite character – she added to the show immensely. I don’t see Jeanne as a good addition at all. PLEASE CBS – DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET PAGET BREWSTER BACK. The group you had last season was PERFECT. Please get rid of Jeanne Tripplehorn ASAP or you’re gonna lose a whole lot of viewers.

    • sylvia

      September 27, 2014 at 3:10 am

      Come you guys give the lady a chance …she is good I like her.

  4. Jean

    November 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    The more I see Jeanne, the more I miss Paget. It’s just not the same. CBS: PLEASE LISTEN TO ME: DO WHATEVER YOU GOTTA DO TO GET PAGET BACK. I know several people who have stopped watching CM cuz of JT.

  5. Canamal

    January 24, 2013 at 12:44 am

    Oh please… this show but it is increasingly difficult to watch Tripplehorn lifelessly stumble through the motions of this roll? This is one of the worst miscasts I have ever seen on a show of the caliber.
    I fell uncomfortable when she speaks. I feel embarrassed for her. Please bring back Prentiss!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe a couple of the writers could come back too.

  6. Marie

    May 16, 2013 at 3:24 am

    I hate the Blake character and last nights episode was literal hard for me to watch. I have loved this show for 8 years but I really cannot stand the new edition.Blake adds nothing new, really her character is almost a mix of Reid and Hotch, well and she’s irritating as hell. She gets more time than many of the main characters now and it really pisses me off. Here’s hoping criminal minds stays around for many years but that Blake is gone by the end of the season. I was so excited when i thought they were getting rid of her last night…

  7. Allison

    May 16, 2013 at 3:31 am

    Blake pissed me off from the moment she interrupted and corrected morgan in public on her first day on the job. She had no BAU experience and obviously no respect for senior team members. CBS is doing her no favors by giving her more air time than the other characters who we have loved for years. Maybe if CBS had worked her in gradually we could have learned to love her but she can off as an arrogant, stiff, irritating addition and I think the team would be better off short one member

  8. Janet

    April 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I feel you all. I gave her a chance and watched a few episodes but every time she gets on the screen I feel so annoyed. I think it would of been best if they left the team how it was (even though its sad no Prentiss). Having Tripplehorn its such a miss in this show. I was a 200% fan, but then they go and take JJ out and then they take Prentiss out and they both come back and then Prentiss leaves. Like stop screwing with your fans. It was just too much to handle in 2 seasons. Then adding one more to the package was intolerable. I personally think Ms. Tripplehorn is a good actress and I like some of her stuff, but I just don’t like her here. I not waiting for Prentiss to come back (Ive made my peace with it), but its such a headache watching a person trying to be smarter than Reid. Yeah no, the writers have made me feel like if there is no person in the world smarter than Spencer Reid. Then bringing her into the gang acting all smart and serious, well she just didn’t make the cut IMHO. I used to wait anxiously for Wednesdays to watch this show. I endure it when JJ left. I endure it when Prentiss left. But bringing someone in so fast was just awful. Like I said I was a 200% fan now I’m not even a fan. Now if its Wednesday and I stumble upon it while browsing the channels I watch part of it and then I continue browsing.

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