On a conference call to promote her appearance as District Attorney Paula Foster on the NBC series, Brewster opened up about why she left the CBS procedural drama.
“I really didn’t feel challenged anymore,” she said. “I wanted to learn something and be excited again…. While it can be a family — that environment is actually a family — in the sense that also you sometimes hate each other, you can’t stand being around each other and grudges are held… I was getting cranky on ‘Criminal Minds.’”
Paget first left “Criminal Minds” when she was advised that she would not be working in every episode of Season 6 and that A.J. Cook was being let go. During that time, Paget had received permission to film a comedy pilot, which she did, but it didn’t get a pick up. It was then that she was informed that she had to return to “Criminal Minds” for one more year because she was still under contract. A fact she said at that time that she hadn’t been aware of.
“I never got over it when A.J. and I were fired,” she said. “That was really tough emotionally for everyone on that show. When I was asked to leave, I left… Then they made me come back. I did and I decided to enjoy it. It was one year. I care about everyone at ‘Criminal Minds’ but I knew in my heart, I had left.”
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That said, Brewster says she would return to guest star on an episode of “Criminal Minds” if asked.
“I think that is kind of tricky. What I was told was a lot of people have to sign off on that… I like everybody at ‘Criminal Minds.’ I would like to guest star but I don’t know if that is in the cards.”
At the time of her departure, Brewster was hoping to make a return to comedy after so many years in drama, which she is still hoping to do, but she says that even though “SVU” is a drama, she just couldn’t say no to it.
“I am waiting for the right thing,” says the actress, who also guest starred on “SVU” back in 2007 in a different role. “The only thing I have wanted to [take] was this opportunity to do ‘SVU.’ So far everything else has not been my cup of tea. I left ‘Criminal Minds’ because I wasn’t as excited. I needed to do something new, so I have to honor that and wait until something I really care about comes along, so that is what I am doing.”
The two-part “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” episodes, starring Brewster, air next Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.