EXCLUSIVE: Potential great news for Criminal Minds fans: Co-star A.J. Cook is in talks to return to the CBS crime drama next season as a regular, and she may be joined by Paget Brewster. Meanwhile, executive producer Ed Bernero, who has run the series since the start, is leaving, with another Criminal Minds veteran, executive producer Erica Messer, taking over as the sole showrunner.
Cook departed Criminal Minds after the end of last season when her option was not picked up, stirring outcry among fans of the show. She appeared in the first two episodes of this season to wrap the storyline of her character JJ, who was transferred from the BAU to a job at the Pentagon. Cook then returned for the last episode (for now) of co-star Brewster, which aired last month. Speaking of Brewster, she is filming a comedy pilot for NBC, My Life As An Experiment, and will continue on the project if it goes to series. But if it doesn’t, I hear Criminal Minds producers ABC Studios/CBS Studios have an option on her for the show and, if they exercise it as many expect, that would bring the cast of the show back to the way it was at the end of last season. The developments, especially Cook’s potential return to Criminal Minds, do not bode well for newly minted regular Rachel Nichols, who was brought in to fill the void left by Cook’s departure. Cook got an offer to return to Criminal Minds late last week after the series’ producers recently came up with ideas for JJ for next season. Despite her exit from the show, Cook and her character continue to be extremely popular among Criminal Minds fans. (more…)