'Criminal Minds': A Look Back at Rachel Nichols' Brief and Brutal Role as Ashley Seaver
'Criminal Minds': A Look Back at Rachel Nichols' Brief and Brutal Role as Ashley Seaver
As I pointed out in my article discussing Mandy Patinkin's exit from the series, Criminal Minds has seen several cast changes over the years. The last actor to depart the series was season 6 regular Rachel Nichols.

Nichols played Ashley Seaver, an agent-in-training when we met her. Ashley was brought in as a consultant on one of the BAU's cases because she had first-hand knowledge that could help catch the UnSub the team was searching for. Ashley was the daughter of a serial killer, and she used the experience of her childhood to help predict the UnSub's moves. After that case, Ashley asked if she could finish her remedial training with the unit and Prentiss (Paget Brewster) offered to be her training agent. She later joined the team as a rookie profiler, helping to fill the void left by JJ's (A.J. Cook) departure and Prentiss' presumed death.

So What Happened?
Nichols was brought into the series under very strange circumstances. The summer leading up to season 6 brought the announcement that the CBS drama was firing two of its actors, A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster.

Despite uproar from the fanbase, the network went ahead with the firing decision, but announced that another female character would be brought in to replace the exiting actresses. The fans were not pleased, so Nichols came into a situation where a vocal portion of the audience disliked her character before she ever set foot onscreen.

Whatever the reason, the majority of the audience never really warmed up to Nichols' character. After both Brewster and Cook were re-hired for season 7, the network chose to let Nichols and her character go. The season 7 premiere dealt with the character's exit by saying that Seaver had transferred to another team.

Where is She Now?
Since her departure from the series, it seems like Nichols has been focusing on her film career. This past year, the actress starred in a big-screen remake of Conan the Barbarian and the independent drama, A Bird of the Air. Nichols also recently completed filming on the latest James Patterson adaptation, I, Alex Cross and is currently filming the horror flick Raze.

Though Nichols has expressed interest in bringing her character Gaila back, there has not been any word on whether she will join her former co-stars in the as-yet-untitled Star Trek sequel, currently in pre-production.

Megan Cole
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of CBS)