'Criminal Minds' Discussion: Will Jeanne Tripplehorn Work as Paget Brewster's Replacement?
'Criminal Minds' Discussion: Will Jeanne Tripplehorn Work as Paget Brewster's Replacement?
As we reported last week, former Big Love star Jeanne Tripplehorn will join the Criminal Minds cast as a regular for season 8. Tripplehorn's new profiler will be introduced in the show's season 8 opener, presumably filling the spot vacated by Paget Brewster's Emily Prentiss.

Earlier this month, Executive Producer Erica Messer told TV Guide that if it had been up to her, there would be no replacing Prentiss and the team would stay as is. Apparently, the network disagreed and pushed for a new female profiler to join the BAU. There were also rumors earlier on that if someone new was brought in, it would be later on in the upcoming season. Now with Tripplehorn already in place for the season 8 premiere, what changed? Did the network push to introduce the character right away or was the decision character-based?

Perhaps Tripplehorn's character will be introduced as a profiler working with the team on a specific case and she will make such an excellent impression that the team will ask her to stay on full-time. Or maybe her character has history with one of the other profilers and she will land the BAU gig thanks to their recommendation. While the new character's origins and introduction will not be revealed until the start of season 8, the one thing that is clear is that the Criminal Minds writers are trying to stay away from the mistakes they made with their most recent cast changes.

In season 6, Rachel Nichols' Ashley Seaver was brought into the BAU fresh from the FBI Academy. Seaver was asked to assist with a case thanks to her personal history -- her father was an infamous serial killer -- but fans did not believe that Seaver's complicated childhood was enough to snag a job on such an elite team, especially for someone so young and professionally inexperienced. Hopefully Messer and co. listened to the fans and Tripplehorn's character will be a veteran profiler who earns a position on the team because she fits all the criteria needed to work with the best of the best. (And I say this as a fan of Nichols' character.)

Despite this recent blunder, the show does have a successful history of introducing new characters, as Brewster's Prentiss did not appear until season 2 and Joe Mantegna's Rossi was brought in after Mandy Patinkin's exit in season 3. Both characters were ultimately accepted by the show's fans and became important additions to the team. Let's all hope Tripplehorn's character follows suit.

What do you all think of Tripplehorn's regular cast addition and her character being introduced from the premiere? Do you think it can be a seamless transition into the BAU (and fan approval)?

Megan Cole
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of CBS)