2 'Criminal Minds' Lead Stars Have a Hyperspecific Common History With 'Friends' – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Criminal Minds is a procedural drama that ran on television for 15 years, earning millions of fans from all over the world. The series, which ran on CBS, followed a group of criminal profilers and behavioral analysts who worked for the FBI, in the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU).

Not only does Criminal Minds dive deep into the professional lives of the agents, but it tracks their personal lives as well — including their romances, struggles, and family dramas. Over time, Criminal Minds became one of the biggest shows on television, and even though it is no longer airing new episodes, fans are still heavily invested in the series — and in the characters. 

When did ‘Criminal Minds’ go off the air?

"Criminal Minds" stars Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia, Jeanne Tripplehorn as Alex Blake, Joe Mantegna as David Rossi, Thomas Gibson as Aaron Hotchner, Shemar Moore as Derek Morgan, Matthew Gray Gubler as Dr. Spencer Reid and A.J. Cook as Jennifer "JJ" Jareau.
“Criminal Minds” stars Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia, Jeanne Tripplehorn as Alex Blake, Joe Mantegna as David Rossi, Thomas Gibson as Aaron Hotchner, Shemar Moore as Derek Morgan, Matthew Gray Gubler as Dr. Spencer Reid and A.J. Cook as Jennifer “JJ” Jareau. | Cliff Lipson/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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Criminal Minds debuted on television in 2005, and quickly rose to prominence, becoming popular with critics as well as fans. The show featured a large ensemble cast, headed up by stars such as Matthew Gray Gubler, Mandy Patinkin, Shemar Moore, Lola Glaudini, and A.J. Cook.

Two of the most popular actresses in Criminal Minds were Aisha Tyler and Paget Brewster, performers who had already established themselves as forces to be reckoned with by the time they were cast on the show. The final season of Criminal Minds aired in 2020, but while fans can’t enjoy new episodes, they can still binge-watch all their favorite episodes. 

Who did Aisha Tyler play in ‘Criminal Minds’?

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Tyler joined the cast of Criminal Minds in 2015, playing Dr. Tara Lewis. A forensic psychologist and supervisory special agent, Lewis is an expert at studying psychopaths and is able to bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team.

Originally, Tyler was brought in to play Lewis in a recurring capacity in season 11, but quickly became popular with viewers — and by season 12, she had been promoted to series regular. Tyler continued to play the character of Lewis until the show went off the air in 2020. 

Who did Paget Brewster play in ‘Criminal Minds’?

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Another actor who made a splash on Criminal Minds was Brewster, who played Emily Prentiss, a supervisory special agent and BAU Unit Chief. Fluent in several languages, Prentiss is the daughter of Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss, and has a top-notch education, which she uses to her advantage when discussing and dissecting cases.

Fiercely loyal to her team, Prentiss was a staple presence on the series beginning in the second season. After season seven, Prentiss was briefly written off the series, only to return in the ninth season and to stay on the show consistently until it went off the air. 

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Tyler and Brewster are not only two actresses who earned fans in Criminal Minds — the stunning performers have a history together acting in another high-profile series as well.

According to a report by TVInsider, both Brewster and Tyler appeared as guest stars in the hit series Friends, both playing different girlfriends of Joey’s (Matt LeBlanc). While Brewster and Tyler didn’t act in any scenes together, they each made an impression in their own special way.

Tyler played Charlie Wheeler and was the first Black person with a recurring role on Friends. Her character was caught in a love triangle with Joey and Ross (David Schwimmer).

Brewster played Kathy in a recurring role in Season 4. She was Joey’s girlfriend and was in a love triangle with Joey and Chandler (Matthew Perry).

All the cast members of Criminal Minds brought something exciting to the series — but there’s no doubt that Aisha Tyler and Page Brewster were true fan-favorites. Stay tuned to Showbiz Cheat Sheet for all the latest entertainment news!

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