'Criminal Minds': Paget Brewster Leaving CBS Drama

02/15/2012 02:41 pm ET | Updated Feb 16, 2012

Paget Brewster is leaving "Criminal Minds." According to EW, Brewster, who joined the cast in Season 2, will exit the hit CBS drama after this year.

"Please know it was a hard choice," Brewster said on Twitter. "I love everyone at CM and the fans! I just couldn't ignore my gut feeling. It's time for something new."

Brewster and fellow "Criminal Minds" actress A.J. Cook were involved in a controversial cast shake-up in which Cook was axed from the show and Brewster's episode count was reduced. Her character, Emily Prentiss, eventually left the team, faking her own death with the help of Cook's Jennifer "JJ" Jareau.

However, after an outcry from fans, both Brewster and Cook returned to "Criminal Minds" as full-time cast members for Season 7. During her limbo period, Brewster joined the cast of an NBC comedy pilot.

According to EW, Brewster and co-star Matthew Gray Gubler were in talks to extend their contracts for Season 8. When Cook returned as a series regular in Season 7, she signed a two-year contract.

CBS has yet to order an eighth season of "Criminal Minds" and so far, there is no word on Gubler's status with the show.