Criminal Minds' Paget Brewster Shares 'Amazing' Way People Realize She Guest-Starred On Friends

Paget Brewster on Friends.
(Image credit: HBO Max)

Criminal Minds fans are undoubtedly excited to see Paget Brewster amongst the cast members who returned for the series’ Paramount+ revival, Criminal Minds: Evolution. The actress who portrayed Emily Prentiss for most of the show’s original run on CBS showed off a “slightly older, sassier” look for the streaming series when it premiered in November. The gray-haired, bangs-less ‘do is a great look for the Section Chief, but it’s a big change from the auburn bob Brewster sported during her recurring role on Friends 25 years ago. That doesn’t keep her from getting recognized, though, as fans apparently make the connection a different way.

Years before Emily Prentiss took up the task of hunting down serial killers, Paget Brewster guest-starred on six episodes of Friends during the iconic sitcom’s fourth season. Her character, Kathy, dated both Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) and, while six appearances may not be a lot in the grand scheme of things, she must have made an impression. Brewster still gets recognized, she told TV Insider, just not for her looks. The actress said: 

What they recognize is the voice. Because what happens is I’ll be talking to someone or in a restaurant and I see a person next to me, they freeze, and then they slowly turn around and they go, ‘Kathy, you’re Kathy,’ and it’s because they recognize my voice. It’s amazing.

There is something distinctive about Paget Brewster’s voice that even 25 years later can apparently spark recognition with Friends fans (and the seemingly non-stop re-runs don’t hurt, either). Many wonderful guest stars came and went over the course of the sitcom’s 10-year run, but Kathy was memorable for a number of reasons. For one, she was one of few supporting characters to date more than one member of the main cast (another being, coincidentally, Brewster’s Criminal MInds co-star Aisha Tyler).

Kathy’s story arc — in which she cheats on Joey by kissing Chandler — is also responsible for one of Friends’ more memorable Thanksgiving scenes, in which Chandler spends the holiday in a box as punishment.

Many won't forget that Paget Brewster’s Friends character is that despite the fact that she cheated on Joey with Chandler — driving a wedge between possibly the series' most beloved friendship — and also ended up cheating on Chandler (because of course she did). But despite all of that, Kathy was so dang likable that she never felt to me like that much of a villain. That is no small feat for a then-unknown actress on an established series like the NBC sitcom.

Feel free, however, to draw your own conclusions about Paget Brewster’s days as Kathy by streaming the Season 4 episodes (and the rest of the 10-season series) with an HBO Max subscription. Anybody looking to see what Emily Prentiss is up to these days can catch the revived Criminal Minds: Evolution, plus the original first 15 seasons, with a Paramount+ subscription. Also be sure to check out our 2023 TV schedule to see what new and returning series will premiere in the new year. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.