Criminal Minds got quite the casting shake-up in Season 11, as the always great Aisha Tyler joined the show as a (seemingly) temporary replacement for actresses A.J. Cook and Jennifer Love Hewitt, both of whom had to exit the production while on maternity leave. But while Cook returned to her role of Jennifer Jareau a while back, Tyler’s Dr. Tara Lewis is still very much in the mix. I recently spoke with the actress and asked if she would be into returning to the hit drama in the future, should it almost definitely get renewed for Season 12.
Under the right conditions, I’ll say. (laughter) Of course. Of course. I’d love it. For me, I have so much going on that I don’t want to do anything that’s not fun for me. If I’m gonna kill myself and not sleep, living on coffee and my own salty tears, it’s gotta be something that’s worthwhile. And I think that Criminal Minds is definitely worth the lack of sleep and the caffeine addiction. They’re definitely worth it.
This is a drama that has had a slew of great guest stars over the years that never went back, and there was every chance for Aisha Tyler’s run as forensic psychologist Tara Lewis to be little more than an extended guest appearance. But the actress killed the role straight out of the gate, making us truly believe that she’s talked to some of the most sadistic and whacked-out killers this country has ever seen. (And not on The Talk.)
Plus, showrunner Erica Messer has had only good things to say about Aisha Tyler’s contributions. After all, the actress was only brought in for six episodes, yet was kept for 18 of Season 11’s 22 episodes. That’s quite a promotion, and unless she gets murdered in a most heinous fashion in the finale, I can’t imagine she won’t be asked to come back next season in either a regular or recurring capacity, assuming next season exists.
Aisha Tyler also said that things definitely clicked when she started working with the rest of the cast, and that it wasn’t an experience that usually happens to the new kid in class.
I do love working on that show and I have really fallen in love with the cast. I feel very fortunate to come into a show in Season 11 when those people have been working together for a decade now, and feel so welcomed and feel so much a part of the team so quickly. So, you know, I’d love to go back. But it hasn’t been worked out yet.
Work it out, CBS! Work. It. Out. Should it return for Season 12, Criminal Minds will still have the glaring absence of Derek Morgan, following actor Shemar Moore’s surprising departure earlier this season. And while we’ll probably always have Emily Prentiss cameos and potential appearances from Morgan in the future, permanently adding another familiar face like Dr. Lewis’ would definitely make future episodes better.
I don’t know any Criminal Minds fans who are perfectly fine and understanding about CBS’ failure to make any announcements about the drama’s future, despite having renewed a ton of other shows. It will air its trouble-filled Season 11 finale tonight on CBS, so here’s hoping news about the show’s future, and those who might be a part of it, gets announced very soon.
Until that happens, you can check out Aisha Tyler's comedic stylings on FX's Archer, which is currently in the middle of Season 7 and recently put out Season 6 on Blu-ray/DVD. And check out everything that's premiering in the coming months with our summer TV schedule.