Criminal Minds: Aisha Tyler's Character Might Be Around More Than We Thought

Last night, Criminal Minds kicked off its eleventh season with an episode that followed the team during a time when they were short-staffed. Luckily, the staffing problems didn’t last long. Partway through the premiere episode, we were introduced to Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler), a hard worker and profiler looking to get into the field. The character is only signed on through A.J. Cook’s pregnancy leave, but showrunner Erica Messer says they would love to sign on the actress for a whole lot more.

For those six episodes that A.J. is gone and JJ is on maternity leave, Aisha will be our female in the fold with the team and helping them solve the cases. We love her so much that we’re hoping to extend her stay with us. The deal is not totally done yet so I can’t really talk about it but we are hoping to have her in quite a few more episodes this season, not just the initial six.

Messer related the possible plan to have Tyler on for longer with THR, and personally, I find this idea to be awesome. Tyler is great whether she is doing comedy or drama, and it would be nice to get another long-term female on the show. Penelope and JJ are both awesome, of course, but with Jennifer Love Hewitt quitting at the end of last season, the women are largely outnumbered by the men on the show at this point. Plus, Penelope only very rarely actually makes it out into the field. So, we’d love to see Dr. Tara Lewis hone her skills as a profiler and professional bad guy catcher.

Minor spoilers are in this paragraph if you didn’t catch Wednesday’s episode.

If you didn’t catch Wednesday’s Criminal Minds premiere over at CBS, Dr. Tara Lewis is a forensic psychologist who has worked out in the field for a while, just on the other side of cases. Instead of catching serial killers in the middle of their act, she formerly interviewed people in prison waiting for a trial in order to make certain that they are competent to stand trial. In the premiere, Hotch rightfully asked her if she thought she could handle a lot of the tough stuff the team is forced to go through, but Dr. Lewis capably explained why she wanted the position and later helped out the team in a big way with a phone call. By the end of the episode, she had the job.

Obviously, this deal isn’t set in stone yet. Aisha Tyler’s a pretty busy actress. Right now, she does major voicework for FX’s long-running animated comedy Archer. She also is the host of the sketch comedy series Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Throw in some random guest stints on shows like BoJack Horseman and The Comeback and Tyler is clearly a pretty busy lady. Still, I selfishly hope a more longterm gig will work out.

You can catch new episodes of Criminal Minds on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. You can also see what else is still left to premiere this fall with our fall TV premiere schedule.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.