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Criminal Minds is going through some major changes, thanks to a couple of pregnancies. Seriously, during Season 10, the two main ladies on the series, Jennifer Love Hewitt and A.J. Cook, both revealed they would be having babies later in 2015. The show is going to need at least one replacement, and they’ve found her in Aisha Tyler, who will pop up as a recurring character during Season 11.
Aisha Tyler has signed on with Criminal Minds as Dr. Tara Lewis, a psychologist who will work with the BAU team after team leader Aaron Hotchner interviews a few potential candidates for hire. According to EW, Dr. Lewis will actually have plenty of experience with psychopaths, having worked her psychology magic with the FBI. She’ll have interviewed major criminals in order to determine whether or not they could stand trial and, as such, has many of the traits the Criminal Minds team also possess. She sounds like a shoe-in for the job, really.
The news comes just a few weeks after we learned that Jennifer Love Hewitt had quit the series. Showrunner Erica Messer revealed that Hewitt opted to leave the show in order to spend more time at home with her baby, who is due in July—around the time the drama is set to begin filming the new season. In addition, A.J. Cook is also having a baby, although she plans to just take maternity leave and return to the show following a leave of absence of five episodes. This isn’t the first time Criminal Minds has dealt with casting shakeups and it’s unlikely to be the last.
Since Tyler’s role is only marked as recurring, it is unclear whether she is signing on to replace Hewitt or simply to fill-in while Cook is out. Tyler does have a few secondary gigs to keep her busy, including voicing Lana Kane on FX’s Archer and hosting on Whose Line is it Anyway? and CBS’ own The Talk. Either way, if she fits in as part of the team and the writers find ways to use her, we could see Dr. Tara Lewis around for quite some time.
Criminal Minds is getting a 22-episode order for Season 11, in addition to the casting changes (in the past, it has typically earned 23 or 24 episodes). In addition, CBS has the spinoff Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders set to premiere at midseason. You can take a look at the network’s fall offerings, here or even check out what else CBS has coming up this summer.