Criminal Minds Season 11 added a new face in the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) of the FBI following the departure of Special Agent Kate Callahan (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and the maternity leave filed by Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (AJ Cook). The new character, Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler), was brought in by the showrunners to ensure that a female presence is still included in Criminal Minds Season 11. While a number of fans and followers of JJ would argue that no one can ever replace her in the BAU, Tyler's character at this point has proven her worth in the team as well as sufficiently impressed Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) and Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore).
With the notable performance of Lewis in the first episode of Criminal Minds Season 11, the BAU team has come to respect and admire her talents and skills - despite the initial misgivings of Hotch regarding the capacity of Tyler's character to translate her clinical expertise into the investigative details of the cases.
"For those six episodes that AJ is gone and JJ is on maternity leave, Aisha [Tyler] will be our female in the fold with the team and helping them solve the cases," shared Erica Messer, the executive producer of Criminal Minds, referring to the addition of Lewis in the BAU team. The showrunner went on to say, "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." It could be recalled that the Criminal Minds cast and crew built a detailed background story for Callahan in the previous season. However, the focus on her character failed to entice Love-Hewitt to stay in the show.
The second episode of Criminal Minds Season 11, titled "The Witness," will focus on massive attacks using sarin gas. "The BAU is called to Los Angeles and must work quickly after a city bus is attacked with sarin gas, killing many innocent people," revealed Spoilers Guide. It further noted, "They must stop whoever is responsible and prevent an imminent second attack, believed to be planned on a much larger scale." The unsub will have Hotch, Reid and the rest of the BAU team tracking him or her down. While this is a typical day for the FBI agents, the elements of time and a broader group of potential victims add to the urgency brought about by the situation.
Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 2, titled "The Witness," will air on Wednesday (October 7) at 9:00 pm on CBS.