The Criminal Minds Behavioral Analysis Unit team has found a promising new member: Aisha Tyler is joining the upcoming 11th season in a recurring role, EW has learned exclusively.
Tyler has signed on with the hit procedural following the departure of one star (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and the forthcoming temporary absence of another (A.J. Cook). Both Hewitt and Cook are pregnant, and Hewitt has opted to leave the show after one season while Cook is going on maternity leave.
The Archer actress and current The Talk co-host will play Dr. Tara Lewis, a psychologist with an eye on forensic psychology and its application toward the criminal justice system. In the new season, Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) interviews several candidates in an effort to replace Kate Callahan (Hewitt). Dr. Lewis proves to be the best applicant and ends up helping out the BAU team in an investigation.
Some more official background on Tyler’s character: “Her dream was to study psychopaths up close and personal – and her psychology background, combined with her experience in the FBI, brought her face-to-face with monsters. Her job was to stare them down and interview them, in order to determine if they were fit to stand trial. In the process, she made herself find the humanity inside these broken men (and, sometimes, women) in order to learn if there was a conscience behind their brutal crimes.”
For more details about the Minds cast shakeup, read our May interview with showrunner Erica Messer. Messer previously said Cook will be absent for roughly five episodes, with production starting in July. “It’s way more realistic for, after 10 years, [for] people to have moved on, or moved into a different division, or something like that. It’s such a rare thing to be in the same FBI unit for all those years,” Messer said. “Often, people go to different cities. But also offscreen, it’s so rare for all of us. We’re going into season 11, which is remarkable. We’re all looking at each other like, ‘Oh my gosh, have you ever been on anything this long?’”