CBS’ procedural dramas all seem to be slipping in ratings and the 11th Season of Criminal Minds is unfortunately no exception. While the show is doing well enough to earn a 12th Season, chances aren’t looking good for a 13th Season if viewers continue to lose interest. The reshuffling of cast in the 11th Season could either pique viewers’ interest or lose them completely.
So far CM has attracted an average of 8.617 million viewers, which isn’t too bad considering, but its 10th Season brought in 10.31 million, which is down from the 8th Season which brought in a substantial 11.43. Season 11 was only picked up for a 22-episode season, while previous seasons have consisted of 23 or 24 episodes, could this be a sign of things winding down?
Much of Season 10 focused on the character introduction of FBI Agent Kate Callahan, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, as well as her husband and the niece that she takes care of. So many viewers were startled to find out that Love Hewitt did not return for the 11th Season of the show. However, Callahan’s baby bump looked so realistic for a reason (even in this age of advanced special effects, a baby bump never quite reads well on screen, especially when the actress wearing the bump doesn’t put on any baby weight), Love Hewitt was pregnant and expecting her second child.
Atticus James Hallisay was born to the actress in June of this year, which would have conflicted with the show’s schedule as shooting began in July. Hewitt’s first child, her daughter Autumn, was born in 2013 when the actress was 34, so she was fully aware of the time that she would ideally like to spend with a newly born baby, this resulted in her decision to choose motherhood over her acting role in #CM. Hewitt has had a full acting career, having begun acting at the tender age of 11 for Kids Incorporated, after which she scored roles on the hit show Party of Five (1995-1999), as well as the long running series Ghost Whisperer (2005-2010), perhaps the actress has had her fill of acting and is planning to quit for good and settle down into the quiet life.
Showrunner Erica Messer may not have been very pleased with Hewitt’s decision as she has stated before that Hewitt waited until the end of 2014 to announce her pregnancy to her creative team. While this may have created animosity between Messer and Hewitt, the showrunner announced: “Because she’s due in July, when we would start shooting Season 11, timing-wise there was no way for her to do both, to be able to give that baby everything she wanted to give that baby and still be on our show. We wrote to that, and that’s how season 10 ends. It’s a bittersweet idea of ‘life is full of choices and they define who you are.”
The Season 10 finale ended with a scene which was a case of art imitating life, Callahan handing in her notice to Agent Hitchner in order to spend more time with her family and her baby on the way. The scene did feel a little tacked on and one can’t help but wonder if the writers added it in after Hewitt had announced that she was leaving the show. A.J Cook (Jennifer Jareau) also fell pregnant during Season 10 but opted to return to the show after a leave of 5 months’ maternity leave.
Hewitt’s decision affected Greg Gunberg as well as the creative team, as Gunberg played Chris Callahan, Kate’s husband. However, Hewitt’s departure opened up a free spot for another actress, Aisha Tyler who appears as a recurring character in Season 11. Tyler plays Dr. Tara
Meanwhile, a spinoff to the show titled #CriminalMinds: Beyond Borders will begin airing in January of 2016.
What are your thoughts on Jennifer Love Hewitt leaving the show?