Criminal Minds Aisha Tyler

Criminal Minds Season 11 Premiere: Do You Agree With Hotch's New Hire?

Criminal Minds‘ BAU team opened Season 11 down not just one but two team members, with Kate Callahan having pressed pause on her career and “JJ” Jareau still on maternity leave. But by episode’s end, Hotch had made a new hire, in The Talk co-host Aisha Tyler’s Dr. Tara Lewis.

Did he make a good call?

To be clear, JJ is on her way back, but “just not right now,” seeing as she’s still getting used to the upgrade from one kid to two. “Take your time,” Hotch reassures her, even though the team was jumping on a big new case. “Your job will be here when you’re ready.”

Hotch then went about interviewing candidates for the position but only got as far as the first one, Dr. Lewis, who came with high regards from the San Francisco field office. Thing is, the psychologist has spent 12 years interview serial killers after they are behind bars. Now, she declares, she wants to help catch them.

The interview is cut short by breaking developments in the new case, involving an UnSub who facepaints his vics in the style of commedia dell’arte‘s Pulcinella, though with the black and white sections inverted. When clues indicate the UnSub can’t eat solid food, it supports the theory that something must be wrong with his mouth. And indeed, we later learn, his piehole was recently mangled by a gunshot to the face, which is now still crudely stitched up.

Eventually, it is gleaned that the UnSub is Giuseppe Montolo, a contract killer who gets work via the Silk Road network within the Dark Net — and now he is targeting past clients. When Hotch & Co. discover that there’s a mole within law enforcement helping Giuseppe, they pinpoint Phil Wilson, a SWAT team leader who, with his wife Betty, has been coerced to abet.

Dr. Lewis, whom Hotch told to “wait” as they descended into this manhunt, gets precious little to do until the very end, when she must calmly pass her voice off as Betty’s during a phone call, knowing the UnSub is listening in. Lewis pulls it off and nearly succeeds in cuing Phil to duck so that the sniper can take out Giuseppe behind him, but Phil gets ballsy and swivels to pop the guy instead. As Derek chases down the UnSub, Reid talks Phil out of taking his life, pointing out that Betty will need his testimony if she is to get any leniency.

As the hour winds down, Derek confronts Giuseppe, who though hospitalized and seemingly with no cards to play, nonetheless taunts that he and his hitman ilk will proceed to target “The Dirty Dozen.” Meanwhile at the office, Hotch and Lewis resume their interview — 36 hours later! — though Garcia rightly surmises that she can send the other candidates home.

Grade the premiere below, then weigh in on recurring player Aisha Tyler.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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45 Comments
  1. I really enjoyed this episode. Generally speaking the show does well with season openers, with a couple of exceptions. Even though the amount of unsub picked up toward the end, this was definitely more of a team oriented episode. This episode is a good example why they should not have more than five profilers, because this enabled all the team members to make good contributions. It really felt balanced and equal, with everybody getting some good contributions, with no one team member dominating to the detriment of the others. Dr. Lewis had a good introduction and she certainly didn’t overtake the episode with her presence. The one big Morgan and Penelope scene didn’t make me want to take a Silkwood shower afterward, and there was some good profiling along with the computer work. Reid had some good contributions, both of a physical and mental nature. It was good to see the team talking the profile out, like the good old days. It wasn’t action oriented for the most part, though of course we do need a big takedown scene at the end. But bonus points for taking the unsub alive. The unsub was dastardly and manipulative, and we likely have not seen the last of him. It was an interesting setup for the story arc, and I can only hope subsequent episodes don’t diminish this.

  2. Angela says:

    Really good episode. Creepy case, the ending sets us up for some tense storylines this season, and I loved the way Reid, Morgan, and Rossi kept working together throughout the episode (there were a lot of awesome moments from Reid here :D). Liked Garcia being more involved, too. I think they actually did quite well with just the five of them, but I like Tara and I’m interested to see how she’ll fit in as the season these shows seem to go out of their way to drive wedges between their main couples at almost every chance they get and it can be pretty lame a lot of the time. goes on. Not sure about the “impersonating loved one” deal she did, though-it was creative for this case, but I’m assuming it was just for this case, ’cause I don’t know how well that tactic would work in other cases :p. Interesting method, though.
    Also, nice to see JJ pop up and get a glimpse of her baby-so cute and sweet. I do look forward to her return down the line, but good to see she and baby are doing well.
    Good start! Look forward to where the season goes!

    • Angela says:

      Uh, ignore that weird random bit about “driving wedges”, don’t know where that came from. I don’t even recall typing that-must’ve gotten mixed in from something else somehow.

  3. Beth says:

    Can’t stand Aisha Tyler

  4. C rupp says:

    How many cast changes have there been? C.M. Is becoming L&O. Excellent episode. Made sense which is difficult for scripted drama TV.

    • This is the show’s 11th season and for the most part the cast hasn’t changed. Mandy Patankin was replaced by Joe Montegna and they’ve gone through a few women to replace Paget Brewster, but everyone else has remained the same. As long as they don’t get rid of Shemar, I’m good :-)

  5. Renee says:

    Seems like the BAU haven’t found a good fit for their team. This use to be my favorite show. Criminal Minds had palpable chemistry with Paget Brewster. I still binge watch older episodes on Netfix while on my lunch break at work. Co-workers notice & tell me they watch this show on Netfix too. They don’t watch any of the new episodes. Bring back the energy!!! -Hotch, Dave, Derek, Spence, JJ, Emily & Penelope. BTW- Haley is still missed too. When the BAU family is back together, the fans will be back too!

    • Alex says:

      I agree that they need to have the energy back and I read somewhere that Emily is coming back for a while. Also I think it will dive in to the teams relationships as I think the producers noticed that the loss of team connection was what was making views drop. So don’t tune out yet okay?

    • Chris says:

      Paget Brewster chose to leave the show. The ratings have been fine without her.

      • sanchopanza says:

        This is a Ziva situation. There’s a lot of folks who just won’t let go.

        • TexasBlonde says:

          It is a “Ziva” situation purely because the new actor brought in just does not have the strength of character that Ziva and Emilie had in their respective roles. So far the replacement for Ziva and all the replacements for Emilie have been milquetoast and unremarkable. When the right actor is brought in, the group will click just like it did when Rossie replaced Gideon.

      • TexasBlonde says:

        The show will survive with or without a single actor or actress leaving. I still miss Paget’s character and Jennifer Love Hewitt was just not a good character. Love Hewitt will not be missed. Now I did miss JJ in this opening episode and am very happy to know she will be back.

        Aisha was good in her role last night. We will see if she sinks or swims.

        Each actor brings a unique talent to the show. Elle was not missed but they just have not been able to replace Emilie with an actor that filled what she brought to the show.

        I do not have the prejudice others have for Aisha as I never watched 24. We will wait and see if she has the strength of character to stay on as a permanent member of the cast.

    • Betty Lou says:

      I agree with you, I thought Emily was fantastic….really blended well with the rest of the cast….my favorite show….

    • Betty Lou says:

      Renee, I have to agree with you, that cast really made it work. Wish they would bring her back and hope they don’t touch the rest!

    • Teresa wandersee says:

      Tushe

  6. Sarah_ says:

    It was a good episode and the creepy finale keep me super excited for more :)

  7. liame says:

    A great episode and I love, love Aisha Tyler, she’s briliant at everything she does. She’s a keeper. The short wig on the other hand can go, I don’t see the purpose for that. I usually don’t watch CM, but when I read that Aisha was going to be recurring, I decided I’m going to watch every episodes she’s in.

  8. herman1959 says:

    I thought the episode was above average and I liked Aisha Tyler and her short hair, it fits the character.

    • Renee says:

      The short hair is horrible! And so is the no makeup look. She’s a mediocre actress. Her looks gave her an advantage. Not with this style though!

  9. Hege says:

    The episode was ok. Aisha Tylor, not sure about her. Not a fan but her character seems to be ok.

  10. Jenny says:

    Not a fan of Aisha Tyler. Bring back ‘Blake’.

  11. monieet says:

    Not a fan of the new addition. Come on, I like Alisha, but not for this role. Bring back Prentiss or “I will end you”.

  12. julie says:

    would have been nice to see a few other candidates given a chance. could tell from the get-go that he would pick her.

  13. JillinoisRN says:

    I was pleasantly surprised ! I see Aisha on ‘The Talk’ now and then, and see her as being more on the comedic end of things, but she did a great job ! I think her transition to the team has been one of the more seamless ones so far :)

  14. Ralph says:

    I love Aisha Tyler but that lesbian look has got to go! Go back to longer hair and put on some makeup! My God! It’s like having an original Picasso and displaying it in a Popsicle stick frame! She looks so much better on the Talk!

  15. RS says:

    Did anyone else think the beginning felt like a pilot? It felt so stilted and unnecessary the way they were explaining their jobs to local law enforcement, like we haven’t seen them do this for 200+ episodes, especially on top of being all action without any real character-specific personal interaction.

  16. Jennifer says:

    OK episode…. Not really feeling Aisha Tyler!

  17. Kalli says:

    I thought the whole interviewing killers in jail etc was part of their job – there was an entire episode dedicated to interviewing one man before he went to the chair, and another assessing whether a woman was fit to stand trial. Why wouldn’t her experience be relevant? I agree with the person who said it felt like a pilot – I was thinking reboot, but there was very much a sense of re-establishing everyone’s role.

  18. Teresa wandersee says:

    I don’t think they need to add another person. When they had Kate’s role it just seemed like it was awkward sometimes to get her character in there. So just leave the main characters for the team since they already have great chemistry! Without adding someone else!

  19. Nikki says:

    Come where are all the original oldies but goodies get rid of this one Aisha Tylerhe don’t fit here leave her on her talk show she’s too out there to public she doesn’t fit on this kind of show !!!!!!!!

  20. Nikki says:

    Come on, where are all the original oldies but goodies get rid of this one Aisha Tyler she don’t fit here leave her on her talk show she’s too out there to public she doesn’t fit on this kind of show !!!!!!!!

  21. Mary Spratt says:

    I miss A.J. Cook on Criminal Minds.
    The show lacks depth without her!
    Not sure I’ll continue to watch.

  22. corinabreyes says:

    Like the episode. Not too thrilled with Aisha Tyler just wish we could get Emily back wasn’t too thrilled with Blake but got used to her, then they brought jennifer Love Hewitt I like her there’s just too much turnover either bring Emily or jennifer Love Hewitt back I’ve been watching this show since it started love it glad JJ is coming back

  23. Kelley says:

    Aisha is not good on this show. I miss the other girls. Sucks when they change characters like that