'Criminal Minds' Season 11 Spoilers: Executive Producer Talks About Jennifer Love Hewitt's Exit From the Show
Season 10 of "Criminal Minds" went out with a bang last week as the BAU went on an intense chase to save Kate's niece, Meg, before Kate made a surprising exit from the show.
A large part of the season finale, which was titled "The Hunt," was dedicated to finding Meg, Kate's niece and adopted daughter, who was kidnapped along with her friend, Markayla. As a result, Jennifer Love Hewitt's character Kate Callahan spent several stressful and horrific hours desperately searching for the girls.
After the girls were safety rescued from a human trafficking ring, Kate handed in a resignation letter and explained to Hotch that she wants to take time off to spend with her unborn child. In response, Hotch told her, "You'll always have a place here," notes Entertainment Weekly.
At the end of the show, JJ revealed that she, too, is pregnant.
During an interview with TV Guide, executive producer Erica Messer opened up about the show's plan to replace Jennifer Love Hewitt's character and the plans for actress A.J. Cooks, who is also pregnant in real life. She also dropped spoilers about what fans can expect in Season 11.
Rather than introducing a new character to the show, Messer said the show is toying with the idea of bringing back familiar faces to guest star or continuing the "revolving door" of new agents. She is also open to the idea of bringing Hewitt back for a potential Season 12.
"We like people to come back and play whenever they can, so we don't kill them off," she said, adding that Hewitt's departure was "organic and surprising in a good way."
She went on to say that "None of us thought at the beginning of the season we'd end the year with two pregnant actresses! And right now, it's too soon to say what would happen in two years if we're lucky enough to have [a Season 12]. We would love to have her back," said the showrunner.
She added that the writers are considering having guest stars fill the role and keeping the position open. Cooks will be on maternity leave early on.
Hewitt first told Messer she was pregnant, and then Cooks told her after that. She was in disbelief, but she's happy with the choice made on the show. Hewitt's character asking for time off is reflective of how the real world works, and she thinks it's great they were able to add in such a real moment into the show.
Messer also teased what's to come in Season 11.
"I think it might also be a good idea to leave [the position] open so we don't have to spend time introducing a new character for fans, but really dive into these people we've known and loved for 10 years," she said. "I think there are also conversations to be had about people who have come and gone in the past 10 years and bringing people back. It's just the acknowledgment of this is what happens after 10 years of working somewhere and people do come and go. It's like what we did with Gideon -- in that case and writing to the reality of that. I think we'll be seeing more familiar faces next year."
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