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Yesterday, June 23, it was announced that the formerly unstoppable CBS crime drama Criminal Minds had filled in yet another casting vacancy, one which they promise to make the show “better than ever”, yet again. Even though the show was magnificent in its former glory and had something of a major comeback in its most recent season (10), it is becoming increasingly clear that the series is doomed to be destroyed by CBS altogether, due to years on end of poor decision-making and blatant mistreatment of female stars.
Aisha Tyler has been chosen to fill the highly coveted, some of are beginning to think cursed spot which SSA Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) left vacant for the second and final time at the end of the seventh season. Upon the 46-year-old’s official departure, which rocked the worlds of Criminal Minds fans everywhere and lead to not only petitions but also a firestorm of tweets and letters begging CBS to reinstate her, she was replaced by Basic Instinct star Jeanne Tripplehorn. This most certainly did not go over well; it was not simply just that BAU fanatics desperately wanted Brewster back (although that did not help matters), but the casting choice was not approved of mostly due to the fact that the former actress just did not fit in with the rest of the cast nor the show’s premise and plotline. All of her scenes were awkwardly acted out, her on-screen relationship with the rest of the FBI members was civil and pleasant at best, and the entire thing just seemed very forced. Tripplehorn lasted two seasons before leaving to pursue other projects, and to say the least no one was overly sad to see her go.
Fast-foward to season 10, when Ghost Whisperer actress Jennifer Love Hewitt arrives on the scene. While most were heavily skeptical of this choice at first, stating that it would drive the show downhill even more, the expectant mother ended up pulling Criminal Minds out of the gutter and brought a dynamic as well as powerful presence that nobody saw coming. Some stubborn fans who could not let go of the idea that Brewster was never returning subjected Hewitt to abuse and ridicule, saying she would never be good enough, but for the most part she grew on fans and everyone became attached to the idea of her being part of the team. However, at the end of the aforementioned season, the actress announced she would not be back for season 11. This news threw Criminal Minds watches for a loop, as it was yet another cast change of the same female role that kept being deserted by those who wanted something else; Hewitt’s reason, at least, did not (supposedly) lie with being unhappy with the network’s management, but rather the need to take some time off in order to prepare for her next time. Upon her revelation that she would not be joining the others for another reason, Criminal Minds‘s fate of being doomed to be destroyed by CBS was seemingly sealed.
AJ Cook, who plays SSA Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, will not be returning for at least the first few episodes. She is also on maternity leave, but there has been much speculation regarding whether she will actually return. Cook is another female star of the show that exited a few seasons back but then returned; although it has never been confirmed by CBS honchos, it is a widely known suspicion that those running things have far less regard for the women cast than for the men. Indeed, the reasons why Brewster and Cook were said to have left the first time is reportedly related to low payment and mistreatment by network executives.
Tyler, who is widely known for her roles in such series as Archer and The Talk, may very well have the acting means to pull off this role. However, Criminal Minds fans are getting tired of having to adjust to a new star nearly every other season. This has been going on for half the series, and it has become overly apparent that Criminal Minds is doomed to be destroyed by CBS in the end. While other main cast member such as Thomas Gibson (Aaron Hotchner), Joe Mantegna (David Rossi) and Shemar Moore (Derek Morgan) keep the show afloat due to their stellar acting performances and continued dedicated to the series’ success, their efforts surely cannot last for too much longer.
Opinion Written and Edited by Chanel van der Woodsen
Entertainment Weekly – Criminal Minds: Aisha Tyler joins season 11 in recurring role
Photo Courtesy of Doug Miller’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License