Updated 02:12 AM EDT, Wed, Oct 20, 2021

'Criminal Minds' Season 11 Episode 1 Cast News & Spoilers: Will Jennifer Love Hewitt Reprise Role?

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Jennifer Love Hewitt won't be returning for the eleventh season of "Criminal Minds."

The show's Season 10 finale on Wednesday, May 6 saw Hewitt's exit, TV Line reported. The actress joined the CBS crime drama at the beginning of Season 10 as Kate Callahan. The character, like Hewitt, is expecting a child and decided to resign from her job to focus on her firstborn.

Showrunner Erica Messer confirmed Hewitt's departure from "Criminal Minds" on Entertainment Weekly, saying that Callahan's decision to take some time off to focus on her family directly mirrors the 36-year-old actress' own. Hewitt's second pregnancy/child is due in July.

"There was an opportunity there to write towards the truth," Messer said of art imitating life, Entertainment Weekly quoted. "Jennifer wanted to be able to give this second baby everything she gave her first, and that's taking time off to be a full-time mom."

She continued, "It's a bittersweet idea of, 'Life is full of choices and they define who you are.' She makes the decision to leave the team for a while. It's really lovely and real, not only because it was happening off-screen, but because I know those things happen in real life too."

As for a potential Season 12 return, Messer said that they left the door "open creatively" for Hewitt's return, Entertainment Weekly noted. She also revealed that they are planning to go with a "revolving door approach" when it comes to their guest stars, before settling in on a new series regular.

When asked whether fans should expect more cast members departing the show, Messer told the news outlet, "I would not be worried about it. I really wouldn't. We have such a strong group together for so many years. I think season 11 is going to be a continuation of that."

'Criminal Minds' Season 11 - How Will A.J. Cook's Pregnancy Play Out?

Aside from Hewitt, another "Criminal Minds" actress, A.J. Cook, is also pregnant. Cook's character on the show, Jennifer "JJ" Jareau, is also expecting a child in the show.

"It depends on when she actually has the baby," Messer told Zap2it of how Cook's pregnancy would affect Season 11. "Shooting starts the first or second week in July. So if she has the baby the end of July, we'll have to figure out how much time she'll want. My guess is it will probably be the first five episodes."

Though Cook's JJ will be absent in the beginning of Season 11, fans will still get to see the BAU team acknowledging the "comings and goings" of people, Messer said. For a group which has stayed together for a very long time, these rare working experience -- especially in their nature of police work in the FBI -- needs to be addressed.

"Criminal Minds" airs every Wednesday on CBS.

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