Even though “Criminal Minds” has had a great run so far, and expectations are high for its 11th season, there are some worries among the show’s fans that we might not see more episodes after that. Current speculations are focused on whether or not the show’s producers are planning to extend it for a new season, something that was prompted by the announcement that season 11 is only going to have 22 episodes.
Normally, the show has 24 episodes per season, but now apparently the new season has been ordered as a shorter one. We don’t know the reason behind this, but it definitely does raise some questions about the intentions of the producers. It’s possible that they’re just trying to shorten the format for their seasons in general, and that we’re still going to see more seasons in the future, just in this shorter format.
It’s also worth noting that the 24-episode format is not how the show has always been, as it started with 22-episode seasons originally. In addition, season 3 only had 20 episodes, but that was explained with the writers’ strike that took over Hollywood. Back then, many shows were affected in a similar fashion, some even more seriously. But it’s entirely possible that the producers simply want to revert to their original format and aren’t aiming at a cancellation.
Season 11 is expected to be the most dramatic and important one for the show so far, and many developments are going to occur in the plot, some of which might be a bit worrying for the show’s fans. However, it’s a natural part of the progression of this show’s story, as it’s practically built around tense moments and unusual twists and turns in its storyline.
The show is also going to have to deal with a smaller cast for this season, as AJ Cook and Jennifer Love-Hewitt are out of the picture, both of them taking maternity leaves. This could also explain the shorter nature of the new season, and it’s actually one of the most likely explanations, all things considered. For AJ Cook, the absence is only temporary, but Jennifer Love-Hewitt has apparently decided to depart from the show for good, as she wants to focus on her life as a mother.
On the other hand, AJ Cook will be back on the screen after the first five episodes, so her character Jennifer Jareau won’t be gone for long. Still, that’s one less character as a whole for the story, and the writers might be trying to condense the plot a little bit in order to make up for that.
Aisha Tyler will be joining the cast, although not as a permanent character – but at least she’ll get a recurring role. She has been signed on right after Hewitt’s departure, and it’s actually possible that she might get a more long-term contract in the future if fans like her performance. It’s hard to say how this will play out, but we’re certainly open at the prospect of seeing Tyler on the screen more regularly.
There have also been rumors that Emily Prentiss and Jordan Todd might be returning to the show as well, but that is just a speculation right now and we have no idea if the producers have such plans. There is actually a lot that’s under question for the next season, and we would certainly be curious to see how the show has changed.