Criminal Minds: What we suspected about Jennifer Love Hewitt’s exit from the drama


Jennifer Love Hewitt made headlines when she joined Criminal Minds for the tenth season of the CBS drama. The actress had been a familiar face on television since her breakout role as Sarah on Fox’s Party of Five in the 1990s, and she was becoming a part of one of television’s most popular series. Unfortunately, the deal didn’t last long.

Criminal Minds fans were shocked when Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character, Kate Callahan, was eliminated in the season 10 finale. Was her departure just one more example of the show’s increasing amount of cast turnover? Or was it that the actress decided that the show wasn’t exactly what she was looking for after all?

Special Agent Kate Callahan was introduced to the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) in the season 10 premiere of Criminal Minds. She was Alex Blake’s replacement after Blake’s resignation in the season 9 finale, but Kate would resign only one season later. The Season 10 finale, “The Hunt”, focused on Ella’s character and involved Ella’s niece Meg Ella being kidnapped by human traffickers. Although the BAU was able to retrieve Meg unharmed, Kate and her husband Chris also discovered that she was pregnant, so she left her post to spend time with her family.

Due to her relatively short stint on the show, little was explored about Kate’s backstory. She had previously worked for recurring character Andi Swann on the Domestic Trafficking Task Force before transferring to the BAU and had significant undercover experience. Both her sister and her brother-in-law died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks when Meg was just a child, leaving Kate and Chris to raise her as her adopted daughter. With Season 10 considered one of the show’s weakest, the character didn’t have much of an impact aside from the impact of her leaving so soon.

Fans were shocked when Jennifer Love Hewitt left Criminal Minds just as they had gotten used to her character, and they weren’t the only ones. In an interview after the actress’s final episode aired, showrunner Erica Messer (who is in talks to return for the upcoming revival) mentioned that the season 10 finale had already been planned when the decision was made, and the writers had to change the episode to accommodate his departure.

“What was not at stake was ruling her out, not at all,” Messer said. But Kate’s ending reflected why the character had to go.

Jennifer Love Hewitt decided to leave the series after she found out that she was expecting her second child. Messer further explained that since the actress “was taking time off to be a full-time mom. Because she is due to give birth in July [2016], when we would start filming season 11, time-wise, there was no way she was going to do both.” She also wasn’t one of the cast members announced when Paramount+ ordered the revival of Criminal Minds, as the actress is now a series regular on Fox’s 9-1-1 procedural, so it’s pretty clear viewers have already seen the latest from Kate Callahan.