Although she did not join the Criminal minds crew through season 11, Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler) quickly became a fan-favorite character and an indispensable member of the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Her quiet strength helped make this forensic psychologist integral to the unit’s success. With a new UnSub on the loose post-pandemic, the BAU will need Tara’s skills more than ever in the Paramount+ revival. Criminal Minds: Evolution. Picking up years after the Season 15 finale, Evolution It will pit Tara and BAU against an insidious network of villains and will require the team to come together like never before.
Before the premiere of two episodes of Criminal Minds: Evolution, Tyler spoke to CBR about returning to the BAU and the role of Tara. She dove into what it was like to reconnect with the tight-knit group, what changed on set, and the joys of developing her character. Tyler also revealed tips for getting out of the Criminal minds headspace after filming.
CBR: So what was it like coming back to Tara and reconnecting with everyone on set?
Aisha Tyler: It has been great. She’s been really great and honestly she’s gone really fast. She has been so… [laughs] It sounds so silly, but it’s just been a lovefest. I think we weren’t ready to end the show earlier, and we were excited when the prospect of being able to come back and continue to tell these stories and spend time with these characters came up. It’s been absolutely delicious, as delicious as a show about serial killers can be. [laughs]
I heard that there are some changes in the set: they moved some set pieces. Was it difficult to find your balance again or did you just go back to normal?
Somehow, it made it a new experience. He may feel a little jaded, “I’m the old hat around here.” Yes, everything has been rebuilt and repositioned. So we always go out the wrong doors and enter the wrong parts of the stage. [laughs] or just walk in and say, “Where am I? Where am I going?” For people who don’t know, these sound stages are huge. They’re like airplane hangars, so they have many, many sets inside. It can be a little disorienting, but luckily, we have an amazing team that takes great care of us. Now we’re at… I think we’re shooting Episode 9 right now, and yet, no one has figured out where anything is or where it’s going. So now, it’s like a running joke among the rest of us that we have no idea what’s going on.
It is good to hear. We as viewers learn a bit more about Tara in Evolutionespecially outside of your job. So what was it like to develop this character a bit more?
It has been great. I mean, one of the wonderful things about moving to broadcast is that we have more time to tell these stories, more time to lean into not only the stories about all the bad guys that we’re going after, but also how that work affects our heroes. . . You know, it’s a dark job. It is a dark job. It is exhausting work and it takes a special type of person to do this type of work. So in order to learn a little more about how they take that work home, how it affects their personal lives, [and] how it affects their inner life and their relationships with each other has been a true delight. I think it’s also connected to each other as actors and as characters. We are simply spending more emotional time with each other. It has been really wonderful.
It can be a very dark show. Do you have any secrets for getting out of that state of mind and trying to relax when you’re done filming for the day?
We joke around a lot on set. I mean, there’s definitely a dark humor that we inject into our workday. We know from talking to the profilers we consulted that they engage heavily in black humor in the real world. You have to bring some light into the dark, so we tell a lot of jokes. We tell a lot of jokes. We tell many stories. We show each other many videos of cats, kittens and puppies. [laughs] Dog videos are very important to me. I didn’t like dogs before COVID, and the way I got over COVID was by watching videos of dogs. Now I’m just the weirdo from dog videos all the time. I’m like, “Look at this dog wearing a hat! Look at these dogs hugging! Look at this dog playing Three-card Monte!” So there’s a lot of that on set, actually. [laughs]
That is wonderful. What can you tease about what’s in store for Tara and the rest of the season?
This is a great season of television and a really great season of television for our heroes. I think what you’re going to find is that they really have to come together and lean on each other in a way that they haven’t before to fight a very specific type of serial killer and a network of serial killers. It will take everything they have, professionally, intellectually, mentally, physically, and emotionally, to track down this guy. So what’s great about the season is that you’ll really see our team lean on each other, really come together, really be more of a family than ever before. It’s really special. There are great moments of light in this season. There is a great comedy. There is a lot of romance. [laughs] It’s a great season on television.
Catch the two-episode premiere of Criminal Minds: Evolution on November 24 on Paramount+.