'Criminal Minds' season 11 is set to return on CBS on 30 September. But the Behavioural Analysis Unit or the BAU will be short of two major team members as the season kicks in.
Going by the official Twitter account and what series executive producer Erica Messer said, we can say that the shooting will soon begin for season 11.
"Our season in the writers' room has already started on 1 June, so that's our work for the beginning of season 11," Messer said.
Fans will witness a lot of changes in "Criminal Minds" season 11 due to the absence of two of its lead characters. By the end of season 10, we knew that both Jennifer Love Hewitt as Kate and AJ Cook as JJ are pregnant and fans would not get to see much of the two actresses.
While JJ will be missing for the first five episodes, Agent Kate Callahan will be gone for the whole of season 11. And it's still not clear if she will return for season 12. While confirming this news, the executive producer said that JJ's return would depend on when she gives birth.
"If she has the baby at 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," Messer said.
As for Kate, Messer has denied a replacement or killing off her character. She said they would plan something creative for this season, so that there's still room for her return in season 12. "We like people to come back and play whenever they can, so we don't kill them off," Messer explained.
Though the producer denied the replacement angle, she hinted at the possibility of bringing back familiar faces from previous seasons, introducing fun guest stars and new twists in the upcoming season.
Messer clearly did not drop any names, but stakes are high on Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) and Jordan Todd (Meta Golding). Fans are guessing that two of their most favourite characters may come back in season 11.
These speculations became stronger when actor Joe Mantegna, who plays Senior SSA David Rossi also hinted at Emily's possible return. "Well, there's been talk of – there's a chance Paget may make an appearance now and again," the 67-year-old said.
"Criminal Minds" season 11 starts on 30 September.