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Season Eleven ran for twenty-two episodes, and was released on DVD on August 30th, 2016.
Season Eleven averaged on live viewing 9.015 million viewers and 1.80 ratings points in the A18-49 demo, and averaged with 7 days worth of recorded viewing added 12.763 million viewers and 3.00 ratings points in the A18-49 demo on CBS.
- Joe Mantegna - David Rossi
- Thomas Gibson - Aaron Hotchner
- Shemar Moore - Derek Morgan (18 episodes)
- Matthew Gray Gubler - Doctor Spencer Reid
- A.J. Cook - Jennifer Jareau
- Kirsten Vangsness - Penelope Garcia
|Image||Title||Airdate||Writer||Director||Season Episode||Series Episode|
|"The Job"||September 30, 2015||Breen Frazier||Glenn Kershaw||1||234|
|The BAU searches for a serial killer who leaves distinctive marks on the victims' faces. Their investigation is aided by a potential new team member, forensic psychologist Doctor Tara Lewis.|
|"The Witness"||October 7, 2015||Sharon Lee Watson||John Terlesky||2||235|
|When a Los Angeles bus is attacked with sarin gas, the BAU must act quickly to find and apprehend the suspect before a larger-scale incident occurs.|
|"'Til Death Do Us Part"||October 14, 2015||Karen Maser||Joe Mantegna||3||236|
|When brides-to-be in Savannah, Georgia are found dead on the eve of their nuptials, the BAU suspects the murders to be the work of a jilted unsub.|
|"Outlaw"||October 21, 2015||Virgil Williams||Larry Teng||4||237|
|When three employees are killed during a restaurant robbery in Las Vegas, New Mexico, the BAU examines a cold case that occurred six years ago for leads.|
|"The Night Watch"||October 28, 2015||Bruce Zimmerman||Thomas Gibson||5||238|
|When the BAU investigates incidents of bodies being incorporated into macabre graffiti art in Detroit, they suspect an elusive yet notorious street artist could be the killer. Also, Lewis struggles to balance her relationship with her fiancé and her work.|
|"Pariahville"||November 4, 2015||Erik Stiller||Félix Enríquez Alcalá||6||239|
|When a woman is murdered in a small Florida town inhabited entirely by sex offenders, the BAU faces a community full of suspects. Also, Lewis receives a career opportunity that may take her away from the team.|
|"Target Rich"||November 11, 2015||Jim Clemente||Glenn Kershaw||7||240|
The BAU helps Rossi's daughter Joy look into the disappearance of a Virginia college student. Also, the team is alarmed when Giuseppe Montolo dies in prison after warning Morgan about the Dirty Dozen hitman ring, JJ returns from maternity leave, and Reid becomes concerned for the well-being of his mother.
|"Awake"||November 18, 2015||Kimberly Ann Harrison||Christoph Schrewe||8||241|
|The BAU hunts an unsub in Phoenix who is abducting victims and depriving them of their sleep. Also, Hotch and Garcia deal with the threat from an underground hitman group called the Dirty Dozen.|
|"Internal Affairs"||December 2, 2015||Sharon Lee Watson||Diana Valentine||9||242|
|After an undercover DEA agent is murdered and two others go missing, the BAU joins the NSA to investigate an underground Internet drug syndicate that is possibly involved in the crimes. Meanwhile, Hotch uses the investigation as an opportunity to bring the team closer to finding the Dirty Dozen hitmen ring.|
|"Future Perfect"||December 9, 2015||Bruce Zimmerman||Laura Belsey||10||243|
|When two victims in Florida are found dead from bizarre medical experiments, the BAU find themselves searching for a killer who appears to have an alarming obsession with the practices.|
|"Entropy"||January 13, 2016||Breen Frazier||Heather Cappiello||11||244|
|In its investigation and manhunt of the Dirty Dozen hitmen ring, the BAU implements an elaborate strategy to try and take it down, in which Reid plays a central role.|
|"Drive"||January 20, 2016||Karen Maser||Tawnia McKiernan||12||245|
|When bodies are discovered in public places throughout Boston, the BAU investigates a possible connection between the killer and a taxi or ride-share service the victims used before their deaths.|
|"The Bond"||January 27, 2016||Kimberly Ann Harrison||Hanelle Culpepper||13||246|
|The BAU searches for a motive and an unsub when victims are found in truck stop restrooms along highways throughout the South.|
|"Hostage"||February 10, 2016||Virgil Williams||Bethany Rooney||14||247|
|When an eighteen-year-old girl escapes from a suburban home where she was held captive for years with two other women, the BAU searches for the unsub who abducted them.|
|"A Badge and a Gun"||February 24, 2016||Jim Clemente||Rob Bailey||15||248|
|The BAU launches an intense manhunt in Los Angeles for a spree killer after the team discovers security footage that shows the unsub being invited into the homes of potential victims.|
|"Derek"||March 2, 2016||Breen Frazier||Thomas Gibson||16||249|
|When Morgan is abducted, the BAU scrambles to find him and save his life.|
|"The Sandman"||March 16, 2016||Bruce Zimmerman||Joe Mantegna||17||250|
|The BAU travels to Wichita, Kansas, in search of an unsub who terrorizes parents by abducting their children while the entire family is asleep. Meanwhile, Morgan tries to find who was responsible for his attack.|
|"A Beautiful Disaster"||March 23, 2016||Erica Messer and Kirsten Vangsness||Matthew Gray Gubler||18||251|
|When an unsub targets the BAU, the team goes into action to find out who is responsible.|
|"Tribute"||March 30, 2016||Virgil Williams||Tawnia McKiernan||19||252|
|Former team member and current Interpol agent Emily Prentiss enlists the help of the BAU in tracking an international serial killer when she becomes convinced the unsub's next victim is on American soil. Meanwhile, the team deals with Morgan's departure.|
|"Inner Beauty"||April 13, 2016||Haben Merker||Alec Smight||20||253|
|The BAU searches for a serial killer who is intentionally disfiguring victims. Also, Rossi finds himself in an awkward reunion with his ex-wife, Hayden Montgomery, who kept his daughter, Joy, a secret from him for nearly 30 years.|
|"Devil's Backbone"||April 20, 2016||Sharon Lee Watson||Félix Enríquez Alcalá||21||254|
|When security guards at a Virginia prison discover a package containing evidence relating to the abduction of two boys several years ago, the BAU questions a notorious serial killer who may have information on the boys' whereabouts.|
|"The Storm"||May 4, 2016||Erica Messer and Breen Frazier||Glenn Kershaw||22||255|
|The BAU is shocked when Hotch is apprehended by a SWAT team and suspected of conspiracy. As the team scrambles to prove his innocence, they suspect a larger plot is on the horizon.|
A.J. Cook, who was pregnant by the end of Season Ten, was not present for the first few episodes of the season, as she gave birth to her second child Phoenix around the time filming started. Phoenix began portraying Michael LaMontagne, JJ's second son.
Actress and comedian Aisha Tyler joined Criminal Minds at the start of the season. She portrays a recurring character, Doctor Tara Lewis, a forensic psychologist with a passion for the criminal justice system. Her previous experience in the FBI has brought her face-to-face with monsters, as her job was to extensively interview psychopathic criminals to determine whether they were fit for trial. Her dream was always to study psychopaths up close and personal, to try to learn how they can be caught and if there is any conscience behind their brutal crimes. Needless to say, after being pressured by the shortened team as a result of the absences of Kate and, temporarily, JJ, Hotch selects Lewis to join the BAU in the premiere, in which they search for a serial killer who is out for revenge. Her function in the team will be to examine the psyche of unsubs once they are apprehended.
A story arc revolved around a darknet organization called Silk Road (based entirely on its real-life counterpart, which was recently shut down by the FBI) being brought down by the BAU and other FBI agencies. Afterwards, the team is forced to focus on capturing individual members who managed to get away. Meanwhile, a new organization begins to form in the original's place, later revealed to be a network of hitmen.
Joe Mantegna will direct two episodes for the season, including the show's 250th episode, and he has hinted the possibility of Rossi's third ex-wife making an appearance. Erica Messer also confirmed the possibility of Hayden Montgomery, Rossi's second ex-wife, making a present-day appearance in the season following her first appearance via flashbacks. It was also stated in an interview that Rossi's daughter Joy Struthers will reappear in several episodes this season, starting with the seventh episode. Mantegna, answering fans' questions, confirmed that Thomas Gibson will direct another two episodes, the fifth and the sixteenth.
In the season finale episode The Storm, Hotch was framed by a group of anarchists as part of their plan to break numerous people, including their leader, out of prisons across the U.S. and commit a terrorist attack against the country. Though the group's plans were ultimately thwarted, thirteen serial killers broken out by them remain at large, setting up the next season.