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The Criminal Minds Character That Fans Petitioned Off The Show

"Criminal Minds" was one of the most successful shows on television during its 15 seasons on the air. The crime drama produced an astounding 324 episodes in that period of time, which is a huge accomplishment for any series. For a while there, it even seemed like the saga had finally closed the book, but fans of the CBS ratings smasher can rest assured knowing that a highly anticipated revival will be available to stream on Paramount+ in the near future. That means the Behavioral Analysis Unit still have yet more cases to crack in the future, and it also means getting to spend time with all those easy to love — and easy to loathe — characters.

While the show's compelling murder mysteries are a big part of the appeal (even if some episodes are too twisted for even the most devoted fans to rewatch), it was always the characters themselves, and their relationships with one another, that gave "Criminal Minds" its heart, and kept viewers coming back, season after season. Some of the protagonists, such as the quirky Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), are beloved fan favorites who will never get old. Others, meanwhile, have made an impact for the wrong reasons — even those played by famous actors, who may have a host of beloved credits to their name when they've appeared outside of the "Criminal Minds" universe. 

Looking back, it appears that there was one specific character who really angered the fans, to the point where they even petitioned to have them written off the series.

Why did Criminal Minds devotees hate Jennifer Love Hewitt?

From Wil Wheaton to Luke Perry, "Criminal Minds" was known for featuring the occasional big name stars throughout the years, most of whom have been well received by the show's die-hard audience. That said, Jennifer Love Hewitt rubbed fans the wrong way, despite joining "Criminal Minds" on the back of successful programs like "The Ghost Whisperer" and movies such as "I Know What You Did Last Summer." 

Hewitt's character, Kate Callahan, first appeared in the Season 10 premiere episode, "X." Presented as a stable, motherly figure with a happy home life, albeit with a tragic past — namely, a sister and brother-in-law who were killed in the Pentagon attack on 9/11 — she is also given relatable traits such as enjoying cute animal photos and a love of karaoke. Considering that Hewitt herself is a popular actress who often earns fan adoration, the producers probably though that Kate was going to be an instant hit with viewers. 

It didn't go that way — but to be fair, the odds were firmly stacked against the success of Hewitt (and therefore, Kate Callahan) from the get-go. When the actress joined the series, she had to fill the void left behind by Jeanne Tripplehorn, who had played Alex Blake. Critics of the newcomer believed that developing a new character distracted from the more important elements of the series. 

Now, Kate's warmth and familial ties certainly earned her some die-hard fans, as Reddit demonstrates. However, those who didn't agree with her inclusion went to some drastic measures to try to have her removed.

The petition to kick Kate Callahan out of Criminal Minds

The dissatisfaction with Jennifer Love Hewitt's character, believe it or not, even caused one fan to launch a Change.org petition — titled, rather straightforwardly, "Write Jennifer Love Hewitt's character off Criminal Minds" — claiming that she took away screen time and distracted from the other BAU agents and their cases. Others explained that they just didn't like the character and found Hewitt's performance (and the writing for her character) to be hokey. The petition only acquired 42 signatures, but it highlighted some of the issues viewers had with the new cast member.

In the end, Hewitt did depart from the popular series ... but not for the reasons one might expect, and not because of the petition.

When Hewitt did eventually give her critics their wish, leaving "Criminal Minds" at the end of the 2014-15 season, it was because she became pregnant with her second child, and the due date — and her desire to fully invest her time in the new arrival — conflicted with the time period where Season 11 was set to start shooting. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Criminal Minds' showrunner Erica Messer explained, "Jennifer wanted to be able to give this second baby everything she gave her first, and that's taking time off to be a full-time mom [...] We wrote to that, and that's how season 10 ends."