'He's Got Some Trust Issues': 'Criminal Minds: Evolution's' Ryan-James Hatanaka Addresses Tyler's Return To The BAU And Relationship Status With Garcia

 Close-up of Tyler's intense face on Criminal Minds: Evolution.
Close-up of Tyler's intense face on Criminal Minds: Evolution.

Spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t yet watched Criminal Minds: Evolution’s two-episode premiere with a Paramount+ subscription.

After a slightly longer-than-expected hiatus, the BAU’s top agents returned to the small screen for Criminal Minds: Evolution’s Season 2 premiere (technically Season 17 overall), and it unlocked some of the details behind the season-long Gold Star arc (as well as the franchise’s first smoke break). But for those more interested in romantic workplace entanglements than “social contagion” and serial killers, the two-episode debut rather quickly reminded viewers of the quasi-triangle between Garcia, Alvez, and Tyler Green.

This season, showrunner Erica Messer upped the ante for the characters by promoting co-star Ryan-James Hatanaka to series regular, with Tyler now becoming an official BAU sidekick (or consultant, more specifically). As seen above, CinemaBlend’s Laura Hurley spoke with Hatanaka and other Criminal Minds stars ahead of the latest season’s debut, and he told us we can expect to see Tyler coming into his own as he’s learning the ropes, while also addressing how his character feels about reuniting with Penelope Garcia. According to the actor:

Tyler Green learned some tough lessons and got burnt in many ways, and had some heartbreak along with it. So he comes into this season, he's brought in as a consultant with the BAU and it's a very unfamiliar environment for him in terms of needing to rely on people, having people rely on him. He's got some trust issues that he's working through, certainly, but he's also very, very happy to see Penelope Garcia again. So he's got a lot going on. It's a very intense environment, and he's brought in on this case, where the stakes are very, very high.

High stakes often create quick bridges to impulsive emotional reactions, so even if he wasn’t mentioning those specifically in relation to his potential future with Garcia, I doubt the two are wholly unrelated. He went on a stakeout with Tara and Rebecca in the second episode, “Contagion,” so it doesn’t seem impossible that he could eventually end up in a similar scenario with just Kirsten Vangsness’ analyst, or even with Alvez also on board to provide weaponized support. [Rubs hands together deviously.)

From asking Alvez about Tyler’s birthday-message intentions to her reactions to Tyler being back in the office and interrupting J.J., Garcia obviously isn’t completely over what they shared in Season 1. I mean, she even brought up their sexual history in front of Adam Rodriguez’s character, whose reaction fell somewhere between playfully jealous and playfully grossed out. He’s clearly protective of her, but to what end?

Aisha Tyler x CinemaBlend

Aisha Tyler as Dr. Tara Lewis in Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 1
Aisha Tyler as Dr. Tara Lewis in Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 1

Aisha Tyler Weighs In On The Big Changes With Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 On Paramount+ Instead Of CBS

Messser said the creative team feels more comfortable leaning into workplace romances now in the Evolution era, so anything might be on the table for these characters. In that respect, the love triangle sitch is already pairing interestingly with Tara and Rebecca’s post-relationship tension, which Tyler witnessed first-person during the aforementioned stakeout.

on Criminal Minds: Evolution
on Criminal Minds: Evolution

Ryan-James Hatanaka On Tyler Green's Personal Growth In Season 2

Obviously Tyler Green joining the BAU involves a lot more than just a “will they? / won’t they?” romance, considering he’s had a direct history with Voit via his sister’s disappearance and murder. Here’s how Hatanaka described where Tyler’s head is at when he’s brought in, and where things are going in upcoming episodes.

He's only staying there because he's bringing his skill set to the whole team. So I think in terms of finding a place to fit in, I think in terms of he's watching all these people be amazing at their jobs, and he's really developing tremendous respect for them as individuals and how they handle the different aspects of their life and how they've come back from their mistakes, I think that the stakes for Tyler Green couldn't be higher. So we'll see him over the season learn some other lessons and learn things about himself. And we'll see where that goes.

For all that Tyler’s respect and admiration for the BAU will grow over time, it’s clearly not fully in place just yet, or else he likely wouldn’t have secretly broken into that building to get the information about the mysterious Sebastian Gasper, and then kept that information to himself instead of sharing it with Tara and/or Rebecca. The stakes are definitely high for the dude if he’s going to keep pulling moves like that.

Will Tyler reverse course and become more of an honest and trustworthy consultant, or will he continue to carve out his own path to the truth, even if it puts his relationship with Garcia and others at risk? There’s only one way to find out.

Criminal Minds: Evolution drops new episodes on Paramount+ every Thursday. While waiting to hear Prentiss and Rossi’s next F-bombs, as well as the arrival of Felicity Huffman's new character, head to our 2024 TV premiere schedule to see what other summer treats are coming soon.