|“||For twelve years, I've studied these men after they were caught. Now I want to catch them.||”|
— Tara in "The Job"
Dr. Tara Elizabeth Lewis is an FBI forensic psychologist and Supervisory Special Agent who first appears in Season Eleven of Criminal Minds as a recurring character. She joined the BAU following the departure of Kate Callahan at the end of Season Ten. She reappeared in Season Twelve as a main character.
As a child, Lewis had to travel around the world because of her father Albert's service in the U.S. Army. She also had a mother who died of breast cancer and a brother named Gabriel. As a child, she and her family moved to Germany. There, she was harassed by a bully named Martin Gumbel, who made fun of her name and drew a swastika on her locker. When Gabriel reported it to the school administration, Gumbel and his friends sought revenge by beating him up. As a result of the incident, Lewis admired her brother for always standing up for her while he started calling her "T".
As an adult, she had high intelligence alongside Gabriel, though Gabriel forsaked it to get rich while she went to Dartmouth College. Lewis eventually had to help Gabriel through the aftermath of one of his scams and tried to get him to change his ways, but her efforts were unsuccessful, leading to an estrangement between them. During her collegiate years, she was briefly married to Daryl Wright when she was a professor and a graduate student. He began taking pills, thus causing a change in behavior for the worst and their ultimate separation. Later, She joined the FBI as a forensic psychologist, who extensively interviews several psychopathic criminals to determine whether they were fit for trial or not. Through her job, she has seen many depraved minds up close and personal. Before joining the BAU, she came from the San Francisco FBI field office. More recently, she was engaged to a man named Doug Fuller, which caused her some personal distress after other women began flirting with him. However, he dumped her when she proved incapable of handling their relationship and the wedding and went back to Seattle.
In "Pariahville", Tara receives a job opportunity that may take her away from the team, but by the episode's end, Tara gets to stay with the team and take the opportunity. During this episode, she fatally shoots an unsub who has a hostage.
In "Mirror Image", Gabriel is abducted by Peter Lewis, who brainwashes a man named Desmond Holt to take Gabriel's place. Upon realizing this, Lewis is able to profile where Gabriel is located and saves him, narrowly escaping Peter's trap in the process.
In "True North", while Reid is in prison on a false murder charge, Lewis is given an opportunity to visit him and act as his psychiatrist. Lewis gives Reid a cognitive interview, during which he reveals he stabbed the victim, Nadie Ramos to death. However, she later tells Emily Prentiss that she believes he manufactured the memory in a desperate attempt to find an answer to his circumstances. She resumes the interview the next day, and Reid seems to remember the murder a little more clearly, recalling someone spraying a fine mist in his face while he was in a hotel room with Ramos. This matched the M.O. of Peter Lewis, the BAU's prime suspect. However, when Lewis presses further, Reid remembers that the person who was in the hotel with him and Ramos was not Peter Lewis, but a woman.
In the season finale "Red Light", the team gets a new lead on Peter's current location. However, their SUVs were disabled by spike-strips and struck by a semi-truck.
In the adjacent episode, "Wheels Up," the SUV Lewis was in took most of the impact, and as a result, she nearly went into shock due to the internal bleeding. Despite this, she witnessed Scratch drugging Prentiss before abducting her.
In "Mixed Signals", on the plane ride home after finishing a case, Tara reveals to Luke Alvez that before she was engaged two years earlier, she was briefly married but divorced due to her ex-husband's drug addiction.
In "Ghost", she, along with Alvez and Simmons, is ambushed and blinded with a flashbang grenade by The Rolling Devils but is spared and left behind as she wasn't an intended target. However, she does witness the gang kidnap Alvez and Simmons.
- Her sidearm is a Glock 19. However, she was seen using a SIG Sauer P226R in one episode, which she used to shoot and kill an unsub.
- She interviewed Loren Herzog, one of the Speed Freak Killers. ("The Job")
- She interviewed Archie Sutton, a.k.a. "The Truck Stop Strangler", an infamous serial killer whose mother was coincidentally the elementary school classmate of Lewis's own mother. ("The Witness")
- Her father Albert owns an auto repair shop and taught her how to repair old cars. ("Drive")
- She is the same blood type as Savannah Hayes. ("A Beautiful Disaster")
- She speaks German ("Devil's Backbone") and French. ("The Storm")
- She was present in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and provided counseling to the parents of the shooter's victims. She also saw the victims' bodies, which severely traumatized her. ("False Flag")