When Criminal Minds came to a close in Season 11, the conversations fans were having revolved around that crazy cliffhanger and all of the unsubs released back into the world. Now, everything is centered on the seemingly abrupt ousting of actor (and episode director) Thomas Gibson, and how that incident played out. Thankfully, the show's creative team is hard at work figuring out a way to fill such a massive void, and they're apparently doing so by introducing two new characters to balance the #HotchBotch.
This is coming through the grapevine and isn't a direct memo from the BAU, so things might change, but the plan is to cast two actors/actresses for series regular roles, so we'd be seeing quite a bit of them. In fact, TVLine reports one of those new characters is being considered as a replacement for Aaron Hotchner as the unit chief. No promoting from within, apparently, so it's possible this character will also be in the 45-55 age range. Hard to gauge anything about the other one, sadly.
Landing another actor to replace Thomas Gibson was an imminent move for the production team, but it's a surprise to hear they could double down on that decision. After all, longtime fans will already be dealing with the adjustment of Adam Rodriguez's Agent Alvez as a replacement for Derek Morgan, since actor Shemar Moore exited the drama last season. Not that it's hard to get used to new TV characters, but we're also getting Aisha Tyler back, and Paget Brewster is also returning for a temporary (but hopefully more permanent) stint in Season 12. These two potential newbs better be interesting immediately if they want to stand out.
This will be good news for two actors out there in Hollywood, but there has been no optimism-inducing announcements for Thomas Gibson. The actor was fired after getting into an on-set altercation with an episode writer that resulted in Gibson kicking the writer. This opened up a hornet's nest of rumors concerning Gibson's angry behavior on the show in the past, which landed him in anger management some years back. The actor has said he wants to bring some kind of a lawsuit against those responsible for his termination, but that likely won't go well for him.
Now, the biggest question in our minds is how Agent Hotchner is going to be written out of the show. When Gibson was only suspended prior to his firing, it was revealed the show would write him away on an assignment, but if the character is gone for good, we might get a more interesting fictional explanation out of showrunner Erica Messer.
Possibly with a couple of new faces around, Criminal Minds will return to CBS for Season 12 on Wednesday, September 28, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see when everything else is coming to the small screen later this year, check out our fall premiere schedule.