Everybody involved with the BAU is used to seeing some pretty unsettling business on a daily basis but the hit drama's most bothersome moment in the past few months came when star Thomas Gibson was fired following an on-set altercation. The previously discussed plan was to replace Gibson and his unit chief Aaron Hotchner with two different characters, and one of those replacements has just been cast, as Empire and Bates Motel's Damon Gupton has been added to the ensemble as a regular for Season 12.
We'll be waiting a short while to witness Damon Gupton's introduction into the Criminal Minds universe, as the character isn't scheduled to show up until the eighth episode of the season. Gupton will play Special Agent Stephen Walker, who worked counterintelligence within the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Program and is making the jump over to the BAU to utilize his widespread skill set. Gupton has played a cop often enough in his career that this shouldn't be too hard to grasp for him.
As I'm sure you could tell from that description, Damon Gupton won't be taking on the role of the new head of the BAU, and according to Deadline, the game has changed to make only one of those replacements a new character, while the promotion to chief will be earned by someone already working within the unit.That announcement will come at a currently undisclosed time. Fingers crossed there is a bottle episode in which some kind of Office Olympics are held in which everyone in line for the job has to compete. Penelope would totally try destroy the new dude.
Damon Gupton has been all over the small screen in recent years, first getting a big break as a detective in the short-lived NBC crime drama Prime Suspect before later landing gigs as a detective in Empire and a detective in The Player. (He's had other roles, too.) Most recently, he played Norman's doctor in Season 4 of Bates Motel, and can be seen in the feature La La Land, with an upcoming role in Billy Bob Thornton's Amazon drama Goliath.
Thomas Gibson appeared in the Season 12 premiere this week, having already filmed that episode before the altercation that got him sent out the door. It remains to be seen what will happen on the show for Hotch as far as any sort of closure goes, especially after seeing his name used in such a haunting way. It's a shame that this had to happen to such a stand-up character, but I doubt audiences will be disappointed once Damon Gupton shows up as Agent Stephen Walker. The guy is smooth as silk butter.