Did Criminal Minds Season 12 choose a familiar face to take over the role left behind by Thomas Gibson?

Fans have yet to come to grips with the abrupt exit of Thomas Gibson. The actor played the role of SSA Aaron Hotchner for 12 years. Thus, audiences instinctively identify him to his character on the show. This level of association would likely pose a problem to Criminal Minds Season 12. Earlier speculation hinted at its possible delay following his earlier suspension.

However, with the finality of his departure, it now appears the show is ready to move on without Hotch. Recent reports revealed the latest casting decisions for the crime drama series. Sources posited one of the two additions could be his replacement. Previously, Adam Rodriguez joined the team as Shemar Moore’s replacement. Aisha Tyler earned her stripes as a series regular for the coming season. Paget Brewster is also back, albeit temporarily.

Yet it would seem her earlier status as a temporary cast member was also temporary. The actress who plays SSA Emily Prentiss was meant to return as part of the comeback arc of Criminal Minds Season 12, according to TV Line. However, the recent turn of events prompted producers to upgrade her status to series regular once again.

“We’re all so excited to have Paget with us full time. The BAU family has definitely missed her, on screen and off. Having her back on set has been great. It’s like she never left,” exec producer Erica Messer stated. Could Prentiss be a plausible replacement for Hotchner? Her first episode airs on October 12. Thus, would fans see her in a higher position than before?

Brewster’s earlier departure from the show left room for her to return. Hence, her occasional appearances in succeeding seasons. By contrast, the exit of Gibson’s character is definite. Moreover, it seems to offer little chance of his return anytime soon.

Will Criminal Minds Season 12 feature a familiar face to replace Thomas Gibson?