Warning: This story may contain Criminal Minds Season 12 spoilers.
Criminal Minds Season 12 has started airing on CBS and fans are still unsure how the series intends to address Thomas Gibson’s firing in the storyline. Some viewers even held out hope CBS would relent and bring Gibson back. But new spoilers indicate that this is very unlikely to happen.
On Friday, CBS announced that Damon Gupton, 43, has been cast as a series regular in Gibson’s place. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Gupton will play Special Agent Stephan Walker, a new recruit from the Behavioral Analysis Program, which is a counterintelligence division of the FBI. Gupton’s character will make his first appearance in the eighth episode of Season 12.
“Our BAU family is growing,” said Criminal Minds executive producer Erica Messer. “We’re excited to have Damon join the show and work alongside our amazing cast and crew.”
A graduate of the University of Michigan and Julliard, Gupton’s other TV credits include Empire, The Divide, and Bates Motel. He also appeared in the films Whiplash and La La Land.
As Inquisitr previously reported, Gibson was dismissed from Criminal Minds Season 12 in August following a physical altercation with staff writer Virgil Williams. However, in an interview with People, the actor insisted the incident was blown out of proportion.
“We were shooting a scene late one night when I went to Virgil and told him there was a line that I thought contradicted an earlier line,” Gibson explained. “He said, ‘Sorry, it’s necessary, and I absolutely have to have it.'”
He then detailed how the physical confrontation unfolded.
“[Williams] came into that room and started coming towards me. As he brushed past me, my foot came up and tapped him on the leg. If I hadn’t moved, he would have run into me. We had some choice words, for which I apologized the next day, and that was it. It was over. We shot the scene, I went home — and I never got to go back.”
Gibson filmed the first two episodes of Criminal Minds Season 12 before he was fired, which means his character, Aaron Hotchner, will make his final appearance on the show Wednesday, Oct. 5. It is still unclear how the series will explain his absence, but given the situation it wouldn’t be surprising for Hotchner to meet an offscreen demise.
Criminal Minds was already in a state of transition before Gibson’s departure. Shemar Moore ended his long run on the show last season, and Adam Rodriquez was brought in to take his place. Rodriguez made his debut as Agent Luke Alvez in the Season 12 premiere last week. Following Gibson’s exit, Aisha Tyler was promoted to series regular and Paget Brewster was signed to return full-time to the series.
Criminal Minds may be moving on without him, but Gibson admitted to People he is still hurt by his dismissal from the series.
“It seems like they’re trying to erase me from the show,” he said. “That hurts. But I’m using this time to be with my kids, and I look forward to what’s next. Maybe I’ll do a comedy, or a play, or direct, or produce.”
He also indicated he knows his reputation needs some repair.
“My pride and reputation are hurt, but in the end I know the good work is what people will remember. I just need more opportunities to do good work and be a good guy.”
What do you think of the cast changes for Criminal Minds Season 12? Will you still watch the show without Thomas Gibson? How do you think Hotchner will be written off the series?
Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBS.
[Featured Image by Slavin Vlasic/Getty Images]