Earlier this year, Shemar Moore left the show after 11 seasons, and on Aug. 12 Thomas Gibson was fired after an alleged physical altercation with one of the show’s writers – but departures aren’t all that’s in story for the show.
Actress Paget Brewster – who starred as Special Agent Emily Prentiss on the CBS drama during the first six seasons and recently returned as a guest star – will officially be a series regular for season 12.
Rodriguez will star as new BAU recruit Luke Alvez and Tyler – who will pull double duty on CBS as she continues to co-host The Talk – will return as Dr. Tara Lewis, a character that was introduced last season.
When the show returns at the end of September, Hotch (Gibson) has just been arrested for charges of conspiracy, and Dr. Lewis aids the BAU as they investigate a murderous group of 13 serial killers that is on the loose, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Gibson is expected to appear in the first few episodes of the season, but ABC Studios (who produces the CBS procedural) says the actor will be written out of the episode he was directing and in which he starred when the altercation occurred.
“Creative details for how the character’s exit will be addressed in the show will be announced at a later date,” the studio said in a statement to PEOPLE when they announced Gibson had been let go from the show.
Gibson told PEOPLE after the announcement: “I love Criminal Minds and have put my heart and soul into it for the last 12 years. I had hoped to see it through to the end, but that won’t be possible now. I would just like to say thank you to the writers, producers, actors, our amazing crew, and most importantly, the best fans that a show could ever hope to have.”
Season 12 of Criminal Minds is slated to premiere Sept. 28 on CBS.