There is a big shift on the way beginning with Wednesday's episode of “Criminal Minds,” but spoilers tease that it may be one that fans can get behind fairly easily. Thomas Gibson is no longer with the show in the role of Aaron Hotchner, so a new team member is about to be added to the mix of things. However, the new team member is someone very familiar to viewers and previews show that this shift begins with the October 12 show.

Hotch is out, Prentiss is back in

Actor Thomas Gibson had been with “Criminal Minds” since the beginning of the series, but a physical altercation with a writer as the filming of this season began led to his dismissal. Actress Paget Brewster is now returning in the role of Emily Prentiss and what initially was slated to be a six-episode run is now a long-term reprisal of the character.

As Entertainment Tonight notes, Prentiss had left the Behavioral Analysis Unit to take a gig at Interpol several years ago, but after being away for a while she's back and she quickly catches up and reconnects with her former team members. TV Guide notes that Brewer's return was made possible when her Fox show “Grandfathered” was canceled after one season.

Paget Brewster was already headed back for a short arc

Paget had been contacted by “Criminal Minds” to see if she was interested in coming back for a short arc with the possibility of more episodes later in the season. After Gibson's dismissal, the show decided pursued the idea of making her a series regular again and it sounds as if she'll have a more prominent role now than in her earlier runs as Prentiss.

As for Hotch, he didn't get much of a send-off. He was dispatched to a temporary duty assignment, but viewers should not expect to see him return. Prentiss will return in this episode titled “Taboo” and the BAU team will be tackling a case that involves three missing women. Everybody will see Emily jump back into the action with the teammates she already knows, but there are also a couple of new faces since she was last in the mix of things and “Criminal Minds” spoilers tease that there are some interesting moments ahead as she meets these other BAU team members.

Will fans manage to easily adjust to the absence of Thomas Gibson's character of Hotch? There have been other departures throughout the show's 12-season run, including a big shocker when Shemar Moore left last season. However, this one is a big change that will surely change the dynamics in significant ways. That said, the BAU team is jam-packed with fan-favorites now and “Criminal Minds” spoilers tease that there are big things ahead this season that are worth sticking around to see.

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