Thomas Gibson as Hotch
Thomas Gibson as HotchCBS / Criminal Minds

CBS' crime-drama series "Criminal Minds" Season 12 is all set to premiere on the network later this month and though fans are looking forward to the next instalment of their favourite series, they are also disappointed as one of the prominent characters on the show won't appear in next season.

The next season of "Criminal Minds" will see several changes in the cast as new members will be joining, while the old, recurring ones will be reprising their respective roles as series regulars.

Thomas Gibson, who portrayed the role of Aaron Hotchner on the show, has also been confirmed not to return for Season 12 after he allegedly assaulted one of the producers. This has left fans in shock as Hotch was one of the most popular characters on the show.

Shemar Moore left the show in Season 11. However, he has teased that he might be returning for Season 12 to portray the character of Derek Morgan. Hence, fans are hoping that Gibson might also return after a brief absence. However, nothing as such has been confirmed officially by the show-runners or the producers.

Several rumours have stated that firing of Gibson from the show is just a publicity stunt to indirectly promote and build audience for the series. A group of fans believe that after being absent from a few of the episodes, Gibson will be back as Hotch and will be a series regular.

While Adam Rodriguez will replace Moore and will play the new character of Luke Alvez, there is a significant possibility that Gibson will also be there and reprise his role of Hotch. Hence, there will be more number of members in BAU than any of the previous seasons.

Alvez will be assigned to assist BAU team for capturing the serial killers who escaped prison in the previous season. Fans are eagerly waiting to find out how Garcia and the rest of the team react to the newcomer's strategies and plans.