Hotch’s departure from Criminal Minds is now official. It’s true that there was never much of a chance of Thomas Gibson coming back to the show, especially this season. Now, though, executive producer Harry Bring has released the new cast photo that will appear in the main title and Hotch is conspicuously absent. 

7 Characters We’ll Miss in 2017>>>Taking over Hotch’s spot, on the show as well as in the picture, is Paget Brewster as Prentiss. Prentiss is right in the center of the new cast photo, denoting her new position as team leader. Joining her on her right side is Matthew Gray Gubler as Dr. Spencer Reid. Gubler’s position was previously filled by Shemar Moore as Derek Morgan, so the cast photo really does give the impression that Reid and Prentiss are the new co-leads of the show. 

Actually the positioning of the cast has led more than few fans to worry on Twitter. Some fans are worried that new(er) cast members like Aisha Tyler and Adam Rodriquez are placed before veteran actors like A.J. Cook and Kirsten Vangsness in the line-up. According to Harry Bring, though, this is not a way of saying which characters are more important than others. 

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When asked about the placement, Bring explained the cast members are positioned the way they are because of balance. It has nothing to do with seniority or how long the actors have been on the show. 

So fans should rest (relatively) easy. Just because someone isn’t front and center in the cast photo doesn’t mean they are leaving next. If anything, considering the recent exits of Moore and Gibson, it should be worrying if someone is front and center on the image. Assuming we all exist in a reality where creative decisions are based on the position of a single cast photo. 

But what do you think? Does the new cast photo look good? How do you think Criminal Minds is adapting to Gibson’s absence? Are you surprised or worried by the actors’ placements? 

Criminal Minds season 12 airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of CBS and Twitter/Harry Bring)

Derek Stauffer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.