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Thomas Gibson fired from ‘Criminal Minds’; Who will lead the team?

Thomas Gibson on 'Criminal Minds'

“Criminal Minds” has yet to debut its 12th season, but already the drama is a fever pitch. After previously being suspended for allegedly kicking a writer of the CBS series while directing an episode, Thomas Gibson has now been fired.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC Studios and CBS Studios say, “Thomas Gibson has been dismissed from ‘Criminal Minds.’ Creative details for how the character’s exit will be addressed in the show will be announced at a later date.” That brings to a close 11 seasons of story for his character, while leaving a fairly big hole in the show that will have to be filled.

RELATED: It’s a serial killer party on the ‘Criminal Minds’ finale

So what is “Criminal Minds” to do without Gibson? There are a few options to be considered, but a decision will have to be made quickly.

After the exit of Shemar Moore in Season 11, there are now only two original cast members left standing and either — Matthew Gray Gubler or AJ Cook — could take the lead on the show, with their character stepping in as Senior Supervisory Special Agent. There’s also Joe Mantegna’s David Rossi, who is already a Senior Supervisory Special Agent on the show.

Additionally, Paget Brewster is returning in a recurring role in Season 11 as Emily Prentiss. Should producers be able to convince her to stick around on a more regular basis, her character could also lead the team.

RELATED: ‘Criminal Minds’ books Paget Brewster for Season 12 arc

Of course, there’s also the possibility of introducing some new blood into a leading role to breathe new life into a show that’s already run over 250 episodes. If producers can find a big enough name that would be a fresh addition to the series, it could certainly make for an interesting road ahead.

Of course, there’s also the question of how the show will explain the disappearance of Gibson’s character Aaron Hotchner. Given that he was fired, chances are a return is not on the horizon. Whether or not his character’s fate is sealed in a very permanent way — like death — though remains to be seen.

RELATED: TV Query: Why did Shemar Moore leave ‘Criminal Minds’?

So “Criminal minds” fans, what do you want to see happen Hotchner has been shown the door? Sound off in the poll below.

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