criminal minds, season 12, paget brewster, emily prentissIt's common for long-running TV shows to shed original cast members over the years, but the sudden dismissal of "Criminal Minds" star Thomas Gibson is a different kind of shakeup entirely, still causing major ripples weeks later. It makes sense, then, that the CBS stalwart would want to hold onto as many familiar faces as possible, and it's planning on extending the contract of returning star Paget Brewster.

Brewster, who plays SSA Emily Prentiss, was set to return to the show for a short guest arc in season 12, after reappearing in season 11 as part of the send-off for Shemar Moore's character. But now, CBS has decided to make Brewster a full-fledged series regular again.

"We're all so excited to have Paget with us full time," said showrunner Erica Messer in a statement. "The BAU family has definitely missed her, on screen and off. Having her back on set has been great, it's like she never left."

The actress first joined "Criminal Minds" as a regular back in season two, where she remained until some behind the scenes shuffling caused her to exit in season seven. She later returned to guest star in season nine.

Brewster's promotion isn't the only big change coming to the drama: The series is also reportedly set to add two new characters to fill the void left by Gibson's Hotchner, the head of BAU. Gibson was let go on August 12 after reports surfaced about an on-set altercation between the actor and a writer for the show; Gibson kicked the writer, which led to his suspension and eventual firing.

"Criminal Minds" will return for season 12 on September 28. Brewster will make her return beginning on October 12.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter]

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS