OK, by now we’re all aware that A.J Cook’s role as Jennifer ‘JJ’ Jareau on Criminal Minds (Wednesdays, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS) is kaput and that Paget Brewster, who plays Emily Prentiss, is getting her episodes cutback.

We were shocked when Cook was shown the door, but Thomas Gibson, who stars as Aaron ‘Hotch’ Hotchner, tells us that the cast was just as surprised as the viewers were.

“It was a sort of mystifying move by the network and it took all of us by surprise,” Gibson acknowledges. “One of the things that I thought was incredible about A.J. was her reaction to it and her taking the high road and saying, ‘Hey, you know what? This is an opportunity. This is an opportunity to move onward and upward and I will embrace it.’ So, we decided to do the same.”

Season six of Criminal Minds has major changes in store for the remaining characters, Gibson admits. But, with the absence of Cook there is a female void to be filled and it will be…even if it’s only for a limited amount of time.

“There is an actress named Rachel Nichols who is going to come in and do an arch on the show and the quickest thing that I want to add is that she’s not a replacement for anyone, but she will come in for an arch for at least three episodes.”

And stick-thin brainiac profiler Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and bureau computer geek Penelope Garcia (Kristen Vangsness), are both in for a few interesting developments regarding secrets.

“There will be some surprises and some explanation of roadblocks in their personal and professional lives,” Gibson says.

Oddly enough the actor is positively fearless when it comes to the show’s ability to keep viewers coming back for more – even with a spin-off series coming down the pike.

“I think that’s always the first reaction would be that things would get diluted, but I think it’s been proven it doesn’t happen,” he says. “The other spin-offs that are on the air it seems to strengthen each of the shows so we’ll see. We treat each other as family and I’m sure there is room for another family.”

Source: Hollywood Outbreak