Last September we brought you the news of a planned Criminal Minds spin-off and today the new series takes a giant leap forward as sources close to the show say that they’re close to signing Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker in the starring role.

Whitaker’s character is named Cooper and will be in the Mandy Patinkin/Joe Mantegna role as the new team leader. His character description reads as follows,

A former star profiler in the BAU, Coop’s been off the grid for the last eight years — leaving only a trail of rumors in his wake.

Hmm… his character sounds awfully similar to David Rossi (Joe Mantegna). I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it does make me wonder what’s going on over there in the BAU because it seems like all their best people go crazy and leave.

As we previously reported, the new show will follow in the way of NCIS where the new team will be introduced in a crossover episode this spring with the new show premiering in the fall.

While I’m not one for spin-offs and still haven’t been able to get into NCIS:LA, I have to say that this looks pretty promising. For some reason, Criminal Minds has been blessed with a wonderful corral of actors and they continue this trend with Whitaker. (No offense to Chris O’Donnell or LL Cool J… to me you two will always be D’Artagnan and the guy whose momma said to knock me out – what kind of momma does that?.)

For those still on the fence about Whitaker taking a TV gig, check out his performance as Jon Kavanaugh on The Shield. It’s great! Or you could just check out his role as Anthony Franklin in the Jeff Bridges’ movie, Blown Away. Why? Because I really like that movie.

Even though the show is planned to premiere this fall, the network has yet to reveal what the new name will be. Fingers crossed it won’t be “Criminal Minds: LA.”

Maybe it’s just me, but Forest Whitaker and Criminal Minds = awesome. Especially following the amazing 100th episode and performance by Thomas Gibson. Am I wrong? Am I right? It’s up to you to decide.

Make sure to look for the new Criminal Minds this fall.

Source: Entertainment Weekly (via: Collider)