Forest Whitaker has signed on to star in CBS' upcoming Criminal Minds spinoff, which revolves around a new group of profilers who work outside the FBI bureaucracy.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new project will be introduced on an episode of Criminal Minds in the spring.

Whitaker will play Cooper, the squad leader. Described as dynamic, mysterious, charming and a father figure to the rest of the team, he is a former star profiler in the Behavioral Unit who has been off the radar for the past eight years.

Producers of the new show zeroed in on Whitaker early and finally moved close to locking him in Monday night after lengthy on- and off- negotiations.

As part of the deal, Whitaker is expected to get a producing credit.