Forest Whitaker to star in 'Minds' spinoff

Centers on new profilers who will be introduced in spring

Oscar winner Forest Whitaker is in final negotiations to star on CBS' potential "Criminal Minds" spinoff.

The project, which revolves around a new group of profilers who work outside the FBI bureaucracy, 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.

"Minds" executive producer Chris Mundy wrote the planted spinoff, from a story by him and "Minds" executive producer/showrunner Ed Bernero. Richard Shepard is directing.

Like the original series, the potential spinoff is being produced by ABC Studios, the Mark Gordon Co. and CBS Studios.

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.

On TV, the WME-repped Whitaker, who won an Oscar in 2007 for "The Last King of Scotland," most recently had arcs on FX's "The Shield" and NBC's "ER."