With the Criminal Minds writers now reconvened to start plotting out Season 7 — and with but three weeks left until production starts on the new cycle — Thomas Gibson has yet to ink a new deal with the hit CBS crime drama. But at least one castmate suspects that, even though Gibson’s talks with the show had stalled last week, viewers have not seen the last of Hotch.
When TVLine spoke with Joe Mantegna on Monday at the 2nd Annual SAG Foundation Golf Classic in Tarzana, Calif., we asked if he thought Gibson’s contract talks would be hammered out in time for production on Season 7. “I certainly hope so,” he answered. Mantegna then added, “I feel confident about it… that they’ll work it out. It’ll all be what it’ll be.”
Keep in mind, Mantegna is the same one who told us he felt “optimsitic” that Paget Brewster would return to the show that famously sent her character packing — two weeks before that somewhat unexpected turn of events was officially announced as in fact happening.
When invited to speculate on how Criminal Minds might accommodate Gibson’s absence should a deal not be arrived at — handily enough, Hotch seemed to be quietly exiting stage left as Season 6 drew to a close — Mantegna didn’t bite. “I’m not thinking past all of us being together on that floor stage at work,” he said.
Mantegna told us that the mood amongst the cast was “very happy” in light of the season-finale return of A.J. Cook’s JJ and Brewster’s now-officially announced comeback as Prentiss. As for the sad side effect of all the good news — that Rachel Nichols’ run on the show would end — he said, “She did a great, great job and… she’s going to do just fine. She’s a young actress, so she’s got her whole career ahead of her.” (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)