Criminal Minds Writer Revisits On-Set Altercation That Got Thomas Gibson Fired: 'I Pray for the Guy'

Longtime Criminal Minds writer/co-executive producer Virgil Williams has broken his silence on the on-set altercation that ultimately got original cast member Thomas Gibson fired, after 11 seasons as Aaron Hotcher.

While filming the second episode of Season 12 in late July, Gibson “came to me with a line change that he wanted,” Williams explained while hosting a recent workshop at the Ghetto Film School in Los Angeles, reports. “I felt that change would have hurt the story. I offered him a fix. He didn’t accept the fix. He said, ‘Fix it so I’m happy’ and then walked off.”

Following a second conversation about the line change, Gibson kicked Williams in the shin as he walked by him, the producer claims.

According to Gibson’s own account of the incident, he was relating the differing of opinions to castmates when Williams entered the room and “started coming towards me. As he brushed past me, my foot came up and tapped him on the leg.”

Afterward, “We had some choice words, for which I apologized the next day,” Gibson said. “We shot the scene, I went home — and I never got to go back,” suspended as he originally was for two episodes, before eventually being fired, as announced on Aug. 12.

As for writing out Hotch (who is currently away on special assignment for the FBI Director), Williams said, “It hasn’t been smooth… but we tried to do it seamlessly and move on.”

Williams — who reportedly has anger management issues of his own, and who copped to once being suspended from a set for raising his voice — claims that Gibson created a “hostile work environment.”

That said, “I pray for him. I hope that he’s getting time with his family,” Williams said. “I hope the best for the guy.”

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  1. Daya says:

    Even with both sides of the story, it still sounds like he said/he said.

    • R C says:

      Too funny. The show’s going in the toilet and it’s all because of an insecure writer with a Napoleon complex. He could have pulled up his big boy pants and sucked it up (most guys would), but he had to get payback. Hope it was worth it, because the franchise is finsihed … and it’s going to be a while before anyone takes a chance on VW after all the stuff he’s pulled. That’s the one positive out of all of this – he’s finished.

      • Daya says:

        Most people probably don’t even know his name, whereas everyone loved Tom even before CM. Twitter says enough about his loyal fanbase–he’s gained nearly 9k followers a month since rejoining in August. Virgil has 9.5k period. (He also seems like he hasn’t gotten over the incident, whereas Tom has probably nearly forgotten about it, save for the media.)

      • Pama Martin-Gallagheer says:

        I could not have said it better myself, well said my fiend. I for one will not be watching the show anymore, with cable and all the streaming there is there is just to much competition. When they bring Thomas Gibson back then I will watch it again. Till then ta,ta.
        yes was also a big, big, fan and have watched from the beginning, no more.

      • Cassandradvb says:

        The cast members backed Thomas Gibsons account but have been told to shut up about IG. There’s something. Wrong with that

    • This shouldn’t have come to this. However watching thee end of last season, it was set up with Jack so upset at the SWAT incident that Aaron was thinking of leaving BAU. Was this incident just a way of making it seem off and cut salary? Seems to me that CM should switch with 5-0 for Hotch for McGarrett. Works for me. It seems that Adam Rodriguez fills in for Derek Morgan. But Emily can’t do the Dick Tracy Batman glower as good as Hotch. At least they didn’t kill him off. Not like Gideon.

  2. SJ says:

    What BS. Team Gibson all the way!

  3. The Show isn’t much fun to watch now without Gibson to be honest. Been a fan for years and this is the first season I’ve been disinterested

  4. PatriciaLee says:

    A drama professor told us that you can’t expect someone “who can play to a room of a thousand” to just turn the emotion off. And once Williams was suspended for “raising his voice”? Can’t you just see some hedgefunder lurking down a corridor, peeking into stages?

    • Lauren says:

      No. You can’t kick someone. Come on, you’re giving him a pass because you like the show. What if he worked with you?

      • jj. says:

        agreed, there is no excuse for getting physical

      • Cassandra says:

        I’ve read that Thomas Gibson will be back on Criminal Minds, possibly before season 12 is over. I keep on checking on this and so far, that’s where it stands. I can’t say its gospel, but hopefully he is. I can’t say kicking anyone is right. We do know however people rend to fudge on the truth somewhat. I do know the entire cast that was present at the time said what Thomas Gibson said was the truth, but they were told to keep their mouths shut. Granted I wasn’t there obviously but like I said before. People tend to fudge the story a bit.

    • Maria says:

      He wasn’t suspended for “raising his voice”. He was suspended and sent to anger management because he threatened the job AND life of a your PA woman on the set of ER when he learned she’s going to take his place in, of all places, the show Charity Softball Team.

  5. They tried to do it seamlessly? It seems to me they tried to do it by not doing anything at all. Oh, he’s gone. And nobody ever questions it. Great writing. Of course this is the same people that wrote this great idea where all these evil killers escaped from prison but then dropped the entire storyline like a hot potato.

    • Angela says:

      It was meant to be a season long story arc. They’re planning on touching on it here and there as the season continues on, so we should be hearing more about that storyline down the line.

  6. Simon Jester says:

    Frankly, *both* versions make Gibson sound like a prima donna.

  7. popeye013 says:

    Williams is such a cretin!

  8. Coop says:

    I don’t understand what bringing it up again accomplishes. I haven’t even started this season and I doubt I ever will. It’ll just sit and keep collecting new episodes on the DVR. Frankly, I feel like the show has been running out of steam for a couple years. It felt like work having to watch a good chunk of episodes last season and I only did it because I’d been watching it for so long. I’d be surprised if this isn’t the last season. The cost of the show must be extremely high, they don’t need any more episodes for syndication, etc.

  9. liame says:

    This guy obviously has been rubbing people the wrong way for years. He needed his ego checked. Next gig he gets let’s hope he leaves his superior attitude at home. He needs a comedy, playing the same smug character for years became method to him.

  10. Angela says:

    What confuses me is that Gibson and Williams have worked together before without any incident. There were a couple episodes back in season 10 that Williams wrote and Gibson directed, and I don’t recall hearing about any issues between them then. Yeah, sometimes disagreements can come up between people who’ve been able to work together just fine before, but it still seems weird that this disagreement ended like it did.
    Sounds like both men have some personal issues they each need to work out with anger management and whatnot. But in this particular case, if Williams is telling the truth about offering a compromise on that line and Gibson refused to take it, and given he’s the one who actually wound up kicking Williams, well…*Shrugs*. Them’s the breaks, I guess.
    I do echo the wish that Gibson’s doing okay, though, and dealing with whatever issues he’s going through.

  11. Lauren says:

    You can’t kick someone at work. I don’t care how important your job is or what you do for a living.

  12. Kay says:

    Just grow up and bring him back!! The show needs him.

  13. Kimberly Mlejnek says:

    I again the show is just not the same….and years of him being family and all of a sudden just oh his gone…..just not the same show

  14. Paco says:

    Gregg never kicked Dharma…

  15. Temperance says:

    He lost his credibility when he went for the whole ‘I pray for him’ nonsense. I’m sure it was a dig. As I mentioned at the start, the AG was the problem, and I’ll stand by that one.

  16. Iris says:

    PR damage control, just in case, because the show just hit a series low.

  17. tam leggat says:

    Kiss and make up show wont be same without hotch criminal minds very good show

  18. Jeffrey McGraw says:

    All you need to do is ship Hotchner (lock, stock and Jack) to another CBS procedural. Beyond Borders comes to mind or to replace Danny on 5-0 or even McGarrett when he tires of the fame. Maybe even let him be a freelance profiler. Maybe Hotchner leaves BAU to set up shop as private contractor for Homeland. Send Hotchner to cable in a Daredevil type series. Let him become Chief of small town like Jesse Stone and his past cases come to haunt him. Just a thought.

    • Cassandra says:

      I’ve thought along the same lines. He could have like an Aaron Hotchner role, but yet be somewhat different. His part on Criminal minds to me was like on the old Hawaii Five 0, with them getting rid of Jack Lord, or The Untouchables firing Robert Stack. It just doesn’t work. That’s what we have here. Unfortunately I don’t think the people who fired Thomas Gibson realize that. Maybe, if we wouldn’t attack them. They might change their minds. Maybe. I will still not watch it. I am horrible with change if any kind. So, this really bothers me.

      • Cassandra says:

        The cast members that witnessed what happened. Agreed with Thomas Gibsons version. They were told to keep their mouths shut. Look back at them getting rid of J.J. and Prentiss. That’s why Paget Brewster left. She says what they did to her was scummy. It was scummy. The actors have no right to say anything. Myself, I wouldn’t care. I would say something. I would be fired, but at that point I wouldn’t have cared.

  19. Fiona Keany says:

    It is a lot of he said/she said but whats telling is none of is fellow cast memebers have come out and supported him. If he was wronged then surely cast memebers of ten yrs would be vocal. But alas we hear nothing except a sly coment from former cast memebe shemar moore wich alludes to his deserving of termination

    • Cas says:

      1. I’m sure they are under confidentiality clauses. They haven’t come out and agreed with the writer either
      2.Shemar already stated his comment was in reference to something else

    • Coop says:

      Actually, I wouldn’t expect cast members to comment unless someone did something so over the top that it wouldn’t impact anything going forward. A lot of employees on the show just want to keep their head down and do their job. I think it’s safe to say both parties deserved some of the blame in this situation, the percentages of blame unknown.

    • Em says:

      What Cas said. They’re probably not allowed to say anything about it.

    • Lorna says:

      And funnily enough, Nick Brendon had positive things to say about all of the cast members EXCEPT Shemar at cons. So get off his d***.

    • Cassandra says:

      Shemar moore took that down because it wasn’t meant for Thomas Gibson. I for one don’t believe him. There was a problem with Moore coming to work late and Thomas Gibson and Moore got into it a few times. That was Moore’s fault not Thomas Gibsons. Moore deserved to be dealt with. You’re holding up everything. You have others waiting on you. That’s not professional. Its being a prima Donna.

  20. andrew says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but i think firing him, because he kicked him in the SHIN is pretty exaggerating. I would understand if he kicked him in the torso or hit him in the face but in the shin? That’s like getting fired because you call someone on the set an asshole.

    • Cassandra says:

      It wasn’t a real kick. So, this is kind of overkill. Like I said before all cast members who saw the incident agreed with Thomas Gibsons account of the incident. They were told to be quiet. That’s what they are doing. Paget Brewster and A. J. Cook, knows how it feels to be treated like second hand, can be replaced anytime cast member of Criminal Minds. They are very low handed with how they get rid of something. These are good performers. A show is only as good as the actors and yes the writers. Being together that long can sometimes start a little beef here and there. It happens everywhere. This though seems to have gone overboard. This wasn’t necessary. They told him he was suspended for 2 weeks then out and out fired him. Like Paget Brewster said about her first departure. It was scummy. This was also scummy.

  21. Georgianna Morgan says:

    It won’t be same without Hotch. America needs these shows to help with giving people a diversion from the current political climate. It’s a great show and Hotch is a very big part of it. Show America how to mend fences and bring back Hotch.

  22. mary bloom says:

    Bring them both back. Gibson & Williams. Fine them both and make them each do a 100 hours of community service at a Boys and Girls Club on talking about bullying.

  23. Whatevah8 says:

    This just makes me think Thomas Gibson got !%@#%. I pray for “the guy” how sweet. He has a name jerkface.

  24. Fannie Johnson says:

    That’s no reason to fire a person .When it was partially your fault anyway I only watched Criminal Mind because of Derek and Aaron so now I’ll stop watching hope you made the right decision it was a great show.

  25. Ronnie says:

    This was not Gibson’s first incident regarding getting violent with a crew member. This confrontation was just the last straw. Bad behavior should never be tolerated or rewarded. Think about actors from hit shows you don’t see for a while. Producers talk to each other more now than ever so they don’t have to deal with unprofessional divas.

  26. carla helton says:

    I can’t believe they fired ‘Hotch’. I at least hope they don’t kill him off, and make it so his son has 2 murdered parents. Have a heart guys. ☺

  27. Nane says:

    I hated it when Shemar Moore left; that was a blow. But to fire Thomas Gibson over something that is seemingly trivial – he said/he said – is reprehensible. Have to be done with Criminal Minds.

  28. Dottie D Burkhart says:

    No Thomas Gibson, no criminal minds

  29. Regina says:

    You SCREWED UP Mr.Williams. ….I & Thousands Of Other People Will NOT Watch Criminal Minds Without Aaron Hotcher…. A Character ONLY Thomas Gibson Can Portray So WELL…

  30. Dan says:

    These writers/producers are idiots. I have been a long time fan. This was the best show on TV. After the first episode, I had to google “why wasn’t Gibson in Criminal Minds?” Very disappointing to find out that he and Moore are gone. I understand that Moore wanted to leave, but if these writers/producers don’t realize that fans enjoy the show because of the cast, they don’t get it. You can’t just throw all new people in and expect it to be the same. The cast is what /who makes the show. I was happy to see Brewster back, but it just isn’t the same without Gibson and Moore. Haven’t watched after the first episode this season. If they bring him back, I will watch again. Until then, I have no interest.

    • Cassandra says:

      I did find out it was ABC who fired him. I don’t know why but it was them. So, were complaining to the wrong people.

  31. Ml says:


  32. Blue Note says:

    I miss hearing, “Wheels Up In 30,” Come on…kiss and make up…get Hotch back.

  33. amy says:

    to be honest, regardless of what either of them say it’s done, tptb made their decision and there’s really no story left here. is one of them going to try and write a book? i’m enjoying this season a great deal. there’s always been a fluidity to the cast, and there have often been episodes where members of the team/cast are missing (or disastrously fired- a nice side point would be to mention even the writers were incredibly unhappy with the decision to let aj cook go, they even gave her that total shade line to penelope about “plenty of strong men” being around to take her place- like this show’s team seem to genuinely like each other in general). I honestly haven’t noticed the lack of hotch (even though i truly thought i would, though, it’s not like he’s had a storyline since beth), and i’m glad they haven’t made a big deal out of it on screen. i’m also shamelessly relishing all four ladies being so prominent.

  34. P.D. Vanhoy says:

    There is more to this story. Write out a central character over 1 disagreement? No way. Somebody higher up had it in for the guy. A winning series down the tube? For a disagreement? Not by half.

  35. Tasha says:

    I have watched since day one and I don’t miss him AT ALL okay maybe a tiny bit.. He just always looked so freaking unhappy.

  36. colleen says:

    Erica and her bozo producers needed Thomas’ salary to bring Paget back full time and pay for the other cheap talent. So now the cop-of-the-week is the new “Hotch” and we should all get over it and be happy. They apparently believed Thomas Gibson (and the Hotch character) was as unimportant to fans as the character is to most of them. Sharon Lee Watson, Kim Harrison and Janine Barrois abandoned ship before this season. Maybe they knew this was coming. I’m sure the writers have been discussing getting rid of Gibson for many seasons and finally decided to pull the trigger, a dozen seasons is a good number to reboot CM without him; they just needed a reason, an excuse. The writers believe they are the true stars of CM; only they claim producer credit just for being a writer and having done very little to contribute to CM’s 12 year success. Virgil only started a few years ago and Thomas has been there from the beginning. CBS and ABC should fire Messer and most of the current bunch and start over with a new showrunner, new writers and Thomas Gibson. They can also fire Virgil Williams or ship him to CMBB. This ship is sinking fast so they need to get Gibson back or just go ahead and cancel it and put us all out of our misery. #NoHotchNoWatch

  37. Malissa R. says:

    I miss Gibson, but I still like the show.

  38. Carolyn H. says:

    U r making big mistake,Mr.Gibson was and is a hell of an actor,especially on CM.It say like childs play.Come on,can we all get alone.The orginal cast is the best,if you change it you will mess it up.Two grown men can’t work it out,let’s make it work for the people. One cast member has already left.You will got to make this right. Don’t do it ,No GIBSON
    ,NO WATCHING!!!!!!!!!😢And there
    are so many voting the same way.
    Don’t lose a good show by having a
    hard heart.Listen to the people who watch that show faithfully. You may have wrote it but he(they) played it and made it work very well.Be thankful got or had a hit show.Talk it over,bring him back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢

  39. Ironic that this happened, since Williams has a violent history himself, got him kicked out of ER, and now the guy does interviews to make himself the victim….yeah right

    • Cassandra says:

      I’ve thought along the same lines. He could have like an Aaron Hotchner role, but yet be somewhat different. His part on Criminal minds to me was like on the old Hawaii Five 0, with them getting rid of Jack Lord, or The Untouchables firing Robert Stack. It just doesn’t work. That’s what we have here. Unfortunately I don’t think the people who fired Thomas Gibson realize that. Maybe, if we wouldn’t attack them. They might change their minds. Maybe. I will still not watch it. I am horrible with change if any kind. So, this really bothers me.

      Exactly. Maybe that was to hidden from us.

  40. Dena Mitton says:

    Well, you’ve just written me out as a fan.
    HOTCH WAS CM!!!!
    Bye bye CBS

  41. Donna Davis says:

    I miss hotch, hopefully he can come back why not fire the other guy? Just asking please bring back Derrick and I love the fact that pagett is back if hotch is not coming back. Man up boys really!!!!! I still love the show btw.

  42. Donna Davis says:

    Bro gvack hotch fire the writer ease and bring back Derrick.

  43. Sue Lowry says:

    Thomas Gibson is a great actor & will be missed. The show will not be the same without him.
    Criminal Minds producer/director should be fired – not the actor. It is not the same without him.

  44. robert lohnston says:

    i dont think they care about losing 1 avid watcher but haven’t watched it or cbs since

  45. Phil Patrick says:

    The show is in the toilet. Whatever happened, can be resolved among mature men. I’ve stopped watching the show since TG was terminated. It’ over, say goodnite Lucy.

  46. Karol says:

    Gibson is not innocent, but this writer is full of crap. An MMA fighter known to be a bully, and he cannot handle a scuffle? He was rumored to provoke Gibson. He should hsve been fired as well. Why should he get multiple chances?

  47. Sarah S says:

    Even though there still some of the same cast members… it doesn’t feel the same. I don’t think they should have fired him but rather get him help.

    I saw him recently and he doesn’t seem happy.

  48. Shirley A Fox says:

    Sad, but the other cast still does an excellent job. I doubt if Thomas Gibson wishes his co-workers out of a job. The “other guy” probably wanted rid of him. Sexy competition on set or sexy lady Emily to watch and write for… you can see he might have different agendas. The show is solid and Thomas Gibson will get many more jobs for us to see his excellent work.

  49. Suzanne Tracy says:

    Bring back HOTCH! Write out Prentiss.

    Cast should be: Thomas Moore- Hotch, Joe Mantegna – Dave, Kirsten Vangsness – Garcia, Matthew Gray Gubler – Reid, A. J. Cook – J.J., and Shemar Moore – Morgan (if you didn’t kill him off).

    You could add Mandy in again but unfortunately you DID kill him.

    Let’s just get

    • Judy Kader says:

      The show will just not be the same without Hotch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am no longer watching it – just not the SAME!!!

    • Cassandra says:

      I did find out it was ABC who fired him. I don’t know why but it was them. So, were complaining to the wrong people.. I always wanted Prentiss back, but not this way.