Thomas Gibson Fired

Criminal Minds Reveals Hotch's Fate — and 30 Percent of You Guessed Right

Criminal Minds this Wednesday revealed why we won’t be seeing Thomas Gibson in the role of Aaron Hotchner again, in the wake of the original cast member being fired in mid-August from the CBS series.

At the top of this week’s episode, which was directed by cast member Matthew Gray Gubler, Rossi rounded up the troops to break the news: Hotch has not been on “special assignment” for the past few weeks after all.

Rather, that story was used as a cover, while an investigation was conducted into Peter Lewis aka Mr. Scratch’s stalking of Hotch’s son Jack, first at a soccer game. The FBI’s first recourse of course was to supply around-the-clock surveillance, but when Scratch later showed up at Jack’s school, Hotch decided to enter himself and his son in Witness Protection. Meaning, his colleagues likely will never be in touch with him again (though come on — we know they are a resourceful bunch).

What’s more, resolved to never put his son in danger again, Hotch tendered his resignation from the FBI. (In a TVLine poll conducted shortly after it was announced that Gibson had been fired after 11 seasons, in the wake of an on-set altercation with a writer/producer, 30 percent of you said Hotch would “quit to focus on family.” I’d call that a match.)

As his last bit of business with the Bureau, Hotch made a final request, that Prentiss be named the new bureau chief — a position she eventually accepted, at episode’s end, after a nudge from JJ and Reid.

“Thank the universe for silver linings,” as Garcia put it? Or was no exit storyline acceptable? Comment away….

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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102 Comments
  1. Coop says:

    To begin, there was no good or easy way to write out a central figure of a show off-screen. I didn’t watch the episode, but it really does contradict everything we know about the character.

    • H says:

      Jack has been a victim of his father’s job for years. First his parents divorce, than mom is killed by a guy who hates his dad, than that thing last season finale. The boy deserved a break or he’d become an UNSUB himself. It was the right decision for the character, best send-off possible.

      • Coop says:

        Like I said, there’s no good or easy way to do it under the circumstances, but that doesn’t change the fact that it ignored the Hotchner’s character history over the the past 250 episodes. It isn’t about Jack.

        • H says:

          It makes him finally step up as a parent. Hotchner’s character’s history showed us that he was lacking in that department. It should be about Jack.

    • That’s just it we (viewers) will NEVER know what truly happened behind the scenes so I can’t make a decision on who was wrong or right; I mean we haven’t heard anything from the other cast members so I am thinking they have “gag orders” not to say anything. I know ONE certain cast member who seems happy that Gibson is gone, but I will not mention any names.

  2. Dave says:

    As a fan of this show I hope they can put this behind them and bring him back for an appearance in last episode or something when the show ends (probably in 3 years lol)

    • Jane R says:

      Uh, no. This show won’t last too long. Replacing Gibson with Paget Brewster is really helping the ratings – all time record lows week after week, 1.3 last week and 1.4 this week (without SVU around). That’s what happens when you hand the keys of the franchise to an actress with a track record of getting shows cancelled. Who’s that dumb? Erica Messer and company! The CM brain trust better get used to the fact that viewers aren’t going to reward this group of backstabbers and money-grubbers with another season. Guess that smear campaign didn’t work because “real” fans are tuning out and that’s going to make it very difficult for the studios to milk another garbage season out of this dying carcass of a show. But wait, Virgil Williams is still around and help is on the way with Damon Gupton right? Just pathetic.

      • The last week’s ratings shows them being second in their hour at #19 overall in the week, per TV Guide. With Empire winning the hour at #14. Still pretty good; if you’re only behind Empire. So everybody saying it’s a ratings dog is wishful thinking at this point. You all just want the show to fail, which it isn’t at this point.

      • Puppies and Rainbows! says:

        Aren’t you just a ray of sunshine? I guess I’m not a “real” fan, because honestly – while I do think Hotchner the character kind of got shafted, I don’t really miss him week to week and I adore Prentiss. The show probably will not last much longer, but I’ve kind of been expecting that for years. It’s had a good run.

        • Angela says:

          I’ve learned that trying to explain this stuff to Jane is like talking to a brick wall. Anyone who starts going on about “true/real fans” isn’t someone worth listening to.
          .
          Anywho, I agree with your sentiments.

          • Jane R says:

            Angela, while I admire you enthusiasm and mindless passion for defending all things CM, I think you’re a bit of a zealot with a one-track way of looking at things. Critical thinking is required for most things in life, and it’s fair comment to say things aren’t looking too rosy for CM right now. Is that so difficult to understand or is further explanation required?

          • Angela says:

            @Jane: Yeah, you’ve totally missed the point. I have no problem with criticism of the show itself. I’ve had my own critiques about it as well. No show is perfect, after all, and I’d be willing to listen to valid criticisms of how Hotch was written out, or how the show’s handling the team this season, or things of that sort.
            .
            What I DO have a problem with is when people imply that those who are still watching the show aren’t “real fans”. You don’t get to be the gatekeeper over who the “true fans” of a series are. Nobody does. I don’t sit here and say that people who’ve personally chosen to stop watching aren’t true fans, after all, because I don’t think that’s a fair or accurate thing to say about those people. So I’d really appreciate the same courtesy being extended to me and those who are still watching.
            .
            I also DON’T like that people are attacking and blaming the cast and crew for this entire situation with Gibson, since, y’know, they have no control over any of it. And I DON’T like people insisting that the rest of the cast and crew should lose their jobs because one actor and one writer/producer both decided to act like immature babies and get in a dumb fight that could’ve been avoided altogether if they’d acted like the mature men they’re supposed to be and talked their crap out.
            .
            You want to yell at someone about this? Fine. Yell at CBS. Yell at ABC Studios. Yell at Virgil Williams. Yell at Thomas Gibson. Y’know, all the people who are actually involved in causing this mess? But leave everyone else alone. None of this is their fault and they have every right to want to keep working and keep the show going as best they can manage.
            .
            That’s the stuff that bothers me. Not mere criticism of the show itself. And the FACT is, as Mitovich noted above, even with all this BTS craziness, CM is still doing a decent job for the network in terms of ratings, which is no easy feat for a show that’s been on as long as it has. The FACT is that many series have changed cast members and still kept marching on. This show alone is proof of that, and I can point to many others that have done the same.
            .
            You’re right that it probably will end its run sooner rather than later. But it’ll do so because it’s a twelve-year old show that’s become super expensive for the studio to fund and because all series have to eventually come to an end in general. Not because of this dumb crap with Gibson.
            .
            Now, is that so difficult to understand, or is further explanation required?

          • Sherry Clark says:

            Why why why would Gibson lose it to that point ??????

          • Jane R says:

            I think you have a little too much time on your hands.

        • I hope it lasts a good time longer, but everything must end… I think the Hotch/Mr. Scratch plot would have made an excellent 2 episodes, and him choosing his son over the BAU would have been a great (and believable) scene. But, in the words of Hotch himself, “that isn’t gonna happen”. Also, his character would have found some way to say good bye before going into witpro, but… well, you know. I’ll miss Hotch, but I’m not angry. I’ll keep watching

  3. Angela says:

    Creepy though the tie in with Mr. Scratch was (though that part of the explanation makes me think that would’ve been the show’s planned storyline for Hotch this season had Gibson stayed on the show), I think it was a fair, understandable way to write him out. After Foyet, no way would he take any more of these kinds of risks with his family’s safety. And this way, Hotch’s resignation was more because he felt he HAD to do so, not because he simply wanted to do so for the heck of it, which solves the issue many of us had about why someone as devoted to the job as him would suddenly up and leave.
    .
    Sure, there’s always the risk that down the line we could hear that Mr. Scratch eventually got to Hotch, but I think Rossi’s sentiment about him and Jack being together and safe is how the show wants to ultimately leave things, and that works for me. And at least this leaves the door open just in case something changes in the future and Gibson’s allowed to come back to the show for some reason or another.
    .
    I especially liked Rossi’s end speech, and his conversation with Garcia. I think that was a good way for the show to try and let fans know how the cast and crew truly felt about Hotch not being there anymore. Hopefully this can placate some of the fans who’ve been so upset over this whole mess.
    .
    On a happier note, loved seeing Emily accepting her new position on the team :D. And the case was a good one, too. Kinda bittersweet, kinda spooky.

    • Dana says:

      Just stopping by…no real dog in this fight but
      Angela for someone who can take criticism…you certainly have a lot to say…

  4. ejdax37 says:

    For the second time that this show has had to write off a character off screen and with little warning I believe they did a great job. I was worried they would kill him but I don’t think even the writers could bring themselves to completely orphan Jack. I know I will keep watching!

    • Yeah, it was the right call with both characters. I’m still miffed that they decided to kill Gideon off-screen so many years after the fact, though. I would’ve preferred to go on thinking he was still around.

      • Jon no Willis says:

        I think part of the decision to kill off Gideon was because of how negative Mandy Patinkin has been in the media in regards to Criminal Minds

      • ginar369 says:

        I read an interview with Mandy and he was very clear that he wanted to be killed off. He didn’t want them to be able to bring him back ever. (I can’t remember where the article was it’s been so long)

  5. watched some criminal minds tonight for the first time didn’t care for it just wasn’t the same without hotch.wont. done watching criminal minds

    • Sheila says:

      Wait, you watched it for the first time, but it wasn’t the same without Hotch? How would you even know who he is to miss him?

    • Then why watch at all if you don’t care of the show? You can keep with your No Hotch No Watch bullfluff. But they didn’t kill the dude off. I thought they would. They killed Gideon after 10 years, so I figured Messmaker would do the same to Hotch.

      So if you’re done, farewell. My fandom doesn’t need people who won’t watch for some silly reason like Morgan leaving and Hotch having to leave to take care of his son. (And we all know the reason Thomas left) I’m still watching. There is a lot unresolved with Reid and his mother.

  6. Works for me, though that wasn’t my pick. This way, if the fences are mended down the road, he could come back since he’s not dead. And, if they don’t make up, then it just continues; as long as Mr. Scratch doesn’t get caught, Hotch is still in WP.

  7. Ben says:

    I liked this episode a lot. I didn’t think they’d even address him leaving at all. So this was a nice surprise

  8. Anyone else notice that they wrote him off in such a way that they can bring the character back if their ratings drop? Feels to me like they wanted to cover their bases. Or am I the only one that cynical?

    • Coop says:

      I don’t think it matters at this point. The ratings weren’t going to be great with him either, as it’s an aging show. They’re just coasting along and I’d be surprised if this isn’t the last season. It’s got to be incredibly expensive to produce compared to other shows, some contracts are up and they have no need to pump out more episodes for syndication purposes. My hope is that they get word a couple months in advance if this is it so they can map out a series-ending arc.

      • It’s still CBS’s second best show at its time slot and one of the best performers L+3 and L+7. The fact that they took the time and money to completely restructure the team for the season and started an spin off last season indicates they want it to continue. It should go on unless they mess up contract negotiations — again — but hopefully they know better at this point.

      • Last week’s ratings had them at #19 overall and second in their time slot behind Empire at #14 overall. It’s not great, but I don’t think it’s cancellation territory either.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      It makes sense to keep everything available for future TV movies, imho. They were so successful in the past, and we have learned what goes around does come around, again.

    • No, I did as well. Especially when one of them (JJ, I think) said ‘That means he can come back, right?’ or something like that, I said OK, there’s the door. Plus as it revolves around Mr. Scratch, as long as he’s out there, that keeps Hotch away. If they want to bring him back, then they have a plot line to resolve that story and it opens the door.

  9. PatriciaLee says:

    The husband and I aren’t too entertained by Prentiss being in charge, but we’re watching the show again to see our “Delko”, so no biggie.

  10. Leida says:

    As a loyal viewer and huge fan from day one (my kids are even named Declan and Gideon) I’m incredibly disappointed. I would’ve liked to see an on screen goodbye or at least make it more interesting! Something involving Mr. Scratch or the Dirty Dozen! Ahhh.

    • Leida says:

      Although, I do have to say that I love every episode MGG directs. However, Hotch has been with us since day one… what a terrible goodbye to the team and viewers alike. Even some scenes tied into the episode showing Mr. Scratch at Jack’s game and school would’ve made me happy. Decent episode though. I cried like a baby at the end with the reunification of the older brother and the twins.

  11. B J Crouch says:

    I am in disbelief that Gibson is removed from the show that his presence made. He really is the center character, irreplaceable. No reason to watch now. What are they thinking? Bummer. And, this is one of my favorites.
    Reminds me of when Kyra Sedgewick left The Closer and the spin off from it with Mary McConnel taking over for Kyra. It was an epic fail.

    • Snoots57 says:

      Five (5!) seasons (and counting) of the The Closer spinoff, Major Crimes (with Mary McDONnell), is an epic fail? Dayum.

      • drhenning says:

        I happen to like Major Crimes better than The Closer…. The Closer was the Kyra show.. MC uses its cast better.. Both shows have been top notch… My guess is the writer of that comment didn’t watch either show…

  12. I bet he’ll be getting online messages from Cheeto Breath soon <3

    Hotch has been a good team leader and all, but these episodes without him have been so wonderfully light. Sometimes, all it takes is a little shake up to get the show going. At my house, we adore the team as it is now, JJ, Prentiss, Garcia and Lewis, Rossi, Reid and Alvez. It just feels so right. I'm really excited for this season. I've particularly enjoyed all the JJ and Prentiss scenes to talk to victims. I'd love to see Prentiss and Lewis working with suspects together. Just, AHHH <3

  13. One thing I learned from American television: THE SHOW MUST GO ON! Even contracts can’t prevent people from screwing things up regardless of which party did the screwing. I’m watching the latest episode so far, and luckily, I don’t get my panties up in a bunch when I read spoilers. After all, most of the stuff I concur, and if not, I direct my version using the spoilers, then I see the director’s cut. LOL

  14. Dee dee says:

    Not happy at all. I gave the show a chance but it’s time to move on. Too much change all around once. Time for me to find a new show to love…..

  15. Paco says:

    All I know…Gregg never kicked Dharma…

  16. Sherry Clark says:

    Criminal Minds will never be the same.This is the beginning of the end. Why would he do such a thing anyway ???????

  17. paconator says:

    All I know…Gregg never kicked Dharma…

  18. Suzanne Tracy says:

    I love this show. I was extremely pleased when they removed the Emily Prentiss character. Now, in addition to losing the Derek Morgan Character, we lose Hitch. Add insult to injury and you people put the most highly disliked character, Prentiss, in lead.

    Unless you either bring back Morgan or Hitch to lead…I guess I’ll need to find a different favorite show.

    • I don’t think she the most disliked character. I think they shouldn’t fired her in the first place. It’s doesn’t feel the same without Hotch, but I’m glad they didn’t kill him off.

      • Leida says:

        I agree… I think Prentiss was a well loved character. Everyone loves a woman with an air of mystery.

      • Lizzy says:

        They didn’t fire her. She left of her own choice when her contract was up, just like Shemar Moore did. The only one who was fired was Gibson.

        • Kate Shoop says:

          Not true. Paget was unceremoniously fired from the show, as was Aj Cook due to “budgeting”. Getting rid of Shemar Moore and now Thomas Gibson has given them the ability to keep both women indefinitely.

        • Jon Willis says:

          Not True. Back in season 6 they fired Prentiss and JJ in order to save money so they could make that horrible spin off with Forest Whittaker. The fans were pissed so they braught both back in season 7 but the actress that plays Prentiss was pissed rightfully so and left at the end of season 7

        • Yes she was. The first time she and AJ cook was fired which is why they both was written off. Then they brought them both back and they Paget decided to leave on her own. She stated in a interview that she was mad that they fired her and when they brought her back that she was still mad.and this was in her own words from a interview. They both was fired the first two time due to budget cuts. the fans were upset, and we all signed petition. I know from two reason. One I have a friend that works for CBS studio, and second I read the interview.

          • Clara says:

            Bring Hotchetr back it is not the same without him and Derrick

          • Clara says:

            Bring Hotchetr back it is not the same without him and Derrick
            Whoever is writing this slow knows there is still mething missing… no action just a lot of talking and the spark had gone…

  19. dlraetz says:

    They left themselves an out. If the ratings tank they can bring him back

  20. Collette says:

    Actually, I’m kind of glad about the change. My fave has always been Matthew Gray Gubler. Mandy Patinikin was creepy and Thomas Gibson dragged down every scene he was in with his gloomy manner. I will miss Shemar Moore, though.

    • Lizzy says:

      I don’t have a favorite, but the show seems to have forgotten that Gubler was even on the show for the last few seasons. Hoping Spencer’s story gets a little attention again.

  21. popeye013 says:

    Glad Prentiss got the top job! Her or Rossi.
    And glad they didn’t kill him off too, possibly to return in a few years time for something somehow…..

  22. Myles says:

    Prediction – Shemar Moore will be back at some point – well documented problems with Gibson on set…this show will continue on and do fine without Hotch – Prentiss will lead the team and as long as the writing stays strong, CM will move ever forward!

    • BWine says:

      I totally agree. I think Shemar will be back at some point too, and then we’ll have Derek AND Delko which will just be too much hotness for me to handle!!

  23. Steven says:

    I dont watch the show anymore since Hotch left. To me its just not the same show IMO.

  24. rt says:

    people who are complaining should have tried to watch the episode objectively – it was one of the best episodes of the show – I was thoroughly creeped out and had to fight back the tears at the end – I couldn’t have cared less how Gibson was written out – just wanted to be entertained for an hour and I was

  25. Missie Bev says:

    I guess we (The FANS )are not important enough for this to be resolved so as Agent Hitch exits so she’ll I ! I know I’m only 1 “FAN” I really thought this could be resolved! To the rest of the VERY IMPORTANT CAST OF CRIMINAL MINDS THANK YOU AGAIN !

  26. Well, not that Hotch is gone, NEVER have to watch it again. Don’t care for Prentiss.

  27. andrew hass says:

    I think that was the best way to write off Hotch because he puts his son first and so in a way he goes out in a heroic way.Plus when Criminal Minds ends maybe Hotch comes back in the final episode for some reason.

  28. Kendall says:

    I love the show and I love Emily Prentiss I’m so happy that she’s back!!!! Welcome home Emily Prentiss!!!

  29. Jeff says:

    No Hitch no watch! Not sure I can seriously watch this show anymore! But maybe..just maybe it will be OK, but never as good without Hitch!

  30. Lois clark says:

    Hotch was the backbone of the show. We could care less about his temper. Y’all need to deal with that some other way. Leave him in the episodes or it’s the Weather Chanel for us!

  31. colleen says:

    Are you censoring comments in support of Thomas Gibson. I neither cursed or went off topic. So what happened to my post?

  32. Mitzi says:

    Criminal Minds will NEVER BE THE SAME😈😢

  33. drhenning says:

    Just watched this episode ( if I were still a Nielsen household.. I”d be a Live + 3 ) and tought they handled the Hotch thing just right..

  34. mrs poofles says:

    I’m surprised by how many people seem to be missing Hotch. To me, he always seemed so stiff and gloomy. It might be a more light-hearted show now, relatively speaking, but that’s a good thing in my book.

    The latest episode was terrific– almost like something early Steven Spielberg might have written– with it’s sweet spunky children in the present and the parallel story of the children affected by the earlier kidnapping. Thumbs up, CM!

  35. grys03 says:

    Neither happy or unhappy with Hotch’s leaving, life happens.
    .
    I’m more concerned with Prentiss as the new director. Again happy to have her back as part of the team but like Rossi’s character both get to invested emotionally & are prone to making decisions based on those emotions.
    .
    Unfortunately they are the only 2 that sort of ‘fit’ the profile (& that would have included Morgan for different reasons). Hotch’s character was sufficiently dispassionate to assign tasks & act as an anchor – Prentiss however feels like she needs to be anchored.
    .
    Not sure how this will work or whether it will aid the possible ending to the series.

  36. Em says:

    It’s a shame that Thomas Gibson’s actions have not just put him out of a job, but looks like they put Cade Owens out of a job too.

  37. Meka says:

    I’m glad they didn’t kill him. Too many shows use this an easy, lets get rid of them for good, method to dispose of characters when the actor leaves. I think the reasons were a little convoluted for 30 seconds of exposition, but I guess they needed a reason for him to disappear a few weeks ago and explain what actually happened now to make it permanent.

  38. Michelle lane says:

    I really can’t believe hotch is gone. Its bull to fire him over an argument. Its called grow up and get over it. He deserves to be back. I’ve been watching show forever. U take away too many good actors

    Bring him back

  39. Sherry Clark says:

    kicking another adult is pretty out there but he is so good on the show why not give him another chance along with some anger classes !

  40. Rory Ltz says:

    I watched the 6 episode of Season 12, and I found the following: these reasons that put, as much as Jack has suffered enough with the work of his father Aaron, is not and never was the posture that he left in the 11 seasons, not Is the profile of him …. I would love him to come back, saying that he could not stand being outside of BAU and is returning to get definitive the serial killer.

  41. Rikki says:

    Personally, I have every season of criminal minds. And despite loving every character that is on the show…the characters of Hotchner and Prentice have done the show justice and their characters justice in their own rights. Through out several seasons. Despite what others have commented. The show itself should be highly appreciated for it’s success due to the directors, writers, and the whole cast and crew!! Everybody has in one time or another made a mistake, and has had to accept the consequences for their actions. But it’s not right for anyone to make judgment by saying that the show will be cancelled soon, due to the changes being made. Nobody knows what the future holds and I for one do hope that the Thomas Gibson will return to Criminal minds and the show continues to be a success for all that are involved.

  42. Sherry Clark says:

    Hopeful for Gibson’s return but I have the feeling if he was ask that he would not return, Just another disappointment in life.

  43. Philip says:

    I think that the show is doing fine ATM. We’ll see in the long run, but I’m enjoying it so far.

  44. kratomcafe says:

    I’m a true CM junkie! I seriously thought Rossi would lead after Hotch was written out. Now Spence is barely around, The new guy is so boring & looks as if he’s reading from the screen like wtf come on somebody helpppppppp

  45. Tammy Aviles says:

    We want Hotch back get rid of the co executive producer. Hotchner is Criminal Minds after losing Shemar Moore to lose Thomas Gibson it’s too much we want him back. He’s been with the show for too long to get rid of him over something that petty let’s not act like we’re in High School this is television and we rate you

  46. Sherry Clark says:

    Enjoy on-I’m out

  47. Sherry Clark says:

    I’m with you.Why did Morgan leave ?

  48. thomas gibson says:

    hey he tripped my up that why i kicked my writer

  49. thomas gibson says:

    im thomas gibson i only had a fight because he tripped me