Criminal Minds has enjoyed a decade of dedicated fans, and many of them have particularly loved the lead actor Thomas Gibson’s character, Aaron Hotchner. The lead character was a brilliant, serious, and somewhat tortured soul who was torn between being a good dad and flying around the country catching serial killers. However, Thomas Gibson apparently does not have the patience his character Aaron Hotchner does.
Accounts of what happened during the final incident that would cause Gibson to be fired by CBS vary, but all agree on the major events: Gibson and a writer for Criminal Minds were arguing over whether the character Hotchner was repeating himself during a scene. Things escalated, and Gibson made some type of physical contact with the writer – some say he kicked him. Regardless, all agree that he physically assaulted him. Because it was not the first time that CBS writers and producers had encountered Gibson’s fiery temper, they made the decision to fire him. This came as a shock to fans who have witnessed his character lead the FBI unit through more than 250 episodes of heavy subject content, according to Cinema Blend.
While many fans have said that replacing Gibson with an adequate character will not be possible, many continue to watch the show to see how CBS decides to write Hotchner off the show. During the most recent episode, his absence was noted by saying he had “gone away on special temporary assignment,” but that does nothing to permanently end the tenure of Aaron Hotchner. Some fans have hoped it means that CBS will forgive Gibson and re-hire him, but that seems very unlikely since it has already been announced that his replacement, Damon Gupton, has been hired and will make an appearance during Season 8. If Hotchner is on a “special assignment,” won’t he come back at some time? Or will the show just announce that something tragic happened to him during his “special assignment”?
Cinema Blend reader John Hockenberry commented he believed this would be the case.
“They’ll probably eventually get word he was killed on special assignment, do an episode where they track down his killer and do a short montage.”
CNN appears to also believe we have officially seen the last of Aaron Hotchner, as well. Character Emily Prentiss will be brought back temporarily to help with the transition while “Hotch is away on assignment.” During Wednesday night’s show, Hotchner seemed to be already fading into the background as he was given little to do. He ended his scenes by ordering the character of Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, played by A.J. Cook, to take some time off after a horrific case that seemed to deeply resonate with her. It is not unusual for the character of Hotchner to personally talk to, counsel, and request that his team members take a break, but CNN reported that was essentially all Gibson’s character did during the episode.
Many fans have expressed that they fear Gibson’s departure from Criminal Minds will be the final nail in the coffin for the show. Although the show has lost other beloved characters in the 10-year time frame, the character of Aaron Hotchner was one that seemed to “rally the troops” in his careful, controlled manner. Gibson himself told People that he was “hurt” by the decision to fire him and how it was handled.
“It seems like they’re trying to erase me from the show. That hurts. But I’m using this time to be with my kids, and I look forward to what’s next. Maybe I’ll do a comedy, or a play, or direct, or produce.”
Criminal Minds fans, what do you think? Have we seen the last of Aaron Hotchner?
[Featured Image by Cliff Lipson/Getty Images]