Could Thomas Gibson Return To ‘Criminal Minds’? The Plot Leaves Opportunity, But Who Has The Authority To Bring Back Hotch?

Could Thomas Gibson return to Criminal Minds? Gibson supporters, including those who use the hashtag #NoHotchNoWatch, may take heart in last week’s episode. It appears that executive producer Erica Messer, who wrote this episode, is not closing the door on a return for Agent Hotchner.

Thomas Gibson supporters could find some shred of hope in last week’s episode of Criminal Minds, at least from a plot perspective. Gibson’s character, Aaron Hotchner, is still alive and in the witness protection program along with his son.

However, #NoHotchNoWatch is not impressed and continue to boycott under hashtags like #ThankYouThomasGibson, #SupportThomasGibson, #WeSupportThomasGibson, #ThomasGibson, #WheresHotch, #MissingHotch, and #StillMissingHotch.

Thomas Gibson’s character, Hotch, and his son are hiding out from a scary unsub, called Mr. Scratch, in this Criminal Minds arc. Scratch will target Dr. Tara Lewis in Episode 7 by convincing one of his mind-controlled victims that he is Lewis’ brother. Meanwhile, Dr. Lewis will not be able to locate her real brother, according to Spoilers Guide. This leaves the BAU searching for Scratch, which could take all season, or even longer, but it seems probable they will catch him eventually.

While Thomas Gibson’s actual return to Criminal Minds depends on other factors, as well as plot development, it is encouraging that Aaron Hotchner was not killed off. The script was written by executive producer Erica Messer and directed by Matthew Gray Gubler. That could explain the positive outcome of the plot. Gubler has a lot of artistic freedom in the shows he directs. It could also explain why some of the lines seem to parallel the real-life situation.

It is almost as if Matthew Gray Gubler is speaking to fans in one segment in the last five minutes of Criminal Minds Episode 6. In other segments, characters seem to be expressing real feelings about the issue within the script.

Thomas Gibson’s character has gone into witness protection, and the co-stars’ characters are upset. In the first seven minutes of the episode, Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) asks if Hotch will come back if Scratch is caught.

“He went away believing that could happen. But things have changed…”

Thomas Gibson fans will remember that when Gibson was relieved of duty, it was supposed to be just a suspension. A week later, it was announced Thomas was fired.

Agent Rossi explains that Hotch has resigned for the sake of his son’s safety. Penelope asks if that means they can never talk to Hotch or see him again.

Rossi replies, “You don’t have a choice.”

Matthew Gray Gubler and Kirsten Vangsness do not have any choice in Thomas Gibson’s termination either. The cast of Criminal Minds are in the same situation as any other employee who finds out their co-worker got fired, well other than the fact they make over a million dollars a year. That income would be hard to replace.

Thomas Gibson and Kirsten Vangsness [Image by Helga Esteb/Shutterstock]

Matthew Gray Gubler is speaking as Dr. Spencer Reid — or is he? — when he tells Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) to take the job at the end of Episode 6 in Season 12 of Criminal Minds. Gubler speaks to the audience with misty eyes and an urgent voice, almost as if he was a hostage trying to get a message out over a hidden cell phone.

“I think we’ve been through a lot of changes, and we always figure it out. Morgan left and now Hotch, but if you stay it will be OK… If you don’t take the position there going to bring in some stranger to be the unit chief and I don’t know how that will turn out.”

Thomas Gibson’s co-star Matthew Gray Gubler speaks uncharacteristically fast as if he were a hostage giving a clue to his whereabouts before his kidnappers could snatch that phone away. Gubler’s delivery of that Spencer Reid line in the last few minutes of Episode 6 of Criminal Minds Season 12 is out of character for slow-speaking Spencer. Matthew’s voice is more like Gubler himself, not Reid, but the tone is urgent and rushed.

What Matthew Gubler says about Thomas Gibson’s departure is telling, but the tone even more so. Is Gubler expressing his own frustration and that he’s seeking security wherever he can find it in the absence of his pals? He sounds especially traumatized.

Thomas Gibson’s departure from Criminal Minds left a huge hole in the BAU when Hotch was written out of the show. It was thought that a new cast member would replace Hotch, but now it appears that Paget Brewster has replaced him instead. That is at least a prudent decision for the show since there are already several new cast members. One more would definitely tip the apple cart for even more fans and make it clear that Hotch was replaced, not just filled in for by a regular cast member.

Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore leaving Criminal Minds in the same season has already tipped the apple cart for a vast number of fans. Shemar Moore left the show to make a movie and pursue other opportunities, but when Gibson was fired on the heels of Moore’s departure, fans said no more. Fans rebelled and started a Twitter protest and boycott of the show with the #NoHotchNoWatch hashtag.

Are Erica Messer and Matthew Gray Gubler trying to tell fans it isn’t up to them? It’s certainly not up to the actors. They are as powerless as fans to take action against their bosses. Could Erica feel powerless as well?

Thomas Gibson is working with many of the Criminal Minds cast members on an indie movie called Axis that will be released in 2017. This enables many of Gibson’s friends from the show to still see him, in the promotion of Axis.

The Criminal Minds cast obviously has no options. What can they do? They don’t have the authority to re-hire Thomas Gibson, but who does. It is all about the chain of command.

Thomas Gibson’s return is a decision for CBS, and ABC studios ultimately. The show’s creator, Jeff Davis, and the executive producers, Erica Messer, and Mark Gordon might be able to bring Gibson back if they were in agreement, but it might not even be up to them. It depends on how high up the decision came from.

Virgil Williams, one of about eight co-executive producers for Criminal Minds, according to IMDb, says he has no intention of working with Gibson in the future, according to iTech Post. It was Williams who Gibson allegedly kicked.

Thomas Gibson [Image by Frederick M. Brown/GettyImages]

Thomas Gibson and Virgil Williams of Criminal Minds obviously have their differences now. Williams and the other eight co-executive producers are in the chain of command immediately below Davis, Messer, and Gordon, according to the Producer’s Guild,in an explanation of executive producers and co-executive producers.

“The credit of Executive Producer is to be granted to the individual whose only reporting responsibility is to the entities financing and distributing the series. [That would be ABC, CBS, Various commercial sponsors, and the Disney Corporation] The Co-Executive Producer reports directly and immediately to the Executive Producer, from whom the Co-Executive Producer assumes direct supervisory responsibilities for above and below the line operations. The credit of Co-Executive Producer is granted solely at the discretion of the Executive Producer.”

In other words, co-executive producers are appointed by one or more executive producers and answer directly to those executive producers. Executive producers are accountable to the networks only. They are the boss of the show but have to bow to specific wishes of the networks.

Thomas Gibson has been a part of Criminal Minds for 12 years. In that time, no less than 10 co-executive producers have come and gone. No boycott has ever been held in response to the loss of a co-executive producer. Their departures go unnoticed by fans, but they are the actor’s bosses. Still, in the end, the audience should be the real boss.

Virgil Williams has only been with Criminal Minds since 2011. It appears Williams was brought in to replace Simon Mirren, who departed the show in 2011 and went on to create a TV series called Versailles in 2015, according to IMDb.

Thomas Gibson was fired due to an incident with Virgil Williams. It is important to remember that Williams is a co-executive producer, not just a writer. Only the executive producers and the networks outrank him. There are seven other co-executive producers who share that level of authority, though.

Although Virgil Williams is a relative newcomer to Criminal Minds, he worked on ER from 2002 to 2009. Is he somehow connected to someone high up in the networks?

Has Thomas Gibson’s termination stirred up a division among the Criminal Minds family? Do some producers and network executives side with Gibson while others prefer to side with Virgil Williams? Are the cast members behind Gibson? If they are, they could not make a statement to the press or face potential termination or perhaps a civil lawsuit.


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Thomas Gibson And Criminal Minds Co-producer Virgil Williams: Why Is ABC Studios Letting A Single Instant Reflex Wreck The Show?

Why Not Rehire Thomas Gibson? Will ABC Studios Decide To Save Criminal Minds?

Who Fired Thomas Gibson From ‘Criminal Minds’? The #NoHotchNoWatch Boycott Continues

Thomas Gibson Was Fired Instead Of Suspended: An Examination Of ‘Criminal Minds’ Previous Terminations

Thomas Gibson Fans Continue To Boycott ‘Criminal Minds’: Why Are They So Loyal?

Thomas Gibson fans have boycotted Criminal Minds, and other viewers seem to have missed the show a lot this season as well. The average viewers for the show were about 12 to 15 million for Seasons 1 to 11, but now, in Season 12, the average viewers per episode are less than 8 million, according to TV by the Numbers.

Will Criminal Minds survive the departure of Thomas Gibson? To fans, it seems such an easy fix. All they have to do is rehire Gibson and perhaps ask Shemar Moore back for an occasional visit and everything will be fine. Does the network care enough to do that? Could Erica Messer step in and make the call to bring Thomas back if she wanted to, or is it out of her hands?

Thomas Gibson fans continue to boycott Criminal Minds until Hotch is back under hashtag #NoHotchNoWatch.

[Featured Image by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]

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