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

Kim McLendon - Author

Dec. 27 2017, Updated 3:27 a.m. ET

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.


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