Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore, who portrayed Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner and Derek Morgan respectively, will be missed by Criminal Minds fans in 2017. Both were original cast members, a vanishing breed on CM. Gibson was terminated at the beginning of Season 12 and Moore resigned at the end of Season 11. At midseason Gibson's absence is still painful for #NoHotchNoWatch protesting fans.
Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness, and A.J. Cook who play Dr. Spencer Reid, Penelope Garcia. and Jennifer "J.J." Jareau respectively, were also among the original cast. There are only three left now. Criminal Minds fans feel especially close to these veteran cast members who started the show, 12 years ago. Each of these actors has logged in 241 to 262 episodes each.
Thomas Gibson has appeared in every episode of Criminal Minds from the first premier in 2005 until the second episode of Season 12 in 2016, for a total of 256 episodes. Shemar Moore has appeared in 250 episodes. The original cast was integral to the show. The Criminal Minds cast frequently directs and on occasion have even written episodes, in addition to their acting duties.Mandy Patinkin as Jason Gideon, and Lola Glaudini, as Ellie Greenway of the original cast left in the first few seasons, both of their own volition, as far as anyone knows. Showrunners believed that Criminal Minds would fold without Mandy Patinkin, but it never hurt their ratings. The show was designed around Mandy but when Thomas Gibson's character Aaron Hotchner was promoted to Unit Chief, it just worked.
Thomas Gibson, Kirsten Vangsness, and Matthew Gray Gubler were among the cast members who frequently wrote and directed on Criminal Minds. Thomas Gibson and Mathew Gray Gubler both took great pride in their abilities as directors, while Kirsten Vangsness likes to write.
Paget Brewster became Emily Prentiss on Criminal Minds in 2006. Since then, Paget has appeared on 135 episodes. She's come and gone a few times, and not always by choice. Joe Mantegna became David Rossi in 2007. Since then Mantegna has appeared in 241 episodes according to IMDb. These performers too are beloved veterans of Criminal Minds.
While Thomas Gibson was recently fired from Criminal Minds, and Shemar Moore reportedly left of his own volition, Criminal Minds is no stranger to rather abrupt and arbitrary casting changes. Many cast members have come and gone and a few have even returned.
If CBS had gotten their way back in 2010 and 2011, Criminal Minds would be down by two more veteran cast members, but fan protests, letters, and petitions kept CBS from firing original cast member A.J. Cook, and veteran actress Paget Brewster in Season 6, or more accurately brought them back.
What if Criminal Minds fans were not only missing Thomas Gibson, and Shemar Moore, but also Paget Brewster and A.J. Cook? What was CBS thinking in 2011?
Paget Brewster and A.J. Cook were both terminated from Criminal Minds during Season 6, with little explanation according to TV Guide. It was a lot like what is happening to Thomas Gibson, except that CBS admitted their termination was through no fault of their own. It was allegedly a budget cut. What Brewster and Cook went through was very upsetting for them both.
Paget Brewster is not afraid to speak about her Criminal Minds situation. Unlike with Thomas Gibson, and the story about the alleged kick that may have been accidental, no explanation at all was given for the termination of A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster. Paget Brewster explained in Cinema Blend.
"CBS had just called Ed Bernero and said, "I want new women." So we were fired, the fans were upset, there was a petition… I was heartbroken. I was so happy there. I loved everyone there, and it was easily one of the most hurtful things that have ever happened, to be fired because they wanted "new women." Our showrunner quit after that."
Thomas Gibson fans at #NoHotchNoWatch believe something like this may have been involved in Thomas Gibson's departure from Criminal Minds, even though an elaborate story has been told this time. Does CBS just fire stars randomly, for no reason? Paget Brewster and A.J Cook experienced it that way.
Paget Brewster and A.J. Cook were forced to return after less than one season. Paget Brewster explained a bit more of what happened to Cinema Blend a year ago. Brewster was pursuing other career options when it was announced she was returning to Criminal Minds. No one even asked her first. When she called to inquire what was going on, the answer was just shocking.
"They said, 'Well, they added another year to your contract for you to get those 17 episodes.' And I couldn't understand that. So I was forced to go back or... terrifying things were inferred. And I was kind of pissed, but then I went back and thought, 'I love everyone there!' I hated CBS. [What they did] was just scummy."A.J. Cook explained to TV Guide that it was the fans that brought her and Paget Brewster back to Criminal Minds.
"Their outpouring of support really blew me away. That's definitely the silver lining to being let go. The fans really let me know how they felt, and I guess they really let CBS know too."Thomas Gibson fans are protesting now, because of the way they feel about Gibson and the way he was dismissed. Will the Cook and Brewster method work for Thomas Gibson supporters? #NoHotchNoWatch don't just want Thomas Gibson back as Hotch. It should be Gibson's choice to return or not. What they want is a public acknowledgment that CBS and ABC were unfair, and that they exaggerated the circumstances.
Fabulous article @KimYMcLendon U captured the essence of #NoHotchNoWatch but we only want @ImThomasGibson 2 return if that's what he wants. https://t.co/RHE7t2X92e
— SWPhilli (@swpwallie) December 22, 2016
And here we have Jennifer, another fan on the #NoHotchNoWatch side! https://t.co/EJSfpCQ9dH
— Brenda S. V. (@TachibiWorld) December 23, 2016
The #NoHotchNoWatch movement is successfully spreading awareness & dispelling spin & lies. We just have to keep on keepin' on folks :D
— Zoey (@Zoey_1976) December 20, 2016
#KaraokeWithHotch #NoHotchNoWatch Two years ago, we were avidly watching. One year ago, we were avidly watching. Now, we're doing this.
— Laura T. Brooks (@LoraTLea) December 22, 2016
RELATED REPORTS FROM THE INQUISITR
As for other Criminal Minds departures, according to TVaholic Lola Glaudini, an original cast member who portrayed Ellie Greenway, quit in the second season to return to the East Coast. Similarly, Mandy Patinkin who portrayed Jason Gideon left after the third season because he could not deal with the violent nature of the show. Jeanne Tripplehorn, who played Alex Blake, is also said to have left voluntarily after two seasons according to The Guardian, Liberty Voice. Still, no one knows for certain.
Was Thomas Gibson's termination from Criminal Minds, similar to firing Paget Brewster and A.J. Cook for no reason six years ago?
[Featured Image by Peter Kramer/Getty Images]