‘Criminal Minds’ Finale: Shemar Moore Returns, Reid Is Out Of Prison, But #NoHotchNoWatch Continues [Opinion]

Criminal Minds is trying to repair the CBS crime drama’s plot after Season 12 brought the lowest ratings in the show’s long history. Shemar Moore is back at least for the season finale as Derek Morgan. Matthew Gray Gubler’s character, Spencer Reid, is out of prison, but Thomas Gibson has not returned as Hotch, so the #NoHotchNoWatch boycott fights on.

Criminal Minds’ troubles started when Shemar Moore left, leaving a Derek Morgan-sized hole in the cast, but firing Thomas Gibson as Hotch embattled the show with angry viewers. There are some fans who just miss Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore enough that they have lost interest in Criminal Minds. The hashtag #NoHotchNoWatch is actively boycotting Criminal Minds and protesting on Twitter each Wednesday night until Thomas Gibson gets an offer to return and a formal apology.

Since Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore’s absence, the crime drama has lost nearly a quarter of its viewing audience. Thomas Gibson fans are furious, and Shemar Moore fans are also disappointed — even though Shemar Moore left Criminal Minds of his own accord. Matthew Gray Gubler continues to power on through the hardships with tremendous skill as an actor.

The #NoHotchNoWatch activists say the show, which was once their favorite, isn’t any good without Thomas Gibson as Hotch. Further, #NoHotchNoWatch is seriously offended by the way veteran actor Thomas Gibson was treated by CBS.

Matthew Gray Gubler remains as technically the only original male cast member, though Joe Mantegna has been part of Criminal Minds for 10 years. Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore were both original cast members. Matthew Gray Gubler has shouldered the brunt of the drama this season, as his character has suffered an unbelievable list of misfortunes.

Matthew Gray Gubler’s Spencer Reid is at least out of prison after being cleared of murder charges last week, but his mother, who suffers from both schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s, has been abducted. Spencer Reid has also suffered amnesia this season, so yes, the character’s suffering is pretty uncanny at this point.

Criminal Minds Mandy Patinkin, Lola Glaudini, Matthew Gubler, Shemar Moore
Criminal Minds Mandy Patinkin, Lola Glaudini, Matthew Gubler, Shemar Moore Image by Peter Kramer/Getty Images]

Criminal Minds perhaps over-corrected for their casting problems by introducing numerous new characters, both among the BAU team and among the cast of recurring villains. The early season’s plot was overshadowed by casting changes and introductions.

Criminal Minds veteran Shemar Moore will return for a guest appearance as Derek Morgan during the Season 12 Finale. Will he return again next season? That could depend on how well the pilot for S.W.A.T. turns out.

Criminal Minds Season 12 finale will focus on the rescue of Spencer Reid’s mother, portrayed by Jane Lynch, according to TV Buddy. Shemar Moore’s Derek is there to help, and Matthew Gray Gubler will again be challenged to go above and beyond as an actor. Thomas Gibson still hasn’t been invited back.

Shemar Moore has a leading role in another potential crime drama, thus his return to Criminal Minds is likely temporary. If the show’s pilot is strong enough to be chosen for their first season, Shemar Moore will almost definitely not be back, except perhaps for an occasional visit, because of S.W.A.T.

Shemar Moore of S.W.A.T. formerly of Criminal Minds
Shemar Moore of S.W.A.T. formerly of Criminal Minds [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

However, if S.W.A.T. isn’t accepted as a new CBS series, Shemar Moore might possibly want his old job back on Criminal Minds. S.W.A.T. sounds promising though, and Shemar Moore has the lead role. It is the role portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson in the movie of the same name, according to Deadline.

Matthew Gray Gubler has proven himself as an amazing dramatic actor, as Spencer Reid dealt with more than his share of tragedy. Still, these situations kept him away from the team for much of the season. For more on Matthew Gray Gubler’s fantastic performances as Spencer Reid, see this article from the Inquisitr.

Criminal Minds’ season finale with Shemar Moore and Matthew Gray Gubler will have almost everything fans have complained about all season, except the main thing disgruntled fans want to see most. Protesting fans want Thomas Gibson to return to Criminal Minds as Hotch.


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Criminal Minds will air its finale tonight on CBS. At the same time, #NoHotchNoWatch has an “epic” Twitter fest celebrating Thomas Gibson planned under the hashtags #NoHotchNoWatch and #GibsonArmy. The group of Thomas Gibson fans holds a massive Twitter party every week to coincide with the airing of Criminal Minds, but tonight promises to be special.

Criminal Minds with Matthew Gray Gubler as Spencer and Shemar Moore as Morgan (at least temporarily), but without Thomas Gibson as Hotch, will air on CBS at 9 p.m.

[Featured Image by Mark Mainz/Getty Images]