‘Criminal Minds’: Stop The ‘Revolving Door’ Unless Thomas Gibson Is Walking Through [Opinion]

Criminal Minds with Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore was one of the most popular shows on CBS until Season 12. After Moore left and Gibson was unexpectedly terminated due to an alleged altercation with Co-Executive Producer Virgil Williams, ratings plummeted.

Criminal Minds‘ 18 – 49 demographic ratings were down by over 22 percent for Season 12, compared to the previous year, according to TV Series Finale. The show also has 17.15 percent less total viewers than in Season 11 when Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore were still part of Criminal Minds.

Criminal Minds started filming Season 13 in July, but it doesn’t appear that the CBS network has made any move to bring back Thomas Gibson. Shemar Moore reportedly has a new show called S.W.A.T. While Shemar Moore might return for another visit, it is doubtful he would return full time, considering his starring role on S.W.A.T.

Criminal Minds is getting all sorts of advice from various journalists, as well as a strong call out to mend their ways from #NoHotchNoWatch, a protest movement angered by the way the networks treated Thomas Gibson. Gibson portrayed Hotch on Criminal Minds.

Criminal Minds got some sound advice from TV Buddy though perhaps that advice did not go far enough. TV Buddy is tired of perpetual casting changes in this 12-year-old show.

“Isn’t anyone else tired of this revolving door? I sure am. Personally, I think Criminal Minds can survive without these additional characters and furthermore, that the show (and the fans) would be better off for it.”

Criminal Minds‘ “revolving door” casting strategy is getting old according to TV Buddy. The author is “tired of this revolving door” in casting.

“The Revolving Door Characters: Who’s come and gone in the past five seasons? Great question. And I’ll be honest, I had to look them all up because I couldn’t actually remember all of the character or actor names. They’re that forgettable.”

Criminal Minds lost Lola Glaudini as Elle Greenaway in the first season, and Mandy Patinkin neglected to return for Season 3, quitting without notice. Patinkin simply didn’t show up to portray Jason Gideon.

Criminal Minds producers were beside themselves and thought the show, which was written around Mandy Patinkin’s character, was ruined. Viewers, however, hardly seemed to notice. Thomas Gibson became the Unit Chief and was so perfect for the role that Mandy’s absence became inconsequential.

Criminal Minds‘ casting somehow appears to believe, following the departure of Mandy Patinkin that, viewers don’t care who is replaced. CBS dismissed A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster for no apparent reason, bringing them back a season later due to viewer protests.

A.J. Cook stayed after her return to Criminal Minds. Paget Brewster came and went several times, but is back full time as unit chief. A.J. Cook, Paget Brewster and Kirsten Vangsness are the veteran ladies still there after 12 years, despite a few periods of absence for Cook and Brewster.

Criminal Minds has exchanged a lot of female characters, most notably Jennifer Love Hewitt, who really didn’t last long at the BAU, and Jeanne Tripplehorn, who was doing a great job was lost in contract negotiations. Rachel Nichols has also come and gone.

Aisha Tyler is a recent newcomer to Criminal Minds and was brought on board to offset the sucking vacuum that is the absence of Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson. Aisha portrays Dr. Tara Lewis and though she is a fine actress, little or nothing short of Thomas Gibson’s return could be done to fix the real problem.

Matthew Gray Gubler, who practically carried Criminal Minds Season 12 on his back through a war zone of plunging ratings, is returning. Gubler’s character Dr. Spencer Reid went through many dramatic horrors in Season 12 of Criminal Minds.

Matthew Gray Gubler and Thomas Gibson Criminal Minds

Spencer Reid’s mentally ill mother got Alzheimer’s, Reid was falsely accused of murder and went to prison. To top it off, some crazy lady named Cat claimed Spencer was the father of her child.

Criminal Minds‘ writers’ solution to poor ratings and casting problems was to put Spencer Reid through the wringer. Matthew Gray Gubler rose powerfully to the occasion. If there was an award for actors going above and beyond the call of duty under adverse circumstances, Matthew Gray Gubler would win easily.

Matthew Gray Gubler is the last remaining original male Criminal Minds cast member, but Joe Mantegna has been part of the Criminal Minds cast since Season 3. Joe has also become a favorite after all these years.

In Season 12, Criminal Minds brought in Adam Rodriguez and Damon Gupton. Adam is returning but Damon is not. Damon is yet another victim of flippant Criminal Minds casting which seems to be up to ABC and CBS, not the show’s producers and showrunner directly.

Criminal Minds, according to TV Buddy, needs to stop dragging in new actors. It only confuses viewers, who hate to get attached anymore.

“One of the things that make this series so strong and long-lasting is the relationships between these original cast members. If you’ve been watching the series for 13 years, you know it’s not just about the murder and mayhem, it’s also about the interaction between the members of the team.”

Attachment to the original Criminal Minds cast is still strong. Attachment to Thomas Gibson was especially strong, and now, many fans are angry. It is one thing for viewers to gradually lose interest in a show over years, but that is not what happened. Criminal Minds ratings were pretty consistent for 11 seasons.

Thomas Gibson and Kirsten Vangsness on Criminal Minds

When Thomas Gibson was fired from Criminal Minds, ratings plummetted and fans protested. #NoHotchNoWatch is still furious after an entire year. The movement is growing not shrinking. They have big plans for Season 13 if Gibson has not returned.

The Criminal Minds cast had won the hearts of millions of viewers. Though it might be hard to understand how a show about horrendously violent crimes can be comforting, Criminal Minds simply is, mostly because of its cast, and especially Thomas Gibson. People found the consistency of all the characters and their interactions a comfort as described by TV Buddy.

“Since these characters have been on the show for so long, we know them, we love them and we follow their storylines, no matter what happens. There’s something comforting about watching the same characters for so long. Additionally, each of the characters from the (more or less) original team has a very specific role on the team and a very specific personality. These things create the dynamic of the team and keep the audience interested and engaged with the series.”

Criminal Minds weathered the loss of Mandy Patinkin after two seasons, despite worries that the show could not take the loss. Losing Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore 12 years into the story is a different question entirely.

Criminal Minds losing both Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore in a very short space of time saddened fans and nearly destroyed the show’s plot for a while, but more than that, fans are angry, hurt, and frustrated about Thomas Gibson’s firing.

Shemar Moore is missed as well, but at least he left Criminal Minds of his own accord and has landed another role. Shemar Moore’s Criminal Minds fans are will be able to see Shemar on S.W.A.T, but Thomas Gibson’s loyal fans are angry, not just sad.

Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore are sorely missed by fans, but hiring more actors only to fire them later, doesn’t seem to be a good solution as TV Buddy points out. The only real solution is to rehire Thomas Gibson and try to arrange guest spots for Shemar Moore, even if it is just a monthly cameo.


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Criminal Minds needs Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore and one year later, fans are still irate that Gibson was fired.

[Featured Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]