‘Criminal Minds’: Shemar Moore And Kirsten Vangsness Flirting Again? What About Thomas Gibson? [Opinion]

Criminal Minds is ready to pull out all the stops in Season 13 to regain lost viewers. At least, they will pull out all the stops except the biggest one. While they might feature cameos of Shemar Moore, it doesn’t look like they plan to bring back Thomas Gibson.

Shemar Moore left Criminal Minds at the end of Season 11, abandoning his role as Derek Morgan for greener pastures. Fans, however, missed Derek’s playful flirtations with “Baby Girl” Kirsten Vangsness. Criminal Minds fans loved those cute and funny Moore and Vangsness interactions.

While Criminal Minds fans were sad that Shemar Moore would not be there to flirt with Kirsten Vangsness, many became enraged when Thomas Gibson was fired only a few episodes later in Season 12. Even worse, Thomas Gibson fans at #NoHotchNoWatch felt ABC and CBS were attacking Thomas Gibson in their reporting of the matter.

Thomas Gibson fans formed #NoHotchNoWatch to protest Thomas Gibson’s firing from Criminal Minds. The hashtag #NoHotchNoWatch was used to boycott the show, holding Twitter-fests to organize against CBS and ABC’s joint decision to dismiss Thomas Gibson. The boycott has expanded to encompass a boycott of both ABC and CBS.

Some Criminal Minds fans once enjoyed the show with Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore, but they decided it wasn’t their favorite anymore without Moore and Gibson and rallied to the #NoHotchNoWatch cause.

While Kirsten Vangsness, Matthew Gray Gubler, and the rest of the cast are masterful in their roles, the absence of Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore is still a glaringly obvious problem. The sudden departure of Thomas Gibson left some pretty noticeable plot holes.

Criminal Minds went on a casting frenzy last season, hiring more stars to offset the void left by Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore. Adam Rodriguez, Aisha Tyler, and Paget Brewster will return full time for Criminal Minds Season 13, but Damon Gupton will not.

Each week, during Criminal Minds air time, #NoHotchNoWatch has a Twitter-fest. Thomas Gibson fans tweet under two hashtags, #NoHotchNoWatch and a secondary hashtag that changes each week.

This week’s Thomas Gibson-inspired Twitter-fest hashtags are #NoHotchNoWatch and #ThomasGibsonRocks. The Twitter-fest time has been moved from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. to correspond with the Criminal Minds time slot, but it is fine to tweet any time on #NoHotchNoWatch.

Former Criminal Minds star Shemar Moore told TV Guide he’d be happy to help Criminal Minds stay afloat despite his new role on S.W.A.T. Shemar said he could come by the set and let Derek Morgan flirt with Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia sometime.

“I told all the fans, I keep telling them those elevators closed and they can always open up again. Right now, my focus is Hondo [Shemar Moore’s character on S.W.A.T], but if [Derek] needed to come back and flirt with his baby girl and take care of business, it could happen.”

Criminal Minds is apparently teasing cameo appearances with Shemar Moore in Season 13. Shemar Moore has been missed as well, and if anything could help Criminal Minds decline in ratings, it would be the return of Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson. Will Thomas Gibson ever be reinstated?

Criminal Minds star Paget Brewster is so far the only cast member to publically address Thomas Gibson’s absence. See Paget’s response to Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson’s departure below.

Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer told TV Guide last season that it would be years before ABC and CBS were willing to even discuss Gibson’s return. Despite the absence of both Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore really hurting the show, ABC and CBS refuse to rehire Thomas Gibson.

“It’s hard to do those kinds of things. I think you saw that with Mandy [Patinkin] and we were never able to see him again. If the show goes on 10 more years, who the heck knows? But there’s nothing I can think about right now because it’s not in the immediate future.”

Criminal Minds producers thought Mandy Patinkin’s departure in Season 3 would destroy their show, but for the ratings, it was hardly even a blip on the radar. Thomas Gibson became the unit chief and the show was golden, but this time, with Shemar Moore’s voluntary departure and Thomas Gibson’s dismissal, Criminal Minds has simply gone too far this late in the game.

Additionally, ABC and CBS have managed to enrage an entire demographic of hardcore Criminal Minds fans. CBS and ABC appear to be defiant in the face of Thomas Gibson’s loyal hardcore fans, who only ask their Criminal Minds show to be restored and whole. Do networks no longer care what viewers want to see?

Criminal Minds is promising a great Season 13. They have Matthew Gray Gubler as Dr. Spencer Reid returning from prison. Gubler’s character, Dr. Reid, will reportedly be traumatized and troubled after his harrowing experience last season.

Thomas Gibson and Matthew Gray Gubler of Criminal Minds
Thomas Gibson and Matthew Gray Gubler [Image by Christian Alminana/ AP Images]

The absence of Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore as Hotch and Morgan made Reid seem even more alone in his suffering last season. Now with talk of Shemar Moore returning for cameos on Criminal Minds, will there finally be a much-needed scene between Matthew Gray Gubler and Shemar Moore?

Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook could step up for more drama since they negotiated for equal pay with Matthew Gray Gubler. Criminal Minds relied on Gubler’s acting abilities completely in Season 12, but how long will fans enjoy seeing Spencer Reid tormented and tortured? Will Vangsness and Cook see equal torment as Penelope and JJ? Will they have equal torture for equal pay?

Criminal Minds will be returning an old and favorite villain, cannibalistic serial killer Floyd Feylinn Ferell. Floyd will return in Episode 6 of Season 13. Ferell (portrayed by Jamie Kennedy) was first seen in a Season 3 episode titled “Lucky.”

Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer told TV Line it would be fun, but it’s also going to be rough on Kirsten Vangness as Penelope Garcia. Penelope got shot in the “Lucky” episode of Season 3, which wasn’t so lucky for Kirsten Vangsness’ character at all.

“It’s going to be so much fun. It’s going to dredge up a lot of reminders for the team and the struggles that people had with faith in that episode. [Garcia is] going to deal with a reminder of that time in her life.”

Criminal Minds’ former fans at #NoHotchNoWatch are trying to deal with a time in their own lives when their favorite star, namely Thomas Gibson, was removed from their favorite show. Those fans are adamant that nothing short of the return of Hotch or a formal apology to Thomas Gibson from CBS and ABC would be sufficient to make them watch Criminal Minds again.

Is Criminal Minds Season 13 strategy enough to stop the exodus of other viewers seen in Season 12? Well, returning Shemar Moore for cameo visits would be an excellent start. However, tormenting characters as they did with Matthew Gray Gubler’s beaten and bruised prison scenes might not be the best long-term strategy.

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]

Criminal Minds Season 12 strategy might be too depressing to continue. Just look at how many viewers The Walking Dead lost when they tortured Daryl and killed Glenn with a baseball bat. A little drama now and then is great, even if it is sad, but creating an oppressive atmosphere for an entire season might backfire if they try it again. Besides, Matthew Gray Gubler has been through enough as Spencer Reid.

Criminal Minds suffered a significant loss of viewers, as well as a loss of goodwill among hardcore fans. The only thing that could fix it for #NoHotchNoWatch is the return of Thomas Gibson. ABC and CBS, however, remain unmoved. Erica Messer commented that maybe in 10 years, they might think about it? Well, #NoHotchNoWatch is waiting. They aren’t going anywhere.


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Criminal Minds without Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore will attempt to attract more viewers in Season 13.

[Featured Image by Helga Esteb/Shutterstock]