‘Criminal Minds’ Returns September 27 Without Thomas Gibson: Daniel Henney Chosen Over Gupton [Opinion]

Criminal Minds will return this fall without Thomas Gibson or Damon Gupton. Shemar Moore reportedly indicated he might be able to do a few cameos during Season 13 if his schedule with S.W.A.T permits. Newcomer Daniel Henney from Beyond Borders will replace Gupton.

Daniel Henney will portray Agent Matthew Simmons, the same character he played on Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. Can Daniel Henney do anything to fill the tremendous void left by Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore?

Kirsten Vangsness revealed the circumstances of Matthew Simmon’s transfer into the BAU to TV Guide. It seems that the Criminal Minds writers have decided that the entire IRT unit was disbanded.

“[There was] some sort of scandal that made the IRT collapse. Am I supposed to say that?”

So, Kirsten Vangsness let out a great teaser to get Criminal Minds fans curious. Scandal is a fascinating word these days, but Thomas Gibson fans at #NoHotchNoWatch will not be enticed. Their boycott continues and the rumor is they are upping their game with new strategies.

As for Daniel Henney’s timely rescue from Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, that is confirmed. Erica Messer and Kirsten Vangsness told TV Guide, Daniel Henney’s Beyond Borders character Matthew Simmons will be joining the BAU.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders was canceled at the end of last season, but Daniel Henney was picked from the show’s wreckage to join Criminal Minds, at the expense of Damon Gupton.

Erica Messer had planned to start Criminal Minds Season 13 with Damon Gupton returning, but instead, Daniel Henney will be brought in from Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. The decision was made to let Gupton go and adopt Daniel Henney from Beyond Borders according to Erica Messer.

The Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer explained to TV Guide that some unnamed group had to choose between Daniel Henney and Damon Gupton.

“‘The discussions were, ‘Do you think Daniel would want to join Criminal Minds?‘ But of course to add one more that means someone’s not coming back and that’s never an easy thing when someone isn’t returning to the show.”

Criminal Minds Season 13 will star, veteran cast members, Matthew Gray Gubler, Padget Brewster, A.J. Cook, Kirsten Vangsness, and Joe Mantegna, as well as relative new comers Aisha Tyler and Adam Rodriguez. Apparently, all these made the cut for Season 13. Damon Gupton was not so lucky, as Erica Messer explained to TV Guide.

“The decision was made that made that Damon would not be returning and Daniel would be joining, so then it’s up to us to tell the stories and have them make sense.”

Erica Messer was careful not to name anyone who made that decision but did let viewers know there can be only eight BAU agents in Season 13 of Criminal Minds. It was inferred this was due to the budget and recent raises for A.J. Cook and Kirsten Vangsness. Is this Erica Messer’s way of telling #NoHotchNoWatch this will be another season without Thomas Gibson?

Erica Messer has given away much of the plot for the Criminal Minds Season 13 premiere in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Messer explained that Garcia will bring in Agent Simmons, portrayed by Daniel Henney to find a missing agent.

“Garcia [Kirsten Vangsness] has just learned that her team is in trouble. And the first person she calls is Agent Simmons. He drives them to the site of the last known signal from the team. They discover this horrific car accident. Once they see who is injured, they discover that someone is missing.”

The Criminal Minds premiere will center around a search for one of the cast members. Garcia and Simmons portrayed by Kirsten Vangsness and Daniel Henney will work together to find the missing agent.

Thomas Gibson, A.J. Cook and Matthew Gray Gubler
Thomas Gibson, A.J. Cook and Matthew Gray Gubler Image By Kathy Hutchins Shutterstock

#NoHotchNoWatch continues to protest the firing of Thomas Gibson, one year ago. No matter how many BAU agents are brought into the Criminal Minds cast, there will never be another Aaron Hotchner, and the show is not the same for them without Thomas Gibson.

Criminal Minds ratings suffered in Season 12, perhaps due to #NoHotchNoWatch, or the plot hole left by Thomas Gibson’s sudden departure, or the way Gibson’s departure was handled in the media. It might have also been simply the absence of Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore.

Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer made it very clear to TV Guide that Damon Gupton was respected and loved on the set of Criminal Minds. This is something that was not expressed when Thomas Gibson was fired. Perhaps Erica is learning from her mistakes, but there is a contrast.

“[Gupton is] somebody who is so respected in our family of Criminal Minds. It did happen. Behind the scenes, we were dealing with, ‘Oh, this lovely person just came in and we were so lucky to work with him and it was not long enough, but there they go.”

Erica Messer Criminal Minds writer
Erica Messer Criminal Minds Showrunner by Imeh Akpanudosen

Erica Messer seemed to soothe herself with the positive outcome. She refers to Damon Gupton finding a place on The CW when discussing the situation with TV Guide. Gupton has already landed another TV role on a new show Black Lightning.

“And of course, it took about a minute before he was on something else amazing [The CW’s upcoming Black Lightning]. But those moments are just crummy.”

Erica Messer says those moments, when someone is fired are crummy. Sadly, Criminal Minds has had far too many of those moments.

Still, Erica Messer told TV Guide she feels the Criminal Minds cast is happy to have Daniel Henney.

“Introducing Daniel’s character into this world has been a good time. Everybody’s in love with him behind the scenes, so that makes things much easier. It’s lovely. He brings a new energy to the show.”


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As Criminal Minds enters its Thirteenth Season, showrunner Erica Messer reveals how Daniel Henney will be introduced, but not how Damien Gupton will exit.

[Featured Image by Helga Esteb/Shutterstock and Richard Shotwell/AP Images]