It’s the end of the road for Special Agent Aaron Hotchner. CBS Television Studios and ABC Studios have fired Thomas Gibson from Criminal Minds, the two companies announced on Friday.
“Thomas Gibson has been dismissed from Criminal Minds,” CBS Television Studios and ABC Studios said in a statement. “Creative details for how the character’s exit will be addressed in the show will be announced at a later date.”
The move to fire Gibson comes shortly after word leaked out that he had been suspended from the show for two-weeks following an on-set altercation with writer/producer Virgil Williams. Sources tell TVWise that said incident occurred some weeks back on an episode that Gibson was directing and Williams had scripted. A creative argument between the two quickly escalated and Gibson, interpreting a move from Williams as hostile, kicked him.
Some 24 hours ago, when the story first leaked, everyone involved was quite clear that an investigation was on-going and that Gibson’s long-term future on the show was under review (his contract was up at the end of this season). The fact that this is not the first violent outburst from the actor, who has played BAU Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner since the pilot in 2005, was a major factor. A number of years ago he pushed a writer on set, though in that instance he was not suspended and agreed to attend anger management classes.
“I love Criminal Minds and have put my heart and soul into it for the last twelve years. I had hoped to see it through to the end, but that won’t be possible now”, Thomas Gibson said in a statement. “I would just like to say thank you to the writers, producers, actors, our amazing crew, and, most importantly, the best fans that a show could ever hope to have.”
Sources have confirmed the official line that creative details for the exit of Aaron Hotchner have not been finalised. “This just happened”, one source said, before adding that the on-screen handling of the exit would fall on showrunner Erica Messer. I’m also told that while there is no plan in place, there is a potential to link the exit to an “already-planned storyline” which leads to the (already announced) return of Paget Brewster as Special Agent Emily Prentiss.