‘Criminal Minds’: The Real Reason Thomas Gibson (Hotch) Left the Series

Criminal Minds is full of amazing characters that fans have grown fond of over the years and Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) is one of them. After his hasty exit, fans were understandably confused as to why Hotch was gone on a “special assignment.” So, what really happened? Read on to learn more.

Aaron Hotchner vanished from ‘Criminal Minds’

Thomas Gibson
Thomas Gibson | Eddy Chen/CBS via Getty Images

Thomas Gibson became a household name to many when he appeared on Criminal Minds. He’s been around since the very beginning in 2005. He played the BAU’s unit chief and served as the boss to all the special agents. After 11 glorious seasons, Hotch seemed to vanish. He did make an appearance in season 12, but only in two episodes.

Then it was revealed that he was put into witness protection after his son was involved in stalking incidents. Peter Lewis, known as Mr. Scratch, had been stalking Hotch’s son Jack (Cade Owens) while at a soccer game. His character was supposedly trying to better focus on being a father and decided not to return to the BAU after coming to that decision.

Thomas Gibson was fired from ‘Criminal Minds’

So, what exactly happened? In 2016, Gibson was fired from the show after serving a two-week-long suspension due to an alleged physical altercation on the set. The incident occurred between Gibson and the writer and producer Virgil Williams. The situation occurred during the filming for season 12. An internal review was conducted and Gibson ended up with the boot after allegedly kicking the producer.

Gibson issued a statement

Thomas Gibson decided to issue a statement after he was fired and spoke about his love for the series and for the people who watch Criminal Minds. “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,” Gibson said. “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.”

Thomas Gibson opened up about his side of the story

Thomas Gibson
Thomas Gibson | Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images

But Gibson didn’t stop there. He spoke to People about his side of what really happened. “I feel like it took years to make a good reputation and a minute to damage it,” Gibson told People. He said he was filming the second episode of season 12 on July 26 when things got a little heated with Virgil Williams.

“We were shooting a scene late one night when I went to Virgil and told him there was a line that I thought contradicted an earlier line,” Gibson revealed. “He said, ‘Sorry, it’s necessary, and I absolutely have to have it.’”

Gibson said he came back to the set and shared the information with others and Williams appeared. “He came into that room and started coming towards me. As he brushed past me, my foot came up and tapped him on the leg,” Gibson continued. “If I hadn’t moved, he would have run into me. We had some choice words, for which I apologized the next day, and that was it. It was over. We shot the scene, I went home – and I never got to go back.”

After his initial suspension, Gibson was told he was now “dismissed” from Criminal Minds. “My pride and reputation are hurt, but in the end I know the good work is what people will remember,” Gibson said. “I just need more opportunities to do good work and be a good guy.”

Even though Hotch is no longer on the series, there’s still hope he might appear in some way in the final season of Criminal Minds. It would be nice to see him reunite with the BAU agents one last time.