Why did Hotch leave ‘Criminal Minds?’

Why did Hotch leave ‘Criminal Minds?’

Criminal Minds has been one of the longest-running crime procedurals on network television. So popular was the series that even after cancelation, it returned from the dead. 

The success is largely due to the chemistry between the characters. Fans have long enjoyed the rapport between Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), J.J. (A.J. Cook), and Penelope (Kirsten Vangsness). Even after Mandy Patinkin left his role as Jason Gideon after season 2, the rest continued on as a tightly-knit group led by Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner (Thomas Gibson). Hotch is the straight man who plays against the more outrageous characters of the series. A serious and dedicated agent, he leads the rest of the team in catching terrifying and complex UnSubs. But no matter how much he meant to his team and endeared himself to audiences, his influence did not last the show.

Hotch was officially written off the series in season 12 when a serial killer started stalking his son. The character went into witness protection and did not appear in the series again. Criminal Minds has had a history of a certain amount of turnover, but Hotch’s departure from the series was the result of events offscreen.

What happened to Hotch on Criminal Minds?

Photo via CBS

After over a decade on the series, Gibson was reprimanded following an on-set altercation with a writer. The news flooded outlets that the actor had kicked his co-worker while directing an episode for the season. At the time, the production considered suspending the actor for two weeks. However, Gibson was ultimately fired from the series. The performer released a statement via Variety that while he was regretful to leave the series, he cherished the time he spent with the cast and crew.

“There were creative differences on the set and a disagreement. I regret that it occurred. We all want to work together as a team to make the best show possible. We always have and we always will.”

Gibson was in a total of 257 episodes in the seasons spanning from 2005 – 2016. Since his departure, the actor has featured in a few projects, but none with the exposure that the crime series has had. Criminal Minds only lasted a few more seasons on CBS before cancelation following season 15.

But since it has been revived on Paramount Plus, there is still no indication that Hotch would be making a return. This result isn’t exactly surprising, considering many characters are missing from the series. Fans are particularly interested in when Reid will be reprising his role. As it stands now, Gibson appears to have cut ties with the show completely. All seasons of Criminal Minds and Criminal Minds: Evolution are available to stream on Paramount Plus.

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