There are few situations when it comes to television and politics as frustrating and as disappointing as the one surrounding Thomas Gibson and his departure from “Criminal Minds,” especially since in retrospect of watching his final episode as Hotch, one thing remained all the clearer: Everyone lost.
For Gibson, it’s clear that he lost in that he lost his job as the lead of the show. He was one of television’s highest-paid stars, and there were no signs that this was slowing down anytime soon. Also, there’s the PR hit that comes with his dismissal. We weren’t there and don’t know the details of what happened with the incident, but what matters is that clearly higher-ups thought there was enough actual to merit a dismissal rather than a slap on the wrist.
For “Criminal Minds,” it’s pretty clear that the show loses without him. Even if firing him was the right move logically on their end, they are now facing a situation where their writers had to think on the fly and explain why Hotch is not coming back, and they are also losing someone who is a source of ratings. They also lose in that logistically, they likely thought that Gibson would be back for another episode at the time in which they were filming Wednesday’s episode. Had they known otherwise, they would have likely filmed a more proper farewell.
The biggest loser here is the fans. For more than a decade, viewers have watched Gibson as Hotch, understood his story, and stood by the character through tough times. There’s a familial sort of feeling that comes with staying by a show this long; you get to perceive the characters as real people. We like to imagine that there was a way, whether it be separating Gibson from the people he was in conflict with to getting just a couple more scenes out of him, that they could have sorted out something more akin to a proper farewell. We’re not disputing whether or not firing him was the right move, but you have to think of the fans in mind when you make such a decision.
Maybe there will be something more substantial coming in the weeks ahead. After all, “Criminal Minds” episodes are written a stretch before they film, and presumably the writers could have been a few installments ahead before they realized Gibson was fired. Originally, he was just meant to be written out of a couple of episodes as a result of the on-set incident that eventually led to further action being taken.
Do you think “Criminal Minds” handled, at least onscreen, the departure of Hotch well? Vote below.
If you’re interested, you can head over here to read our full written review for Wednesday’s “Criminal Minds” episode. Meanwhile, be sure to sign up over at this link to secure some other TV news on everything we cover at CarterMatt via our official newsletter. (Photo: CBS.)