Ever since the news first broke that Criminal Minds would be ending with season 15, one of the questions that we know many people have wondered is simply this: Could Thomas Gibson return for the final episodes?
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We’ve long approached this idea from the perspective of doubt. Given the way in which he was dismissed from the show following an on-set incident, it didn’t seem as though there was any clear path to bring him back. It’s also not something that we’ve heard the producers express too much interest in doing, even if story-wise they did choose to leave Hotch alive. Given what happened to Mr. Scratch, it’s also feasible to think that he could pop back into this world, even for just a brief moment. Is it possible that Hotch just found a way to live a peaceful life without the BAU, and doesn’t need to return? That’s at least the way that we’re viewing things at this particular moment in time.
Now, we have heard from Gibson himself regarding the final season. In a series of posts on Twitter (in response to an interview with Ed Bernero, who is returning to direct an episode in the final season), Thomas had the following to say on the show’s legacy, its end, and also wishing everyone behind the scenes the best through the final stretch:
I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work with everyone at CM. Now that it’s ending, I am again regretful, for the sake of the show’s fans, that I wasn’t able to see it through to its conclusion. I’m also sorry that my leaving created a wedge among the show’s supporters. I remain grateful to everyone there, the cast, crew, writers, producers, and production staff. I would encourage everyone to tune in, with me, to these final episodes, and celebrate the end of this great series.
It’s a classy message from Gibson, acknowledging his departure and also encouraging people to watch the show through as it reaches its endpoint. Regardless of how he exited the series, Gibson did work with a number of the cast and crew members still employed there and it’s clear he does wish them the best. He’s kept a fairly low-profile since Hotch’s final episode, as we have not seen him as a series regular in any other series.
Gibson is correct about his exit dividing fans — in the wake of his exit, there were some who criticized the show for his firing and even threatened to not watch. It remains a controversial topic, through Criminal Minds did continue its run for seasons without him as a lead.
Will Hotch at least be acknowledged in the final season?
This is what we’re hoping for — just a nod to the character who meant so much to the series. Even if production does want to move forward without the involvement of Gibson himself, you do have to separate the actor and the characters. They are different and Hotch has a specific legacy and friendships that needs to be upheld. We’re hoping that several different characters from the past are referenced in the final season, and it’s possible that someone like Shemar Moore could return given that he has made return appearances since his original exit from the show. (We wrote about that possibility recently over at the link here.)
The final season of Criminal Minds has no specified premiere date — we’d love to see it back this summer, but it could be as late as the fall or in the new year.
What do you think about Thomas Gibson’s message pertaining to Criminal Minds?
Be sure to share right now in the comments. (Photo: CBS.)