Portrayed by Thomas Gibson, Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner is the former head of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit in ‘Criminal Minds.’ Before becoming an FBI agent, Hotch was a prosecutor. He later became an FBI profiler in Seattle, Washington, before he was transferred to Quantico. A natural leader equipped with uncanny deductive skills, Gibson was one of the FBI’s best agents. While he approached most of his cases with a sense of clinical detachment, at certain times, he did let his emotions get the better of him. In season 5, his wife Haley is killed by an unsub named George Foyet, which prompts Hotch to beat the man to death. Hotch continued to lead the team even after this. However, despite his popularity, Gibson left the show in its 12th season. Here is everything you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Why Did Hotch Leave Criminal Minds?
In universe, Hotch was the unit chief for the BAU and the team’s media liaison officer alongside Penelope Garcia. After learning that an unsub named Peter Lewis or Mr. Scratch is after his son Jack, Hotch decides to go into the Witness Protection Program but not before selecting Emily Prentiss as his successor for the unit chief position.
Hotch doesn’t appear in season 13, but we are told that following Peter Lewis’ death, he and his son left Witness Protection Protection. However, instead of returning to the BAU, Hotch has decided to focus on raising his son. In the series finale, Hotch appears in Spencer Reid’s hallucination.
In the real world, Gibson was reportedly fired because of an altercation with a writer. “Thomas Gibson has been dismissed from ‘Criminal Minds,’” ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios revealed in a statement to Us Weekly. “Creative details for how the character’s exit will be addressed in the show will be announced at a later date.”
In his own statement to the same outlet, Gibson expressed his regret that he wouldn’t be part of ‘Criminal Minds’ until its end. “I love ‘Criminal Minds’ and have put my heart and soul into it for the last twelve years,” the actor said. “I had hoped to see it through to the end, but that won’t be possible now. 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.”
Gibson continued, “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 always will.”
Where Is Thomas Gibson Now?
After Gibson’s departure from ‘Criminal Minds,’ he lent his voice to a character named Joseph in the 2017 thriller drama film ‘Axis.’ In 2019, Gibson appeared as Colonel Branson in the action thriller ‘Shadow Wolves.’ He is set to star in ‘The Writer’s Bible,’ the script he co-wrote with the film’s director, J.P. Gibson.
‘Criminal Minds’ went on for three more seasons after his departure. Although there is little chance for Gibson to return to the world of Criminal Minds,’ but one can always hope that the revival series can bring about a reboot for Hotch in the future.