Thomas Gibson no longer has a job on Criminal Minds but the actor was still a big part of the drama’s premiere Wednesday on CBS.
Gibson, who was fired in August after kicking a writer on the set, figured prominently in the night’s story arc about a fugitive serial killer named Peter Lewis, aka Mr. Scratch (Bodhi Elfman), and his deadly influence over people with dissociative identity disorders. Aaron Hotchner (Gibson) and the rest of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (including new castmember Adam Rodriguez, who plays Luke Galvez) meet a man who strangled a cop and carved up a man’s chest — all because he was brainwashed by Mr. Scratch.
Criminal Minds was in the midst of shooting its second episode for the 12th season this summer when Gibson, who has been on the show since it launched in 2005, got into an altercation with a show scribe. He was placed on leave and then fired by ABC Studios, which produces the drama for CBS.
The 54-year-old actor is expected to appear in next week’s episode but the network won’t say how Hotchner will be written off the series. (The teaser for next week’s episode didn’t give any hint, either). In the final scene of Tuesday’s episode, Hotchner is looking at picture of Mr. Scratch while a voiceover of his character recites a line from “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare: “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.”
Gibson recently told PEOPLE that he feels like “they’re trying to erase me from the show.”
“That hurts,” he added. “But I’m using this time to be with my kids, and I look forward to what’s next. Maybe I’ll do a comedy, or a play, or direct, or produce … My pride and reputation are hurt, but in the end I know the good work is what people will remember. I just need more opportunities to do good work and be a good guy.”