Thomas Gibson — who was recently suspended for kicking a writer on the set of Criminal Minds — has been fired from the CBS drama.
The producers of the long-running series on CBS announced Friday that the 54-year-old actor, who’s played Aaron Hotchner on the drama since it launched in 2005, will not return to the show when it returns for its 12th season on Sept. 28.
“Thomas Gibson has been dismissed from Criminal Minds,” according to a statement from ABC Studios and CBS Studios. “Creative details for how the character’s exit will be addressed in the show will be announced at a later date.”
News of the altercation, which was confirmed by Gibson’s spokeswoman, broke earlier this week. A source close to Gibson said the actor “instinctively” booted a writer in the shin after an argument over the show’s creative direction escalated. The same source, however, tried to downplay the situation.
“Thomas is the most kindhearted family man,” the source said. “He’s a great father, takes care of his mom and spends as much time with his kids as possible. He flies home every weekend to San Antonio to be with his kids after working 12-to-15 hour days during the week. I hate that this minor disagreement is what people are hearing about him.”
Gibson’s spokeswoman released this statement on behalf of the actor: “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.”
The decision to oust Gibson comes at time when Criminal Minds is attempting to chart a new course now that Shemar Moore has left the show. In the spring, Moore announced he was leaving the drama that plucked him from a CBS soap opera and turned him into an international star. Since he’s active on social media — he refers to his female fans as “baby girls” — there is a predictable amount of concern that the Criminal Minds ratings could take a hit.
At the end of season 11, Criminal Minds was TV’s 17th most popular show among viewers (12.31 million) and was CBS’s seventh most-watched show.
While previewing the new season with EW, executive producer Erica Messer said Moore was “one of a kind” and “will be missed.” She expressed optimism, however, about the show’s 12th season — particularly since Paget Brewster and Aisha Tyler are returning.
“We never would have written out Shemar but it opens up doors to really interesting stories elated to his character’s departure,” teased Messer. “It feels like maybe we just got started for a whole new run.”
Interestingly, the actresses on the show have posted a series of tweets promoting, “So much woman power and potency and kindness” on Criminal Minds in the wake of the headlines involving Gibson.
Criminal Minds returns to CBS on Sept. 28.