After Thomas Gibson was fired from "Criminal Minds," while Season 12 was shooting the second of 22 episodes, it remained to be seen how the CBS show would write off the character of Aaron Hotchner. Fans got the answer on Wednesday, November 16 in Episode 6, "Elliott's Pond."
In the episode, David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) made an announcement to the team about Hotch. He was not on "special assignment" after all. Instead, that was a cover while they investigated Mr. Scratch's stalking of Hotch's son, Jack, at a soccer game. When Scratch showed up at Jack's school, Hotch decided to quit the FBI and enter his family into Witness Protection.
So The Powers That Be dealt with an awkward situation in the best way they knew how -- by giving Hotch an out where he was protecting his son, and exiting as something of a hero, without having to kill him off. (Maybe they'll even bring him back someday? No?)
TVLine had a poll asking readers how they thought the show might write out Hotch, and 30 percent had said "Hotch quits, with no on-screen goodbye, to focus on family/personal life." That was close enough to be a win.
Meanwhile, Gibson defended his part of the on-set altercation that got him suspended and then fired from the show.
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