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*UPDATE: *It appears that rather than just dealing with a suspension, Thomas Gibson has reportedly been fired from Criminal Minds altogether, according to EW, and will not be back when Season 12 premieres. The original story is below.
Yesterday, news broke that Criminal Minds actor Thomas Gibson had been suspended from the long-running CBS series following an altercation with a writer on the show. Currently, the actor has only been suspended for a few weeks on the series, but since production is already underway, Gibson will definitely be missing in action during episodes of Criminal Minds during Season 12. Agent Hotchner will be written out in the easiest way possible, however. New reports indicate that the character will be taking a "temporary duty" elsewhere while Thomas Gibson sits out his suspension.
The good news is that fans might not miss Agent Hotchner as much as we normally might. Thomas Gibson had already filmed two episodes of Criminal Minds before he allegedly kicked a producer on the set, and he won't be out of commission until Episode 3. TV Guide reports that Paget Brewster's Emily Prentiss is actually going to return to the show during Episode 3. She's taking on a new role as recurring guest star on the series.
For a while, Derek Morgan was team lead in place of Agent Hotchner, so this won't be the first time the character hasn't been around to lead the team. However, now that Shemar Moore is also out on the series, I wonder if Agent Rossi or even Agent Prentiss will be stepping up to take on the role. Whatever happens, it might even end up being an interesting change of pace for Criminal Minds.
If only it wasn't coming on the heels of a suspension for Thomas Gibson. Reports the other day even mentioned that because the show writer worked through HR to resolve the conflict, it could prove to be a long-term problem for the Criminal Minds actor. His role with the show is currently under scrutiny.
For his part, Thomas Gibson has been pulled from directing the future Criminal Minds episodes he was signed on for, which is how the altercation occurred in the first place. He's also already publicly spoken out, noting that he regrets the incident that occurred and that he will continue to put in team effort in the future on Criminal Minds.
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.
Hopefully, this will just end up being a blip in Criminal Minds history, but we'll keep you updated as the story related to Thomas Gibson's suspension unfolds. Criminal Minds will return to CBS on Wednesday, September 28 at 9 p.m. ET. For more fall TV premiere dates, head here.