My admiration for Thomas Gibson began way back in 1994 when I first saw him on Chicago Hope. A gifted actor, Gibson was born and raised in my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. Perhaps that colors my opinion of him, but it doesn't change his talent.
So, like many fans, I was astounded when he was terminated from Criminal Minds. After playing Aaron Hotchner for more than 11 seasons, he lost his opportunity to complete the series which, in all possibility, may be on its last season. I wasn't there, so I don't know exactly what took place that led to his termination, but there are reasons enough why he should be allowed to finish his work with Criminal Minds.
1. He Draws Fans To The Show
With long tenures on Chicago Hope and Dharma and Greg, Gibson had a legion of fans before he became Aaron Hotchner. Those fans followed to watch him play a different role, one that stripped away most of the humor he was known for and replaced it with a grimness we weren't accustomed to seeing. Though the show challenged us at times with its grittiness and gore, we stayed with it because most fans are dedicated that way.
In fact, shortly after learning of the actor's firing, fans took to petition sites in an effort to get the attention of the producers of Criminal Minds. Many more fans have threatened to boycott the show without its lead. After more than 250 episodes, Gibson has become a mainstay of Criminal Minds. It's no wonder viewers can't imagine the show without him.
2. The Producers Had Other Options Besides Termination
Again, I don't know exactly what happened on set, but when people are working closely together, tempers can flare. I'm not defending violence, if that's what happened, but we all have problems in our lives. Actors are no different, and sometimes, you do things you wish you could take back. And if past behavior is being used as a reason to terminate, shouldn't all behavior be taken into consideration?
Certainly a man should be judged on his entire career rather than two or three incidents we really know little about. Simply said, before taking such a drastic measure against an actor who has put a lot of money into their pockets, producers could have attempted a resolution instead of a dissolution.
Firing someone can be a knee-jerk reaction at times, and it may end up costing the producers in terms of viewers. Logical heads should have prevailed when considering what Gibson's termination could mean to the show. They only have to look at the past firings of A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster to see what damage quick firings can cause.
3. Thomas Gibson Has Been Dedicated To 'Criminal Minds'
With acting chops like he has, Gibson could have left Criminal Minds at any time for greener pastures. A lot of actors get tired after a few years of playing the same role, but Gibson gave no indication he was interested in leaving. He remained as devoted to the show as the day he first started and brought everything to the table in every scene.
Looking back over 11 seasons, I can't see one episode where Gibson phoned it in, so to speak. Whether its his deadpan delivery of comical lines or the absolute anguish he brings to a critical scene, Gibson has been an asset to Criminal Minds. That, in and of itself, should be a reason for re-hiring the actor.
4. Viewers Want Him Back
We understand there can be problems on set. We also understand that we didn't witness anything that happened, but as the viewers, our voices should be heard. Whether it's for a limited time or to finish out the series, Thomas Gibson should be brought back to Criminal Minds. His character should not be rushed off the show as that's simply not equitable to the fans who have loved him. As the viewers who have helped the ratings for Criminal Minds remain strong, we deserve more than a quick goodbye to one of our favorite characters.
As I freely admitted at the beginning of this post, I am and forever will be a fan of Thomas Gibson's. For over 22 years I have watched him, and I will continue to do so whatever his next venture is. I'm saddened that he will be unable to finish his role on Criminal Minds. As much as I love the show and the actors who remain, I cannot continue to support a series that won't listen to its viewers. So I won't be tuning in if Aaron Hotchner doesn't return.
Criminal Minds returns on Sept. 28 to CBS.