Thomas Gibson on 'Criminal Minds' negotiations, Paget Brewster's exit, and his plans for hiatus


Image Credit: Matt Kennedy/CBS

So two weeks ago, the exit Criminal Minds fans had been dreading finally happened. But though we had anticipated the end of Paget Brewster’s Emily Prentiss, the team at BAU was thrown for a loop and are now faced with the task of dealing with Prentiss’ “death.” (Read Ken Tucker’s take on the episode.) In an interview with EW, first previewed in the Spoiler Room, Thomas Gibson previews what’s next for Hotch and the show.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s been a really difficult season for Hotch. First A.J. Cook’s character left and now Emily. He’s such a determined, focused character. How is all this affecting him?
On the inside, all of these things do affect him. They do get to him, but he is disciplined enough to know that they are, A) private, and B) not to intrude on the job that’s got to be done. He will absolutely not try to sweep them under the rug, but the job needs him and his son needs him. There’s too much to do to — I wouldn’t call it wallowing — but there’s too much to do to really rest or even digest. So I think that it’s just a kind of survival instinct. At this point, [the team] has been through — and he’s been through — a great deal of change over the life of the show. We are down to, I think, four of us who started with the show from the beginning and are still with it. Each year seems to have contained the challenges of transition and no greater transition has been called upon than this year. Like I said, the show without A.J. and without Paget — we’re continuing. The show is continuing just like the team is continuing, but hopefully we’re ready for whatever the next transition is and maybe the next transition is the re-addition of team members. I don’t know.

I think the fans are gonna stick with you regardless.
I hope so. People are really crazy about the show. I hear from people in the airport, as I’m going back and forth home every week. And I hear from people in Texas, where I live, and I was in New York a couple weeks ago and got stopped by two secret service agents in the lobby of my hotel. You know, people are connected to the show. I don’t think there are any wishy-washy fans. I think there are fans who are very connected, and we’re grateful for them, so hopefully they will. We’ve still got stories to tell, and I want us to tell them well. Hopefully people are along for the ride.

Last I heard, you were in talks for next season. Have there been any decisions made?
We’re still in talks.

I know 50,000 Twitters followers who are gonna be very upset if they don’t work this out with you.
Yeah, I know. That’s all I can say. I’m hoping to be on the show. I’m planning on being on the show, but we’re still talking. That’s all I can say at this point. I know I certainly don’t feel like it’s time to turn off the lights or anything like that.

I’m sure San Antonio would love to keep you full time, but as far as fans…

I don’t think my kids would mind. That would be a good thing, but they’ve been very understanding. I’ve tried my very best to keep all the balls in the air and be home. When I’m home, I’ve got the kind of time that other dads who live there full time don’t have. I can go and have lunch with my kids at school and that sort of thing. We’re making it work, [but] they are sacrificing as well and not complaining about it.

Yeah, that’s a good bunch there.
They are a good bunch. Yeah, I think we’ll keep ‘em.

I think the solution here would be to take Criminal Minds to San Antonio for an episode or two.
That would be fine. I think we’ve exhausted all the geographical possibilities in Los Angeles County. It would be great to branch out a little bit. None of us would mind the change of scenery. I mean, we get little changes here, but now we’re starting to see the same places over and over again. I think we’ve all gotten to know more of L.A. County than we ever thought possible.

You have your break coming up soon. Do you have anything in the works?
I’ve got a short film that I’ve been adapting and would like to make. I don’t know that I’m going to have it together enough to start shooting this summer, but I may end up trying to do it in the fall. I am going to get it on track to try to pull it together and maybe get it done this summer. It’s a great little idea. It’s very simple. My ambitions for it are reasonable, and I just want to have the experience of doing it really for myself. And if it turns out well, I might let other people see it. It’s a story that I really love. It’s very unique, it’s very interesting. So hopefully you’ll hear more about that in the not-too-distant future.

What’s the skeleton story of it?
It’s based on a short story, and we’re kind of negotiating the rights. I’m going ahead and adapting it anyway. I don’t wanna kill my only chances by putting it out there, but it’s definitely unique, I can tell you that much. I’ll keep you posted.

Read more:
Paget Brewster left ‘Criminal Minds': Too soon? A review.

Comments (83 total) Add your comment
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  • Kevin

    Think it’s time Criminal Minds is going to get canceled if CBS planning to renew the season and hoping that next season will be its last and this crime drama hasn’t been the same since four of the series cast members including the series’ original star and that woman who played an FBI agent on The Sopranos.

    • Quirky

      Hey Kevin, in between rants can you please google the word “punctuation”?

    • francisca

      Where did you go to school? Mars?

  • stu

    Kevin…did u fail grammer? do u know what a “.” is?

    • E

      Were you in the same class as Kevin? Grammar, not grammer. And you don’t need quotation marks for describing Thomas Gibson as a flat actor.

      • Lily


      • Amy

        Quotes around the period…

  • stu

    Of course he’ll be back next season. Where else would this “flat” actor go? He makes David Curuso look like Tom Hanks.

    • Sue1

      I’m sure you mean David Caruso, so I won’t give you a spelling beatdown. It took me a while to get Gibson’s portrayal-he has created a stoic, seemingly emotionless facade for Hotch to work behind, but the scenes where that facade fails (his wife’s death, anything with his son) are extraordinary.

    • Sally

      Did you see the 100th episode of Criminal Minds?

      • Lorie

        Indeed! IMO, CM’s and Gibson’s best show.

    • Mike

      he is not a flat actor, have you ever seen an episode of Dharma and Greg? He is hilarious in that show.

      • Lucy

        thank you!

  • DDD

    ANYWAY, thank you for the Thomas Gibson interview! Love him, and he rules on Twitter, and I hope he stays.

  • Allison

    Aw, nice interview! He’s great and the show wouldn’t be the same without him! Thanks!

  • D

    I want Paget back at Criminal Minds so bad! I’ll watch CM until the end of this season because I’m sure Hotch’s secret is related with Emily’s storyline and will only be revealed in the season finale, which, as always, will (probably) be a cliffhanger. It will, most likely, be the team discovering that Emily didn’t die and Hotch knew that all along, but it can also be about how Hotch and Emily were connected outside of work. That’s why Thomas wants Paget back. Without Emily, Hotch doesn’t have a life.

    • Cheery

      I want Paget back so much too!
      Except I’m done with the show unless she returns. If anything happens the rest of the season that’s related to her character I’ll have to read about it online. Though I really do hope they reveal some connection to Hotch. When MGG said in his interview that Hotch is like her brother while Morgan is like her boyfriend I was thinking “you got that reversed, buddy!” Here’s hoping there’ll be more H/P in the future.

      • D

        Oh yeah! You’re SOOOOOOOO right. I still haven’t lost my hope about them. For me, they are the best “couple” ever, they don’t need the contact, to interact “personally” with each other in front of the team. They have something between them and no one knows about it, no one sees it, but they have (since season 5 or even before), it’s just theirs.
        ATTENTION: I said “FOR ME”, I’m just talking in my person. Yes, I’m a *DREAMER*!

      • Cheery

        D, I know what you mean, they’re a fav “couple” of mine as well. Can’t really explain it, but even with their professionalism it seems like something’s below the surface.
        The way Hotch came to Emily’s apt in season 3 and said “I want you on that plane with me.” And in the season 5 premiere when Hotch wasn’t answering his phone (due to Foyet), Emily was all “that’s not like him,” and went to his place because she was worried. Add to that the way she stayed with him in the hospital, and then later when she was at his place they had that cryptic conversation about “not being alone” and “having someone.”
        I know the show tries very hard to walk the line and keep romance out of it, but there’s something between them.

      • Kali

        I love the connection Emily and Hotch have and I totally agree about the brother/ boyfriend comment. When I read that I was like What?!? Morgan the boyfriend? No way. Hotch and Emily are much closer! When you see the way she looks at him in the hospital after the Foyet attack you know that he has a special place in her heart. It’s a shame that there was no final Hotch/Prentiss scene in any of the episodes leading up to Prentiss’ departure. All of the other team members had an opportunity to say goodbye. They cheated on all the fans who like the Prentiss/Hotch friendship. Morgan has Garcia and Hotch had Emily to connect to. I never expected them to hook up on the show, but but some discreet flirting between them wouldn’t have hurt the show. I love the way the two have learned to trust and respect each other. Just watch “52 Pickup”. Ed B. once said their friendship was important for the show, to bad they forgot all about that in season six.

      • Cari

        See, I never got that impression about Hotch and Emily. I saw it a little bit with Hotch and JJ, but I’ve thought for awhile that Emily was to Reid what Garcia was to Morgan (the best friend/maybe-there’s-something-else-there type relationship). I thought there was a lot of mutual respect between Hotch and Prentiss, but I didn’t really see them as the type to spend much time together outside of the office or group gatherings.

      • D

        @Cari Emily was like a big sister or even a mother to Reid, because Reid is about the same age Emily’s kid would be if she had decided to keep him. Hotch and JJ are like brother/sister too. JJ and Hotch only had relevant scenes when he was still married, after that it’s rare to see them in any kind of personal interaction.
        You’re free to have your opinion, I’m just saying I disagree and explaining why.

    • Birdie

      While I do like the idea of Hotch/Prentiss, I really do like these characters for themselves too. I don’t have anything against AJ Cook, but seriously, it was just the most boneheaded thing to let Paget go. That move can only be topped by letting Thomas Gibson go.

    • cattyfan

      The show suffers with the loss of Brewster and Cook. The “new girl” can’t act.

      Cancel Suspect Minds and use the money to bring back a decent actress.

      • bbucket55

        I agree that this new girl cannot act and she comes across “flat”. She does nothing for the show. I like JJ and Emily who added the chemistry that the team needed. What are the writers of the show trying to do, lose millions of fans. Bring JJ and Emily back!

      • Bhakti

        I agree 100% that the new girl’s acting skills are not up to par for that show. I just watched tonight’s show (4/13) and when the newbie was talking to the unsub about how rude his stepmother was for stealing his father, I was like, “Are you kidding me? You kicked AJ Cook off the show and brought in THIS level of acting?”

        CBS has a GREAT track record for cancelling terrific shows; I suppose they’re simply going to ruin this one themselves and let it die a slow death. I hope not. Either give the show the great level of acting it deserves and the money it needs to continue with integrity, or simply cancel it. Again, I hope not.

  • dianne

    Hope he stays!

  • Cyn

    I hope Hotch comes back. He’s the only reason I watch the show.

  • Mary

    You mean CBS didn’t learn their lesson last summer after firing the ladies? They already lost viewers to that; losing Hotch would kill what’s left of the show (which is still doing well and making money). Don’t screw this up, CBS…

    • Lily

      I agree! Criminal Minds without Hotch would make no sense. CBS are lucky people still watch the show after the AJ and Paget fiasco. What a great little interview by the way!

  • Birdie

    I think in some ways CBS learned something with the fiasco they had over letting Paget & AJ go. They sounded desperate to keep Paget at least. So I think they will try very hard to keep Thomas Gibson. But then again, never under-estimate the stupidity of a network executive.

    • Bhakti

      Especially a CBS executive.

  • davide

    I love Thomas Gibson and would immediately stop watching Criminal Minds if Hotch is gone. I’m hoping Paget comes back, because Hotch needs Prentiss. I also want AJ back too.

    CBS needs to put the team back together and lose the new girl!!!

  • Amy

    Thanks for the CM attention! Thomas Gibson is fantastic. I can’t imagine CM without Hotch, either. (Although I love them all!) Haven’t we been through enough?

  • Seajay

    Gibson is a wooden actor, bring back Mandy pulease. Make it right

    • LDSK

      No, Gibson is a good actor playing a very “wooden” character. Hotch is very stoic and reserved and does not show emotion on purpose. Every now and then the writers give us a peak at the human being underneath the mask and that is when you get to see that Gibson is actually a very good actor.

    • LDSK

      OH…BTW, I’m tired of everyone asking CBS to bring Mandy back. CBS had nothing to do with it. Leaving was his choice and he did it in a really crappy way that left the network (and his fellow actors) hanging. Why would you want him back when he will just change his mind and leave again with no warning.

      • Sue1

        It was his choice to leave because the violence was affecting him. The show has survived nicely without him (I like Montegna), so why not let the hate go.

    • Bhakti

      Thomas Gibson is not a wooden actor: he is playing a stoic character.

      Check out his work in “Tales of the City” from the ’90s. He was brilliant in that!

      Hotch’s character is uptight and stoic, and in my opinion, Gibson plays him truthfully. In other words, I believe his character could be found at the real BAU.


    I do not miss Gideon, who really overacts. Love Gibson who is just right in his part. Mistake to boot JJ and Emily. They were part of glue keeping team together. The banter between Garcia and Morgan adds to show. I am not enamored by reed. I thought it was hilarious when he wore that giant gun on front of belt. It weighed more than he was. I am glad he got a haircut. The team should not have been broken up. That idiotic clone of CM is worthless. I could only watch 1 episode. No chemistry there.

  • Justin

    I would definitely stop watching if Hotchner was taken out. He is definitely the glue that holds this team together. While I too am upset by the exits of Prentiss and JJ, I still love the show for the show itself, not for the characters, which are great, don’t get me wrong. I love how Garcia and Morgan interact with each other. This is one of the only few shows I’ve ever watched that’s been able to handle major casting changes, and still keep a good show intact. Also, I know I’m in the minority, or alone for that fact, but I love Suspect Behavior. The way this team has to move two steps faster while giving profiles is great to me. Cooper seems to be more of a natural profiler than the others, but this is just the beginning. I’m anxious to see the others start developing their own niches.

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