Hotch Gets Written Off

Hotch, short for Aaron Hotchner, was a beloved character on the long-running CBS procedural, Criminal Minds. Portrayed by actor Thomas Gibson, Hotch led the team for over a decade, making his departure from the series a significant event for fans.

Hotch’s exit from Criminal Minds occurred at the beginning of season 12. However, it wasn’t until episode 6 of that season that his character was officially written out. The reason behind this sudden departure was the firing of Thomas Gibson from the show in 2016.

Gibson’s dismissal came after reports of an altercation on set. Apparently, the actor had a physical confrontation with a producer over some lines in the script that he disagreed with. As a result, Gibson was put on a two-week suspension.

Despite this controversy, Hotch made two appearances in season 12 before disappearing on a “special assignment.” Later in the season, it was revealed that Hotch had been placed into witness protection. This drastic measure was taken due to his son’s involvement in a series of stalking incidents.

The decision to write off Hotch quickly and put him in witness protection was likely a way for the show to address Gibson’s absence. By doing so, the character’s departure was seamlessly integrated into the storyline, allowing the show to move forward without him.

Hotch’s exit marked a significant change for Criminal Minds, as he had been a central figure in the series since its inception. Fans mourned the loss of this strong and dedicated character, who had become a staple of the show’s success.

While the departure of actors is not uncommon in long-running TV shows, Gibson’s firing sparked considerable controversy. Many viewers expressed their disappointment, as Hotch had become a fan-favorite over the years.

Hotch’s departure from Criminal Minds occurred at the beginning of season 12, with his character being written out in episode 6. This sudden exit was a result of Thomas Gibson’s firing from the show following an altercation on set. Despite the controversy, the show creatively explained Hotch’s absence by placing him in witness protection due to his son’s actions. This marked a significant change for the series and left fans mourning the loss of a beloved character.

What Episode Does Hotchner Leave The BAU?

Aaron Hotchner, portrayed by Thomas Gibson, departs from the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) in Criminal Minds during the twelfth season of the series. Although Gibson’s last appearance was in the second episode of season 12, Hotchner’s departure is not officially addressed until the sixth episode of the same season.

The specific episode in which Hotchner leaves the BAU is Season 12, Episode 6, titled “Elliot’s Pond.” In this episode, Hotchner’s absence is explained through a storyline that involves the character being placed on temporary assignment due to a legal issue. This serves as the official exit for Hotchner from the show.

It is worth noting that Thomas Gibson’s departure from the series was not initially planned. Due to an altercation between Gibson and a writer/producer on set, Gibson’s contract was terminated, leading to Hotchner’s abrupt exit from the show.

Hotch Criminal Minds 1689322380

Why Did Hotchner Leave Criminal Minds?

Hotchner, played by actor Thomas Gibson, left Criminal Minds due to a controversial incident that occurred on set. Gibson was fired from the show following reports of an altercation. Here are the key details surrounding his departure:

1. Altercation on set: Gibson’s exit from the show was a result of an altercation that took place between him and a producer. The incident reportedly involved Gibson kicking the producer during an argument. This behavior was deemed inappropriate and led to his dismissal from the show.

2. Firing by CBS: In response to the incident, CBS, the network that airs Criminal Minds, made the decision to terminate Gibson’s contract. The network stated that his actions were inconsistent with the behavior they expect from their employees.

3. Controversy and fan reactions: Gibson’s departure from the show sparked controversy among fans, with some expressing disappointment or frustration over losing his character, Hotchner. Many fans had grown attached to his portrayal of the stoic and dedicated FBI agent.

4. Impact on the storyline: To address Hotchner’s absence, the show’s writers had to make adjustments to the storyline. Hotchner’s character was written off the show by having him go into witness protection after being targeted by a serial killer. This allowed the remaining team members to continue their work without him.

It is important to note that Gibson’s departure was not planned and was a result of his actions on set. The incident and subsequent firing had a significant impact on both the show and the actor’s career.

Why Is Hotch Not In Season 12?

Hotch, a character in the television series Criminal Minds, is not present in Season 12 due to the firing of the actor who portrayed him, Thomas Gibson. In 2016, Gibson was involved in a physical altercation with a producer on set. The altercation reportedly occurred over disagreements regarding the lines in the script that Gibson did not agree with.

As a consequence of this incident, Gibson was suspended from the show for two weeks. However, shortly after the suspension, it was announced that he had been fired from the series. Consequently, the character of Hotch was swiftly written off the show to accommodate Gibson’s departure.

It is worth noting that the decision to remove the character from the show was likely driven by the need to maintain the integrity and continuity of the storyline. This is a common approach taken by television productions when faced with unexpected changes in their cast. By quickly writing off Hotch, the show’s creators were able to maintain the flow of the narrative without disrupting the overall plot.

Hotch is not present in Season 12 of Criminal Minds due to the firing of Thomas Gibson, the actor who portrayed him. The decision to remove Hotch from the show was a result of the physical altercation between Gibson and a producer, which led to his suspension and subsequent dismissal from the series.

Where Is Hotch In Season 12?

In season 12 of Criminal Minds, Hotch, also known as Aaron Hotchner, makes appearances in two episodes before his sudden disappearance. It is revealed that Hotch has been assigned to a “special assignment,” which takes him away from his usual duties with the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit).

Later in the season, the reason behind Hotch’s absence is unveiled. It is disclosed that his son, Jack, has been involved in a series of stalking incidents. Due to the severity of the situation and concerns for Jack’s safety, Hotch is placed into witness protection.

The decision to put Hotch in witness protection is made to ensure the safety and well-being of both Hotch and his son. This measure allows them to remain hidden from potential threats and gives them a fresh start in a new location, away from the dangers they were facing.

Hotch’s removal from the show is a significant development for fans of the character, as he had been a central figure in Criminal Minds since its inception. However, his departure is necessary to address the plotline involving his son and to create new storylines for the remaining characters.

Hotch is absent for the majority of season 12 due to a “special assignment,” but it is later revealed that he has entered witness protection because of his son’s involvement in stalking incidents. This decision is made to ensure the safety of both Hotch and his son, allowing them to start anew in a different location away from potential threats.


Hotch’s departure from Criminal Minds was a result of Thomas Gibson’s firing from the show. Gibson’s altercation with a producer led to his suspension, and ultimately his dismissal from the series. This abrupt exit was reflected in the storyline, with Hotch being written off the show early in season 12. The character’s disappearance was explained as a “special assignment” and later revealed to be due to his son’s involvement in stalking incidents, leading to Hotch entering witness protection. The controversy surrounding Gibson’s departure created a significant shake-up in the long-running series, leaving fans and viewers to adjust to the absence of a beloved character.

Photo of author

William Armstrong

William Armstrong is a senior editor with, where he writes on a wide variety of topics. He has also worked as a radio reporter and holds a degree from Moody College of Communication. William was born in Denton, TX and currently resides in Austin.