Thomas Gibson: The Prior Incidents That Led to His ‘Criminal Minds’ Firing

Criminal Minds Thomas Gibson suspended
Courtesy of CBS

It was the third strike in five years that led to Thomas Gibson’s ouster from “Criminal Minds” on Friday, according to multiple industry sources with knowledge of the situation.

The actor was fired by “Criminal Minds” producers ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios following an internal investigation of an on-set fight in which Gibson allegedly kicked writer-producer Virgil Williams during production of an episode that Gibson was directing.


Criminal Minds Thomas Gibson fired

Thomas Gibson Fired From ‘Criminal Minds’ After Violent Incident

The incident that took place about two weeks ago was the last straw for the studios, after two prior flare-ups. In January 2013, Gibson pleaded no contest to alcohol-related reckless driving after being arrested on suspicion of DUI. And in December 2010, he allegedly shoved “Criminal Minds” assistant director Ian Woolf during a late-night location shoot. That led the production studios to mandate that Gibson take eight hours of anger management classes.

Gibson, according to multiple sources, was a mercurial personality on set who could be personable and friendly at times and other times quick to anger. It was no secret that Gibson and “Criminal Minds” co-star Shemar Moore, who exited the series at the end of last season, had an extremely tense relationship. Sources said Moore’s habit of arriving late to the set aggravated Gibson.



Thomas Gibson Reacts to ‘Criminal Minds’ Suspension After On-Set Altercation

Gibson’s demands that the production schedule be juggled to allow him maximum flexibility in traveling to his home in San Antonio, Texas, was a source of friction with other actors and producers. One longtime staffer described Gibson as “selfish” in that regard.

The shoving incident came late at night just before the holidays in 2010 during a location shoot on the Sixth Street Bridge near downtown L.A. The chase sequence called for Gibson to drive quickly across the bridge. There was some confusion about when Gibson was supposed to set off, and after the take, he came out of the car yelling and confronting Woolf about safety concerns. Woolf, by multiple accounts, yelled back, after which Gibson shoved the director with both hands.

The incident rattled staffers because it appeared to mark an escalation of on-set tension for Gibson. There was surprise that he didn’t face harsher discipline from ABC Studios, the lead production entity on the show. The flap also came in the midst of Gibson’s negotiations on a new contract with the show — talks that were suspended until he completed his anger management classes.

Despite the altercation, Woolf remained on the staff of “Criminal Minds” until two years ago when he shifted to the spinoff “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.”

After Gibson’s DUI arrest in 2013, he lost the use of his driver’s license for a period, which meant “Criminal Minds” staffers frequently drove him to and from the set for work.

The past incidents weighed heavily on the studios’ decision to terminate Gibson, even as it presents a significant creative challenge for the series. The actor has been a stalwart of the show since its inception in 2005. He’ll appear in the first two episodes of the upcoming season, which were already completed prior to his suspension, but he will not return to the set to film any final scenes. “Criminal Minds” begins its 12th season on Sept. 28.

A rep for Gibson declined to comment for the story, as did ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios and “Criminal Minds” showrunner/exec producer Erica Messer. In a statement issued Friday, Gibson expressed his appreciation for the show’s cast and crew and fans over the years.

“I love ‘Criminal Minds’ and have put my heart and soul into it for the last twelve years,” Gibson said. “I had hoped to see it through to the end, but that won’t be possible now. I would just like to say thank you to the writers, producers, actors, our amazing crew, and, most importantly, the best fans that a show could ever hope to have.”

Gibson’s dismissal recalls the even more extraordinary circumstances surrounding Charlie Sheen’s ouster in 2011 by Warner Bros. Television from the CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men.” At some point, the potential for a studio to be liable for unpredictable behavior trumps even star power on a profitable series.

“Criminal Minds” has been a consistent player for CBS in primetime and a steady source of syndication profits for both studios.

Some sources who have worked with Gibson for years say they’ve never seen the dark side described by others. One source emphasized that he was a dedicated family man who was committed to spending as much time with his young children and aged mother as possible.

But others were not sorry to see him go.

“It’s like a dark cloud has been lifted off that show,” said one longtime staffer of Gibson’s departure. “You never knew which Thomas Gibson was going to show up.”

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  1. Louise says:

    CBS made the right decision concerning Gibson. I was never a fan of Criminal Minds because there was this negativity that came through his persona onscreen. I knew there had to be an underlying reason for Shemar Moore’s departure. Moore’s positive onscreen aura clearly shone thru on camera. However Shemar Moore is the consummate gentleman and professional would never throw shade at Gibson – – leave that to your fans Shemar. No, I have never personally met Mr Moore. I just wish Shemar could return to Criminsl Minds.

  2. I read that Criminal Minds Beyond borders wasn’t doing well. I’m not a big fan either. I do like Gary Sinise as most others do. Have you considered transferring him over to the Criminal Minds series?

  3. Darci says:

    I am just now streaming the last season of CM. I don’t miss Hotch at all. He hadn’t really progressed as a character at all, and I like EP as the new team leader. Not sure what all the fuss is about. If he was abusive on set IN ANY WAY, the producers were right to let him go. I don’t care how talented someone is. I also believe in second chances, but it sounds as though he got three chances and still didn’t get it together. His loss…not the public’s.

  4. shoyt says:

    Thomas Gibson has been off the air for a season and it is time to bring him back.

    The show is a shadow of itself and I would be happy to see all of the new characters go in order to get Gibson/Hotch back.

    It is getting to be as bad a the new version, Borders, which has never taken hold with the public.

  5. A Mackintosh says:

    It’s too bad these things happened because Hotch was truly the right leader for the team. When he spoke, people listened (in the scripts) and he had the authoritative manner to make that credible. I love Emily and I’m so glad we have her back – but somehow she just doesn’t seem like the team leader. I do hope Thomas Gibson gets help and a handle on his problems because he’s a terrific actor and the show isn’t the same without his character. I’d hate to see him lose another show because of such things. Miss ya, Hotch.

  6. Marilou Hill says:

    I still watch Weekly, however, there just seems to be a missing piece.

  7. azra says:

    still miss Mr Gideon as Hotchner…the voice..the character. The series is not the same now. Any how…i still watch Criminal Minds.

  8. Sarah says:

    I still miss Gideon!!! But he’ll never leave Homeland which is an awesome show. Really, getting rid of Aaron & Derek is just proof that Hollywood doesnt have a clue what we like. This use to be one of my favorite shows but with the loss of those two & the new “boring” man just put in show I’m losing interest. Derek had such an awesome personality & us viewers watch the show because of them. We are getting tired of it. So many good shows have been canceled & then crappie shows continue or new crappie shows put on. The person commenting about the dui or person wanting more time with their family is being selfish should look harder at other actors/ actresses & singers and their high & mighty attitudes. They get away with everything along with Hollywood & the Politically correct agenda. Look at how much & how long the media pampered Charlie Shein & his actions & many lives he destroyed & thats okay? Some singing for communist dictators, etc.
    Bring back our favorite actors & shows….so many channels & very few shows to watch or characters left to like / care about.

  9. Joe says:

    It doesn’t matter how good anyone is at their job. DUIs and physical alterations, no matter how small, are not acceptable….especially from a grown man. He wasn’t the only one separated from his family while shooting, so why does he think he should get more time off? Hotch is an amazing character, and it will be sad to him go. It’s a shame the actor protaying him couldn’t be just as so. Thomas Gibson is NOT Aaron Hotchner. You want a real life physically violent, immature jerk to stay cause you can’t stand to lose a fictional character? Then you can pay for the lawsuits the studio will probably eventually face the next time he throws a tantrum…cause clearly he didn’t learn anything from that anger management class. This show may or may not fail. If it does, it will mostly because people, like a lot here, will refuse to watch cause they can’t seem to handle change. When your co-worker kicks you or pushes you, don’t whine if they don’t get fired.

    • Kaz Williams says:

      Hey Joe, just a few notes. TG lived in Texas with his family BEFORE he ever signed on with CM. The producers and networks were aware of that fact BEFORE they signed him and as a result, THEY ensured that his contract allowed him specific days off so as to travel the 3 hr flight to his family as opposed to an hour on the freeway. Furthermore, ALL of the actors have various clauses and extras added to their contract, so why the big deal about this? TG ALWAYS acknowledged how good the producers were in allowing him time to travel, ALWAYS, so for it to be thrown back at him as some sort of issue, is cheap. Shemar Moore was/is notorious for being late on a continuous basis. In what other job would that be accepted? Are you saying that its not such a big deal in the TV/Film industry and that if TG or anyone reacted badly to this disrespect, somehow it’s on them? Incidentally and speaking of DUI’s, yep, Shemar Moore had one also, in fact his was more serious if memory serves me right. Also, this was a personal matter, so why use it? As for this incident…lol, so much of what was alleged to have occured has been disproved time and again. The actual writer involved has his own little history, but of course, we are not allowed to talk about that. They got rid of the most expensive actor, tried to boost their diversity quota, kept the idiot writer and its backfired big time.

  10. Roschelle Garner says:

    I am sorry that Mr. Gibson had to be fired, and I understand why. My question to you is did anyone ever try to get him help? No help out of need for the Network but out of love and care for another human being? I hope he get help for his issues and can continue to produce such fine work. Good Luck for the rest of your life Mr Gibson.

  11. Charlotte Adams says:

    I’ve been without watching CM for five months. I hope Arron get his own show, and put them out of business. And take the star’s with him.

    • axzl says:

      You hope “Arron” “get” his own show, and take the “star’s” with him? Who or what is “Arron”? And take the “star’s” what with him or her or it? Which “star”?

  12. Shea shea says:

    I’ve been free from watching criminal minds for 3months. No Hotchner, no watch!

  13. Dorothy Blessett says:

    Well, so much for watching criminal minds, losing Grimm now I am choosing to lose criminal minds. Gibson is/was a vital character in this program,. My options are becoming limited,. It seems the dumber and more vulgar a program îs the longer it survives….

  14. Rhonda Flory says:

    I was waiting to see if someone in the hierarchy at Criminal Minds would come to their senses. I still cannot believe that Thomas Gibson was fired for no legitimate reason. Accidents can occur in any workplace environment. Mr. Gibson apologized for any verbiage that may have been offensive on his part between himself and Mr. Williams. As intense and detailed as is the dialog and action involved in the presentation of this great series by each of its crew members and as much as each member gives of themselves in the presentation of every segment, it is only logical that there might be days when someone would need to let off a little steam at times. Your staff is very knowledgeable and wise in having chosen the perfect actors for each role in this incomparable program. Of course, fans can understand why some changes had to be considered as sound judgment, such as why the character Jason Gideon (Mandy Pitinkin) chose to leave and knowing that he had no intention of returning, the choice was made to permanently remove him by creating his passing. And Shemar Moore (Derek Morgan) had his own personal reasons after giving his all for eleven seasons; he, too, is sorely missed and we fans hope he will return at some time in the near future. We are all pleased that Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss) has returned; she is a wonderful actress and her talent is reflected in every performance. A.J. Cook (Jennifer ‘J.J.’ Jareau), Matthew Gray Gubler (Spencer Reid), and Joe Mantegna (David Rossi) are rocks for the Criminal Minds team. However, most all of the decisions that your staff has made previously involving the new members of the crew to replace those who left have been valid; but not the one to fire Mr. Gibson (Aaron ‘Hotch’ Hotchner). We fans cannot fathom the loss of his presence in this series; there is no one who can replace him or his character. Mr. Williams could have chosen to reprimand him, even though he apologized for the occurrence, and even suspended him for a short period; but to fire this fine actor for something that could have been resolved if both men involved could have taken the time necessary to ‘cool off’ is nothing short of a travesty. Mr. Gibson has given 100%+ in each and every performance and has poured his heart and soul into his role as ‘Hotch’. His acting ability, caring, and integrity has been reflected throughout all these years. He is an integral part of the Criminal Minds team and should not be ‘dismissed’ like a change of wardrobe.
    If Mr. Williams has been given the power to fire someone, he surely has the power to rehire that person. Please reconsider this matter and correct this wrongful decision; please make it right again by rehiring this wonderful actor. The welfare of the other team members and the success of this excellent series hangs in the balance.

  15. Barbara says:

    The show has lost it’s anchor. Now it’s going to try to survive with arms but no body. Won’t work. I’ll keep watching but more out of curiosity than as a fan. Whatever REALLY happened (and I’m not sure it’s entirely clear – at least what lead up to the “outburst”), the “owners” aren’t considering the fan base or the good of the show as a whole. Good luck.

    • A Mackintosh says:

      Exactly. He was the anchor. I still watch the show but it’s lost the edge that made it special. Rossi might have made a fair team leader but even he doesn’t have that special thing that made Hotch special.

  16. I think Thomas Gibson held the show together, he started out on the show so to me he is the main character so without him, another show jumps the shark, like Charlie Sheen leaving Two in a Half Men, Ron Howard, On Happy Days when he left,these characters all held the show together, so Criminal Minds is on it’s last leg without Thomas Gibson!!!Such a great show!!!

  17. Laura Lee says:

    It is evident from the reporting that there is another side to this story that is not being told. Antagonism and favoritism (toward Shemar Moore, who could be consistently late, while Gibson was annoying for needing family time) by other members of a team can make it impossible for a person to continue working without addressing the problems openly — especially a nice person of good character, who may feel embarrassed about speaking up and addressing the problem. When others have it in for you, in many circumstances, nothing you can do can change that. Our society demands repression of strong emotions rather than open dialogue. So a good guy like Thomas Gibson gets kicked to the curb and blamed when others are probably at least as culpable.

  18. Pludie Buckley says:

    When they let Morgan go I stayed, but now! I won’t be watching the show anymore because of Hoch being fired. I have heard of other actors doing far worse than this and everyone put up with it because the show was a success. Well consider this a major money maker and you have just lost another fan. I will not watch the show again unless you put Mr. Gibson back on the show.

  19. terri vivardo says:

    they need to work something out with thomas gibson or this show will die this year, it sucks,,no one can do this show like him

  20. Lila Muzik says:

    Criminal Minds has been one of the best series ever conceived. I have been hooked since day one. Thomas Gibson is just one of the reasons. I am still grieving Moore’s departure. I don’t want to see this superb drama fall apart this way. While Gibson may have his problems, shouldn’t 12 years mean something in your business? Fans deserve a say so too…we have been loyal too.

  21. Lillian Barbani says:

    Give him a break. I am 83 & sure would hate to have lost my career for an unfortunate incident that happened. If he was like that every day, they I would agree, but he plays his part like no other actor could. Please bring him back – Criminal Minds needs actors like him to be successful. Jacquie Barbani

  22. Linda Thomas says:

    I loved this program, losing two of the foundation characters may be more than I can make sense of. All the characters seem to have chemistry, that keeps me following their lives and their work to catch the bad guys…it won’t be the same without Thomas Gibson, and Shemar Morore…I love Criminal Minds, but it isn’t going to make as much sense now. Mr. Gibson was the Capitan of the ship, hard spot to fill…

  23. Teresa says:

    To have him gone, along with Shemar Moore the show will not be the same. I’ve watched the show since it aired and don’t know if I’m gonna like it without the two characters. Trust me I wasn’t happy to see Shemar Moore go, all had great chemistry especially with “Baby Girl” plus he was nice to look at too, lol !! We all don’t have the whole story behind his dismissal but I’m sure some things were factored. Claiming anger issues, contract deals and with most fame issues “ego’s”. But an impression of him was he was dedicated to his work and to his family. Today you rarely see that in a star’s career, it’s either one or the other. I truly hope this can be resolved and he comes back to the show and Shemar Moore makes some guest appearances. If Aaron Hotchner returns please have him smile more because when I watch Dharma & Greg it’s nice to see him smiling plus would also go for all the others characters on the show, it will humanize them even thou the show is about death and mayhem. Good luck to Mr. Gibson in what ever his future holds.

  24. Gwen Matthews says:

    First Morgan leaves, now Hotch! Done with CM.

  25. Bob says:

    Well, not watching CM anymore.

  26. This firing of Thomas Gibson is BS! What about that little idiot that provoked him. Why wasn’t he fired when he ignored safety precautions and put Mr Gibson and others in danger? Ridiculous! Without Mr Gibson, the series will go downhill! So, CBS and the moneymen, you are the losers!

  27. Dst1964SRQ says:

    Been watching CM since day one. It’s not going to be the same show. Don’t get me wrong, I love Padgett Brewster’s character Emily but no Hotch or Morgan, I’m pretty sure that I won’t be watching it anymore. They were the two main characters. Yes, I loved Gideon and was devastated when he left the show but it was still in its early stages and they really didn’t miss a beat. Loved Elle’s character too but again, she wasn’t in a leading role. Joe Mategna’s character, David Rossi has never been one of my favorites. I’ve liked him as an actor in other shows but to me he often overplays his scenes and he tends to come off as awkward when he does so. I’ll always love JJ & Penelope Garcia. I’ll probably give it a try but I am furious that they fired Thomas Gibson. For those of you who want to make it all about workplace violence, get over it! Actors get away with this crap all of the time, plus I’d like to hear both sides of the story before I believe he’s 100% the aggressor in this last instance. So he got a DUI 3 years ago. They make enough money that they could’ve paid for a car service to bring him bsck and forth to work. I’m more inclined to think that he was going to be due for a new contract and the big shots didn’t want to pay him what he’s worth. I mean he was directing the episode that this “altercation” supposedly happened during so I think that he was probably agitated that the staff wasn’t getting the scene as he demanded and this other guy probably mouthed off to him and things got heated quickky. Of course I’m just making an insinuation here with no direct knowledge because we aren’t getting all of the details but if other staff members say he’s a wonderful actor to work with and there are just a few that don’t like him, I’m inclined to believe that this whike thing has been blown way out of proportion and the executive producers are wanting to save a few bucks. I want TG back immediately. This will be the last season if they don’t bring him back ASAP, if they even make it that far. I’m also gonna miss Shemar Moore. He’s an excellent actor; very believable in his role as Morgan.

  28. Wendy wilson says:

    I think major mistake firing Thomas Gibson
    He is star of the show
    Won’t be the same
    Bet ratings go down
    I also didn’t like when shamar left

    Won’t be criminal minds
    May quit watching

  29. Rachel walsh says:

    he is not abrove any one else .any body would been fired I to will hate to see him go but it was his own falut

  30. Dottie Gawel says:

    With the firing of thomas gibson on Criminal minds, you are forcing many fans to stay with the show or not. For myself, I started watching because of TG, his deep dark voice and major good looks. Now this fan will no longer watch. What happened was wrong but not worthy of firing and what happened to v williams?… nothing! Gibson is the lead cast member. Without him there is no show.

  31. As much as I love his character and am sorry to see him go, especially learning that he won’t be back to film final scenes, I can see why they did it. Arguing and yelling are one thing, but when it escalates to physical violence that’s another. I realize that shoving and a kick to the shin isn’t really the same thing as, say, a punch to the face but it is still physical violence and there’s no reason to wait until it does get to the point where Gibson decides to punch someone in the face. Words don’t warrant physical attacks.

  32. M Naomi Chivers says:

    I have read all 125 posted comments, and still I question: were there consequences to TG’s so-called victim of workplace violence? It takes two to tango (i.e., fight). Workplace violence, whether verbal or physical, is generally reprimanded or punished. That all aside, we are all facing big changes whether we are fans or CM production, actors, crew. I think of all of those who bring a CM episode to the fans every week, and I wish them the best during this time of many adjustments. Life is full of changes and loss, and I will look forward to seeing Season 12 CM because I want to see how well the many difficult challenges are addressed. Good luck to all at CM! I will be watching.

  33. Cathy johnston says:

    Really sorry to see him go he was the lead. I will miss him. I love the show

  34. Julie says:

    Won’t watch this show anymore. Without Thomas Gibson, it won’t be the same. Jerk or not, I’m taking it off my list.

  35. Gary Jordan says:

    I stopped watching Criminal Minds after Gideon left.

    • Charlotte Owens says:

      well me and my recording won’t be watching criminal minds anymore. No more getting off work and after bathing getting ready to watch Hotchner. Y’all have lost a lot of fans, just for that y’all money, and rating are y’all lost. Only thing we lost is Arron. So what he kick the dude butt, I’m sure he deserve it. I’m on Arron side no matter what. Gonna miss watching the show. I just took my recording off the other day, I miss a lot of shows. And you bet cha I came in from work getting ready to watch what I miss, especially on Saturday marathons. But that’s over. Love Shemar, and Hotchner♡

  36. Corey says:

    OMG Every one needs to move on. I think it was a little comical and childish to kick some one in the leg because he’s having a tantrum, how old is this Thomas Gibson? 3! That is how a child acts not a grown man!! The other incident where he shoved a guy, I would have popped him in the mouth if he shoved me. Actions like that are not called for. He was supposed to be a professional. I for one will continue to watch Criminal Minds because he wasn’t the only star on the show, and they are bringing Padget Brewster back which is a plus

  37. Laverna Maguren says:

    To the Producers….bring Hotch back. Everyone has their own issues and other actors have not been fired for doing things worse than this. You are going to lose your ratings and your fans. We love this show and watch it for the characters and not the crimes. Sometimes I fast forward during the horrible cime scenes but I enjoy the characters. Criinal Minds will not be criminal minds without him. Send him to counseling instead.

    • Lynn Wilkinson says:

      I agree. What a loss for Criminal Minds. I don’t think I will watch it again. Lynn


  38. Deborah Stennett says:

    I can believe that you would destroy a show and Terminate the lead character Hoch ( Thomas Gibson from criminal minds. You need to wake and smell the coffee and realize how many viewers you will loose over this decision ! And loose your rating as well !!! Better think about your decision .

  39. Vicky says:

    The show is one of the best I enjoyed for so long, the chemistry looked so real on tv, I wish it lasted in real life.Im truly sorry that it could not be a better ending to one of the best shows on tv.

  40. maxime roccario says:

    I am extremely disturbed about aaron termination from criminal minds. We need to think of the people watching the show and how it will affect them. I am an avid criminal minds watcher and you are destroying my life.

  41. Brandi says:

    That’s bull crap !!! He’s was best character on there!! All of them are! But he was my favorite cause his face don’t put up with bull crap Like that!! He also made Criminal Minds pop!!! Put him back in!!!! Can’t replace him!! There like (family) you might as well take the show off!! If he ain’t gonna be in it!! Y’all dumb a** hell!!

  42. Lesley says:

    WOW Just for defending himself. Moore was bad enough (no more babygirl) but I get it. and while I love EVERYONE in the cast this show just ” JUMPED THE SHARK” Im sorry this will be the last season. MABEY Ill watch after the 3rd episode but I doubt it.They just screwed the rest of the cast out of a job, Sorry guys. tSo long CRIMINAL MINDS!!!!!


  44. Ok, So you fired Gibson…let’s see how many people you lose and how many of your advertisers lose money from people not watching…I will be contacting your advertisers that I will not be sponsoring them because of ALL of YOU nasty people!

  45. Nancy Rentz says:

    This was the best show on television. I really loved this cast and the way they interacted together. I do miss Prentiss. The only actress they found that could replace her was Jennifer Love Hewitt and now she’s gone and they still haven’t found a replacement for her. Shemar Moore is leaving, but that didn’t bother me. He was just too cool. I love Garcia, Spencer, Rossi, and JJ and I’m sorry that I won’t be seeing them as a group ever again. But Hotch was the glue that held all these characters together. I don’t really care that he “kicked” a writer. We have all heard of some BIG movie actors doing worse and their actions are quickly forgotten and sometimes even laughed at. I won’t be watching Criminal Minds anymore. Maybe Gibson wasn’t well liked, but he was the star of the show. Very sad.

  46. cylon6 says:

    The right call. If this happened in any other workplace it would lead to dismissal, this is no different.

    It’s a shame as I like the show but you can’t act like that.

  47. scott says:

    goodbye to criminal minds. that’s two major players of the show let go.

  48. scott says:


  49. ann says:

    I love this show and all the cast they are like family. But sometimes we have to separate from our families at times and this is one of those times. So to the rest of the cast I say be happy and go on it will be okay. love u choc.Thunder will miss u. Hotch I will miss u as well be happy.

  50. J. Douglass says:

    I have been a huge fan of Criminal Minds from the first season. In my opinion, Mr. Gibson is too much an integral part of this show to be dismissed. Bottom line is: what is most valuable to the powers that be–keeping the behind the scenes people happy, or keeping the fans of the show happy; which translates into ratings and money. The program’s ratings will plummet and more people will be out of work. A little common sense goes a long way. Mr. Gibson needs to continue on the show and everyone else needs to suck it up and get over it. Otherwise you’ll be standing together in the unemployment line.

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