‘Criminal Minds’ Season 16: Will Hotch Return for Paramount+ Revival?

by Caitlin Berard

In 2005, a brand new police procedural premiered on CBS. The series, entitled Criminal Minds, followed the team of top-notch FBI profilers who made up the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) as they worked to solve the country’s most heinous crimes. The team was led by the unfailingly grim but highly dedicated BAU Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), affectionately called “Hotch” by his colleagues.

After 11 years with the series, Thomas Gibson was suspended and later fired from Criminal Minds due to a history of volatile behavior. According to Variety, many sources described Gibson as friendly but anger-prone.

Since his departure from Criminal Minds, Thomas Gibson has worked in only two further productions: Shadow Wolves and The Writer’s Bible. With a Criminal Minds revival on the way, however, could fans see the long-awaited return of Agent Hotchner?

Will Hotch Return for the ‘Criminal Minds’ Revival?

Part of what attracted fans to Criminal Minds was the intimate cast. Unlike other popular series, the BAU revolved around just 7 main characters. And though cast changes were relatively common, the central unit remained intact.

Until Season 11, that is, which saw the departure of not one but two major characters. In addition to Thomas Gibson’s abrupt firing, Shemar Moore, the actor behind BAU mainstay Derek Morgan, departed as well.

The series was never quite the same without two of its main characters. However, Criminal Minds went strong for another four years with the remaining five original cast members.

The majority of the original cast is returning for the Paramount Plus revival of the beloved thriller. According to Deadline, Joe Mantegna, Kirsten Vangsness, A.J. Cook, Aisha Tyler, and Paget Brewster have all agreed to come back. The only names that remain unconfirmed are Matthew Gray Gubler, Shemar Moore, Daniel Henney, and Thomas Gibson.

Sadly, however, Thomas Gibson’s return to the series seems highly unlikely. Though fans would love to see Hotch again, Criminal Minds essentially erased him from existence following Gibson’s firing. After his departure, the other characters never mentioned the former BAU Chief again.

Even Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), who was only with the series for two years, was mentioned fondly by other characters on multiple occasions. Furthermore, Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) went on to firmly cement herself as the team’s new leader.

With a new BAU Chief and no mention of Aaron Hotchner following his retirement, Thomas Gibson likely won’t come back for Season 16.

‘Criminal Minds’ EP Wanted to ‘Look for the Light’ After the Series Finale

Though Criminal Minds is an entirely fictional series, it drew heavily on real-life crimes. And spending day after day in these extremely dark scenarios weighed heavily on some of the crew, even with the element of fiction.

For Criminal Minds EP Erica Messer, the end of the series was an opportunity to pursue positivity. “Some people love telling procedural stories and especially serial killer stories. So some plan to keep pursuing that,” Messer told Entertainment Weekly. “Others, like myself, wanted to step away from it a little bit and look for the light in the world instead of all this darkness.”

“But everybody who’s been on this show has an incredible skill set that we can’t ignore,” she continued. “It’s the skill set of being able to tell a mystery and being able to tell a character-driven procedural. It’s been a lot of fun.”