‘Criminal Minds’: Will Hotch Return for the Revival’s 16th Season?

by Megan Molseed

The hit procedural crime drama TV series Criminal Minds is making a big return as a reboot project is underway with Paramount +. However, we don’t yet know for sure which characters from the OG series fans can hope to see a return in this long-awaited revival. And, as we wait for the official cast list, we wonder, could we see the return of one original Criminal Minds character – that left the series before the show’s finale just a few years ago?

Will The Upcoming Criminal Minds Revival Bring Back The BAU’s Agent Aaron Hotchner?

Thomas Gibson’s Agent Aaron Hotchner was one of the initial team members at the Criminal Minds’ BAU offices. However, his character made a sudden departure in the show’s 12th season. While the departure was a sudden one, the series did a fine job explaining this move.

One recurring storyline in the Criminal Minds universe includes the team tracking down a dangerous serial killer named Peter “Mr. Scratch” Lewis (Bodhi Elfman). As this storyline unfolds, Hotchner’s family becomes one of Mr. Scratch’s targets. Eventually, to keep his son Jack safe, Hotchner decides to leave the BAU for their protection. It’s a swift but satisfying exit for fans of the series.

However, now that Criminal Minds is returning years later, we can’t help but wonder if Gibson’s Hotchner (Hotch) could be returning to his team. Especially now that Mr. Scratch is gone. Plus, Jack is now quite a bit older. However, the chances of this return, it seems are not very high.

Agent Aaron Hotchner left the BAU team for the safety of his family. However, Gibson’s exit from the series wasn’t quite as clear-cut. According to reports, there was plenty of behind-the-scenes drama involving Gibson on the Criminal Minds set. And, the longtime actor was fired from the series after an altercation on the set of the popular drama.

At this point, multiple other concerns continued to come to light. Suggesting that there had been issues between Gibson, and some Criminal Minds crew members. As well as cast members over the years. With all of this in mind, it would be of little surprise to many if Hotch isn’t brought back in the series revival.

Thomas Gibson’s Aaron Hotchner All But Disappeared After His Departure From the Series

When Thomas Gibson’s Aaron Hotchner left the team four years before the series came to a close, fans were given a reasonable explanation for his exit. Paget Brewster’s Agent Emily Prentiss and Joe Mantegna’s David Rossi tell the team about Hotch’s choice to depart for the safety of his son. However, after this explanation, Hotchner all but disappears throughout the rest of the show’s run.

Furthermore, after other characters left the series they were mentioned or made guest appearances after leaving the series. This, Criminal Minds fans know, never happened with Gibson’s character. Additionally, any flashbacks that took the team to past events never included Gibson’s Agent Hotchner after the actor’s exit. All of these are a pretty clear sign that the Criminal Minds showrunners are not planning to see Hotch return anytime soon.

As the hit procedural series Criminal Minds makes a long-awaited return to television, can fans expect Agent Aaron Hotchner to return to the BAU?