The writers seemed to have taken their time letting viewers know what happened to Thomas Gibson's character on "Criminal Minds" after he was fired from the show at the beginning of this season. They might have waited a little longer than fans wanted them to, but when the explanation was given during the episode on November 16, everyone was pleased about the way the writers wrote him off the show. It was a smooth transition without any fanfare. When Rossi explained to the BAU what happened, he was also explaning it to the television audience.

Thomas Gibson's exit

Thomas Gibson was fired from the show he had been on since it started twelve years ago.

He was one of the original cast. He was really good at playing the role of Aaron Hotchner, but he had problems off and on the set. It was reported that Gibson had anger problems. He was fired from the show last August for alledgedly kicking a producer. Because a couple of episodes had already been taped, Gibson appeared in the first two episodes in this season. Writers had to come up with a plan to get his character off the show. At first they said he had gone on a special assignment after his last episode on October 5. Since then, nobody had seen or heard from him.

Aaron Hotchner's exit

Aaron Hotchner's exit was not dramatic at all. It was an exit nevertheless. The Behavior Analysis Unit was called together and Rossi explained that the special assignment was just a ruse to keep Hotchner's location a secret.

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Instead of a special assignment, Hotchner and his son, Jack, had been placed in a Witness Protection Program after Mr. Scratch began stalking Jack at school and at a soccer game. Therefore, Hotchner submitted his resignation in order to protect Jack and to keep him safe. When Garcia asked if they would be in contact with Hotch, Rossi was quick to say there would be no contact.

Replacing Hotchner

After Hotchner's resignation, his BAU chief unit job became vacant. Emily Prentiss had returned to the BAU, and when asked if she would accept the position, she didn't give an answer right away. It was not until the end of the episode that she accepted the position. The team promised they would work with her to avoid bringing in a new person for the job. After Prentiss accepted Hotchner's job, Garcia was quick to thank the universe for silver linings.