Despite his lack of wit and humor, Supervisory Special Agent Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) has captured the hearts of Criminal Minds fans. The actor was one of the series’ cornerstones but the show broke the hearts of a lot of his fans when CBS terminated his contract in August 2016. This followed an altercation with a writer. He then issued an apology statement explaining that the disagreement was a result of their creative differences.

Fans started a petition to get him back on the show and also started a massive #NoHotchNoWatch fest on Twitter. The Season 13 premiere touched on Hotch’s story and we all have one question in mind – does Gibson get a chance to return?

Episode 1 reveals Hotch’s fate

“Criminal Minds” Season 13 Episode 1 titled “Wheels Up, saw the BAU team under pressure after a fatal car crash killed Agent Stephen Walker (Damon Gupton) and most of them sustained serious injuries.

Apparently, the massive accident was pre-orchestrated by one of the country's serial killers, Peter Lewis a.k.a Mr. Scratch. He held Agent Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) captive and demanded the whereabouts of his nemesis, Hotch. Hotch Fans can recall that Hotchner and his son Jack entered the Witness Protection Program after Scratch started stalking them. At least, that’s how they wrote off Gibson’s character in the show when he was fired early in Season 12.

Farewell, Mr. Scratch

After a difficult mission to catch Mr. Scratch, the infamous “Criminal Minds” serial killer was finally killed off when he tried to escape from the BAU team. Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) checked the serial killer's whereabouts and found out that he was in a warehouse.

The team stormed the location and Lewis tried to run away through the fire exit but the structure gave in. He tried to hang onto the ledge and begged Agent Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez) to help him up. Unfortunately, he lost his grip and dropped to the ground. He banged his head and died.

Hotch leaves WITSEC

Apparently, with Mr.

Scratch’s demise, there is no more reason for Hotch and his son to stay in WITSEC. Prentiss was pleased to inform her comrades that the father and son have departed the Witness Protection Program. However, she made it clear that Hotchner is not returning to the BAU and will instead just enjoy his life as a full-time dad. So, does this mean that the chance of Gibson’s return to “Criminal Minds” is next to impossible?

Hopefully not.

“Criminal Minds” airs every Wednesday at 8 PM ET/PT on CBS.

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