The Thomas Gibson era has ended on “Criminal Minds.”
Gibson appeared in his final episode of CBS’ long-running crime drama on Wednesday, with little to no fanfare.
The 54-year-old actor was barely seen in the episode, which focused heavily on one of the other major characters on the show, Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau (A.J. Cook).
In his last scene on “Criminal Minds,” Gibson gives her some key advice about spending time away from work, ironic after he was fired from the show in August after allegedly kicking writer-producer Virgil Williams during an on-set altercation.
“I want you to take some time off, at least a week,” Gibson’s Aaron Hotchner tells J.J., who has just been put through the wringer. “It’s not a request.”
Then, Hotchner walks away. And that’s all she wrote.
The teaser for next week’s episode was similarly cryptic, only promoting the return of fan-favorite Paget Brewster, with no mention of Hotchner’s whereabouts and demise. Last week’s season 12 premiere featured Hotchner leading the team like it was business as usual and welcoming new series regular Adam Rodriguez into the fold.
Gibson, who has been with the crime drama since its 2005 debut, claimed in a September interview that he actually “tapped” Williams on the leg as the writer was “coming towards” him.
“We were shooting a scene late one night when I went to Virgil and told him there was a line that I thought contradicted an earlier line,” Gibson told People. “He said, ‘Sorry, it’s necessary, and I absolutely have to have it.’”
“As he brushed past me, my foot came up and tapped him on the leg,” he continued. “If I hadn’t moved, he would have run into me. We had some choice words, for which I apologized the next day, and that was it. It was over. We shot the scene, I went home -- and I never got to go back.”
“I feel like it took years to make a good reputation and a minute to damage it,” the former Dharma and Greg star added. Gibson also expressed his unhappiness over how the show is handling his exit this season. ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios said in a joint statement announcing Gibson’s firing in August that “creative details for how the character’s exit will be addressed in the show” would come “at a later date.”
“It seems like they’re trying to erase me from the show. That hurts,” he said. “But I’m using this time to be with my kids, and I look forward to what’s next.”
“Criminal Minds” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.