Criminal Minds


The BAU has seen some changes over 11 seasons.

Criminal Minds fired original cast member Thomas Gibson on Friday following a suspension after he kicked a writer, E! News has confirmed, with no details released regarding how his character, Hotch, will be written off the CBS hit procedural when it returns for its 12th season Sept. 28.

A big loss for the show, the BAU team and fans, for sure. But it's not the first time Criminal Minds viewers have had to say goodbye to team member, as the show has experienced its fair share of departures over the last decade. Remember that time Jennifer Love Hewitt was a cast member for, like, five minutes?) 

From Mandy Patinkin's abrupt exit to Shemar Moore's recent warm and fuzzy sendoff, here's a rundown of all of Criminal Minds' exits over its 12-season run...

A.J. Cook, Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna, Criminal Minds


Lola Glaudini: Who? Just kidding, but it is a little hard to remember her character, Elle Greenaway, considering Glaudini was only a cast member for the first two seasons...and left pretty early on in season two. 

Mandy Patinkin: An original cast member, the Homeland star left the show prior to season four, citing "creative differences" as the reason for his departure. "Due to creative differences, Mandy has asked not to return to Criminal Minds this season," a rep for Patinkin said in a 2007 statement. "Mandy would like to thank the studios and network for releasing him from the series, and he wishes the cast and crew continued success in all of their endeavors and looks forward to continuing to work with the Disney and CBS companies in other capacities in the future." Ed Bernero, showrunner at the time, issued a statement on a fansite, making it clear this was Patinkin's decision to say goodbye to the role of Jason Gideon, saying, "Everyone involved in the show has for two years bent over backward to give him ANYTHING he wanted." Not the best parting of ways. 

A.J. Cook: Remember that time the show decided to make cost-cutting measures by letting Cook go? Yeah, JJ fans were (rightfully) upset...and she was quickly brought back as a series regular, and it still on the show. It felt like a breakup with a guy. It happened out of nowhere," Cook told TV Guide of her brief exit. "And it was an "It's not you, it's me" sort of thing. You think, "What did I do?" It's been a rollercoaster ride, but I just had to put one foot forward and keep moving."

Rachel Nichols: Originally hired to fill the void left by Brewster's first departure in season six, Nichols' character Ashley Seaver failed to fully connect with fans, with CBS choosing to not have her come back after her first and only season. 

Paget Brewster: After making her debut in season two as special agent Emily Prentiss, Brewster left the series in season seven (following a brief hiatus in season five). "After six wonderful years playing Emily Prentiss, I have decided it's time for me to move on," she said in a statement. "As much as I will miss my Criminal Minds family, I am excited about the future and other opportunities." Still, Brewster has made several appearances since her exit, and is set to return for multiple episodes in season 12. 

Criminal Minds


Jeanne Tripplehorn: After playing Alex Blake, a replacement for Brewster's Prentiss, for two seasons (eight and nine), Tripplehorn departed reportedly due to failed contract negotiations. 

Jennifer Love Hewitt: Well, that was fast. After making her debut as Kate in season 10, JLH only spent one season on the show, before exiting to focus on her family after announcing her second pregnancy. "Jennifer wanted to be able to give this second baby everything she gave her first, and that's taking time off to be a full-time mom," showrunner Eric Messer told EW at the time. "Because she's due in July, when we would start shooting season 11, timing-wise there was no way for her to do both, to be able to give that baby everything she wanted to give that baby and still be on our show."

Shemar Moore: Fans were stunned in season 11 when Moore's character Derek Morgan, a beloved team member since the show first started, decided to leave the BAU to focus more on his wife and baby. And it turns out, life was imitating art, as Moore said he was looking forward to starting a family and admitted to feeling an "itch" to try something new. "My fans and my family at Criminal Minds have been so good to me, I'm not opposed to those doors opening up again," Moore told us of possibly returning to the BAU. "Now, it may not be permanently, and it may not be for a full season, but if there's an opportunity to go back and dance and play, I wouldn't be opposed to that."

Thomas Gibson: Following an on-set incident, during which Gibson kicked a writer over "creative differences," the actor was suspended for two weeks, before the decision was made to fire him from the show. "Thomas Gibson has been dismissed from Criminal Minds," ABC Studios and CBS Studios said in a statement.  "Creative details for how the character's exit will be addressed in the show will be announced at a later date." As for Gibson, who's been on the show since it debuted in 2005, he said, "I had hoped to see it through to the end, but that won't be possible now."

Criminal Minds returns Sept. 28 on CBS. 

Which Criminal Minds exit hit you the hardest? Sound off in the comments below.

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