Tonight, Criminal Minds will air its series finale, gracing TV screens with new episodes for the final time, and many fans are wondering if Thomas Gibson's Hotch could appear. Gibson starred in the crime drama for many years, but was fired in 2016 after an on-set altercation with longtime writer/co-executive producer Virgil Williams. Based on this, it is very unlikely that Hotch may turn up. Notably, there has been no word from the shows producers as to whether or not Gibson is returning for the finale.
To catch the killer of your career, you have to revisit your roots. Join us tonight at 9/8c for one last wheels up on the exhilarating series finale of #CriminalMinds. Stream it live on @CBS and @CBSAllAccess. https://t.co/ujFLYr4pBg pic.twitter.com/3B1i08O369— Criminal Minds (@CrimMinds_CBS) February 19, 2020
For his part, Gibson has claimed that the altercation was simply his foot tapping Williams "on the leg," but he admitted that afterwards the two of them did exchange un-pleasantries.
"[Williams] came into that room and started coming towards me. As he brushed past me, my foot came up and tapped him on the leg. If I hadn't moved, he would have run into me," Gibson said, adding, "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."
Following Gibson's abrupt exit, it was explained that Hotch and his son had gone into witness protection. Eventually, producers explained that Hotch had gotten used to his new life and didn't want to give it up.
"It seems like they're trying to erase me from the show," Gibson told PEOPLE. "My pride and reputation are hurt, but in the end I know the good work is what people will remember. I just need more opportunities to do good work and be a good guy."
The Criminal Minds series finale will play out over two episodes, with the first — titled "Face Off" — airing at 9 p.m. ET. That will be immediately followed by the final episode, "And in the End," at 10 p.m. ET. Subscribers to CBS All Access can also stream the episodes live.