'Criminal Minds' Season Premiere Sets up Hotch's Potential Return

(Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Season 13 premiere of Criminal Minds.)

Ever since Thomas Gibson's abrupt departure from Criminal Minds last year, fans have been hoping to see Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner return to his BAU team. If you were paying attention to the season premiere on Wednesday, you may have noticed that the episode contained a conversation that made Hotch's comeback entirely possible.

As the premiere came to a close, the BAU finally killed the notorious Mr. Scratch, which meant good things for Hotch. Remember, the character was written out of the show when he went into witness protection to keep his family safe from the villain.

With Scratch dead, many of the BAU team members believed that Hotch would finally return to work with them once again. As Emily Prentiss noted, Hotch is welcome back if he wants in, opening the door for the reunion.

However, as Prentiss kept talking, she revealed that she had spoken with Hotch about joining the team once again. He declined her offer, saying that he was enjoying the life of a father and wanted a chance to raise his family outside the constraints of witness protection.

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So sadly, Hotch isn't coming back right now. But, there is a positive to take from this conversation. The invitation for his return is wide open, and there is nothing standing in his way if he changes his mind.

If Thomas Gibson patches things up with the creative team behind the show, there's definitely a chance we could see Hotch back in the saddle this season.