Edition #1 of this column and a call back joke in edition #2 aside, I have no desire to turn this space into a Criminal Minds fanzine where I relive my favorite episodes over and over again like some kind of serial killer procedural Groundhog Day, list my favorite a-dork-ably awkward Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) moments or fanfic an Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster)/Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler) ‘ship. Okay, I could for sure get behind that last one, but I’ll save that for my private “meditation” time.
After outing myself as a Criminal Minds fan, though, I feel compelled to address the new elephant in the digital room – star Thomas Gibson, who played FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner since the first episode of the show in 2005, being fired for ALLEGEDLY assaulting writer/producer Virgil Williams on set.
It should go without saying, but unless you work in a boxing/MMA gym, martial arts dojo or BDSM dungeon, hitting or kicking anyone in the workplace should be an instantly fireable offense. Safety and liability concerns not withstanding, no one produces their best work when they’re constantly pre-visualizing their fight choreography like Sherlock Holmes just in case Thomas Gibson is “in a mood.”
I can honestly say that I couldn’t drink beer and play with kittens up to the level expected by my superiors if I was worried about my physical safety during the two to three days that I actually spend in my office each week.
I would #humblebrag here, but there was nothing remotely humble about that sentence!
And, we can say ALLEGEDLY all we want, but this isn’t the first time that Gibson went “all Hotchner” on a coworker. In December of 2010, he ALLEGEDLY shoved assistant director Ian Woolf during a location night shoot and was forced by producers to submit to eight hours of anger management courses, as the push was viewed as a dangerous escalation in his already anti-social behavior.
It’s also pretty damning that (as I’m writing this) not one former costar has hit the interwebs with even a “we’ll miss you”, “this situation sucks for everyone but rules are rules” or “Thomas is a great guy who made a bad decision, we wish him only the best.” Nope. Instead, we get crickets from everyone except Shemar Moore.
Where is season one and two costar, Lola Glaudini? The only thing that I’ve seen her in recently is a Home Depot commercial; surely she could use the publicity (and coin) that a nice, juicy, tell-all would generate. Imagine the stories that she could tell: her run on the show included Thomas Gibson AND Mandy Patinkin! It must have been like being an orderly at Arkham.
Even the gossip sites are piling on. One of my Internet guilty pleasures, crazydaysandnights.net included this little ditty in their weekly Saturday blind item reveals:
October 26, 2012
… His show right now? Huge hit. If you ask him though, the greatest thing that happened to him was when this B- list actress left the show he was on. They had fooled around a few times… She got incredibly clingy and wanted to know everyday when he was going to leave his wife and began calling and texting at all hours to try and get him caught.Then she got a big break and left the show. She never has said a peep since. – Thomas Gibson
Moore is right. If you’re an unpredictable, hair-trigger douche to everyone around you, the Phil Collins law takes effect: when you’re drowning, NO ONE lends a hand.
Of course, given the popularity of the character, there will be a million conspiracy theories. Williams is already being bombarded with tweets from a clearly racist ass-clown who insists that he only has his job because he’s an African American (an accusation easily disproven by his IMDB page), pundits insisting that he should also be fired for approaching Gibson in an intimidating manner (something that they claim is common for Williams, a boxer) and questions about his humanity thanks to an ill-received rape joke that he tweeted on November 8, 2012.
But even if his defenders are right, and he was provoked by an aggro-jock-flinching-rape-joke-making-meathead, GIBSON still took the bait and WENT A STEP TOO FAR, costing him his job and fans of his work and his show any hope of a proper send-off for a character that we’ve been following for eleven years. Next time, at your next job, Thomas, use your words!
My theory? The Reaper (C. Thomas Howell) finally broke him. Aaron Hotchner lost his leadership of the BAU in shame and disgrace, and George Foyet is laughing his (AUDIO DROP OUT) off in (AUDIO DROP OUT).
But now, on to more important matters …
Emily Prentiss opened her eyes and stared in wide-awake disbelief; torn between the instinct to run and the impulse to smile. Romances between teammates are strictly forbidden in elite FBI units like the BAU, but here, now, all she could do was gaze in wonder at the flawless beauty of her fellow profiler, Dr. Tara Lewis, as she slept soundly next to her in her own bed. Her memories of the night before raced around her brain in a flood of sensory echoes; the taste of the wine, the smell of Tara’s perfume, the softness of her skin against Emily’s lips … Yep, “mediation” time …
Tony Marion is a writer and filmmaker who splits time between Lancaster, PA and Baltimore, MD. He lives for the work of Descendents (the band), Chuck Palahniuk and Rian Johnson. Check out the digital embodiment of procrastination he calls his website here.