While Criminal Minds fans might have been shocked to learn Special Agent Aaron Hotchner has been axed from the show, those familiar with actor Thomas Gibson observed a pattern of escalating “on-set tension” before his dismissal last week following an alleged altercation with producer Virgil Williams. According to Variety, Gibson’s rancorous relationship with co-star Shemar Moore, scheduling demands that accommodated his decision to live in Texas, and a 2013 reckless-driving charge that resulted in the loss of his driver’s license earned Gibson a reputation as being somewhat volatile among cast and crew. His fight with Williams was also apparently not the first time the actor physically assaulted someone on set. In December 2010, Gibson allegedly shoved Criminal Minds assistant director Ian Woolf during a shouting match; the cast was filming a car-chase scene during a late-night shoot and the actor became upset over what he perceived to be safety issues.
After news of his firing emerged Friday, Gibson released a statement saying, “I love Criminal Minds and have put my heart and soul into it for the last twelve years. I had hoped to see it through to the end, but that won’t be possible now. I would just like to say thank you to the writers, producers, actors, our amazing crew, and, most importantly, the best fans that a show could ever hope to have.”