Thomas Gibson on 'Criminal Minds' negotiations, Paget Brewster's exit, and his plans for hiatus
So two weeks ago, the exit Criminal Minds fans had been dreading finally happened. But though we had anticipated the end of Paget Brewster’s Emily Prentiss, the team at BAU was thrown for a loop and are now faced with the task of dealing with Prentiss’ “death.” (Read Ken Tucker’s take on the episode.) In an interview with EW, first previewed in the Spoiler Room, Thomas Gibson previews what’s next for Hotch and the show.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s been a really difficult season for Hotch. First A.J. Cook’s character left and now Emily. He’s such a determined, focused character. How is all this affecting him?
On the inside, all of these things do affect him. They do get to him, but he is disciplined enough to know that they are, A) private, and B) not to intrude on the job that’s got to be done. He will absolutely not try to sweep them under the rug, but the job needs him and his son needs him. There’s too much to do to — I wouldn’t call it wallowing — but there’s too much to do to really rest or even digest. So I think that it’s just a kind of survival instinct. At this point, [the team] has been through — and he’s been through — a great deal of change over the life of the show. We are down to, I think, four of us who started with the show from the beginning and are still with it. Each year seems to have contained the challenges of transition and no greater transition has been called upon than this year. Like I said, the show without A.J. and without Paget — we’re continuing. The show is continuing just like the team is continuing, but hopefully we’re ready for whatever the next transition is and maybe the next transition is the re-addition of team members. I don’t know.
I think the fans are gonna stick with you regardless.
I hope so. People are really crazy about the show. I hear from people in the airport, as I’m going back and forth home every week. And I hear from people in Texas, where I live, and I was in New York a couple weeks ago and got stopped by two secret service agents in the lobby of my hotel. You know, people are connected to the show. I don’t think there are any wishy-washy fans. I think there are fans who are very connected, and we’re grateful for them, so hopefully they will. We’ve still got stories to tell, and I want us to tell them well. Hopefully people are along for the ride.
Last I heard, you were in talks for next season. Have there been any decisions made?
We’re still in talks.
I know 50,000 Twitters followers who are gonna be very upset if they don’t work this out with you.
Yeah, I know. That’s all I can say. I’m hoping to be on the show. I’m planning on being on the show, but we’re still talking. That’s all I can say at this point. I know I certainly don’t feel like it’s time to turn off the lights or anything like that.
I’m sure San Antonio would love to keep you full time, but as far as fans…
I don’t think my kids would mind. That would be a good thing, but they’ve been very understanding. I’ve tried my very best to keep all the balls in the air and be home. When I’m home, I’ve got the kind of time that other dads who live there full time don’t have. I can go and have lunch with my kids at school and that sort of thing. We’re making it work, [but] they are sacrificing as well and not complaining about it.
Yeah, that’s a good bunch there.
They are a good bunch. Yeah, I think we’ll keep ‘em.
I think the solution here would be to take Criminal Minds to San Antonio for an episode or two.
That would be fine. I think we’ve exhausted all the geographical possibilities in Los Angeles County. It would be great to branch out a little bit. None of us would mind the change of scenery. I mean, we get little changes here, but now we’re starting to see the same places over and over again. I think we’ve all gotten to know more of L.A. County than we ever thought possible.
You have your break coming up soon. Do you have anything in the works?
I’ve got a short film that I’ve been adapting and would like to make. I don’t know that I’m going to have it together enough to start shooting this summer, but I may end up trying to do it in the fall. I am going to get it on track to try to pull it together and maybe get it done this summer. It’s a great little idea. It’s very simple. My ambitions for it are reasonable, and I just want to have the experience of doing it really for myself. And if it turns out well, I might let other people see it. It’s a story that I really love. It’s very unique, it’s very interesting. So hopefully you’ll hear more about that in the not-too-distant future.
What’s the skeleton story of it?
It’s based on a short story, and we’re kind of negotiating the rights. I’m going ahead and adapting it anyway. I don’t wanna kill my only chances by putting it out there, but it’s definitely unique, I can tell you that much. I’ll keep you posted.