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Criminal Minds is officially ending, and fans have some questions. Here's one big one: Will fired actor Thomas Gibson's Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner return for the Criminal Minds finale? That is the question showrunner Erica Messer was asked, and this is how she answered:

What I'd love to do is honor the history of the series in some way that is satisfying for all of us, and I don't know exactly what that will be. As we're closing a chapter on the series, I want to be sure that we're honoring all of those people who were here and the lives that we've all been invested in for so long.

That's what Erica Messer told TVLine regarding a potential return for Thomas Gibson's Hotch. While it was not a "no," it was not necessarily a "yes" either. For fans hoping Criminal Minds brings back the character for one more go, it is a glimmer of hope. As it was certainly not ruled out.

CBS recently announced that Criminal Minds would be coming to an end. The veteran crime drama is set to wrap up with one more season. All of which has led some to wonder if Thomas Gibson's former BAU unit chief Hotch will return for the finale.

It is not the first time the subject of Thomas Gibson returning to the series has been broached. Back in 2017, Criminal Minds' showrunner fielded the inquiry. Her response did not indicate a definitive answer either way. Fast forward to 2019, and the sentiment seems largely unchanged. The only major change is that now we know when the series is ending.

Thomas Gibson was let go from Criminal Minds back in 2016 following an altercation with one of the show's writers. Accordingly, the character was written off with a pretty happy ending in store. So, there are no loose plot threads to notably tie-up.

Any time a series comes to an end, questions tend to abound regarding which stars will come back and which will not. Especially when the actor/character was a long-running presence on the series. Accordingly, Criminal Minds is confronting the same situation.

In years past, the question of Thomas Gibson's potential return had not had a ticking clock placed on it. Now that Criminal Minds is officially coming to an end, there is one in play.

Criminal Minds will film its fifteenth and final season this spring, immediately after Season 14 wraps production. That leaves little time left to make to a decision regarding Thomas Gibson making a comeback. The CBS drama will draw to an end with ten episodes.

Along with balancing what could be some potential returns, Criminal Minds will have to close out its current characters' stories. Season 14 has yet to air its finale, which should set up the final season's activities. Criminal Minds' showrunner Erica Messer has already teased how the show will set up a slightly different final season.

One of the things Criminal Minds fans can look forward to is Rossi's upcoming nuptials. All told, there is a lot in store for the crime drama's upcoming episodes. Whether Thomas Gibson's Hotch makes a return before the series signs off, only time will tell for sure.

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS. The crime drama is one of many shows airing new episodes during the midseason.

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