Criminal Minds season 13 premiere delivers a new twist on Hotch's fate –

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Thomas Gibson in Criminal Minds

Warning: Spoilers for Criminal Minds‘ season 13 premiere are ahead.

Despite a number of hiccups along the way, Criminal Minds is finally back on our screens for season 13 – and it’s been busy tying up all those loose, character-based ends.

Specifically how to solve a problem like Special Agent Aaron Hotchner.

Following the death of Hotch’s arch-enemy Peter Lewis (AKA Scratch), it was time for Hotch to come out of witness protection and start a new life. Fitting, that.

Thomas Gibson in Criminal Minds

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Related: Criminal Minds is losing a series regular and could face a major cast shake-up

Rather than having to invite actor Thomas Gibson back to shoot his exit scenes, the fate of Hotch finally unravelled off-screen, as the BAU team were told of his retirement.

It was left to Emily Prentiss to break the news, telling the rest of the gang that Hotch will instead be enjoying the life of full-time fatherhood from now on.

Paget Brewster as Prentiss in 'Criminal Minds'

Thomas Gibson, who previously played the series’ leading man, was let go from the long-running drama after an alleged “physical altercation” with a writer on set.

Criminal Minds‘ network CBS, and production company ABC Studios, responded by sacking Gibson, and the character was last seen by fans in season 12.

Gibson told Digital Spy through his spokesperson at the time that he ‘loved’ the show and was sad to leave: “I… have put my heart and soul into it for the last 12 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.

Kristen Vangsness as Penelope Garcia, Shemar Moore as Derek Morgan, Joe Mantegna as David Rossi in Criminal Minds S10E01
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Criminal Minds airs on CBS in the US.

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