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The Best Time Aaron Hotchner Broke Character On Criminal Minds

CBS' fan favorite crime drama serial "Criminal Minds" released on the network in 2005 and ran for 15 seasons, ending in early 2020, until it was revived via buyout thanks to Paramount+. The series, which starred performers such as Mandy Patinkin, Paget Brewster, and Shemar Moore, has been lauded for it's intricate writing and onscreen chemistry, although it's seemingly almost more well known for the internet's comically all-consuming love for Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler).

Before Paramount+ picked it back up, "Criminal Minds" featured Special Agent Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), a stone-cold serious leader whose primary goal was to catch killers and save lives. With such a stoic purpose, it was rare for him to crack a smile, let alone cause anything uproariously funny — and that's where bloopers come in. Unlike modern gag reels, which lack the unrefined mistakes that made older bonus footage well worth watching, there are some delightful clips of Gibson slipping through the accidental cracks in Hotchner's somber soul. Here's the best one of all. 

Thomas Gibson knows how to make 'serious' seriously funny

In a blooper reel posted on YouTube, we found a few perfect moments where Thomas Gibson breaks character. Our runner up for Gibson's best break is the moment when Aaron Hotchner is descending from a stage to walk through an audience of eerily garbed mannequins. The actor pauses to glance at one of his silent viewers, and then gently envelops it in a comforting hug. Then, the tender moment ends without acknowledgement, and Gibson walks away in character. Even if you haven't seen "Criminal Minds," the image of a 6'2" Gibson leaning over the barrier to wrap his arms around a mannequin dressed in its finest Old Navy outfit will bring you enough joy to make it through the day.

The best moment we found, however, appears later in the video, when Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) is sharing a few heartfelt words on the phone with his partner. Morgan ends the call with a moving, "I love you," then hangs up to join the larger, more serious conversation being led by Hotchner. Gibson, who's delivering Hotchner's line with an impassive face and blank monotone, turns to face Moore and says, without missing a single beat, "I love you too, by the way," before continuing with the scripted dialogue. Needless to say, Moore couldn't keep it together, and neither could we.