While CBS’ Criminal Minds may still be one of television’s top series, the unfortunate focus for this past year has been on the unceremonious firings of A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster. If that’s not enough, there’s also the proverbial limbo that is the status of Thomas Gibson’s contract for season 7.

Fortunately, the cast of Criminal Minds is pretty straightforward and honest. So, when E! Online spoke with Thomas Gibson and Matthew Gray Gubler at the Monte-Carlo TV Festival today, they were more than willing to discuss the issues with this past season’s selective firings.

Speaking to Matthew Gray Gubler, it soon becomes apparent that he’s reiterating many of the same points that co-star Kirsten Vangsness brought up when we spoke with her at Comic-Con 2010.

Here’s what Gubler had to say about the senseless firing of A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster:

“We lost her and A.J. Cook for no reason at all, just on a whim, and that is sort of offensive to me because they’re my friends, and they did a good job, and the fans liked them. At the same time I understand that we are all grownups and six years ago we signed contracts that said they could fire us.”

Gubler then goes on to discuss how these continuous cast changes have affected life on the set:

“…it makes it harder because for six years we’ve functioned as a unit and then suddenly it’s different. These are my best friends in life, these actors, so losing them changed everything. And so I’m so glad that the band is back together now. I hope that Thomas doesn’t leave. I think Rachel [Nichols] will leave. Which is sad, she’s a nice girl…it was a tough position she came into, but like I said, it’s a strange situation, it’s Hollywood.”

While it appears that Gubler is more than willing to talk about the ridiculousness that is occurring behind the scenes, Gibson is staying decidedly quiet – especially when it comes to whether or not he’ll be returning this fall.

Here’s all that Gibson would say in regards to him returning to Criminal Minds for season 7:

“I hope [that I’ll return]; that’s all I really can tell you. I am just hopeful we can work something out.”

Of course, if Gibson doesn’t return, Gubler has an idea of who should take over:

“Emily, I think, would take over as the chief, or Joe Mantegna. I don’t know – we do have a lot of characters. I don’t know what they’d do. It would suck, but they’d figure something out.”

Showing that he still has a sense a humor about all of this, Gibson suggests a familiar CBS personality as his replacement:

“Charlie Sheen. He’s free, you know.”

With production on Criminal Minds season 7 starting up next month, the window for Gibson to sign a new contract is slowly closing. Hopefully the studio and network have learned from last year’s mistakes, and Gibson will be returning to work next month.

Of course, in the world of television, anything can happen. Lisa Edelstein quitting House is a perfect example of that.

Expect to hear news on whether or not Thomas Gibson will return in the coming weeks.

Criminal Minds season 7 will air Wednesdays @9pm on CBS

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

Source: E! Online