Why is Mandy Patinkin quitting 'Criminal Minds'?

Cm_lOh, Mandy, you came and you gave without taking/But then you walked away, oh Mandy…

At this point, neither you nor I nor Barry Manilow knows why Mandy Patinkin abruptly quit his starring role on CBS’ Criminal Minds. The reason wasn’t money or contract issues, according to a joint statement issued yesterday by the network and the show’s production company, Disney-owned ABC Studios. The actor, who pulled a similar disappearing act 12 years ago from CBS’ Chicago Hope (back then, he said he wanted to spend more time with his family), also issued a statement yesterday, citing "creative differences" and adding that he "looks forward to continuing to work with the Disney and CBS companies in other capacities in the future" (possible translation: "Please don’t label me as ‘difficult’ because I still want to work in this town, perhaps even with you guys again. No hard feelings, eh?").

Now, "creative differences" could mean just about anything, but suppose we take Patinkin at his word. Did he not like the way his character, Special Agent Jason Gideon (pictured), was developing (or not developing — which is a common complaint among actors in these police procedural shows)? Did he balk at something the writers wanted Gideon to do? Is Gideon going to be killed off on the show? (CBS and ABC Studios said he’d be back for one ep next season that will explain Gideon’s departure, and that a new character will be introduced to replace him.)

Let me ask you, Criminal Minds fans: Are you sorry or relieved to see Patinkin go? Can the show survive without him, or was he indispensable? How should Gideon be written off the show? And which star would you like to see in his place?

addCredit(“Mandy Patinkin: Vivian Zink“)


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  • aymzer

    the thing that gets me is that he did not tell ANYONE in production that he wasn’t coming, he just never showed up on the day he was supposed to start filming again. How unprofessional is that? Or is that just a rumor I heard that is untrue?

  • ceej

    IF memory serves, this isn’t the first time Patinkin has abruptly quit a job. Didn’t he jump ship from Homicide and Chicago Hope?

  • Dwight

    Just let Shemar Moore get naked. That should make everyone forget that Mandy is gone.

  • Mells

    MP already has the ‘difficult to work with’ label – and this latest move will not help that. Can they safely write his charachter out w/o ruining the show? I believe they can. I just hope they bring in an equally competant, more mature, father figure type charachter as their expert. I’m hoping for the best…any ideas who they should bring in?

  • Jenny P

    my name is inigo montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.
    to be completely honest I just want to hear him sing again. maybe he’ll go back to broadway. or is he like julie andrews and can’t sing anymore?

  • Joni

    I am bummed about Mandy leaving the show. He really was the most interesting character, and certainly the reason that I watched the show. I don’t think the show can survive without him.

  • Nix

    They probably wanted him to sing to please CBS’ demographics. CBS can be as gross and flash-cut-edit-ty as they want with these procedurals, but outside of the original CSI, they’re all just vehicles for ex-TV stars, ex-soap stars, and “ex”-Broadway actors. (no one is ever truly ex-Broadway.)

  • susan

    oh well.. he is on a concert tour this fall.. Due to come here to South Carolina in September…
    Best way to write “Gideon” out is to have him be devestated by the actions of the Keith Carradine character in the season finale – the way he had killed those that Gideon had saved etc… and his long time friend. It would wreak havoc with anyone’s mind.
    What do y’all think ?

  • Ceballos

    I’m not a HUGE fan of the show, but I’ve seen it a few times, and I think Mandy was good in it.
    Let’s not underestimate how much being the lead actor/actress in an hour-long drama absolutely drains these people, though I realize not too many of them go ahead and quit. Maybe Mandy DOES want to spend more time with his family, in addition devoting time to other interests, like his music career.
    Again, I don’t really watch the show, but I kinda know what it’s about. Since it doesn’t seem like Mandy will be coming back to this show, why not kill his character off and then make a storyline out of it. I realize it’s a procedural, and it wouldn’t have to be the main storyline, but the murder of Gideon might be a cool, sustained arc. I’d also bring in Stanley Tucci to replace him…3lbs was on for such a short amount of time, he might still be wandering around the CBS lot.
    Finally, I’m selfishly a little happy the show will take a hit and stop kicking Lost’s ass in the ratings.

  • michael

    I am hearing Patinkin will be replace by a younger female actor, since CBS is looking for younger viewers. My suggestion is the talented HEATHER LOCKLEAR, who could take CM to a new level.

  • Eli

    working in the theatre biz in new york, for years I have heard of his Prima Donna behaviour in the theatre. He would just up and leave productions constantly… but i though they were just exagerations, apparently he does the same thing with tv… but i sort of get it… some people are like that, they get bored and they leave. But dewd, he should have just exercised a better more professional exit strategy.

  • ceej

    I don’t know about you, Ceballos, but when I want to take a leave form work, I give my boss some notice. You don’t just NOT show up one day. Whatever his reason for leaving –and I’d believe the prima donna theory over the family time/music career one– he should have had the common decency to give the network a heads up.

  • Ceballos

    Oh you’re absolutely right ceej. I didn’t mean for my post to suggest that it was ok for him to leave his cast, crew, writers, producers AND fans high and dry without ANY advance notice. That’s indefensible. Sorry if my post suggested that part of the story was acceptable on any level.

  • rockgolf

    I’d suggest an older woman with some gravitas, intellect & class. Kate Mulgrew? Dihanne Carroll?

  • Martha

    It’s sad to hear that such a talented actor/singer can be such a world-class a-hole, but I guess it wouldn’t be the first time. I was surprised to see Mandy sign on to this show in the first place, given that he should just do Broadway all the time. But apparently his behavior onstage isn’t any better than his treatment of his TV colleagues. Shame.

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