'Criminal Minds': A Look Back at Mandy Patinkin's Contentious Exit
'Criminal Minds': A Look Back at Mandy Patinkin's Contentious Exit
Criminal Minds has seen several cast changes over its seven-year run, and though Mandy Patinkin was not the first actor to leave the series, his exit sent shockwaves through the fan base and shocked his cast mates. 

As Jason Gideon, Patinkin was the show's leading man and one of the most well-known cast members at the start of the series. For the first two seasons, Gideon was the wise man of the group, the one who had seen and done it all. His fellow team members often looked to Gideon for insight into the cases, drawing on his vast experience in the science of profiling. 

After Patinkin's departure, Joe Mantegna's David Rossi was brought in to partially fill Gideon's shoes, at least as the team member with the most experience.

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So What Happened?
Back in 2007, it was reported that Patinkin failed to show up at the first table read for season 3 of Criminal Minds, without contacting anyone involved with the show to let them know he would not be coming. Patinkin's co-workers were concerned about his absence, especially since they claimed he had given them no indication that he would not be returning for the new season. 

About a week later, a statement was sent out that said Patinkin had been released from his contract with Criminal Minds and would return for one episode to wrap up his character's storyline. At the time, Patinkin blamed 'creative differences' as his reason for leaving the show, but he later spoke about the dark subject matter of the series and said it was weighing on his emotional state to a point where he could no longer continue on in his role. 

With all the rumors surrounding the actor's departure from the series, it is hard to say if we will ever know the full story, but the show progressed without Patinkin, even earning some of its highest ratings after the actor's exit.

Where is He Now?
Patinkin currently co-stars on Showtime's Homeland, which just finished its first season run and has already been picked up for next year. Patinkin stars as Saul Berenson, again stepping into the role of wise-man as mentor to Claire Danes' bipolar CIA agent, Carrie Mathison. 

Once again, Patinkin has found himself in great company amidst his fellow actors in this dark, suspenseful drama. (Though I find it odd that the actor would choose such a dark show after his previous statement that the violent material was too much for him on Criminal Minds.) But I highly recommend that every Criminal Minds fan who has missed Jason Gideon should check out this series, if you haven't already, as Mandy Patinkin's performance is not to be missed.

Megan Cole
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of CBS)

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