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Mandy moves on

With Criminal Minds, CBS had a winner on its hands. The network had assembled a cast -- led by Mandy Patinkin, known for his rivetingly intense performances -- which delivered a drama in which a team of FBI agents analyze the behavior of criminals in order to solve or preempt brutal crimes. Viewers loved it and Criminal Minds regularly appeared in the top 10 or top 20 in weekly ratings.

But in July when the cast was expected to return from their summer break to begin working on the show's third season, Patinkin simply did not show up. Instead, he asked to be released from the hit series. CBS

granted his request citing "creative differences" but hinting the star's split with the show was more because of "a personal issue".

Patinkin's move may have stunned his Hollywood bosses and Criminal Minds fans around the world. But his sudden departure came as little surprise to journalists who had interviewed him a few weeks prior in Monaco.

As he sat with the media at the Monte Carlo Television Festival in mid-June to promote Criminal Minds, it was clear this was a man with a deep conflict between what he felt his role in the entertainment world should be and how he actually spent 14 to 16 hours a day, 10 months out of the year.

"I loathe those violent images and I want no part of that type of violence. I work with the writers and producers constantly to try and tamper that violence down," Patinkin said of some of the gruesome content of the show, which earned Criminal Minds criticism from its very debut.

Patinkin had been attracted to the series, he said, because he was interested in the intellectual journey of the criminal's mind, the interrogator's mind, and the victim's situation and history.

"That intellectual journey of which side of the line do we live on is what fascinates me always because we're all capable of fantasy but the difference between acting on fantasy and having the fantasy is the difference between a serial killer and someone who writes a novel."

Patinkin did seek to justify the show's existence by describing it as a "teaching tool" which would help parents understand and catch warning signs in their children (such as constant bed-wetting and cruelty to animals) and get them help before psychopathic tendencies calcified into a criminal personality. But he acknowledged the ugliness the show portrayed went against what he felt the world needed to see.

"I want to see more humour coming to television.... I want to live long enough to see the appetite for comedy become greater than the appetite for violence."

His own favourite television shows, he said, were All in the Family and The Honeymooners because they brought viewers poignant lessons about life with humour.

The former star of Chicago Hope, who also suddenly bowed out of that series, spoke of the struggle creative folk grapple with because they have an "oversensitivity" to the human condition.

"It is a great burden; many people who are great writers, and actors and musicians take their lives because they can't bear what's happening in the human condition. Certainly that's not an answer, but you understand that it's because of an oversensitivity to human nature."

Having extracted himself from Criminal Minds, Patinkin, who won a Tony award for his performance in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita, has hit the road with a two-hour musical "filled with comedy".

In Monaco, Patinkin's eyes lit up as he spoke of plans to tour the world with the sunnier project, which seems more in tune with his disposition and with what he said he sees as the role of the entertainment business: "First to entertain you by grabbing your attention and then by giving you a kernel of hope with an idealistic view of how to make the world's life better."

A Monaco Revue "Up Close And Real Interview"; filmed at the Monte Carlo Television Festival.

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Comments to date: 13. Page 1 of 2.

Eduardo,  Ontario

Posted at 7:17pm on Sunday, September 19th, 2010

There are two ways a known actor can make money in series television, being in a successful show and being in a series of unsuccessful ones. I suspect Patinkin was expecting this show to die quickly, or not to be picked up at all. That way you get a nice contract, and the freedom to do what you want... read more »

Gloria,  Georgia

Posted at 1:47pm on Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Mandy's willingness to speak with such candor about his reasons for leaving a show adds credibility to the actor. He already has the talent and the fact that he's not willing to compromise his feelings about a show's content sets him apart from other actors who may be all about being a part of a to... read more »

Chris,  Canada

Posted at 8:10pm on Friday, March 12th, 2010

Anyone who isn't happy in their job has the right to leave. I always associate Patinkin with "Princess Bride" so "Criminal Minds" was a bit of a shift to me. I like the show, but in small doses.

There are other procedural dramas that still manage to retain a sense of humor--like CSI or NCIS-- bu... read more »

Jason B,  Belle Harbor NY

Posted at 7:04am on Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Criminal Minds is one of my favorite shows. The acting is brilliant but Mandy was one of my favorite characters. The show is still enjoyable but it's not the same without him.

Patrick,  Illinois

Posted at 10:14pm on Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Gideon was my favorite character on Criminal Minds. I hated to see him go because he knew how to keep the team together and he always kept his head. He also wanted/liked more laughter and I saw that in the episodes; especially the one with Charles Chaplin. I can see his point now for leaving but ... read more »

Donnie,  Orange Park, Fl

Posted at 8:17pm on Sunday, November 1st, 2009

I miss him so much. He "made" the show and it's not the same without him. Long Live Gideon!

Amazing Grace21,  Oswego,New York

Posted at 5:46pm on Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

In law enforcement, people change. Some are lucky too stay in one department, but often they move or go part time in more than one department or more training to become better officers. The burn-out rate is high for the job. It is a very hard job, with a very high toll on people and families. I once... read more »

Emily,  Indiana

Posted at 7:16pm on Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Kudos to Patinkin for that decision. I'm a HUGE fan of Criminal Minds, and it's not at all the same without him. I couldn't believe it when he left the series, but now that I know why, I think it's great! I applaud him for his stand on the matter, and I agree with him. For some reason, however, I st... read more »

Jeffery,  Canada

Posted at 1:47pm on Friday, November 9th, 2007

I think it's too bad that he called it quits because I really like his role in "Criminal Minds".

Jeff,  California

Posted at 8:52pm on Thursday, November 8th, 2007

I hope he gets tagged as a "Quitter" and no one else hires him. How can ANYONE sign up on shows called "Criminal Minds", "Law and Order" and "Chicago Hope" hoping to "see more humour coming to television."??



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