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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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ADD YOUR COMMENTS

Comments to date: 13. Page 2 of 2.

Carmen Caron,  North Carolina

Posted at 3:24am on Thursday, September 13th, 2007

A friend of mine said she saw Mandy at a charity show singing his heart out in his new concert. I remember when I saw him in Evita and he was into his part. Criminal Minds was just a bad mistake, I guess. He back doing what makes him happy.

Jullian,  LA

Posted at 12:25pm on Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

How did Mandy get so lucky? So many struggling actors can't get a break. Yet he gets onto high ratings shows and quits them cold, but still gets more contracts. I wish I was that lucky.

Valerie,  California

Posted at 10:15am on Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Obviously Mandy hated his job. Who can blame him for chucking it in.

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