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Sunday, July 15, 2007

"Criminal Minds" loses its star

If you’re a “Criminal Minds” fan, this may or may not be good news…

Mandy Patinkin is off the show. “TV Guide” reports that he will return for one episode this fall to wrap up his story.

Patinkin has long had a reputation as a diva and this post by Executive Producer Ed Bernero on the most popular “Minds” fan blog pretty much confirms it:

There have been several reports recently in the media about the Mandy Patinkin situation on Criminal Minds. Firstly, they are true -- Mr. Patinkin has left the show. What's troubling to us though, is that the reports tend to suggest or hint that the Producers, the Studios or CBS have something to do with what has happened. Phrases like 'maybe cooler heads will prevail...' and the like have been used. Let me make this clear: this is not about a contract renegotiation, this is not about money, this is not about something Mr. Patinkin asked for that wasn't provided -- in fact, everyone involved in the show has for two years bent over backward to give him anything he wanted.

Mr. Patinkin told the show, the studios and the network that he was returning right up to the day before we started shooting the first episode and then simply did not show up. He also has not contacted anyone within the show (producers, cast, crew) to explain why he isn't returning. Even to this moment, we have no word from him. He gave us no advance notice that anything was wrong, no opportunity to find a way to make the loss of this character work, no indication that we should be looking for someone else, no warning that we might have to rewrite the first seven scripts (which is how far ahead we try to work) without the central character in them. None. Zero. He was not, as some media reports have indicated, written 'lightly' in our first episode, in fact, it was quite the opposite. Because of the construct of the first episode story, he was actually in the center of that episode. He left us completely in the proverbial lurch.

As loyal fans of the show, we think you all deserve an explanation and I wish I had a better one to give you. The most amazing writing staff in television is working very hard to find a way to make this work and we will find a way to give you the organic, dramatic experience you expect from CM.

If I have new news I will provide it, and if there are questions you have... we will do our best to answer. If you hear a rumor, please ask us. I remain touched and humbled by the support you have all shown the show.

Thank you so much

Ed Bernero

Whether or not you think this is a bad thing depends on whether or not you think Patinkin’s Gideon was a good character. Personally, I’ve always thought that Patinkin was doing his best Vincent D’Onofrio impersonation and trying to dominate the show by chewing all of the scenery. Rumor has it at least one of his co-stars—Thomas Gibson—agreed. I’ve got to believe that this is the best thing for the show.

But what do you think?