Mandy Patinkin Reveals Why Joining ‘Criminal Minds’ Was the ‘Biggest Public Mistake I Ever Made’

Sep 14, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Mandy Patinkin, speaking with New York Magazine, said joining the CBS drama series "Criminal Minds" was "the biggest public mistake I ever made."

Patinkin left the series suddenly in 2007, before the third season started, surprising the show’s creators. He has only recently started talking about his decision to leave, the story notes.

“The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do ‘Criminal Minds’ in the first place,” Patinkin said. “I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality. After that, I didn’t think I would get to work in television again.”

Patinkin will appear in the second season of Showtime’s "Homeland" later this month, starring as CIA agent Carrie Mathison’s (Claire Danes) mentor, Saul Berenson.

He said he views "Homeland," which also includes violence, as bearing a message that stands in contrast to crime shows such as "Criminal Minds."

“I’m not making a judgment on the taste [of people who watch crime procedurals],” he told the magazine. “But I’m concerned about the effect it has. Audiences all over the world use this programming as their bedtime story. This isn’t what you need to be dreaming about. A show like ‘Homeland’ is the antidote. It asks why there’s a need for violence in the first place.”

Patinkin is known for his work in stage musicals (“Evita,” “Sunday in the Park with George”), along with roles on television series including “Chicago Hope” and “Dead Like Me” and performances in feature films such as “The Princess Bride” and “Alien Nation.”

mandy-patinkin.jpgMandy Patinkin


  1. Ummm, no. He bailed on ‘Chicago Hope’ the same way. And his take on the content of ‘CM’ is not very accurate. yes it’s a violent show. and many stories are based on actual events! There are male vicitms, child victims, groups, etc.
    Although his acting is enjoyd by many, Mandy has been know to be quite difficult to work with.

  2. Look up “self-aggrandizing” and you’ll see the same photo.

  3. I totally agree with the way he feels about the show and actually I gained respect for him for saying it. It’s very well produced, and in many ways an excellent show, but I call it gore opera and it’s definitely not the ideal bedtime story.

  4. sounds ungrateful to me…who would want to work with a person who ends up criticizing the project in the end?

  5. I agree – in part. Patinkin seems like a decent enough guy, but his a history of quitting projects and then whining to the press.
    On the subject of the show: That’s what sells. What are you going to do? I don’t watch this stuff. Doesn’t matter if it’s true. There are a lot of true stories out there that aren’t violent. No one wants to see those.

  6. It’s not like they kept the script a secret from him. He had a chance to read the pilot — which was very much in step with how the series played out. In fact, his character arc was all about dealing with the psychic aftermath of working on horrendous crimes. Two years later he’s surprised the show deals in violent imagery?
    Patinkin is a brilliant actor, but I think he gets bored playing the same character week after week. My advice: don’t work in weekly dramas, unless your character has an exit strategy…

  7. Couldn’t agree more with him!

  8. I don’t care what anyone else says, Mandy Patinkin WAS the BEST one on the show, well, I love them all so much, and I have ALOT of respect for those who are still there, and (Rossi), Joe Montegna for coming on and staying. But there’s been a whole lot of BS that’s went on even since Mandy left! Like why “exactly” Prentiss left, the others like “JJ”, and the execs not wanting to pay them what they were worth!! Mandy is SO MISSED by ALOT MORE PPL than most of you realize!! I love Rossi, but he’s no Gideon…….sorry..

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