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Mandy Patinkin Says Criminal Minds Destroyed His Personality
It isn’t too often you hear an actor speak out against the work they’ve done – the only one that immediately springs to mind is George Clooney’s embarrassment for having done Batman & Robin – so you can imagine my surprise to hear Mandy Patinkin absolutely regrets the two seasons he worked on Criminal Minds. I make no effort to hide my distrust of crime procedurals. They’re quite formulaic and rarely differentiate from one another, but Criminal Minds has, at the very least, intrigued me in the way it examines criminals on a psychological level. So what exactly caused Patinkin to regret his time on the show?
According to TV Guide, Patinkin abruptly left Criminal Minds because of the subject matter. “I thought it was something very different,” he said, mirroring my own thoughts on the show’s focus on how a criminal’s mind works. “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.” Obviously, Patinkin did end up continuing with television as he now stars in Showtime’s Homeland, which is still a show with violence, but isn’t the focal point of the drama.
Patinkin expresses his concern for those who spend much of their time watching crime procedurals, though he doesn’t judge them for their personal tastes. I can sort of see his point. These shows like Criminal Minds, CSI, and countless others turn real life jobs into entertainment. I can’t imagine anybody who actually works as a crime scene investigator ever being thrilled to watch CSI. These shows, in a way, use murder and rape in an exploitative fashion. It is just entertainment, but it’s interesting to see it from the point of view Patinkin is taking. Should we be subjecting ourselves to these horrors that occur everyday to real people and treat it as something to watch before bed?
Like Patinkin, I do not judge anyone who loves crime procedurals, but I also do not find myself drawn to them. I’m more for shows like Person of Interest, which is about preventing violent crimes, or Fringe and Supernatural, which are still procedurals, but are of the sci-fi and fantasy genres and therefore do not mimic real life.