I know this news is a couple days old but it's something I really wanted to talk about. One of the shows I really enjoy watching is Criminal Minds on CBS. Mandy Pantinkin asked to be released from his contract and has left the show. He cited 'creative differences' but one of the head honchos at CBS said that is nothing but a euphemism for personal issues. Add this to a PBS panel he backed out of on July 11 due to illness. Does this mean that my dear Mandy is sick? Not just *cough cough* sick but sick enough to back out on a starring role on a popular series? A lot of people are comparing this to when he left Chicago Hope. Except he left Chicago Hope to spend more time with his family. Since Mandy hasn't come out and said exactly why he's leaving Criminal Minds, no one beyond the network people know if this is another family issue or what is going on.
I started watching Criminal Minds because it had Mandy Pantinkin in it. Yes, I came to love the other characters, especially computer geek Garcia, but I always felt that Mandy's character was the driving force behind the team. Unless the writers can come up with a character who can be as much of a mentor to the younger agents as Gideon was, I don't see this being a good thing for the show. Last season the team was going through a lot of difficult, emotional times and it was Gideon that was the light of hope that helped them figure out how to handle their situations. I really hope that the writers don't ruin this by tossing in a younger agent. The show needs the older, wiser mentor character in order to survive. Hire an older actor. Make him an ex-agent that the team needs as a consultant. The new agent doesn't have to go into the field. After all, look how much the team needs Garcia and she almost never leaves her office. Just give the already young team the guidance they need to stay a good team.