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Mandy Patinkin returns to TV in 'Homeland'

Mandyp Mandy Patinkin has been signed for a key role in Showtime's "Homeland," about an American soldier who was a former prisoner of war in Iraq who comes under suspicion when he returns to the U.S.

Patinkin will play a veteran CIA division chief who is the boss and mentor of an ambitious CIA officer played by Claire Danes. The series is scheduled to begin production in January.

The actor's return to series TV comes almost three years since his controversial exit from his starring role in CBS' "Criminal Minds." Patinkin abruptly left the show without explanation at the start of the third season, leaving producers and the cast in the lurch. He later issued a statement saying he was departing for "creative reasons," and shot his farewell scene with a splinter crew while the main company worked at another location.

Several months before his departure, Patinkin had told journalists he was becoming increasingly distressed about the violence on the show.

-- Greg Braxton

Photo: Mandy Patinkin. Credit: Peter Kramer /Associated Press


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Patinkin is a fine actor and singer, and has made his biggest artistic mark on Broadway. But he is a tempermental and restless performer who does not have the patience for TV's grind or its programming's frequent lapses into the mundane. He left "Chicago Hope," one of the higher-quality shows in recent years, after two seasons for "creative differences," and also did battle with writers and producers on the excellent, short-lived "Dead Like Me" on Showtime. His discomfort with the gruesome nature of "Criminal Minds" is understandable -- its storylines often are TV's version of torture porn, and it's an awful show, really -- but didn't he know what he was signing on for? Expect more of the same in this latest project -- if it gets picked up for more than a season, Patinkin will be out the door for "creative" reasons fairly quickly, replaced by an inferior actor with a more tolerant disposition.


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