After his contentious exits from both “Chicago Hope” and “Criminal Minds,” to say that Mandy Patinkin has earned himself somewhat of a cantankerous reputation may be a bit of an understatement. But the “Homeland” actor is, at the very least, self-aware enough to recognize the way he’s handled things in the past.
In a new interview with the New York Times, Patinkin discussed his previous on-set behavior, opening up as to why he even took the job on “Criminal Minds,” a show he quit abruptly after Season 2 by just not showing up in protest of the extreme violence towards women, in the first place.
“When ‘Criminal Minds’ came along, I had just survived the discovery that I had prostate cancer, so I guess I had that vulnerability,” he admits. “I’ll never forget sitting on the bed in my cousin’s house in L.A. reading the first script, and I schmoozed myself, I brainwashed myself, thinking, It won’t be like that as it goes along. I didn’t listen to any piece of myself, and I paid the price. I never expected to work in television again.”
His time on “Chicago Hope,” which netted the actor a best actor Emmy before he walked away to end the separation from his family in New York, isn’t without its regrets, either: “I struggled with letting in other people’s opinions. During ‘Chicago Hope,’ I never let directors talk to me, because I was so spoiled. I started off with people like Milos Forman, Sidney Lumet, James Lapine, unbelievably gifted people. So there I was saying, ‘Don’t talk to me, I don’t want your opinion.’ I behaved abominably. I don’t care if my work was good or if I got an award for it. I’m not proud of how I was then, and it pained me.”
For what it’s worth, those who work with Patinkin on his current project say they haven’t run into the Patinkin of lore. “I cannot tell you how many times I was warned about his checkered past in television, but this role was written for him,” “Homeland” co-creator Alex Gansa says. “I’ve been his biggest fan since ‘Sunday in the Park’; that performance was indelible … Mandy is a tremendously generous, compassionate, soulful guy, and the message of ‘Criminal Minds’ was not commensurate with his worldview. You have to admire that.”