On the Jan. 28 episode of "Criminal Minds" fans saw the death of a major character, and though he has not been on the show since season 3, Wednesday night's episode confirmed that Mandy Patinkin, who played Jason Gideon on the show, won't be coming back for future episodes.
Gideon left the BAU at the start of season 3, after a few cases that didn't work out well and resulted in several deaths. Gideon resigned from his position and was replaced by David Rossi, who has been with the team ever since. In the episode, Gideon is found dead in his cabin, and the BAU find similar markings leading back to Gideon's former case. Patinkin did not return to reprise his role, however, the show had some 1971 flashbacks featuring a younger Gideon, played by guest star Ben Savage.
The reason why Patinkin left "Criminal Minds" is very similar to the reason why Gideon left the BAU. In an interview with New York Magazine back in 2012, Patinkin blamed his sudden exit from the show to the violent nature of the episodes.
"The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place," said Patinkin. "I thought it was very different. I never thought that they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was all very destructive to my soul and personality."
The actor also addressed the crime drama genre, saying, "I'm not making a judgment on the taste [of people who watch crime procedurals], 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."
With such harsh words for the show, it's clear that Patinkin wouldn't be going back for a guest appearance anytime soon.
Show boss Erica Messer spoke with TVGuide to discuss the episode, and in the interview, Messer said that when Patinkin chose to leave the show eight years ago, they chose the most "honest version" in which his character could leave "Criminal Minds."
"When Mandy left eight years ago, there were a gazillion ways to go. We chose the most honest version, which was to write what was really happening. Sure, for a heartbeat, [killing him off] might've been on the table, but creatively, we didn't ever want to seem like it was punishment, like we were killing a character to punish him. This certainly is not that," said Messer.
"Criminal Minds" airs on Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS.