‘Criminal Minds’ versus ‘Homeland’ star Mandy Patinkin: A debate

Can crime procedurals really be thought of as art? For years now, what CBS has brought to the table during primetime television has been frowned upon by the likes of awards shows as well as the Hollywood elite for having throwaway stories, being watched by an older audience that is not in line with what is “hip,” and for often using shock value to tell stories. While some of this may be in part true, you cannot argue with high ratings, and there are still often a number of episodes of such shows that writers and actors should feel proud of.

With that, we come to the interesting conflict-that-is-really-not-a-conflict-at-all that is brewing now between “Homeland” star Mandy Patinkin and the show that once employed him in “Criminal Minds.” Speaking in an interview with New York Magazine, the actor made his opinion rather clear on how he felt that the crime drama genre was not just exploitative, but not rewarding to the actors:

“The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place. I thought it was something very different. 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 … 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.”

Ultimately, we fall in line somewhere in the middle here when it comes to Patinkin’s comments. We can understand how filming a show where every episode brings about the same endgame could be tiresome, but at the same time it is quality work; not only that, but we are not entirely sure that he has room to talk now discussing “judgment” on a new show that uses terrorism as a way to shock and appall an audience.

“Criminal Minds” executive producer Erica Messer has responded to Patinkin’s comments, but she chose mostly to keep things classy:

“Criminal Minds is about the heroes who protect men, women and children everyday. Mandy is an outstanding actor and we wish him continued success with Homeland.”

Whose side are you on here, or do you think that appreciating both shows is really just an apples-to-oranges sort of debate? If you want to watch the first 25 minutes of the new season of “Homeland,” you can do so by following the link here.

Photo: CBS

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