Mandy Patinkin To Return To 'Criminal Minds' (Sort Of)

Once CBS chief Nina Tassler used her platform at the TCA's to clarify that the "creative differences" that drove Mandy Patinkin to bolt Criminal Minds were more of the "personal issues" nature (to her credit, she refrained from pandering to the assembled critics by making comically exaggerated cuckoo noises and twirling a finger around her temple), we thought our PatinkinWatch feature had seen its last update. But this morning, TVGuide.com puts the actor back on our radar, reporting that he'll return to the Minds set to make a final appearance in a single, closure-providing scene:

Strange as that may sound, though, that isn't the really odd part: He'll only be in one scene, and he'll essentially be the only one in it.
Why? Well, duh! My spies tell me that no one in the cast wanted to work opposite him again after he brought production to a standstill by pulling a no-show without even calling in (cough, cough) sick. What's more, Minds' producers were forced to use a special crew to shoot the pariah's scene because the show's regular staff refused to be on set with him.

"Pariah" seems like a harsh assessment and a ceremonial walkout by the crew a cold kiss-off, but we won't pretend to know how painful it was for his TV family to realize that their star never intended to return after ditching that fateful table read. Still, their poignant absence is a classier and more professional way to say goodbye than turning up to work only to ruin every take by coughing Asshole! and Quitter! into their fists each time Patinkin opens his mouth to deliver his dialogue.