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Joe Mantegna Joins Criminal Minds, Set To Debut In Series' Fifth Episode

Joe Mantegna will join the cast of CBS’ Criminal Minds, the network confirmed today.

Executive producer Ed Bernero broke the news over the weekend on one of the show’s fan site.

Mantegna will fill the void left by Mandy Patinkin, who abruptly left the series earlier this summer, days after the show was to start production.

Mantegna will play FBI Special Agent David Rossi. He’ll make his debut in the series fifth episode. The back story on Mantegna’s character: he was an original member of the Behavioral Analysis Unit “who took early retirement to go on lecture and book tours,” according to the network press release. He’s volunteered to return to the presumably desperately short-staffed unit.

Mantegna, a stage and screen actor who hails from Chicago, played a detective for several season’s on the network’s Joan of Arcadia.

“We are all thrilled to have Joe Mantegna joining our family,” said Bernero in a statement. “He's an incredible actor, a genuinely nice person and, as a fellow Chicagoan, I can tell you he makes fantastic Italian Beef sandwiches and Chicago Style Hot Dogs.”

The third season of Criminal Minds debuts September 26th at 9PM on CBS.