Patinkin Out at Criminal Minds

CBS’ Criminal Minds will return this fall without star Mandy Patinkin.

After not showing up for a table read last week, Patinkin has asked to be released from his contract. And ABC Studios and CBS Paramount have agreed, the companies confirmed Monday.

After Patinkin’s no-show at the first summer read-through, speculation swirled that it was a ploy to squeeze more money out of his contract. But CBS Paramount and ABC Studios stressed that the actor’s departure "was not in any way connected to contract renegotiations or salary issues."

The Patinkin camp chalked up the actor’s departure to "creative differences."

A new character will be added to take Patinkin’s place while his character’s departure will be explained in one of the third season’s early episodes.

The crime procedural was a success story for CBS, which gave the show the much coveted post-Super Bowl slot earlier this year. But Patinkin’s departure does not bode well for the show as it heads into its third season.