7 Times the 'Criminal Minds' Drama Went Off-Book

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The Crimson King
Eddy Chen/CBS
Criminal Minds, Season Two
Cliff Lipson/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

Mandy Patinkin’s exit

Original Criminal Minds lead Mandy Patinkin (Jason Gideon) left the show in 2007 at the start of Season 3 — and did so quite abruptly, according to executive producer Ed Bernero. “He gave us no advance notice that anything was wrong, no oppurtunity [sic] to find a way to make the loss of this character work, no indication that we should be looking for someone else, no warning that we might have to rewrite the first seven scripts (which is how far ahead we try to work) without the central character in them,” Bernero wrote on a fan blog. “He left us completely in the proverbial lurch.”

The Crimson King
Eddy Chen/CBS

Thomas Gibson’s firing

Thomas Gibson (Aaron Hotchner) was dismissed from the show in 2012 after allegedly kicking the writer of the Season 12 episode Gibson was directing. In his absence, producers cast Damon Gupton (Stephen Walker) as a new series regular, though he only lasted one season on the show.

Criminal Minds, season one
Cliff Lipson/ CBS

Mandy Patinkin’s diss

“The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place,” the Homeland actor told New York Magazine in 2012. “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.”

Flesh and Blood

A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster

Fans responded with an online petition in 2010 after cast member A.J. Cook (Jennifer Jareau) was let go from Criminal Minds and co-star Paget Brewster’s role (as Emily Prentiss) was significantly reduced ahead of Season 6. Perhaps as a result of that petition, both actresses have since returned as series regulars.

From Childhood’s Hour

Scott David’s ouster

In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Scott David, Criminal Minds’ longtime casting director, had been “relieved of his duties” one day after the magazine published an investigation into pay-to-play audition practices. David had been running a workshop studio called The Actors Link, which “charged those seeking roles on his show and others for audition classes taught by those concurrently in a hiring position on network, cable and streaming shows,” according to THR.

The Harmful One
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Beyond Borders’ worldview

Multiple critics deemed Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders xenophobic — since the short-lived spinoff, which was canceled in 2017 after two seasons, centered on crimes against Americans overseas. “By design, this premise means that Americans will always be the innocent victims in need of rescuing and foreigners will always be the evil villains, harming those who come to their country,” observed AV Club’s Pilot Viruet.

Michael Yarish/CBS

Greg St. Johns’ employment

In October, Variety reported that Greg St. Johns was still working as Criminal Minds’ director of photography even though 19 former or current staffers on the show had told the magazine “how St. Johns has fostered a toxic environment on set, groping male staffers, threatening them physically, and firing anyone who complained.”

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Criminal Minds is coming to a close, with CBS announcing that the show’s upcoming 15th season will be its last.

As with most long-running TV shows, the police procedural has weathered behind-the-scenes drama over the years. Some of the incidents might warrant their own “behavioral analysis.”

Click through the gallery above for seven times the show made headlines with its off-camera drama.

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