Mandy Patinkin has been a staple of film and television for several decades now, but audiences should know him best as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. The swashbuckling swordsman with the trademark quip (“My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die”) has followed Patinkin around since the late ’80s, but in recent years he has made a name for himself as a critically acclaimed TV actor as well.

Currently Patinkin can be seen on Showtime’s Homeland, where he plays Saul Berenson, supervisor and mentor to Claire Danes’ character Carrie Mathison. But before ending up on the Golden Globe-winning Homeland, Patinkin was one of the main cast members on CBS’ Criminal Minds – that is, before he abruptly quit the show.

In 2007, when Patinkin failed to show up for a table read, it was presumed that contractual differences were involved. But once he had officially left the show, the actor revealed his distaste for the violence depicted in Criminal Minds.

For a while after his departure, Patinkin stuck to lighter fare (musicals and such) while still making guest appearances in dramatic roles – and then in 2011 he landed the gig on Homeland.

Now that Patinkin has found a new home on Showtime most viewers don’t think twice about his sudden departure, but for those interested the actor has given somewhat of an explanation. More so than that, he tells The Hollywood Reporter his time on Criminal Minds was his “biggest public mistake.”

Patinkin says that when first approached for Criminal Minds he had no idea that the series’ writers were going to “kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year.” Obviously with a show that seeks to examine the serial killer’s perspective there was going to be some death, but apparently Patinkin didn’t know the extent to which he and audiences were going to be exposed to it.

Patinkin says that working on Criminal Minds “was very destructive to [his] soul and [his] personality,” and after leaving the show he “didn’t think [he] would get to work in television again.” A major actor abruptly leaving a TV show isn’t something new (i.e. Charlie Sheen and Two and a Half Men) but the way in which Patinkin made his exit must have given him the impression he burned a lot of his Hollywood connections.

As we’ve already revealed, though, Patinkin has found success again on Homeland, a series he says works as a perfect counterpoint to Criminal Minds.

“A show like Homeland is the antidote. It asks why there’s a need for violence in the first place.”

Patinkin might not be as recognizable in the latter part of his career as he was post Princess Bride, but his presence on award-nominated series has always garnered him recognition. Though it’s Homeland stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis that have been getting all of the attention from the Emmys and Golden Globes, Patinkin more than holds his own.

Homeland returns to Showtime on September 30th at 10 PM.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter