Fat Tony Steps in For Inigo Montonya: Joe Mantenga Definitely in at CBS' Criminal Minds
UPDATE: CBS today (8/14/07) confirmed Mantegna as the new guy on Criminal Minds, with this release: "Joe Mantegna will join the cast of CRIMINAL MINDS starring as FBI Special Agent David Rossi. Mantegna is scheduled to make his first appearance in the fifth episode of the season."
Oh yeah, and they needed somebody who wouldn't wig out and quit the show just as it's reaching its biggest success.
According to TV Guide, CBS found all that in Joe Mantegna, the longtime character actor tapped to fill Mandy Pantikin's shoes as the male lead on Criminal Minds -- shoes which suddenly stood empty after Patinkin decided not to show up for work one day last month. CBS so far has declined to confirm that Mantegna is the one -- frankly I prefer the first name rumored as a replacement: Harvey Keitel.
(Check Mantegna out here as the voice of a Soprano-esque gangster Fat Tony on The Simpsons).
During a CBS press party in Los Angeles last month, Patinkin's Criminal Minds co-star Shemar Moore opened up about hanging with the guy and his feelings about what happened, calling Patinkin's abrupt departure a "slap in the face" while throwing around possible names such as Michael Keaton and Geena Davis as replacements
"(Patinkin's) not going to commit suicide. I guess he woke up one day...and I knew he didn't like being far away from his family," said Moore, surrounded by a phalnx of reporters with active digital recorders. "His life was always in New York...I knew at times he was lonely...and the content is tough...We just want the courtesy and respect we deserve. And we felt like, if he had given us that initially, this would be easier to deal with. He simply didn't show up for work and didn't tell us why. Collectively, as a team, we don't know what we did wrong...we don't know what happened.
"In the end, if you needed to leave he show to feel better about yourself that's fine. You want to be closer to your family,that's fine. You wanna go sing songs and travel, that's fine. But give us a heads up. Give us a warning."
Dunno Shemar. Just ask the cast of Chicago Hope, the last hit series Patinkin left just as it was breaking big -- divas never have to reason why; they just drop their drama and fly.