The star of a very popular show, "Criminal Minds," simply doesn't show up for work one day. The official version was 'artistic differences,' but we never believed that for a second. From all we heard about that cast, they got along happily as one big family. Never disharmony between actors and writers, we heard.

On, criminalminds15 said: "Mandy Patinkin said at first that he was leaving criminal minds due to creative differences, but he later explained that he quit because the show traumatized him. He claimed he could not understand why violent TV was such a curiosity. He believed it to be very disturbing that people go home to watch Criminal Minds to unwind, he wonders how people could consider horrible, misogynistic, violent activity as entertainment. He claimed that to play such a dark role in such a dark TV show he had to be in a dark place, this dark place he claimed was haunting him, eating away at his heart and soul.

Although he just kind of insulted us, he will be dearly missed."

Another poster said it wasn't the money, it was what he believed in.

Still another said he'd left starring roles in the past. Where does the truth lie? Somewhere in between, Jokers believes, so we did some research.

Patinkin grew up in a middle class Jewish family and was raised in Conservative Judaism, attending religious school daily "from the age of seven to 13 or 14" and singing in synagogue choirs. He attended the University of Kansas, and Juilliard School (which he dropped out of.) At Juilliard, he was a classmate of Kelsey Grammer. When the producers of the popular American sitcom Cheers were auditioning for the role of Dr. Frasier Crane, Patinkin put Grammer's name forward.

Patinkin's first success was in musicals; he played the part of 'Che' in "Evita" on Broadway in "79. He won that year's Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. Moving to films, he did "Yentyl" and "Ragtime." Back on Broadway he starred in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Sunday in the Park with George," which saw him earn another Tony Award nomination for Best Actor (Musical).

In Rob Reiner's 1987 "The Princess Bride" he played Indigo Montoya, which he now considers his favorite role. He was able to use his proficiency in fencing at a professional level in that film. (Who knew Mandy could fence?)

In "94 he won an Emmy for CBS's Chicago Hope, which he quit 'to spend more time with his family.' He returned but it was cancelled in 2000. He then returned to Broadway, where he won another Tony.

In Sept. 2005 he took the role of Jason Gideon in "Criminal Minds," a profiler returning to work after a series of nervous breakdowns. Could life mimic a show? Patinkin was absent from a table read for "Criminal Minds" and did not return for a third season. Several months before he left, in a videotaped interview carried in the online magazine Monaco Revue, Patinkin told journalists at the Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo that he loathed violence on television and was uncomfortable with certain scenes in "Criminal Minds." One of the other cast members, Shemar Moore, loved Mandy and called him 'a sweet guy' but still does not agree with the way Patinkin left the show considering the actor did not forewarn the show about his plan to quit.

Rumors flew about Patinkin's leaving the show: that he was only going to be in one scene to wrap up the show. That the other actors didn't want to work with him. The truth was that he called every member of the cast and explained. Cook says that the cast didn't know what was going on, and now that they knew they "just wanted him to be happy."

As for how much Patinkin would be in the show that season, executive producer Ed Bernero says that Patinkin actually worked for over 14 hours, not just one scene as had been reported. And he says it's not true that other cast members didn't want to work with him. It's just that the way they'd set up the plot, the other actors weren't needed. He adds that it wasn't about money or time, that they wanted to give Patinkin those things.

The actor simply didn't show up for work on the first day of shooting that month.

"He gave us no advance notice that anything was wrong, no opportunity 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 said. "He left us completely in the proverbial lurch."

Asked a year after he left why he gave up such a successful role, he said: “My answer is Shakespeare’s answer. And I won’t give a very long answer. I will absolutely use just his words,” from “The Tempest”: “ ‘There, sir, stop. Let us not burden our remembrances with a heaviness that’s gone.’ ”

If one word can describe Mr. Patinkin, it is “intense.” When he talks, he is passionate. The level of his passion may vary, but only from high to overpowering.

He talked about wanting to tour the world with a musical, wanting to inject more comedy in the entertainment business. The dark and violent nature of "Criminal Minds" got to be too much for Patinkin, and in later episodes during the 2007-08 season, Jason Gideon was written out of the series, and replaced by Special Agent David Rossi (played by Joe Mantegna).

Playing a patient with Lou Gehrig's Disease injured in a car accident, he asks the doctors at Three Rivers hospital to pull him off life support so his organs can be donated.

He took a part in "The Whole Truth," but when ABC announced its 2010 fall schedule in May 2010, the show was set to star Morrow and Joely Richardson in the two lead roles. Richardson filmed the original pilot. After the show was picked up, Richardson dropped out for personal reasons and was replaced by Maura Tierney, who went on to re-film all the Katie Peale scenes from the pilot. The series was filled with violence, but had mixed reviews and was pulled by ABC for its numbers.

After declining the lead in the Prince-directed Lloyd Webber musical "The Phantom of the Opera", Patinkin was signed to star opposite Meryl Streep in the film adaptation of Nora Ephron's roman-a-clef "Heartburn" but shortly after filming began in July 1985, the actor was fired over "creative differences" with director Mike Nichols and replaced by Jack Nicholson. ("I am difficult", Patinkin has stated on more than one occasion and his reputation grew during this period.)

In 1994, Patinkin surprised many by accepting a leading role in the David E Kelley-created hospital drama "Chicago Hope" (CBS). He raised anguish and intensity to a new art form with his portrayal of the brilliant but haunted heart surgeon Dr Jeffrey Geiger. Just as his vocal capabilities could run the gamut from soft and tender to highly theatrical, so did his acting. In certain scenes, Patinkin verged on caricature but in others, notably those wherein Geiger was dealing with his mentally unstable wife, he was poignant and heartbreaking. Although he won an Emmy for the role and was clearly emerging as the show's center, the actor sought to be released from his contract on the series, citing the toll it was taking on his personal life. Is a pattern emerging? Kelley agreed to release him.

We began to see that pattern: he's cast as lead on a show, and then bails for various reasons. Too graphic, too much time away from his family. Personally, I think he has itchy feet and needs new projects to make life worthwhile. He was great on "Criminal Minds," and that's how I prefer to remember him.