First Lola Glaudini left the CRIMINAL MINDS cast at the beginning of the second season. Ho-hum! No one even noticed.
Then Mandy Patinkin left abruptly, just as Season 3 was about to begin filming. There was a wringing of hands and a gnashing of teeth. Oh, what are we going to do without him! Many worried that the series couldn't survive without Mandy. Guess what? CRIMINAL MINDS became every bit as good, if not better after his departure.
Joe Mantegna settled nicely into the role of senior profiler. The cast became more of an ensemble, and less The Mandy Show, and most fans were delighted.
On Wednesday, July 14 the CRIMINAL MINDS cast returns to work on Season 6. This group of remarkable actors, whom we've heard were like a family, is about to lose their little sister. A.J. Cook's contract was not renewed, and she is only appearing in the first two episodes. We're hoping she gets a good send off, not just "I'm leaving to spend more time with my baby." Too lame. She deserves better.
Another sister, Paget Brewster, will be leaving at the end of Season 6.
Will the series survive these cast changes?
It is doubtful that A.J. and Paget will be as forgettable as Lola, or even as Mandy was, after the dust settled. It will hurt to say goodbye to our girls, but if stories are fresh, and the writing top notch, we are betting CRIMINAL MINDS will survive.
CRIMINAL MINDS airs on CBS on Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. Cast includes: SHEMAR MOORE, Joe Mantegna, Thomas Gibson, Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness, Paget Brewster and A.J. Cook