Mantegna added to Criminal Minds

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CBS's FBI extravaganza Criminal Minds is known for its intriguing look into the psyche of demented killers, but the show has managed to save some of its drama for the off-season.

Lead Mandy Patinkin abruptly left the show in mid-July, citing "creative differences." This left a gaping hole in Minds, as Patinkin portrayed the drama's lead Jason Gideon.

Buzz was quiet on replacements until late last week, when rumors sprang up that Harvey Keitel was close to signing on to the show. That speculation was short-lived--Entertainment Weekly's online branch reports that Keitel's demands over creative control and perks crumbled negotiations.

It didn't take the show long to move on to its next candidate, as Criminal Minds has finally found its lead. The show's executive producer, Ed Bernero, announced on fan site Criminal Minds Fanatic late Friday that Joe Mantegna will be joining the cast. However, those looking for details on Mantegna's role will have to do their own investigating, as Bernero's succinct statement gave no clues.

"We are very excited to tell you all that Joe Mantegna is officially joining the cast of Criminal Minds," Bernero told the Web site. "Thanks for hanging with us, everyone."

In addition to a Tony-Award winning stint on Broadway, the busy Mantegna has been all over film and TV the last few decades, with appearances in The Godfather: Part III, USA's The Starter Wife, and Joan of Arcadia. Mantegna has also hidden behind the disguises of a few high-profile roles, including providing the voice of Fat Tony in The Simpsons and donning a moustache on Saturday Night Live as Bill Swerski, Chicago Bears superfan.

Criminal Minds is scheduled to enter its third season on September 26. For more information, check out TV.com's previous coverage.

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