Lynette Rice
October 14, 2009 AT 05:26 PM EDT

This just in from the let-bygones-be-bygones division of the CBS casting department: Mandy Patinkin — the very talented but oh-so-complicated actor who walked off of Criminal Minds after its second season — will guest star on an upcoming episode of Three Rivers, the network’s new drama about organ transplants. Patinkin, who was the recipient of a double corneal transplant, won’t re-enact his real-life problems with degenerative eye disease; instead, he’ll play an ALS patient who wants to be taken off life support so his organs can save others. In a network press release today, CBS tried to make hay out of the fact that Patinkin has a “very personal connection with organ donation,” but I think they were missing the point. Patinkin’s back, baby!

Far be it from me to give Patinkin a pass for not showing up to work back in the day when he was helping to make Criminal Minds a surprise hit for CBS, but there’s something oddly respectable about a guy who walks from a job — not because of money or the grueling schedule — but because he reportedly thinks the show is too violent. His surprise departure didn’t hurt the show — Joe Montegna proved to be a superior replacement — but it certainly left a sizable void in primetime. However persnickety this Emmy and Tony winner is, Patinkin is a bona fide TV star who deserves his own show. What do you think, Patinkin watchers? Do you miss the Chicago Hope alum as much as I do?

Photo credit: Retna Ltd.

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