EXCLUSIVE: Guess who is coming back to series television? Mandy Patinkin, who made headlines in 2007 with his abrupt departure from the CBS drama Criminal Minds, is set to co-star opposite Claire Danes in the Showtime  drama pilot Homeland. That marks his first major series gig since Criminal Minds and a return to Showtime where he co-starred on the Bryan Fuller dramedy Dead Like Me for the show’s two-season run.

Homeland, from 24 executive producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, centers on American POW Scott Brody, who returns home 10 years after going missing in Iraq, and Carrie Anderson (Danes), a driven CIA officer who suspects he might be plotting an attack on America. Patinkin will play the smart and politically savvy CIA Division Chief emeritus Saul Berenson who is Carrie’s main champion in the intelligence upper echelon and her sounding board. Production on the pilot begins on Jan. 10 in Charlotte, N.C. Patinkin, a Tony Award-winning stage actor who has appeared in such movies as Yentl, Dick Tracy and The Princess Bride, won an Emmy in 1995 for his role on the CBS medical drama Chicago Hope, which he left in its second season. His only appearance since leaving Criminal Minds was in an episode of CBS’ medical drama Three Rivers last season.