I've been thinking about Criminal Minds recently, especially the last episode: I knew that Mandy Patinkin wasn't going to be returning to the show, but I'm glad they managed to have him give the character some form of closure instead of just stating within the show that he'd left unexpectedly. I've felt that Gideon was an essential character in Criminal Minds as a whole, mainly because he was the BAU's team leader and the best profiler they had, so once hearing that Mandy had decided not to continue with the show for whatever reasons really kind of stung, I guess you could say. But I think, just like his character, he was burnt out over the work he was doing (which also kind of explains why he also won't be in the Dead Like Me movie either).
As for Gideon, it's understandable about his overall decision to no longer be part of the BAU or profiling in general. After all he's been through, all he's seen, the job had finally gotten to him. Something I can emphasize with. In that line of work, even with the most skilled and trained experts in the field, sometimes a certain case will shake them so hard that they'll have a change of perspective. The same thing happened to Elle after a case, where she could no longer think straight and her objectives changed. I was SO relieved that Gideon didn't kill himself, as I feared they would go in that direction to write him off the show. I was so happy that it was Reid that went to the cabin. Very appropriate, and it was sweet that Gideon left the letter addressed to him. I'm also very glad they ended with Gideon on the road, possibly doing some soul-searching of his own. While I know this is closure for his character, I like how they managed to also make it into a semi-cliffhanger for him as well; saying that he isn't gone for good, that perhaps he may return back. Even though we know he won't.
I'm sad he'll be gone, but that was a nice little conclusive ending to see. Though it won't be the same without Gideon, I'm willing to see the show through without him since I love all the rest of the characters as well.
Something else has been on my mind recently, concerning shows and fandom as a whole. With the amazingly high ratings for the Pushing Daisies premiere, along with the results of Heroes after the new Nielson ratings rule was taken into effect, I can't help but wonder of all the possibilities with shows nowadays; downloading full-length episodes from iTunes, watching them legally online, previewing them before their airing/premiere dates...it's endless promotion and could probably help out a new show in getting out there. If only they had such options for the shows that were cancelled some years ago (i.e. Firefly, Wonderfalls, Point Pleasant, etc.) Not that it would guarantee that it would've stayed on the air, since The Black Donnellys had the same exposure but were cancelled prematurely, but it would've at least increased their chances. Better than what was proved at the time, obviously.
What I'm trying to say here is that I do like these optional choices to watching television shows now, which really enhanced and is a big step forward into the world of technology and changing the face of the media altogether.