Shemar Moore Is Leaving ‘Criminal Minds’ After 11 Seasons — What’s Next For The Sexy ‘Y&R’ Alum

Shemar Moore has decided after 11 seasons as special agent Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds that it’s time to move on. Wednesday night’s episode was Moore’s last. Like many of his costars, Shemar wants to continue to grow and to be able to take on other projects, and fans can at least take some joy in knowing that he plans to stick to acting, so we can still see Shemar in many projects in the future.

It turns out that Shemar Moore’s mom might have played a part in his decision to leave Criminal Minds. In an interview with TV Guide, Shemar admitted that he received a card from his mom and in it, she wrote, “Leap and the net will appear.” That was the inspiration he needed to give up the comfort of his very stable acting gig so that he could be open to other opportunities.

“I’ve treated my acting career like school,” Moore said. ” ‘The Young and the Restless’: eight years. (That was) high school. ‘Criminal Minds’: college. Now I’m ready for grad school, a Ph.D., whatever you want to call it. I’m just ready to grow. I just want to leap.”

Unlike his co-stars, Moore isn’t leaving the show so he can spread his wings to write or direct. Instead, he’ll do more acting in different roles than the one he has grown so accustomed to. Derek Fisher didn’t die on Criminal Minds, though. As many others that have left the show before him, the character just left the team, in Fisher’s case it was to take care of his new wife and the upcoming birth of a baby.

Much like Shemar Moore’s return to Y&R, there is also plenty of room for him to also come back for future episodes of Criminal Minds, and that’s not something he is counting out.”This business is all about politics, so I’m not promising anything,” he said. “But from a creative place, from a passionate place, if I’m asked intermittently to come back like they did at The Young and the Restless, from my heart, the answer is yes, yes, yes, yes.”

Moore wrapped up filming for the procedural crime drama last month and in that time, he admits to rewatching some of the recent episodes that his character was featured in. Moore also admitted that he has been considering an exit from the show for a couple of seasons now.

“It’s a weird experience,” Moore tells the Hollywood Reporter of his newfound free time. “I just spent 11 years with a group of people, and it’s a weird thing to walk away from — but I did it on my terms and in the right way.” Shemar’s fans may not agree with that sentiment. After learning that Moore would not be back on the popular crime drama, many took to Twitter to talk about how sad they were to see one of their favorite actors go.

“When we started, there were 102 cop shows … and I questioned why they needed 103, but what we found out was that Criminal Minds was a different type of show,” Shemar told the Hollywood Reporter of his initial skepticism when joining the show. “We were the little train that could. There were so many doubters, and 11 years and 251 episodes later, I’m very proud. It’s nice to exhale now. I feel really at peace with the fact that I left it all out on the field.”

So what does Shemar Moore have planned now? He certainly won’t stop working. According to IMDB, fans can catch Moore in a movie called The Bounce Back, due out in 2016. We expect to hear about more projects in coming months now that Moore is free to take on other roles. Who knows, maybe Shemar will even head back to Y&R for a bit.

[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]