Shemar Moore Is Leaving ‘Criminal Minds’: Is Derek Morgan Really Gone? Spoilers

Shemar Moore, has decided to leave Criminal Minds to seek new career challenges. Likewise, his character Derek Morgan will be leaving his job at the BAU. The character will not be killed-off in the show, but instead will move on. Though Shemar speaks nostalgically about working with the cast and crew, mentioning his bonds with co-stars Matthew Gray Gubler and Kirsten Vangsness, he is determined to take a leap of faith into the next level of his career.

“I’m just ready to grow. I just want to leap. And I don’t know where I’m going to land, but I believe that I’m going to land…. I’m not leaving to go be a big star. I’m not leaving to go make a bunch of money…. I’m leaving because I just creatively want to be fueled and [am] excited to try new things and see what else I’m capable of. But I’m always going to look back and salute.”

Shemar Moore told TV Guide, after 11 seasons and 251 episodes of Criminal Minds, he wants to try something different. The move is based in his desire to continue growing and learning as an actor and as a person. He craves more balance in his life, as well as new challenges. Recently, he’s been enjoying a little time off. He explains that while his dogs are enjoying more attention now, they look at him quizzically, as if wondering when he is going to leave for work.

Criminal Minds isn’t losing Derek Morgan completely. The character is still alive, but Derek is leaving his extremely dangerous career to enjoy being with his wife and new son. He decides to re-prioritize his life after realizing how much his work endangers his family. In the final episode, Derek’s pregnant wife, narrowly survives to deliver their son, according to USA Today. Like Moore, Agent Morgan is moving on.

Shemar Moore did not want Derek Morgan, the character he played for 11 years, to die. Moore’s character on The Young and The Restless never died either. Moore was able to make guest appearances and cameos on The Young and The Restless after leaving. That is hard to do, if the character is dead. Shemar hopes to return to Criminal Minds for a few select episodes over the coming seasons as well.

Criminal Minds writers, which often include cast members, intend to leave the door open for a return of Derek Morgan, if and when Shemar decides he’d like to come back. Kirsten Vangsness and Erica Messer collaborated to write Moore’s farewell episode, and Matthew Gray Gubler directed it.

 (L-R) The cast, actor Matthew Gray Gubler, actresses Jeanne Tripplehorn, A. J. Cook and actress Kirsten Vangsness and actor Joe Mantegna of the television show "Criminal Minds" (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Shemar Moore reminisced about some of his favorite moments, as he nostalgically recalls Criminal Minds episodes in an interview with TV Guide.

“I’ve done 251 episodes. I’m proud of many of them. But in Episode 16 [this season], Danny Glover played my father, which is a dream come true, and 11 years of Derek Morgan was touched on in that episode. And in this, Episode 18, it was about us. Nobody dies…. It’s a great story, and it’s about the team coming together and their bond. And everything you’ve learned about Derek Morgan culminates….”

Actor Shemar Moore,

As Shemar Moore looks toward the future, what exactly is he hoping for? In a revealing moment, Shemar explains his dream might follow along the lines of Mandy Patkinkin’s career path after leaveing the show. He expresses great admiration for the former Gideon of Criminal Minds.

“I appreciate and respect and learned so much from Mandy Patinkin [Gideon]. Mandy Patinkin is one talented, talented, eccentric man… He went to Homeland and he took his next step. He took many, many steps. [Criminal Minds] killed his character for whatever reason. I hope I get my Homeland one day and they still don’t kill Derek Morgan. [Laughs]”

Shemar Moore has left Criminal Minds to look for a Homeland.

[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]