May 8, 2016
Is Shemar Moore Leaving ‘Criminal Minds’? Actor Says ‘It’s Not Goodbye,' And 'Derek Did Not Die’

Criminal Minds fans reportedly freaked out when actor Shemar Moore said goodbye to the hit crime drama series after 11 seasons.

Moore reminded fans that just because his character, FBI Special Agent Derek Morgan, left the bureau to spend a little quality time with his family on the series, "that's it's not goodbye."

"Derek did not die," Moore told E! News. "Those elevator doors closed. And, yes, I am wanting to see what else is out there for me and what else I'm capable of in my career and also in my personal life."

Even so, the actor hinted at a possible return to the series one day.

"Those elevator doors closed and I have no problem because CBS and, more importantly, my fans and my family at 'Criminal Minds' have been so good to me. I'm not opposed to those doors opening up again," he said. "Now, it may not be permanently, and it may not be for a full season, but if there's an opportunity to go back and dance and play, I wouldn't be opposed to that."

Moore also noted that he had no idea that his character, Derek Morgan, wouldn't be killed off.

"No, I thought they would kill me," Moore said. "I've had a lot of say in what's happened with Derek Morgan, but my job [i]s to say the words. They write and produce it, and I show up and memorize it. I internalize it, and then my job is to bring it to life."

Commenting on his last episode in the series, Moore credits producer Erica Messer for coming up with his character's departure.

"She said, 'If you honor the show, if you honor the fans, we can honor the show, we can honor the fans.' She said, 'I promise you I will give you a hero's goodbye,'" Moore said, referencing Messer.

Messer voiced her opinion in an interview with TVGuide.

"It's such a weird thing now that it's over because Shemar and I talked about this a year ago [when his contract was up]," she continued. "It was a difficult thing to keep under wraps and CBS had a plan in place where they very wisely said, in an age where there are no secrets -- there are spoilers everywhere -- 'Wouldn't it be nice if we could keep this a secret?'"

According to Messer, the inspiration for Moore's exit came from Josh Charles' top-secret, shocking exit from The Good Wife.

"They really looked to that and wanted to make it an event," Messer told TVGuide. "There was definitely speculation... but I think keeping it under wraps for the most part was the way to go because it really did have an impact. My family was texting me, like, 'What's happening? What you mean? How could you not tell us this?!'"

Moore dubbed the episode as "one of, if not the, proudest episodes of my career."

According to TVGuide, Moore has a lot more in store for the coming years of his career.

"I've treated my acting career like school," Moore told TVGuide. "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."

Nonetheless, the actor claims he is looking forward to having a sense of "balance" in his life. Adding, "I want to fall in love, get married, have kids, travel. I want to walk my dogs more. Just get some balance."

[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]