Sorry baby girls, there’s some sad news from the Criminal Minds set. After 11 seasons of playing Derek Morgan, Shemar Moore has officially confirmed that he’s leaving the show. Moore was one of the original cast members of the show.
After his last episode, which aired on March 23, he talked to TVLine about his decision to leave the show, saying that he was originally planning on leaving at the end of last season, but was convinced by showrunner Erica Messer to stay for another season so the character could get a proper goodbye.
Talking about his decision to leave the show, Moore said “I didn’t direct, I didn’t write, but I grew, and I’m leaving because I want to continue to grow as an actor. I’m leaving to see what else I’m capable of.”
He cited that some of the cast members have written and directed episodes in addition to starring in them, and also cited cast member AJ Cook taking time off the show earlier in the season because of the birth of her second child.
The past few episodes have been rough for Moore’s character, as he was kidnapped and tortured, found out his girlfriend was pregnant, and, after a six month time jump, we saw Morgan and his girlfriend get married, only for her to get shot at the end of the March 16 episode.
The character is being written out so he can spend time with his newborn son, who was named Hank Spencer Morgan – Hank for Derek’s father and Spencer for Spencer Reid, a character on the show.
In Moore’s last episode, cast member Matthew Gray Gubler (Spencer Reid) directed the episode and cast member Kirsten Vangsness co-wrote the episode with showrunner Erica Messer.
Throughout the show, Moore’s character has been involved in many important storylines, especially a second season episode in which viewers learned that his character was molested when he was a teenager living in Chicago. The storyline was brought up again in the eighth season when the BAU team returned to Chicago to work on a case and Morgan talked his abuser, who ended up being killed while in prison.
While Moore isn’t the first character to leave the show, his leaving does count as one of the more shocking exits on the show.
On the upcoming March 30 episode, fan favorite cast member Paget Brewster is returning to the show for a guest starring role.
Outside of Criminal Minds, Moore was a cast member on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. Moore also has a clothing line, appropriately entitled Baby Girl, where all of the proceeds go to multiple sclerosis research as his mother has MS.